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The 20 Best Horror Movies of the 1990s

A few of your favorites won’t be on this list, but that’s only because the ‘90s gave us so many good horror movies.
Horror Movies S
By  · Published on August 19th, 2019

15. Cemetery Man (1994)

Cemetary Man S Horror

Cemetery Man (or Dellamorte Dellamore, if ya nasty) is a totally unclassifiable film that is perhaps best described as what would happen if you put Constantine and The House That Jack Built in a blender and made it horny. Directed by Michele Soavi (of The Church and StageFright fame), Cemetery Man follows a beleaguered cemetery caretaker played by Rupert Everett, whose deceased residents just can’t seem to stay dead. With a characteristically Italian particularity, Cemetery Man is a dreamlike, brilliantly stylish, and kinetic watch. It’s one of the best, if not the best, strip-cartoon adaptations out there — and it’s absolutely one of the essential horror flicks of the ’90s. If you’re tired of milquetoast fare and want something a little more dense and freaky, you can’t go wrong with Cemetery Man. (Meg Shields)

14. Scream (1996)


Every popular movie seems to go through an eventual reconsideration period where a not insubstantial number of people suddenly deem it as undeserving of its reputation, but while it’s almost always bullshit, it is especially bullshit in regards to Wes Craven‘s Scream. The reasons to love the film are legion, and while the casting is spot-on, the bulk of its brilliance comes from Craven’s direction and Kevin Williamson‘s script. Fun characters, smart story turns, terrific set-pieces, crazy good third act reveals, and that killer opening make for one of the best slashers out there. Neve Campbell‘s “final girl” is spirited, confident, and more than capable of facing whatever gets thrown her way, and few films in the genre offer an ending this satisfying. The sequels vary in quality (as sequels always do), it saturated pop culture, and the film’s been spoofed within an inch of its life, but if you sit back and give it the attention it deserves, you’ll be rewarded with an immensely entertaining and slickly made horror classic. (Rob Hunter)

13. From Dusk Till Dawn (1997)

From Dusk Til Dawn

Prior to teaming up for Grindhouse in 2007, Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino gave us this masterpiece, a movie that pits preachers, criminals, bikers, and a couple of teenagers against vampires in a Mexican titty bar. The exploitation-inspired comedy that informed their later collaboration is on point here, but the movie contains just the right amount of self-aware humor, as opposed to being a full-blown satirical homage to their favorite scuzzy movies from yesteryear. What begins as a criminals-on-the-run movie takes an unexpected detour into action-horror-comedy territory, as unlikely bedfellows must survive the night against some of the most grotesque bloodsuckers you’re ever likely to see. Tonally, the movie is all over the place, but it works thanks to a fun script, gung-ho action, excellent practical FX work, and a cast that features Tarantino, George Clooney, Fred Williamson, Harvey Keitel, Danny Trejo, Salma Hayek, Michael Parks, and Tom Savini having the time of their lives. This movie is a freaking blast. (Kieran Fisher)

12. Castle Freak (1995)

Castle Freak

Welcome friends (and enemies), to the second Jeffrey Combs-starring entry on this list. Castle Freak gets less love than other Stuart Gordon flicks in part, one suspects, because Castle Freak takes itself a little more seriously than the likes of Re-Animator and From Beyond. The film’s premise is deceptively simple: a family inherits a castle, but there’s a catch: they’re not alone. Unbeknownst to them, the Duchess, the prior owner of the estate, imprisoned and tortured her son in the dungeons when her husband left her. And he’s still down there, confused, desperate, and famished. The performances in Castle Freak are top-notch, with Barbara Crampton as the stern and resilient Susan, a mom with a grudge, grit, and a wardrobe full of enviable linen. Combs self-actualizes as a drunken, horny, mess of a father who blames himself for the car wreck that tore their family apart. And even smattered in prosthetics, Jonathan Fuller as the titular Freak gives a performance that is unsettling and even evocative to the point of being touching. Speaking of touching: gorehounds rejoice; no orifice or appendage is safe. Castle Freak is the crème de la crème of low-budget gore gems: it’s a real gnarly watch, and not to be missed. (Meg Shields)

11. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)

Bram Stokers Dracula

I slept on Bram Stoker’s Dracula for a long time. I recommend you do not. It’s a sweeping epic unlike any other Dracula film at the time with Francis Ford Coppola crafting a vision that has feet both in the past and present. It utilizes the visceral intensity of horror films throughout the 1980s but treats it with the same level of care as any work of classic cinema, using on-set and in-camera optical effects to create the grand sense of scale and danger in the film’s larger production design and scare set pieces. In a world that hadn’t fallen in love with Keanu Reeves yet, some of the acting may seem a little choppy — especially contrasted with Gary Oldman’s scenery-chewing Count — but it’s so reverential to film history that it, too, feels like a stylistic choice from Coppola and company. While Bram Stoker’s Dracula may not be the best horror film of the 1990s, it is certainly the lushest. (Jacob Trussell)

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