Top 10 Psychological Horror Movies
#10 - The Others [2001]
<em>The Others</em> [2001] Image

"Sometimes the world of the living gets mixed up with the world of the dead."

#09 - The Sixth Sense [1999]
<em>The Sixth Sense</em> [1999] Image

"I see dead people . . . Walking around like regular people. They don't see each other. They only see what they want to see. They don't know they're dead . . . They see only what they want to see."

#08 - Blue Velvet [1986]
<em>Blue Velvet</em> [1986] Image

"Don't you fucking look at me!"

#07 - Jacob's Ladder [1990]
<em>Jacob's Ladder</em> [1990] Image

"Eckhart saw Hell too. He said: The only thing that burns in Hell is the part of you that won't let go of life, your memories, your attachments. They burn them all away. But they're not punishing you, he said. They're freeing your soul. So, if you're frightened of dying and . . . and you're holding on, you'll see devils tearing your life away. But if you've made your peace, then the devils are really angels, freeing you from the earth."

#06 - The Changeling [1980]
<em>The Changeling</em> [1980] Image

"There's no logical explanation for what I'm going to say to you now . . . The boy was badly crippled. I believe he was killed in an attic room of that house."

#05 - The Ring [2002]
<em>The Ring</em> [2002] Image

"Here we go, the world is spinning. When it stops, it's just beginning. Sun comes up, we laugh and we cry. Sun goes down, and then we all die."

#04 - The Exorcist [1973]
<em>The Exorcist</em> [1973] Image

"Especially important is the warning to avoid conversations with the demon. We may ask what is relevant but anything beyond that is dangerous. He is a liar. The demon is a liar. He will lie to confuse us. But he will also mix lies with the truth to attack us. The attack is psychological, Damien, and powerful. So don't listen to him. Remember that . . . do not listen."

#03 - The Silence of the Lambs [1991]
<em>The Silence of the Lambs</em> [1991] Image

"We begin by coveting what we see every day. Don't you feel eyes moving over your body, Clarice? And don't your eyes seek out the things you want?"

#02 - Psycho [1960]
<em>Psycho</em> [1960] Image

"Mother, what is the phrase? She isn't quite herself today."

#01 - The Shining [1980]
<em>The Shining</em> [1980] Image

"Some places are like people . . . some shine and some don't."

User Comments - Add a Comment
mokito - 2007-10-12 05:14:14
what about roman polanski's repulsion, that was a truly atmospheric horror film, one of the best of the genre. also, cabinet of dr. caligari - the first TRUE psychological horror flick!
penny - 2007-10-12 05:20:05
What about: Curse of the Demon
surfer25 - 2007-10-12 08:56:58
Angel Heart is my favorite film, why didn't that make the list? Mickey Rourke was great actor . . . back in the '80s. What the hell happened?
Elijah - 2007-11-02 23:27:21
What about Saw? Saw should be atleast in top 5!
Anonymous - 2007-11-06 19:23:02
Saw is crap. But on the subject, they really don't make movies like "The Shining". It's just impossible, and that's too bad. I think Se7en by Fincher should be on that list, although it isn't really horror.
Blackdragon6 - 2007-11-17 14:30:45
silence of the lambs isn't horror either.but why is the exorcist a psychological horror?,its seems like pure horror to me.
Arne - 2007-11-29 09:50:08
You might want to check out "Repulsion"
Vin Vega - 2007-12-19 22:37:07
Also check out Polanski's "The Tenant", the third in his unofficial apartment trilogy after "Repulsion" and "Rosemary's Baby".
Chronus - 2007-12-20 02:41:20
And where the hell is 1408? That was a total mindjob! And it was way better than The Others, which doesn't deserve to be in the top anything...
Anonymous - 2007-12-22 20:19:54
Yep Saw sucks
ali - 2008-01-10 14:16:05
I thought the Ring was garbage compared to Ringu
Evil Roy - 2008-01-11 00:54:21
"Frailty"--not a drop of blood spilled on screen and you're still gasping for breath.
Anonymous - 2008-01-15 12:47:41
Actually, you made a damn fine list.
Soren - 2008-01-23 20:59:48
I agree with all of them but The Ring. I love The Others and was so glad to see it on here. And I agree with Evil Roy on Frailty--replace The Ring with that and we've got a perfect list.
sammy - 2008-02-05 22:42:12
ARE YOU KIDDING ME? The Ring made it on that list? That's not all that psychological. Any Stephen King can top that
Anonymous - 2008-02-08 02:50:54
I'm impressed that The Changeling was on there -- I was starting to think that I was the only person to have seen it -_-; That messed me up for a while as a kid.
lilnemo - 2008-02-08 16:11:51
With all due respect, I cannot believe you would claim to create such a comprehensive top ten list of "psychological" horror films and then neglect to add "The Haunting" (1963, director: Robert Wise, and starring Julie Harris) and "The Innocents" (1961, director: Jack Clayton, and starring Deborah Kerr). Both of these films are absolute classics in the psycological horror genre, and certainly superior to some of the drivel on your list ("The Ring"?! c'mon).
Deuce - 2008-02-10 06:23:48
1408 is a genuinely intimidating movie
Mr. Macabre - 2008-02-24 10:59:25
If this list is truly Psychological Horror Films then it should not include movies of the supernatural (i.e. ghosts). I can understand including Silence of the Lambs... but The Others, The Shining, The Changeling? All ghost stories, pure and simple. A haunted house does not psychological horror make. Psychological horror would include Repulsion, Misery, Session 9, The Machinist, and Fatal Attraction. It is horror of the unhinged mind, of character. It has nothing to do with spirits, the devil, alien creatures, or monsters. If you are going to just list good horror films of all kinds then don't use the heading Psychological Horror Films.
Einar - 2008-02-27 12:57:51
Rosemary's Baby !!?! I think that movie deserves to be on that list.
Anonymous - 2008-02-29 04:29:33
i liked "Identity"
1sub - 2008-04-05 01:56:01
Jeepers Creepers totally should have made this list!
KaXaSA - 2008-05-11 20:17:23
cmon The Ring?! wtf... Session 9 is a must :3
FinalRestxx - 2008-06-28 00:15:13
I totally agree. Session 9 was awesome
Anonymous - 2008-08-25 07:13:48

I kinda think saw should have made the list but i havent seen many of these so I dont know. but I think saw is a pretty good psychological horror movie

Tarquin - 2008-08-29 10:56:05

The Attic Expeditions should make this list! It is my favorite movie! And also Donnie Darko should be on there, If anyone wants a movie to mess with their mind, Those would be it. Also, A Clocks Works Orange.

Brian - 2008-10-12 02:44:07

Donnie Darko is supposed to be scary? I'll give it thriller maybe, but not a psychological horror by any means. Session 9 is great. Jacob's Ladder deserves to be much higher. I'd toss In the Mouth of Madness as an outside contender, but just because it's the only scary Lovecraft movie I've seen. Re-Animator and From Beyond are rather cheesy good though.

uhox - 2008-10-21 00:11:00

you must add the movie "SEED" great psychological horror film..

J&T - 2008-10-22 18:48:48

Saw obviously isn't on here because it is slash horror and not psychological which uses much less gore and COULD ACTUALLY HAPPEN!!

wristcuttergirl - 2008-11-02 16:06:03

saw deserves to be there. its not so scary but very gory.

Mooseface - 2008-11-05 19:57:21

saw is's kinda a mix between slasher and psychological horror...but psychological horror cane involve ghosts....and gore...Silent hill for example is a psychological horror and it has gore and monsters yet still keeps to the psychological horror genre...though the game is much better than the movie so the movie shouldn't be on this list. I should probably gpo watch some of these movies I haven't seen many of them at all but they look interesting.

norm - 2008-11-07 21:39:36

"I think of horror films as art, as films of confrontation. Films that make you confront aspects of your own life that are difficult to face. Just because you're making a horror film doesn't mean you can't make an artful film." - David Cronenberg

Matheus - 2008-11-21 00:04:42

The Innocents ?

Nathan Thompson - 2009-01-04 16:55:42

May and Candyman are not on the list. Shocking.

Anonymous - 2009-01-13 06:31:42

I'm pretty sure silent hill should be on there

Mappu - 2009-01-17 22:03:51

what about braindead? mountain of cannibal god and jungle holocaust? :D

Anonymous - 2009-03-03 11:18:25

I strongly disagree with all the people saying that saw is 'crap'. In my opinion, saw is an excellent film. The story was mind blowing and the twist at the end was something else. When it ended,I could not believe I had been sat in the cinema for and hour and half, as the film never had a 'slow' moment. Definitely one of my favourite films. As for this top ten list, I agree with most of it, but unlike some people, I think saw definitely deserves a place on it.

Kellyg - 2009-03-17 15:06:11

Stop with the "what about this...what about that movie?" Maybe the guy hasn't seen these. It's not right to judge him. This is his personal list.

John - 2009-03-20 03:03:24

The last two or three "Hellraiser" installments are very psychological. They're not the usual monsters and "tear your soul apart" hellraisers (although they are classics), they run more with the idea of Hell being your life gone wrong. I highly recommend them... think it's Hellraisers 5 to 8.

Annonymous - 2009-03-27 10:42:00

Ok...half of the recommendations are purely horror films. A psychological horror movie isn't simply a movie that has you wondering whats going on throughtout the entire thing, that's mostly any movie. It is something entirely different. Most of these are indeed "PSYCHOLOGICAL" horror movies in which the actual main character doesn't know what is going on throughout most of the movie.

Anonymous - 2009-03-30 02:53:58

Good list. Thanks for all the extra recommendations too

Christine - 2009-04-15 09:12:49

What about the movie Pin????? Creeped the hell outta me! And its Canadian!!

Companion - 2009-06-23 19:31:11

I think 2 of the best real psychological horror movies are "The Tenant" by Roman Polanski and "Pin" by Sandor Stern (the novel by Andrew Neiderman is much darker than the movie). Both movies involve someone slowly losing their minds, and they both take you for a roller coaster ride of psychological horror.

anon - 2009-07-20 04:42:42

psycho sucks

ACCN - 2009-07-31 17:11:11

I just saw "The Killing Room" and i have to say that i would personally put it on top of that list, also adding a few others....It's an amazimg psichological movie, eventhough it is not so much of a horror one...but it definetly deserves being watched...All the best !

Mark - 2009-09-09 04:10:34

"Session 9" is my personal favorite; it's too bad it isn't on here

what - 2009-09-28 09:35:32

replace the ring with a clockwork orange and the others with session 9 or lost highway than it is perfect; i have not seen polanski's films but i have heard they are good, but all of you saw lovers must have never seen any lynch films because lynch is psychological and saw is crap in this category

INRI - 2009-10-13 17:04:51

The first psychological horror was "whatever happened to baby jane" with bette davis in a knock out role. should be in the list. also memento, cube, blair witch project, donnie darko, maybe even chinatown..... the first saw movie.

horror - 2009-10-30 23:38:43

saw is psychological frailty is psychological, too

James - 2009-11-05 15:34:08

Just wanted to say- Awesome list man. Love it. Psychological horror is all about the mind people. Not torture crap like Saw. Sure Saw has a hint of psychological horror- like making you think what you would or wouldn't do etc. but that's it.

Anonymous - 2010-01-08 13:48:43

For me, Jacob's Ladder would be the number one. Also, Session 9 and The Killing Room are both great films.

Avalon - 2010-01-30 05:19:59

agree Repulsion is a true classic

stephen93 - 2010-03-28 22:16:40

i think that Takashi Miike's Auditon, should have definetly been on this list.

Chesh - 2010-04-08 22:57:47

Blackdragon6, Silence of the Lambs IS considered a psychological horror, if not a thriller.

Matin - 2010-05-26 23:27:05

The ring ftw

Kyle - 2010-06-02 11:31:51

Has no one seen The Machinist? It's screws with your head! It really screws with your mind, i love it. Brilliant film

Anonymous - 2010-06-14 17:20:53


Scott - 2010-06-29 16:34:33

The 6th sense is anything but a horror. I've never been so bored watching a movie in my life! I'm not a fan of jumpy/scary things, and I do believe it could have been done in the hands of a good director. But it was not scary in any way. Same goes for the village.

Anonymous - 2010-11-22 05:01:54

the machinist. session 9. the tenant. monkey shines. even earaserhead could by better in this shitty list. grow up kid. you still got milk on your lips.

Horror Freak - 2011-01-21 23:46:45

Saw bored me to death...

Kelsey - 2011-01-24 21:42:43

Perfect! but i would have put the sixth sense a little higher on the list

Krenky - 2011-01-26 16:16:13

Thanks guys for pointing out good movies. Definitely agree that Session 9 is one of the greatest. I also agree that ghost movies should not be on this list but THE RING is one of my favorites. I would add few good movies for you too: Martyrs, Inside, Paranoia One Point 0. I hope I will see more great movies from you....

Anonymous - 2011-01-28 12:37:24

Just like to say that I agree with The Shining as number one. Anyone who says it's a ghost story is only partially right. Yes, there are ghosts, but the scariest part of the movie is the insanity of Jack Torrance. Three diseased minds come together for this one: writer, director, and actor, and people who say this shouldn't be number one should watch it again, and recognize a masterpiece not just of horror, but of film as a whole.

man in the germany - 2011-01-29 09:54:59

where is Seven, it's the best psychological thriller that ever was filmed

Bholenath Valsan - 2011-02-27 01:19:49

Where is "The Other" (1972, Robert Mulligan)???


[Editor's Note: Great recommendation, yeah it should have made the list!]

Nickijoe - 2011-03-12 17:16:58

You should add a Russian film, Zero Calvin. Brilliant. If you like The The Shining, you'll like this one. Nice list, btw.

Anonymous - 2011-05-23 06:37:58
Hard Candy, Requiem for a Dream, Funny Games
Cappadonna - 2011-07-01 20:19:17
Guys can you please tell me if you remember one verry cool psycho movie..I remember was with 1 fat actor..Playng like nerd..and got like 8 personalitis..and some one is helping him..evrything is happening in 1 motel bar and his personalitis killing each other..until only 1 is left...:) Thats i remember and cant find that movie..can you PLEASE if you know that movie to write his name PLS..thank you!
Cross - 2011-07-04 09:37:23

These are my list (randomly arranged): 1. triangle 2. identity 3. perfect blue 4. the dark hours 5. paprika 6. exam 7. fermat's room 8. el orfanato 9. zodiac 10. mulholland drive 11. jacob's ladder 12. session 9 13. the others 14. manchurian candidate 15. dead man's shoes

Shanker-gs - 2011-08-07 02:07:51
I think the "wrong turn" also a best pshco flim. Saw is a perfect film
Eynah - 2011-08-08 02:22:55

@Cappadonna I think you're talking about 'Identity' with John Cusack. It's a brilliant psychological thriller.

btomy1990 - 2012-01-07 06:34:36
Noone mentions Audition? When the girl said "kiri kiri kiri..." it echoed in my head for days...that's a masterpiece in my opinion
Toon - 2012-07-10 09:25:33

"Psycho" is the most overrated movie ever. Not scary in the least.