top 50 british horror films

Top 50 British horror films

Top 50 British horror films

Readers of Horrified have come together to choose their favourite British horror films, so here is the ultimate top 50 list of British horror films, as chosen by you…. 


2016 / Alice Lowe

'Prevenge is a wonderfully original tale with the perfect balance of horror and humour. You’ll find yourself wincing, crying and laughing in equal measure; strange bedfellows yes, but within Prevenge this tone works beautifully.'


Following the passing of her partner in a climbing accident, pregnant widow, Ruth, begins to enact revenge on those she deems responsible for his death, seemingly at the behest of her unborn child…

Alice Lowe as Ruth
Jo Hartley as the Midwife
Gemma Whelan as Len
Kate Dickie as Ella
Kayvan Novak as Tom
Tom Davis as DJ Dan
Dan Renton Skinner as Mr Zabek
Mike Wozniak as Josh
Tom Meeten as Zac

Screenplay by Alice Lowe
Produced by Vaughn Sivell, Jennifer Handorf & Will Kane
Cinematography by Ryan Eddleston
Edited by Matteo Bini
Music by Toydrum

Production companies:
Western Edge Pictures, Gennaker Group, Film Cymru Wales

UK release date: 10 February 2017 

50 (1)

Escaping to the countryside to spend some time alone following a tragic incident, a widow discovers the village’s unsettlingly similar menfolk are just the beginning of her torment…

Jessie Buckley as Harper Marlowe
Rory Kinnear as Geoffrey
Zak Rothera-Oxley as Samuel
Paapa Essiedu as James Marlowe
Gayle Rankin as Riley
Sarah Twomey as Frieda
Sonoya Mizuno as Police operator

Written by Alex Garland
Produced by Andrew Macdonald & Allon Reich
Cinematography by Rob Hardy
Edited by Jake Roberts
Music by Ben Salisbury & Geoff Barrow

Production company: DNA Films

UK release date: 1 June 2022


2022 / Alex Garland

'The menacing energy Rory Kinnear brings to the titular men soaks the entire runtime with an uneasiness that's familiar to anyone who's crossed the street at night to avoid a shadowy figure. The thematic reveals and the pay off at the end of the film are grotesque in the best way and the flexibility of truth throughout makes for a surprisingly reflective film..'


2012 / Ben Wheatley

50 (2)

Taking his new girlfriend, Tina, on a caravan touring holiday, aspiring writer, Chris, kicks things off with a trip to Crich Tram Museum. From there, things turn progressively bloody…

Steve Oram as Chris
Alice Lowe as Tina
Eileen Davies as Carol

Written by Alice Lowe & Steve Oram
Produced by Nira Park, Claire Jones & Andrew Starke
Cinematography by Laurie Rose
Edited by Amy Jump, Ben Wheatley & Robin Hill
Music by Jim Williams

Production companies:
StudioCanal, Big Talk Pictures, Film4 Productions, BFI Film Fund, Rook Films

UK release date: 30 November 2012 

50 (3)

An aspiring fashion designer experiences vivid dreams of Swinging Sixties London, both exciting and increasingly terrifying, that begin to bleed into her waking life…

Thomasin McKenzie as Eloise ‘Ellie’ Turner
Anya Taylor-Joy as Alexandra ‘Sandie’ Collins
Matt Smith as Jack
Diana Rigg as Ms Collins
Rita Tushingham as Peggy
Michael Ajao as John
Terence Stamp as Silver Haired Gentleman

Screenplay by Edgar Wright & Krysty Wilson-Cairns
Story by Edgar Wright
Produced by Nira Park, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner & Edgar Wright
Cinematography by Chung-hoon Chung
Edited by Paul Machliss
Music by Steven Price

Production companies:
Film4 Productions, Perfect World Pictures, Working Title Films, Complete Fiction Pictures

UK release date: 29 October 2021

Last Night in Soho

2021 / Edgar Wright

'Edgar Wright creates a stunning love letter to London’s Soho and the 60s of nightclubs and gangsters. Worth seeing for the fantastically realised nightclub mirror sequence alone, but stay for the emotional time travelling narrative, with great performances from this generation’s British acting talent, ably supported from icons from the past.'

The Quatermass Xperiment

1955 / Val Guest

50 (4)

After a crash landing, the only surviving crew member of an experimental rocket ship sent to outer space begins to exhibit a strange and dangerous physical and mental condition, leading Professor Bernard Quatermass to theorise the pilot has been inhabited by an alien life-form, endangering the entire planet…

Brian Donlevy as Prof. Bernard Quatermass
Richard Wordsworth as Victor Carroon
Jack Warner as Inspector Lomax
David King-Wood as Dr. Gordon Briscoe
Margia Dean as Mrs. Judith Carroon
Maurice Kaufmann as Marsh

Screenplay by Richard Landau & Val Guest,
based on The Quatermass Experiment by Nigel Kneale
Produced by Anthony Hinds
Cinematography by Walter J. Harvey
Edited by James Needs
Music by James Bernard

Production company: Hammer Films Productions

UK release date: 26 August 1955 

50 (5)

Lost in old catacombs and separated from the main tourist group, five strangers meet a sinister crypt keeper, who tell tells each of the fate that may befall them…

Joan Collins as Joanne Clayton
Peter Cushing as Arthur Grimsdyke
Roy Dotrice as Charles Gregory
Richard Greene as Ralph Jason
Ian Hendry as Carl Maitland
Patrick Magee as George Carter
Barbara Murray as Enid Jason
Nigel Patrick as Major William Rogers
Robin Phillips as James Elliot
Ralph Richardson as The Crypt Keeper

Screenplay by Milton Subotsky, based on Tales from the Crypt & The Vault of Horror by Al Feldstein, Johnny Craig & Bill Gaines
Produced by Milton Subotsky & Max Rosenberg
Cinematography by Norman Warwick
Edited by Teddy Darvas
Music by Douglas Gamley

Production companies:
Amicus Productions,
Metromedia Producers Corporation

UK release date: 8 March 1972

Tales from the Crypt

1972 / Freddie Francis

'I find this quite difficult to watch. It’s made it into my list because of the Peter Cushing segment 'Poetic Justice'. He’s simply heartbreaking to watch as his neighbours systematically ruin his life - I cry every time.'

The Lair of the White Worm

1988 / Ken Russell

50 (6)

While excavating a convent site, archaeologist Angus Flint discovers a strange skull he believes belongs to the mythical D’Ampton Worm. When he subsequently finds a watch belonging to a missing man, last seen near the stately home of Lady Sylvia Marsh, Angus begins to believe the legend may be true… 

Hugh Grant as Lord James D’Ampton
Amanda Donohoe as Lady Sylvia Marsh
Catherine Oxenberg as Eve Trent
Peter Capaldi as Angus Flint
Sammi Davis as Mary Trent
Stratford Johns as Peters

Screenplay by Ken Russell, based on The Lair of the White Worm by Bram Stoker
Produced by Ken Russell
Cinematography by Dick Bush
Edited by Peter Davies
Music by Stanislas Syrewicz

Production company: White Lair

UK release date: 14 September 1988

50 (7)

A wandering man enters the lives of a couple living in rural Devon and begins to unsettle their isolated existence with claims of magic learned from an Aboriginal shamen, including a shout that can kill anyone who hears it…

Alan Bates as Crossley
Susannah York as Rachel Fielding
John Hurt as Anthony Fielding
Robert Stephens as Chief Medical Officer
Tim Curry as Robert Graves

Screenplay by Jerzy Skolimowski &
Michael Austin from a story by Robert Graves
Produced by Jeremy Thomas
Cinematography by Mike Molloy
Edited by Barrie Vince
Music by Tony Banks

Production company:
Recorded Picture Company

UK release date: 16 June 1978

The Shout

1978 / Jerzy Skolimowski

'This wild ride of suffocating unease doesn't get nearly enough attention. Alan Bates is excellent as the towering, dark figure, Crossley. As soon as Crossley sinks his claws into Anthony and Rachel, there is no redemption. It's a film that sucks the hope out of you. Anthony may get moments of relief, but the viewer does not. There have been plenty of 'mysterious stranger' plots since this film's release, but this, for my money, is still the best.'

The Medusa Touch

1978 / jack Gold

50 (8)

A French detective is assigned to investigate the murder of a novelist, but having found him alive decides to reconstruct his story via journals and the help of a psychiatrist…

Richard Burton as John Morlar
Lino Ventura as Brunel
Lee Remick as Zonfeld
Harry Andrews as Assistant Commissioner

Written by John Briley, based on The Medusa Touch by Peter Van Greenaway
Produced by Anne V. Coates,
Jack Gold & Arnon Milchan
Cinematography by Arthur Ibbetson
Edited by Anne V. Coates & Ian Crafford
Music by Michael J. Lewis

Production companies:
Coatesgold, ITC Entertainment, Bulldog, Citeca Productions

UK release date: 7 April 1978

50 (9)

While screening an old horror film, a British film censor discovers similarities between the story and her memory of the disappearance of her sister. As she investigates further, more than just the mystery begin to unravel…

Niamh Algar as Enid Baines
Nicholas Burns as Sanderson
Vincent Franklin as Fraser
Sophia La Porta as Alice Lee / ‘Nina Baines’
Adrian Schiller as Frederick North
Michael Smiley as Doug Smart

Written by Prano Bailey-Bond & Anthony Fletcher
Produced by Helen Jones
Cinematography by Annika Summerson
Edited by Mark Towns
Music by Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch

Production companies:
Silver Salt Films, BFI Film Fund, Film4, Ffilm Cymru Wales

UK release date: 20 August 2021


2021 / Prano Bailey-Bond

'For a film to take on such an interesting period for horror films and use that to spin its own narrative is really interesting. The play with format as the film progresses is inspired and while I think some were disappointed this wasn't a more in-depth exploration of the video nasty era as a whole, Niamh Algar's performance is so stunning that you're instantly drawn into Enid's world.'


1972 / Roy Ward Baker

50 (10)

Doctor Martin attends a job interview at an insane asylum where he is informed that to be successful he must interview the inmates to ascertain which is Dr. Starr, the former head doctor who suffered a nervous breakdown…

Peter Cushing as Mr Smith
Britt Ekland as Lucy
Robert Powell as Dr Martin
Herbert Lom as Dr Byron
Barry Morse as Bruno
Patrick Magee as Lionel Rutherford

Written by Robert Bloch
Produced by Max Rosenberg & Milton Subotsky
Cinematography by Denys N. Coop
Edited by Peter Tanner
Music by Douglas Gamley

Production companies: Amicus Productions, Harbor Productions

UK release date: 17 November 1972

50 (11)

Baron Victor Frankenstein succeeds in creating a creature assembled from body parts, but discovers he has built not a docile, subservient creature but a violent and psychotic monster…

Peter Cushing as Baron Victor Frankenstein
Hazel Court as Elizabeth
Robert Urquhart as Paul Krempe
Christopher Lee as The Creature

Screenplay by Jimmy Sangster, based on the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Produced by Anthony Hinds
Cinematography by Jack Asher
Edited by James Needs
Music by James Bernard

Production company: Hammer Films Productions

UK release date: 20 May 1957

The Curse of Frankenstein

1957 / Terence Fisher

'It gave the world Cushing and Lee, in a glorious gothic world of Eastman colour. If you haven't looked beyond the films of Hammer, the stars appeared, not only on the screen, but built the gothic world behind it. Fisher, Robinson, Asher, Bernard, Sangster to name just some of the talent that made this icon of horror.'

The Witches

1966 / Cyril Frankel

50 (12)

While performing missionary work in Africa, Gwen Mayfield suffers a nervous breakdown following an attack by witch-doctors. On her return to England, Gwen begins teaching at a private school which leads her to investigate rumours surrounding witchcraft and cult…

Joan Fontaine as Gwen Mayfield
Kay Walsh as Stephanie Bax
Alec McCowen as Alan Bax
Ann Bell as Sally Benson
Ingrid Boulting (Brett) as Linda Rigg

Written by Nigel Kneale, based on The Devil’s Own by Norah Lofts
Produced by Anthony Nelson Keys
Cinematography by Arthur Grant
Edited by Chris Barnes & James Needs
Music by Richard Rodney Bennett

Production companies: Hammer Films Productions, Seven Arts Productions

UK release date: 21 November 1966

50 (12)

A mysterious, fortune-telling doctor predicts the deaths of five fellow passengers on a train via a pack of tarot cards…

Peter Cushing as Dr Schrek
Christopher Lee as Franklyn Marsh
Max Adrian as Dr Blake
Ann Bell as Ann Rogers
Peter Madden as Caleb
Donald Sutherland as Dr Bob Carroll
Roy Castle as Biff Bailey
Kenny Lynch as Sammy Coin

Written by Milton Subotsky
Produced by Max Rosenberg & Milton Subotsky
Cinematography by Alan Hume
Edited by Thelma Connell
Music by Elisabeth Lutyens

Production company: Amicus Productions

UK release date: 23 February 1965

Dr Terror's House of Horrors

1965 / Freddie Francis

'Show me another horror film with Roy Castle and Kenny Lynch. You can't. An undeniable classic with a cast to die for.'


1972 / Alfred Hitchcock

50 (13)

There’s a serial killer on the loose in London. So, when ex-Royal Air Force officer Richard Blaney discovers his ex-wife murdered he immediately becomes a suspect. Taking refuge with his best friend, Bob Rusk, Blaney starts to suspect Rusk may be the killer. Or is he?

Jon Finch as Richard Ian ‘Dick’ Blaney
Alec McCowen as Chief Inspector Timothy Oxford
Barry Foster as Robert ‘Bob’ Rusk
Billie Whitelaw as Hetty Porter
Anna Massey as Barbara Jane ‘Babs’ Milligan
Barbara Leigh-Hunt as Brenda Margaret Blaney

Written by Anthony Shaffer, based on Goodbye Piccadilly, Farewell Leicester Square by Arthur La Bern
Produced by Alfred Hitchcock
Cinematography by Gilbert Taylor &
Leonard J. South
Edited by John Jympson
Music by Ron Goodwin

Production company: Alfred J. Hitchcock Productions

UK release date: 25 May 1972

50 (19)

A mysterious plague epidemic is wiping out the inhabitants of a Cornish village. A medical professor and his daughter discover a link between the spate of deaths and the village squire’s interest in voodoo…

André Morell as Sir James Forbes
Diane Clare as Sylvia Forbes
Brook Williams as Dr Peter Tompson
Jacqueline Pearce as Alice Mary Tompson
John Carson as Squire Clive Hamilton
Alexander Davion as Denver (as Alex Davion)
Michael Ripper as Sergeant Jack Swift

Written by Peter Bryan
Produced by Anthony Nelson Keys
Cinematography by Arthur Grant
Edited by Chris Barnes
Music by James Bernard

Production company: Hammer Films Productions, Seven Arts

UK release date: 3 January 1966

The Plague of the Zombies

1966 / John Gilling

'Zombies as a class war in the Cornish countryside. The resurrection sequence. Relatively underwatched classic'

The Devils

1971 / Ken Russell

'Ken Russell’s look at how the church and the state fuse together to pervert the faith that they claim to serve to hold power over people. The stark blacks, whites and greys of Derick Jarman’s sets only make the colours and naked flesh stand out more in the lead up to the tragic climax.'

50 (19)

In 17th-century France, an unorthodox and popular priest, Urbain Grandier, is given control of the town of Loudon. However, Sister Jeanne des Anges’ unrequieted sexual obsession with the priest leads to an accusation of witchcraft and devil-dealing. A professional witch hunter is called to Loudon to extract the truth…

Oliver Reed as Father Urbain Grandier
Vanessa Redgrave as Sister Jeanne des Anges
Dudley Sutton as the Baron de Laubardemont
Max Adrian as Ibert
Gemma Jones as Madeleine de Brou
Murray Melvin as Father-Canon Jean Mignon
Michael Gothard as Father Pierre Barre

Screenplay by Ken Russell, based on The Devils by John Whiting & The Devils of Loudun
by Aldous Huxley
Produced by Robert H. Solo & Ken Russell
Cinematography by David Watkin
Edited by Michael Bradsell
Music by Peter Maxwell Davies

Production company: Russo Productions

UK release date: 25 July 1971

50 (15)

A British sound engineer arrives in Rome to work on an Italian giallo film, but finds the work ushering in  decent into madness…

Toby Jones as Gilderoy
Tonia Sotiropoulou as Elena
Susanna Cappellaro as Veronica
Cosimo Fusco as Francesco

Written by Peter Strickland & Kephas Leroc
Produced by Mary Burke & Keith Griffiths
Cinematography by Nicholas D. Knowland
Edited by Chris Dickens
Music by Broadcast

Production company: UK Film Council, Film4, Warp X, Screen Yorkshire

UK release date: 31 August 2012

Berberian Sound Studio

2012 / Peter Strickland

The Legend of Hell House

1973 / John Hough

'The Mount Everest of Haunted Houses. You have to include one proper ghost story in a British horror film list so was between The Legend of Hell House, The Innocents or The Haunting. I opted for this as it’s probably the lesser appreciated of the three and I love an underdog. Great unsettling camera work and eerie electronic score create a superb atmosphere aided by a strong ensemble cast.'

50 (18)

Belasco House is supposedly haunted by the murdered victims of a previous owner. So, when sceptical scientist Lionel Barrett takes a team, including a spiritualist and psychic medium, to ascertain the existence of the supernatural, they discover whether things really do go bump in the night…

Pamela Franklin as Florence Tanner
Roddy McDowall as Benjamin Franklin Fischer
Clive Revill as Dr Lionel Barrett
Gayle Hunnicutt an Ann Barrett
Roland Culver as Rudolph Deutsch
Peter Bowles as Hanley
Michael Gough as Emeric Belasco

Written by Richard Matheson, based on Hell House by Richard Matheson
Produced by Albert Fennell & Norman T. Herman
Cinematography by Alan Hume
Edited by Geoffrey Foot
Music by Delia Derbyshire & Brian Hodgson

Production company: Academy Pictures Corporation

UK release date: June 1973

50 (20)

During a COVID-related lockdown, six friends alleviate the boredom with a Zoom séance that inadvertently spawns a demonic presence…

Haley Bishop as Haley
Jemma Moore as Jemma
Emma Louise Webb as Emma
Radina Drandova as Radina
Caroline Ward as Caroline
Edward Linard as Teddy
Seylan Baxter as Seylan
Jinny Lofthouse as Jinny
Alan Emrys as Alan
Patrick Ward as Caroline’s Dad
James Swanton as Jack

Written by Gemma Hurley, Rob Savage, Jed Shepherd
Produced by Douglas Cox, Craig Engler, Emily Gotto, Samuel Zimmerman
Edited by Brenna Rangott

Production companies: Shadowhouse Films, BOO-URNS

UK release date: 30 July 2020


2020 / Rob Savage

'The best thing to come out of the covid pandemic. The last thing I wanted to do during lockdown was watch a film set during lockdown, made entirely from a Zoom POV. How wrong I was! Great writing, ruthlessly efficient storytelling, and really fucking scary.'

'Brilliantly shot, a super effective use of ultra low budget techniques, and less is more. A strong cast allowed to play, and one of the more effective and naturalistic uses of the streaming screen conceit as a framing technique.'

the brides of dracula

1960 / Terence fisher

50 (21)

A schoolteacher, en-route to take up a position in Transylvania, accidentally releases the vampiric Baron Meister and becomes the object of his dubious affection…

Peter Cushing as Doctor Van Helsing
Martita Hunt as Baroness Meinster
Freda Jackson as Greta
Yvonne Monlaur as Marianne

Screenplay by Jimmy Sangster, Peter Bryan & Edward Percy
Produced by Anthony Hinds
Cinematography by Jack Asher
Edited by Alfred Cox
Music by Malcolm Williamson

Production company: Hammer Film Production

UK release date: 7 July 1960

50 (22)

Three men, sent by the Vatican to investigate paranormal disturbances at a 13th century church, become increasingly unsettled by their experiences…

Gordon Kennedy as Brother Deacon
Aidan McArdle as Father Mark Amidon
Robin Hill as Gray Parker
Luke Neal as Father Crellick
Patrick Godfrey as Father Calvino

Written by Elliot Goldner
Produced by Jennifer Handorf & Jezz Vernon
Cinematography by Eben Bolter
Edited by Will Gilbey, Jacob Proctor & Mark Towns

Production company: Metrodome Distribution

UK release date: 24 August 2013

The Borderlands

2013 / Elliot Goldner

'Some people don't rate found footage but I've got two in my top ten. Not only is The Borderlands one of the best British horror films, it's one of the best examples of found footage that you'll have the pleasure of watching.'


1965 / Roman Polanski

This film is a tour de force, Polanski's most relentlessly, brilliantly, cinematic feature, playing like an expressionist silent film for much of its duration, conjuring an intensifying mood of horror that makes Psycho, by comparison, feel a bit stop-start, a bit of a patchwork of moods and tones that don't quite fit together. This film, by comparison, is as relentlessly perfect in its tone as the deepest nightmare.

We're all safe in our own homes, right? Roman Polanski proved that horror didn't have to be in Gothic castles far away, it could be closer than any of us wanted to think. The power of Repulsion is that Carol could be my neighbour, your neighbour, or even ourselves. Deeply unsettling, yet we can never quite bring ourselves to look away.

'Catherine Deneuve's performance is sublime. The entropy of the apartment and Carol's sanity is magnificently realised.'

50 (23)

When a withdrawn young women is left alone in a London flat she shares with her sister, she begins to experience harrowing hallucinations…

Catherine Deneuve as Carol Ledoux
Ian Hendry as Michael
John Fraser as Colin
Yvonne Furneaux as Helen Ledoux
Patrick Wymark as landlord

Screenplay by Roman Polanski, Gérard Brach & David Stone
Story by Roman Polanski & Gérard Brach
Produced by Gene Gutowski
Cinematography by Gilbert Taylor
Edited by Alastair McIntyre
Music by Chico Hamilton

Production companies: Compton Films, Tekli British Productions

UK release date: 10 June 1965

50 (23)

A grieving mother employs an occultist to help summon her guardian angel, whom she wishes to ask to speak with her dead seven-year-old son….

Steve Oram as Joseph Solomon
Catherine Walker as Sophia Howard
Mark Huberman as Neil Hughes
Susan Loughnane as Victoria Howard
Nathan Vos as Jack

Written by Liam Gavin
Produced by David Collins, Tim Dennison & Cormac Fox
Cinematography by Cathal Watters
Edited by Anna Maria O’Flanagan
Music by Ray Harman

Production companies: Samson Films, Tall Man Films

UK release date: 7 April 2017

A Dark Song

2016 / Liam Gavin

'A totally unique film that feels like it could only have been made on these islands. It somehow manages to be an entertaining ordeal that wraps its grubby little hands around the soul and retains its grip long after the film has ended.'

'A masterful two-hander that avoids easy jump scares and opts for a slow, thoughtful examination of how hope can overcome the human desire for revenge.'

The Ritual

2017 / David Bruckner

'Masculinity, shame, and friendship sit at the centre of what could have been another cabin in the woods standard. Great performances and the unusual anchoring of the narrative around grief pay off for the arc of the central character and his eventual choices.'

50 (24)

Following a tragic death, four friends take a hiking trip to a Swedish forest, where an ancient evil awaits…

Rafe Spall as Luke
Arsher Ali as Phil
Robert James-Collier as Hutch
Sam Troughton as Dom

Screenplay by Joe Barton, based on The Ritual by Adam Nevill
Produced by Jonathan Cavendish & Richard Holmes
Cinematography by Andrew Shulkind
Edited by Mark Towns
Music by Ben Lovett

Production company: The Imaginarium

UK release date: 13 October 2017

50 (25)

Four customers procure items from an antique shop, Temptations Limited, by dubious means and discover a terrible fate…

Peter Cushing as The Proprietor
Donald Pleasence as Jim Underwood
Angela Pleasence as Emily Underwood
Ian Bannen as Christopher Lowe
Diana Dors as Mabel Lowe
David Warner as Edward Charlton

Written by Raymond Christodoulou & Robin Clarke
Produced by Max Rosenberg & Milton Subotsky
Cinematography by Alan Hume
Edited by John Ireland
Music by Douglas Gamley

Production company: Amicus Productions

UK release date: 23 February 1974

From Beyond the Grave

1974 / Kevin Connor

'Perhaps the best of Amicus’s portmanteau films, with not a duff tale in this collection (the usual fault with these films is having one filler). Peter Cushing is in fine form, as usual, in the linking narrative; David Warner stars in a great possession tale (which is surprisingly bloody and violent for Amicus); Donald Pleasance gives a fantastic creepy performance together with his daughter; Ian Carmichael and Margaret Leighton are genuinely funny in their story, and finally you have a heroic Ian Ogilvy in a nightmarish tale.'

Village of the Damned

1960 / Wolf Rilla

50 (27)

When the inhabitants of Midwich awaken after mysteriously falling asleep, it quickly becomes apparent that all the women of childbearing age are pregnant. Several month later, the babies are born, but their striking appearance is not the only thing unusual…

George Sanders as Gordon Zellaby
Barbara Shelley as Anthea Zellaby
Martin Stephens as David Zellaby
Michael Gwynn as Alan Bernard

Screenplay by Stirling Silliphant, Wolf Rilla & Ronald Kinnoch, based on The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham
Produced by Ronald Kinnoch
Cinematography by Geoffrey Faithfull
Edited by Gordon Hales
Music by Ron Goodwin

Production company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

UK release date: 16 June 1960

50 (27)

After their first child is stillborn, the Thorns adopt a child, Damien. As their world begins to unravel, it becomes increasingly clear that Damien may be the Antichrist…

Gregory Peck as Robert Thorn
Lee Remick as Katherine Thorn
David Warner as Jennings
Billie Whitelaw as Mrs Baylock
Patrick Troughton as Father Brennan

Written by David Seltzer
Produced by Harvey Bernhard
Cinematography by Gilbert Taylor
Edited by Stuart Baird
Music by Jerry Goldsmith

Production company: Mace Neufeld Productions

UK release date: 6 June 1976

The Omen

1976 / Richard Donner

'I remember this one so well from watching is as a kid on tape. There's such camp, uncanny melodrama here - with the apocalypse taking place amongst London Zoo and a damp looking country house - that it's a perverse joy to watch. The juxtaposition of lurid violence and overblown nonsense, delivered with absolute conviction, works for me. Plus Patrick Troughton and David Warner!'

The Company of Wolves

1984 /Neil Jordan

'A superb adaptation of Angela Carter’s reworked folk and fairy tales. Stunning production design by the late Anton Furst help to realise Jordan’s dreamlike vision, which layers narratives on top of narratives and dreams within dreams to create a haunting timeless tale of womanhood.'

50 (27)

A young girl, Rosaleen, dreams that she lives in a fairytale forest with her parents and sister. When her sister is killed by wolves, Rosaleen heads to stay with her grandmother who offers her a warning never to trust a man whose eyebrows meet…

Sarah Patterson as Rosaleen
Angela Lansbury as Granny
David Warner as Father
Tusse Silberg as Mother
Micha Bergese as Huntsman
Brian Glover as Amorous Boy’s father
Stephen Rea as Young Groom

Written by Angela Carter & Neil Jordan, based on The Company of Wolves by Angela Carter
Produced by Chris Brown & Stephen Woolley
Cinematography by Gilbert Taylor
Edited by Stuart Baird
Music by Jerry Goldsmith
Cinematography by Bryan Loftus
Edited by Rodney Holland
Music by George Fenton

Production companies: Palace Pictures, ITC Entertainment

UK release date:21 September 1984

50 (28)

Organist Anton Phibes, horribly disfigured in a car accident while trying to reach his sick wife, learns of her death on the operating table and vows revenge against the surgeons he deems responsible…

Vincent Price as Dr Anton Phibes
Joseph Cotten as Dr Vesalius
Peter Jeffrey as Inspector Harry Trout
Virginia North as Vulnavia
Hugh Griffith as Rabbi
Terry-Thomas as Dr Longstreet
Caroline Munro as Victoria Regina Phibes

Written by William Goldstein, James Whiton & Robert Fuest
Produced by Ronald S. Dunas & Louis M. Heyward
Cinematography by Norman Warwick
Edited by Tristam Cones
Music by Basil Kirchin

Production company: American International Pictures

UK release date: April 1971

The Abominable Dr Phibes

1971 / Robert Fuest

'Not quite Theatre of Blood with jazz but it's a joy throughout.'

A Field in England

2013 / Ben Wheatley

50 (29)

During the English Civil War, a group of deserters fleeing a battle are captured by an alchemist who forces them to dig for buried treasure…

Reece Shearsmith as Whitehead
Michael Smiley as O’Neill
Peter Ferdinando as Jacob
Richard Glover as Friend
Ryan Pope as Cutler
Julian Barratt as Commander Trower

Written by Amy Jump
Produced by Claire Jones & Andrew Starke
Cinematography by Laurie Rose
Edited by Amy Jump & Ben Wheatley
Music by Jim Williams

Production companies: Film4, Rook Films

UK release date: 5 July 2013

50 (30)

A terminal cancer patient is placed in the care of a young nurse whose religious devotion heralds an obsessive quest to save the patient’s soul…

Morfydd Clark as Katie/Maud
Jennifer Ehle as Amanda Köhl
Lily Knight as Joy
Lily Frazer as Carol
Turlough Convery as Christian
Rosie Sansom as Ester

Written by Rose Glass
Produced by Andrea Cornwell & Oliver Kassman
Cinematography by Ben Fordesman
Edited by Mark Towns
Music by Adam Janota Bzowski

Production companies: Film4, British Film Institute, Escape Plan Productions

UK release date: 9 October 2020

Saint Maud

2019 / Rose Glass

'A slow burn, small and oh so contained story of fervour, punishment, and psychosis. The building tension and unreliable truth at the core of the narrative pay off with a genuinely shocking ending.'

'As a feature debut this is so impressive, marrying religious fervour and mental illness in a way that feels queasy all the way through, evoking the often uncanny nature of the British seaside.'

'Morfydd Clark is incredible here. Simultaneously evoking the quiet, optimistic naivety of the novice and the cold intensity of the zealot.'


1979 / Ridley Scott

'Yes, it is horror - the haunted house just happens to be in space. Iconic - Not a wasted shot or line of dialogue. Incredible design and sound.'

50 (31)

The crew of the commercial starship Nostromo are awakened from their cryo-sleep capsules to answer a distress call from an alien vessel…

Tom Skerritt as Dallas
Sigourney Weaver as Ripley
Veronica Cartwright as Lambert
Harry Dean Stanton as Brett
John Hurt as Kane
Ian Holm as Ash
Yaphet Kotto as Parker

Screenplay by Dan O’Bannon
Story by Dan O’Bannon & Ronald Shusett
Produced by Gordon Carroll, David Giler & Walter Hill
Cinematography by Derek Vanlint
Edited by Terry Rawlings & Peter Weatherley
Music by Jerry Goldsmith

Production companies: 20th Century Fox, Brandywine Productions

UK release date: 6 September 1979

50 (32)

A police inspector discovers that descendants of survivors of a cave-in in the early 1900s are eating London underground passengers…

Donald Pleasence as Inspector Calhoun
Norman Rossington as Detective Sergeant Rogers
David Ladd as Alex Campbell
Sharon Gurney as Patricia Wilson
Hugh Armstrong as The Man
Christopher Lee as Stratton-Villiers, MI5

Screenplay by Ceri Jones
Story by Gary Sherman
Produced by Paul Maslansky
Cinematography by Alex Thomson
Edited by Geoffrey Foot
Music by Wil Malone

Production company: Habor Ventures

UK release date: 17 November 1972

Death Line

1972 / Gary Sherman

'A brilliantly sleazy, dirty exploration of our cynical modern world and the exploitation it's built on. The cannibals may technically be the bad guys but it's hard not to feel pity for them.'

'Death Line is powerful, funny and very sad. The 'monsters' here are nothing of the sort, just lost and lonely. The villain, briefly and exquisitely embodied in Christopher Lee, is the Establishment and its attitude towards the lives of the working class, foreigners and anybody without the right tie.'

Under The Skin

2013 / Jonathan Glazer

'Sparse but spot-on dialogue. The beach scene is almost too much to be honest. Horrific.'

50 (33)

An extra-terrestrial disguised as a human woman, lures men into a dilapidated house where they follow her into a void and disappear…

Scarlett Johansson as the Female
Jeremy McWilliams as The Bad Man

Screenplay by Walter Campbell & Jonathan Glazer, based on Under the Skin by Michel Faber
Produced by James Wilson & Nick Wechsler
Cinematography by Daniel Landin
Edited by Paul Watts
Music by Mica Levi

Production companies: BFI, Film4, Silver Reel, Creative Scotland, JW Films, FilmNation Entertainment

UK release date: 23 July 2014

50 (34)

During the English Civil War, the opportunist witch hunter Matthew Hopkins terrorises East Anglia, extracting confessions of witchcraft by any means necessary…

Vincent Price as Matthew Hopkins
Ian Ogilvy as Cornet Richard Marshall
Hilary Dwyer as Sara Lowes
Rupert Davies as John Lowes
Robert Russell as John Stearne
Patrick Wymark as Oliver Cromwell

Screenplay by Tom Baker & Michael Reeves, based on Witchfinder General by Ronald Bassett
Produced by Louis M. Heyward, Philip Waddilove & Arnold Miller
Cinematography by John Coquillon
Edited by Howard Lanning
Music by Paul Ferris

Production company: Tigon British Film Productions

UK release date: 19 May 1968

Witchfinder General

1968 / Michael Reeves

The Haunting

1963 / Robert Wise

'The Haunting's greatest achievement is the way it captures the maddening architecture of Hill House. As a growing acolyte to the appreciation of spaces in horror films, The Haunting has been a bedrock of my understanding of how to effectively use sets and production to generate atmosphere.'

'Finest haunted house picture ever, and that's a feat. The film is so ambiguous it almost fools itself into believing it's all in the mind and psychological and that ghosts don't exist. Now that may or not be so. But by its end, one ghost exists in Hill House. And it walks there alone.'

50 (35)

An anthropologist invites takes two specially selected women to Hill House, a reportedly haunted mansion, where one becomes increasingly unstable…

Kevin Julie Harris as Eleanor ‘Nell’ Lance
Claire Bloom as Theodora ‘Theo’
Richard Johnson as Dr John Markway
Russ Tamblyn as Luke Sanderson
Fay Compton as Mrs Sanderson
Rosalie Crutchley as Mrs Dudley
Lois Maxwell as Grace Markway
Valentine Dyall as Mr Dudley

Screenplay by Nelson Gidding, based on The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Produced by Robert Wise
Cinematography by Davis Boulton
Edited by Ernest Walter
Music by Humphrey Searle

Production company: Argyle Enterprises

UK release date: 9 January 1964

50 (36)

While on a routine exercise in the Scottish Highlands, a squad of soldiers are drawn into a fight for the lives against a family of werewolves…

Sean Pertwee as Sergeant Harry G. Wells
Kevin McKidd as Private Lawrence Cooper
Emma Cleasby as Megan
Liam Cunningham as Captain Richard Ryan
Darren Morfitt as Private Phil ‘Spoon’ Witherspoon
Chris Robson as Private Joe Kirkley
Leslie Simpson as Private Terry Milburn
Thomas Lockyer as Corporal Bruce Campbell

Written by Neil Marshall
Produced by Christopher Figg, Tom Reeve & David E. Allen
Cinematography by Sam McCurdy
Edited by Neil Marshall
Music by Mark Thomas

Production companies: Kismet Entertainment Group, The Noel Gay Motion Picture Company, Victor Film Company, Carousel Picture Company

UK release date: 10 May 2002

Dog Soldiers

2002 / Neil Marshall

What makes Dog Soldiers really special is how unashamedly British it is. The manner in which the squad tease and torment each other is classic British man friendship. Their realistic dynamic is vital to the piece. If the audience doesn’t buy them as a team, they can’t invest in the drama that comes later. Marshall takes his time getting to the really fun stuff. The bulk of the first hour of the film is spent with the men. There’s the occasional flurry of action and violence, but much of this first half is character and mood building. When Marshall does let loose, he throws everything he can at the screen and the result is thrilling to experience.

'Neil Marshall's bloody and ballsy horror comedy is a delightful riot of a thing, unrelentingly violent and hilarious. It's endlessly quotable, full of giddy scares and full of loveable characters. The werewolves are great too.'

Quatermass and the Pit

1967 / Roy Ward Baker

'A film with everything from aliens to demonic possession and folklore. All of British horror rolled up into a single delicious film.'

'This is the pinnacle of British horror for me - an intelligent, nuanced, and frightening reflection on humanity's capacity for violence and savagery. The fact that the supposed villains of the piece - the Martians - are nothing more than desiccated and long dead bodies, and yet their influence remains so powerful, is brilliant.'

'My favourite Hammer which feels more ‘grown up’ than the usual camp Gothic horrors from the studio. Andrew Kier is in fine form as the driven but moralistic Professor. Love the folk horror elements and the post war London where the shadow of World War II still lingers.'

50 (37)

Prehistoric skeletons are discovered alongside an unexploded bomb during an expansion of the London Underground. When a further skull is found inside the bomb, Professor Bernard Quatermass suspects it to be a craft of alien origin…

James Donald as Doctor Roney
Andrew Keir as Professor Bernard Quatermass
Barbara Shelley as Barbara Judd
Julian Glover as Colonel Breen
Edwin Richfield as the Minister

Written by Nigel Kneale, based on Quatermass and the Pit by Nigel Kneale
Produced by Anthony Nelson Keys
Cinematography by Arthur Grant
Edited by Spencer Reeve
Music by Tristram Cary

Production companies: Seven Arts Productions & Hammer Film Productions

UK release date: 9 November 1967

50 (38)

Mark Lewis, a film crew member and part-time photographer of sordid images, has designs on becoming a filmmaker himself, with a burgeoning collection of home recording capturing fear at the point of death…

Karlheinz ‘Carl’ Boehm as Mark Lewis
Anna Massey as Helen Stephens
Moira Shearer as Vivian
Maxine Audley as Mrs Stephens
Brenda Bruce as Dora

Written by Leo Marks
Produced by Michael Powell
Cinematography by Otto Heller
Edited by Noreen Ackland
Music by Brian Easdale

Production company: Michael Powell (Theatre)

UK release date: 7 April 1960

Peeping Tom

1960 / Michael Powell

'Notoriety has both plagued and served the myth of this film. But view it for what it is. A fable and a Bluebeard story set in film and about film, almost as an in-joke about the obsession of the filmmaker and the audience alike. The punchline is as cutting as it is bitter.'

'Not every film can claim to have birthed a genre, but Peeping Tom's positioning of the viewer behind the camera, placing the victim in their eye-line as well as identifying with the killer was a radical move. The film's switches between more conventional old-style set shooting and the first person camera still feel fresh today.'

'The proto slasher that ended Michael Powell's career deserves every ounce of the reappraisal it's earned since its release. Not only is Mark Lewis a terrifying villain, but he prowls within a masterpiece of filmmaking. You would be hard pressed to find a more fitting and well-executed combination of story and meaning in all of cinema, before or since.'

Shaun of the Dead

2004 / Edgar Wright

Another horror comedy, and one that gets everything right. It follows the established beats, but still manages to feel surprising. The cast is wonderful, calling on some of the best of British comedy and drama performers of the time, and the passionate direction shows that this comes from a place of real love. Obviously double bill with Hot Fuzz.

No explanation necessary, is there? The film is so at the top of its game that it launched a new wave of British talent both in front and behind the camera; a wave that the UK is still riding high today. We all owe this film a lot, plus it helps that it is fantastic too!

50 (39)

Listless thirty-something Shaun realises he has to rise to the occasion to save himself, his mum, and his friends after a zombie outbreak…

Simon Pegg as Shaun
Nick Frost as Ed
Kate Ashfield as Liz
Lucy Davis as Dianne
Dylan Moran as David
Penelope Wilton as Barbara
Bill Nighy as Philip

Written by Simon Pegg & Edgar Wright
Produced by Nira Park
Cinematography by David M. Dunlap
Edited by Chris Dickens
Music by Pete Woodhead & Daniel Mudford

Production companies: Studio Canal, WT² Productions, Big Talk Productions

UK release date: 9 April 2004

50 (40)

The Duke De Richleau battles a devil-worshipping cult led by the sinister Mocatu in Hammer’s adaptation of Dennis Wheatley’s 1934 novel…

Christopher Lee as Nicholas, Duc de Richleau
Charles Gray as Mocata
Niké Arrighi as Tanith Carlisle
Leon Greene as Rex Van Ryn (dubbed by Patrick Allen)
Patrick Mower as Simon Aron
Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies as Countess d’Urfe
Sarah Lawson as Marie Eaton
Paul Eddington as Richard Eaton

Screenplay by Richard Matheson, based on The Devil Rides Out by Dennis Wheatley
Produced by Anthony Nelson Keys
Cinematography by Arthur Grant
Edited by Spencer Reeve
Music by James Bernard

Production companies: Hammer Film Productions, Seven Arts Productions

UK release date: 20 July 1968

The Devil Rides Out

1968 / Terence Fisher

'It seems to be a picture where absolutely everything came together to create a unique, frightening motion picture, leading to the 'satanic panic' trend through the 1970s. Hammer at the top of its game.'

'For the sheer power and intensity of the battle of good vs evil, light vs dark, almost no film has bettered this. The absolute magnetism of Christopher Lee and Charles Gray drive a film that delivers as an occult thriller as much as horror.'

Theatre of Blood

1973 / Douglas Hickox

Price’s customary eye-rolling technique works a treat here, and there are great post-Avengers roles for both Ian Hendry and Diana Rigg, while the supporting cast is a who’s who of wondrous British character actors.

An absolute hoot and totally understandable that Vincent Price regarded it as his favourite film. This is a brilliantly pitched OTT horror-comedy that manages to be camp, revolting, and tragic simultaneously.

Shakespeare was, in many ways, a terrific horror writer - and this sardonic masterwork gives ample proof. A revenge tragedy with tongue lodged firmly in its cheek, it has unexpected pathos and sympathy (for its ham actor protagonist and his kin, but also, in a pitiful sense, for their victims, all played by so fine a troupe of actors it's almost an embarrassment) and it finally gives Vincent Price the stage he always richly deserved. His performance (all the Shakespeare villains in 90 minutes) makes "tour de force" sound like mild praise.

50 (41)

Humiliated by critics, thespian Edward Lionheart plots a Shakespearian demise for each for failing to acclaim his genius…

Vincent Price as Edward Lionheart
Diana Rigg as Edwina Lionheart
Ian Hendry as Peregrine Devlin
Harry Andrews as Trevor Dickman
Robert Coote as Oliver Larding
Michael Hordern as George Maxwell
Robert Morley as Meredith Merridew

Written by Anthony Greville-Bell,
Stanley Mann & John Kohn
Produced by Gustave Berne, Sam Jaffe, John Kohn & Stanley Mann
Cinematography by Wolfgang Suschitzky
Edited by Malcolm Cooke
Music by Michael J. Lewis

Production companies: Harbour Productions Limited, Cineman Productions

UK release date: 7 June 1973

50 (42)

Following a tragic accident a year earlier, six friends meet for a potholing adventure but soon discover they are not alone in the dark…

Shauna Macdonald as Sarah Carter
Natalie Mendoza as Juno Kaplan
MyAnna Buring as Samantha ‘Sam’ Vernet
Saskia Mulder as Rebecca Vernet
Alex Reid as Elizabeth ‘Beth’ O’Brien
Nora-Jane Noone as Holly Mills
Oliver Milburn as Paul Carter
Molly Kayll as Jessica Carter

Written by Neil Marshall
Produced by Christian Colson
Cinematography by Sam McCurdy
Edited by Jon Harris
Music by David Julyan

Production companies: Celador Films, Northmen Productions

UK release date: 8 July 2005

The Descent

2005 / Neil Marshall

'Survivors guilt, the fierceness of motherhood, and the portrayal of women as more than soft and vulnerable creatures to be chased make for a claustrophobic and cathartic creature feature. The ending is everything.'

'The Descent is a white-knuckle scare ride from open to close. A cautionary tale as to why thrill sports such as caving should not be participated in, complete with a plethora of heart-stopping jump scares.'

28 Days Later

2002 / Danny Boyle

'A brutal and brilliant resurrection of the zombie genre, Danny Boyle and Alex Garland crafted a shocker which has retained its power over 20 years on and in the face of numerous ripoffs.'

'Danny Boyle took the shambling zombie movie and injected pace, making a fantastic combination. Cillian Murphy is great as Jim, coming to in a world of killers. The fast paced editing works well with the chaotic chase and fight scenes within the movie.'

50 (43)

Waking from a coma, Jim discovers a London devoid of life. However, following a violent encounter, he discovers that much of the population have been infected with a ‘rage’ virus and so begins the fight to stay alive…

Cillian Murphy as Jim
Naomie Harris as Selena
Brendan Gleeson as Frank
Megan Burns as Hannah
Christopher Eccleston as Major Henry West
Noah Huntley as Mark

Written by Alex Garland
Produced by Andrew Macdonald
Cinematography by Anthony Dod Mantle
Edited by Chris Gill
Music by John Murphy

Production companies: DNA Films & UK Film Council

UK release date: 1 November 2002

50 (44)

The Blood on Satan's Claw

1971 / Piers Haggard

Still authentically weird and disturbing in a way that few horror films manage to be. There's a streak of perverse eroticism running through the core of it - embodied by Linda Hayden in her outstanding performance as the corrupted and sadistic teen Angel Blake - that runs counter to the usual trend towards buttoned-up stuffiness that is endemic in British horror (especially in comparison to its European counterparts) and helps to make this one stand out all the more.'

'For all its controversies and looseness of plotting this is, for me, the very best of British folk horror fare. The queasy musical score - which is one of the very best in the whole horror genre - the slightly delirious meandering of the narrative, the particular intensity of the performances, the deceptive beauty of the landscape, all of these combine into something mesmerising.'

Patrick Wymark as The Judge
Linda Hayden as Angel Blake
Barry Andrews as Ralph Gower
Michele Dotrice as Margaret
Wendy Padbury as Cathy Vespers
Anthony Ainley as Reverend Fallowfield
Charlotte Mitchell as Ellen

Written by Robert Wynne-Simmons & Piers Haggard
Produced by Malcolm B. Heyworth & Peter L. Andrews
Cinematography by Dick Bush
Edited by Richard Best
Music by Marc Wilkinson

Production companies: Tigon British Film Productions, Chilton Film and Television Enterprises

UK release date: 16 July 1971

50 (46)


1987 / Clive Barker

'Whilst Pinhead and the Cenobites may have been who initial audiences clung to and feared, it is actually Julia who turns the blood cold. She’s the ultimate wicked step-mother, and one of the few horror antagonists that are female. The cruel and oddly calm nature of the Cenobites was at odds with other horror monsters of the time, Pinhead almost a civilised gentleman when compare to Freddy, Jason and Michael.'

'I remember being in awe, not just at what an imaginative enough film team *could* do, but what they were *willing* to do to bring their visions to the screen. The first time I saw the film, it was on a crackly VHS tape with fuzzy interference and tracking lines and I can't help but think it made the experience that much more visceral. Clive Barker's work is brutal, it's vicious, and it shows an originality that few have even come close to achieving.'

Clare Higgins as Julia Cotton
Ashley Laurence as Kirsty Cotton
Andrew Robinson as Larry Cotton
Sean Chapman as Frank Cotton
Robert Hines as Steve
Doug Bradley as Lead Cenobite
Nicholas Vince as Chattering Cenobite
Simon Bamford as Butterball Cenobite
Grace Kirby as Female Cenobite

Screenplay by Clive Barker, based on The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker
Produced by Christopher Figg
Cinematography by Robin Vidgeon
Edited by Richard Marden & Tony Randel
Music by Christopher Young

Production company: Film Futures

UK release date: 10 September 1987

50 (47)

An American Werewolf in London

1981 / John Landis

'A film that in lesser hands, would have been a straight horror, but Landis' masterful writing and direction makes our experience utterly frightening and wickedly funny in equal measure. Would have been higher on my list but I always felt the ending was too abrupt.'

David Naughton as David Kessler
Jenny Agutter as Nurse Alex Price
Griffin Dunne as Jack Goodman
John Woodvine as Dr. J. S. Hirsch
Don McKillop as Inspector Villiers
Frank Oz as Mr Collins

Written by John Landis
Produced by George Folsey Jr.
Cinematography by Robert Paynter
Edited by Malcolm Campbell
Music by Elmer Bernstein

Production companies: PolyGram Pictures, The Guber-Peters Company

UK release date: 21 August 1981

50 (48)


1958 / Terence Fisher

'An absolute classic. The best depiction of the Count ever put to screen.'

'A bit of an obvious choice, but this is where my love of horror began, so it’s a must. Still Pete n Chris’s best movie together, and that last scene remains as exciting as anything Hammer ever produced.'

The Curse of Frankenstein and too many worthy Hammer horrors to mention here aside, this is the one where the Hammer formula is perfected. Gothic, sex, sets, music, and Peter Cushing fighting Christopher Lee to the death in the best vampire demise ever to burn through the silver screen. What's not to love?

Perhaps the best confrontation between the two heavyweights of British horror, Lee and Cushing. The explosive, action-packed and dynamic conclusion to this highly economic retelling of Stoker’s classic vampire story, surely cemented Hammer as the masters of the horror film in the late 50s and 60s. It’s easy to forget how modern, lurid and shocking these films were when first shown in cinemas of the period.

Peter Cushing as Doctor Van Helsing
Christopher Lee as Count Dracula
Michael Gough as Arthur Holmwood
Melissa Stribling as Mina Holmwood
Carol Marsh as Lucy Holmwood
John Van Eyssen as Jonathan Harker

Screenplay by Jimmy Sangster, based on Dracula by Bram Stoker
Produced by Anthony Hinds
Cinematography by Jack Asher
Edited by Bill Lenny
Music by James Bernard

Production company: Hammer Film Productions

UK release date: 21 May 1958

50 (49)

Kill List

2011 / Ben Wheatley

While I think one of the more 'classic' British horror films will probably take this, Kill List is the best example of a modern British horror film. Clearly indebted to a British horror history while also capturing an underlying rage at a cultural, social and political scene - this is rattling, fittingly brutal stuff.

'As a general rule, I'm a big Ben Wheatley fan, but Kill List is certainly his best. Drawing on British folk horror traditions, Wheatley crafts a mystery that feels like a procedural, uncovering small but minor disturbances or a sense of wrongness, until the curtain is yanked back for the climax, letting all that came before it to click into place.'

Neil Maskell as Jay
Michael Smiley as Gal
MyAnna Buring as Shel
Emma Fryer as Fiona
Harry Simpson as Sam
Struan Rodger as The Client
Ben Crompton as Justin

Written by Ben Wheatley & Amy Jump
Produced by Claire Jones & Andy Starke
Cinematography by Laurie Rose
Edited by Robin Hill, Ben Wheatley & Amy Jump
Music by Jim Williams

Production companies: Warp X, Rook Films, Film4 Productions, UK Film Council, Screen Yorkshire

UK release date: 2 September 2011

50 (50)

Dead of Night

1945 / various

'The stability and security of a comfortable middle-to-upper class gathering gives way to stories revealing the fears and encounters with death, kept below the surface. While it deserves praise for being the basis for every single anthology horror since, it also features another element that would also become important. A lead character who finds themselves trapped in a reality that has decided to victimise them for no reason.'

'A portmanteau film showing the brilliance of Ealing studios. Michael Redgrave's performance is suitably chilling, and the final twist gives me shivers every time.'

'A landmark British film and still a landmark horror. The portmanteau format was oft emulated but never bettered, and the same holds for its ending - the trope maker for horror as a cinematic nightmare.'

'The best horror anthology ever made,. The ventriloquist's dummy segment is the most famous, the mirror segment the scariest, the golf segment is genuinely quite funny. None out stay their welcome, and the cyclical conclusion fits the nightmarish tone perfectly.'

Michael Redgrave as Maxwell Frere
Mervyn Johns as Walter Craig
Frederick Valk as Dr van Straaten
Roland Culver as Eliot Foley
Basil Radford as George Parratt
Naunton Wayne as Larry Potter
Ralph Michael as Peter Cortland
Anthony Baird as Hugh Grainger
Michael Allan as Jimmy Watson
Sally Ann Howes as Sally O’Hara
Ralph Michael as Peter Cortland


Screenplay by John Baines & Angus MacPhail, based on stories
by H.G. Wells, John Baines, E.F. Benson & Angus MacPhail
Produced by Michael Balcon
Cinematography by Douglas Slocombe & Jack Parker
Edited by Charles Hasse
Music by Georges Auric

Production company: Ealing Studios

UK release date: 9 September 1945

50 (51)

The Innocents

1961 / Jack Clayton

'The psychological haunted house film par excellence. Truman Capote's script pares down some of the rich ambiguity of the Henry James novella but creates a terrifically effective film out of it and, with the aid of some of Freddie Francis' most extraordinary camera work, the result is an all-time classic.'

'Here's a case where a genuine literary masterpiece was made even better by its adaptation. The Henry James novella is the greatest ghost story ever written, but this film improves on it. At first glance, it may seem to be going too easily down the route of the then-fashionable Freudian interpretation of the book, in which it's all the fault of a neurotic Governess merely imagining ghosts, but the silent, baleful presence of the ghosts here is hard to dismiss so easily.'

Deborah Kerr as Miss Giddens
Michael Redgrave as The Uncle
Peter Wyngarde as Peter Quint
Megs Jenkins as Mrs Grose
Martin Stephens as Miles
Pamela Franklin as Flora
Clytie Jessop as Miss Mary Jessel
Isla Cameron as Anna

Screenplay by William Archibald, Truman Capote & John Mortimer, based on The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
Produced by Jack Clayton
Cinematography by Freddie Francis
Edited by Jim Clark
Music by Georges Auric

Production companies: Achilles Film Productions, 20th Century Fox

UK release date: 24 November 1961

50 (52)

Don't Look Now

1973 / Nicolas Roeg

'It doesn't draw any sharp jump scares or shocking imagery, but it's hard to explain the deeply unsettling feeling this film is able to instil. Absolute top-notch performances by all involved, Don't Look Now plays its hand coolly, never giving up much until absolutely necessary and then hammering us with an unforgettable left hook that may be one of the greatest conclusions in the history of horror cinema.'

'One of the first films I remember playing out like a conventional horror only to subvert everything and send you off down the dark canals of Venice with a true sense of danger and unease. Nicolas Roeg was a master craftsman and Don't Look Now really shows it.'

'A film that uses cinema - edits and montage - to craft its horror. For the longest time, you are only aware of its tragedy and eeriness, augmented in no little degree by the decadent, crumbling setting of Venice in winter. But the film stalks you, in darkness, in fate, and in a red hood.'

Julie Christie as Laura Baxter
Donald Sutherland as John Baxter
Hilary Mason as Heather
Clelia Matania as Wendy
Massimo Serato as Bishop Barbarrigo
Renato Scarpa as Inspector Longhi

Screenplay by Allan Scott & Chris Bryant, based on Don’t Look Now by Daphne du Maurier
Produced by Peter Katz
Cinematography by Anthony Richmond
Edited by Graeme Clifford
Music by Pino Donaggio

Production companies: Casey Productions, Eldorado Films

UK release date: 16 October 1973

50 (53)

Night of the Demon

1957 / Jacques Tourneur

'A blending of ghost story, demonic cult and suggestive horror picture in the Val Lewton tradition. For the longest time you don't see anything and are still scared out of your wits. By the end, it's almost unbearable. You're so convinced the hero won't make it that the - mercifully brief - shot of the monster comes as a welcome catharsis: it's only a movie, and all will be well.'

'Witchcraft and Englishness go hand-in-hand and it led me onto Val Lewton. The film plays straight without histrionics which does it credit. The demon riding the train is iconic.'

Dana Andrews as Dr John Holden
Peggy Cummins as Joanna Harrington
Niall MacGinnis as Dr Julian Karswell
Athene Seyler as Mrs Karswell
Liam Redmond as Professor Mark O’Brien
Peter Elliott as Professor Kumar
Maurice Denham as Professor Harrington

Screenplay by Charles Bennett & Hal E. Chester, based on Casting the Runes by M. R. James
Produced by Frank Bevis & Hal E. Chester
Cinematography by Ted Scaife
Edited by Michael Gordon
Music by Clifton Parker

Production company: Sabre Film Production

UK release date: November 1957

50 (54)

The Wicker Man

1973 / Robin Hardy

'It's the big daddy (or mother) of British horror. A transcendent performance from Christopher Lee, matched by Edward Woodward's committed portrayal of a man consumed by his faith. Funny, scary and vibrant, I cannot imagine how wonderful it would have been to see this on first release. The stories around the film are as fascinating as the work itself. A masterpiece.'

'I travel for work, go to a lot of rural places. The Wicker Man is a documentary.'

'Quite simply the best British horror film ever made. Superbly crafted in every respect, and stays with you long after the final frame. For my generation and ones before, there was always an air of myth around the film because of the loss of certain scenes. Thank (the wicker) God for later restorations that helped us recapture the magic of this film for everyone in the future.'

Edward Woodward as Sgt. Neil Howie
Christopher Lee as Lord Summerisle
Britt Ekland as Willow MacGregor
Annie Ross as Willow MacGregor (voice)
Lesley Mackie as Daisy
Diane Cilento as Miss Rose
Ingrid Pitt as Librarian
Lindsay Kemp as Alder MacGregor

Screenplay by Anthony Shaffer
Produced by Peter Snell
Cinematography by Harry Waxman
Edited by Eric Boyd-Perkins
Music by Paul Giovanni

Production company: British Lion Films

UK release date: 6 December 1973

Top 50 British horror films

Want more? Read our

Top 50 British horror films

(honourable mentions)

6 thoughts on “Top 50 British horror films”

  1. Some gems here like Lair of The White Worm, Blood on Satan’s Claw, Dr Phibes, Theatre of Blood and the Quatermass films. But A Field in England? Seriously? It was the most boring excuse for horror until i saw Enys Men.

  2. Adrian Brown

    2 excellent lists. Thank you. I would personally have “Night of the Demon” at number 1. Is there any possibility of compiling a similar list for British TV horror, please?

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