Goriest Horror Movies of All Time, Ranked (2024)

Believe it or not, horror films have been thrilling and horrifying audiences for over 125 years. Considered by most to be the first horror film ever made, House of the Devil was made in 1896 and featured Mephistopheles, an evil foot soldier of the devil who conjures up some demons to terrify two men who enter his domain — a very spooky castle.

The film heralded the start of one of the most beloved genres of film, one which continues to captivate audiences around the world to this day. So-called gore horror movies (or splatter films) have always been a favorite among fans of this specific genre. They never seem to fade away, no matter how disturbing and even gross they can get. The great gory films never seem to escape the minds of fans of the genre all over the world. In fact, over many, many years, gory horror movies have tended to keep pushing boundaries when it comes to bloody deaths, mutilation, and every other type of gore filmmakers can think of to include in them.

Update July 14, 2023: This article has been updated with even more gory horror films for film fans who can't get enough blood and guts.

When used in conjunction with great plots, scripts, scores, and casts, many horror movies have used gore with great effect to create some truly unsettling and terrifying moments in film. Moments that keep movie fans up at night. Moments that make fans look over their shoulder when they are walking by themselves. Moments that make people feel uneasy when they are sitting comfortably in their theater seats. However, whether they were great movies or not, this list focuses on the gore alone. Bloody splatter. Bloody deaths. Bloody pain. Here's a look at what we think are the goriest horror movies of all time, ranked.

Spoiler Alert: Many of the following descriptions contain explicit details of famous scenes from the movies they describe.

20 Day of the Dead

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This 1985 zombie movie was the third movie in the Night of the Living Dead franchise. As gory and intense as the first two movies were, Day of the Dead took these elements to a whole new level. Since the film centers around a zombie apocalypse, like its predecessors, Day of the Dead had a wealth of opportunities to throw in lots of violent scenes and overall gory moments. While it wasn't universally loved by critics in comparison to the first two movies, Day of the Dead featured more than enough gore to satisfy even the most ardent fan of it.

Some of its most intense scenes featured people being torn apart, shootings, severed heads, brains, and faces being ripped off. In one of the most disturbing scenes, a character is shot before having his stomach torn open, and is torn limb from limb. All of this intense gore culminates in a long, bloody, and intense final battle scene.

Subsequent remakes of the movie between 2005 and 2018 failed to capture the original movies acclaim. In 2021, a sTV series based on Day of the Dead was released and enjoyed a relatively successful first season. However, at the time of this article, a second season had not yet been confirmed.

19 Saw

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This cult classic made in 2004 was an instant hit and a breakout film for the now acclaimed James Wan. His directorial debut, Saw's popularity saw it go on to spawn an entire franchise that included eight more movies to date. While the movie arguably wasn't as gruesome as other notable gore horror classics, its unique plot and stellar directing made it an incredibly uncomfortable and suspenseful watch.

Related: Saw Movies in Order: How to Watch Chronologically and By Release Date

That isn't to say that there was no gore at all. In the movie's most famous scene, one of the main characters who shares a claustrophobic bathroom cell after being abducted and chained up has to eventually saw of his own leg to escape. The chilling moment creeps under the skin of viewers as it forces one to contemplate being stuck in the same situation.

In many of the sequels, the levels of gore and violence are pushed much further. However, Saw makes the list for its brilliant plot and sheer creepiness that added masterful layers of suspense to the gore, making it one unbearably disquieting film at the time. The franchise's popularity means a 10th installment in set for release in 2023.

18 Zombie 2

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Horror movies featuring everyone's favorite undead monsters often provide the best opportunities to add in some gore and blood. This particular classic from Lucio Fulci has a bit of a confusing title, because it's not actually a sequel. Due to misleading marketing, the Italian film was advertised as a sequel to Dawn of the Dead (which was titled Zombie in Italy). Regardless, the acclaimed 1979 movie Zombie 2 (or Zombi 2) redefined Italian horror cinema in the 1980s through its popularity.

The film featured some pretty intense gore scenes, including an infamous eye-gouging one. It also showcased a scene in which a zombie attacks a shark. Seeing as this was way back in 1979 when CGI wasn't available, this made for some pretty inventive filmmaking. The movie was rated 18 due to its extreme violence and was also classified as a 'video nasty.'

17 Martyrs

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An extreme revenge film, the French horror movieMartyrs polarized audiences and critics for its dark and graphic nature. Deeply psychologically disturbing, the film portrays the horrific revenge plot metered out by a woman and her friend after they track down the family that tortured her and scarred her as a child.

It features some truly unsettling torture scenes, shootings, and brutal fights to the death. When the film was screened at the Marché du Film (a famous film market in France), it resulted in many people walking out due to its horrifying and graphic nature. During other infamous screenings, the film caused people to collapse and throw up due to its highly gory nature and psychologically chilling tropes. While it was categorized as an extremely divisive film, it still received generally good ratings from critics. In 2015, an American remake of the film was released by Anchor Bay Films but was a critical failure.

16 Society

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Society was a 1989 horror movie that featured the tale of a rich kid from Beverley Hills who learns that his family belong to a murderous cult. While it was shot and completed in 1989, the movie had to wait another three years to be released in the USA. Also falling into another subgenre of horror known as body horror, the movie is infamous for some wildly over-the-top gore scenes and extreme body mutilations (not to mention a demonic, blood-soaked orgy).

While many critics categorized it as not being an overly serious film, it was still highly rated in some circles and even cracked some lists for the top 100 greatest horror movies in history. The film was also recognized for its effects and makeup. Its most famous scene features a "shunting" or extreme mutilation and deformation of a human body.

15 Hellraiser

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Hellraiser is a cult classic based on Clive Barker's disturbing novella The Hellbound Heart, and tells the dark and twisted tale of a hedonistic man named Frank Cotton who unwittingly unleashes unimaginable pain on himself. By opening a mysterious puzzle box while on a quest to attain new levels of carnal pleasure, Frank summons the Cenobites, a monstrous race of creatures for whom pleasure and pain are indistinguishable.

Related: Hellraiser: Why It's Still a Horror Classic After 35 Years

The Cenobites unleash extreme forms of sadomasochism on Frank, and the results make for some often ridiculously gory torture scenes. The film was originally rated X and had to be shortened to have its most explicit and graphic scenes cut in order to be released. The film has spawned multiple follow-up movies. In 2022, the franchise received a reboot also named Hellraiser, which featured a newly imagined crop of Cenobites.

14 Evil Dead

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The original Evil Dead movie was released in 1981 and was directed by Sam Raimi. This movie was so gory that it was banned in Britain for many, many years. However, it also spawned a franchise that has seen multiple follow-up movies. While all of its installments feature extreme levels of gore, the 2013 version of Evil Dead was so violent it had to be cut to ensure it achieved its contracted rating which was still an R rating.

Packed with bloody and scary scenes, the movie is highly disturbing and proved to be a worthy reboot of the original film, managing to extend on the original's taste for extreme violence. The latest installment, titled Evil Dead Rise, was released in April release and is arguably the franchise's most extreme version to date.

13 Hostel

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The first in a trilogy of gruesome tales of torture for entertainment, Hostel took gore to some chilling heights when it was released back in the year of 2005. The movie, from famed horror director Eli Roth, featured no demons, ghosts, or monsters, and this was perhaps what was most unsettling about it. The plot revolves around two American friends traveling through Europe when two beautiful women seduce them but are ultimately trafficked to an international ring that abducts people to be tortured by wealthy clients, who pay for the pleasure of it.

What makes the movie so unsettling is the fact that it delves into the darkest realms of human nature and the willingness of people to harm others for their own personal gain. In one particularly gory scene, a woman is severely burnt on her face with a blowtorch, leaving her eyeball dangling from its socket, and it's later cut off with a pair of scissors — truly gruesome and horrifying stuff for all fans.

12 Piranha 3D

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As gruesome and bloody as this movie gets, it's often categorized as a horror-comedy. Despite featuring scenes with plenty of blood, mutilation, and gory deaths, there is a comical edge that runs throughout the film, often resulting in the audience welcoming the horrific deaths of some key characters.

Loosely based on the original Piranha film from 1978, Piranha 3D offered a new entry in the Piranha franchise. It revolves around a host of different characters who all encounter massive schools of prehistoric piranha fish that are released when an Earthquake causes a whirlpool. The vicious creatures wreak havoc on people who are visiting a large lake out in Arizona. The deaths and injuries caused by them are often portrayed in comical ways, although the blood and gore value of these scenes are still very high throughout.

11 The Green Inferno

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Punctuated by graphic scenes of cannibalism, The Green Inferno is a 2014 movie with a disturbing edge. It follows a group of young environmental activists who survive a plane crash in the Amazon Forest, only to be captured by a tribe of fierce cannibals.

Underpinning the often brutal and horrific scenes of cannibalism is the eerie truth that such practices do occur and are even still prevalent in some parts of the world. Keeping this in mind, the graphic depictions of violence, genital mutilation, and cannibalism are extreme and certainly not for sensitive viewers. In one of the most chilling scenes, one of the victims, a vegan, is forced to eat something that she later realizes is meat from one of her own friends.

10 High Tension

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High Tension is a French slasher movie from 2003. The movie was later picked up by Lionsgate Entertainment and dubbed into English. It deals with two college students who get stranded at a farmhouse with a serial killer. The movie's original version was so intense that many scenes had to be cut out in order to secure a suitable rating for American audiences.

It features some pretty inventive death scenes that are graphically depicted. The movie additionally features some pretty disturbing scenes that many audiences found to be in poor taste. Despite Lionsgate Entertainment's hope for it, the movie was a commercial failure in the United States but has become a nasty cult classic over the past two decades.

9 Maniac

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Maniac was a 1980 serial killer movie that featured a low budget but rose to some prominence and even cracked the list of greatest horror movies of all time by some major publications. It centers around the story of a man whose mother was a prostitute, causing him to become a serial killer as an adult.

The movie's gore meter ranks here due to the extreme methods that the main character uses to kill his victims, usually by scalping them and displaying their hair on mannequins. The film was remade in 2012 and starred Elijah Wood as the main character.

8 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

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This iconic franchise features nine movies that all began with the original film, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, in 1974. The movie was deemed too graphic and banned in many countries due to excessive complaints over the violence it depicted. It is widely regarded as one of the most influential horror movie franchises, and the original was a huge commercial success despite all the controversy that surrounded it.

Featuring the now infamous and iconic character, Leatherface, the original movie is known for its disturbing killing scenes that become the overarching theme of the franchise. Leatherface's weapon of choice is, of course, a chainsaw, and the chilling sound of it will forever be etched into the psyches of audiences everywhere, as it was used to great effect and created some epically suspenseful moments.

7 Terrifier

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This 2016 movie became a cult classic soon after it was released and was followed up in 2022 with Terrifier 2. The main villain from Terrifier is seemingly an ordinary man dressed in a creepy clown outfit and known as Art the Clown. While he never really speaks, he often comically mimes out scenes and uses gestures and expressive antics to mock and taunt his victims.

Related: Terrifier: Why Art the Clown is Among the Best Horror Villains

Behind this goofy image, however, the character is a ruthless killer that uses extreme and inventive ways to murder and mutilate victims, often torturing them too. It's difficult to pick which of the two movies is more gory as both feature some memorably violent scenes that get under the skin in spine-tingling ways. The movies have also been praised for their ability to combine chilling suspense, comedic elements, and gratuitous violence to great effect. With the movies' popularity only growing, it seems likely that a new and enduring franchise has been born from them.

6 Braindead (AKA Dead Alive)

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This 1992 Zombie classic frequently tops most lists for being the goriest horror movie of all time. It is that creepy. The fact that it was directed by Peter Jackson of Lords of the Ring fame only heightens its appeal. Braindead A.K.A Dead Alive takes place in Jackson's home country of New Zealand during a zombie attack, brought on a by a plague-infested Sumatran rat-monkey.

What ensues offers chaotic bags of extreme gore and violence that goes down in history as probably the goriest film ever made, even if the buckets of blood are basically comical. Despite the poor taste of combining extreme violence with comedic overtones (Jackson previously made a nasty horror movie called Bad Taste, after all), the movie was a critical success, and Jackson received a lot of praise for his production and direction. Of course, this splatter-fest is a far cry from his later Hollywood films, but it's so well-directed that it spins gold from a highly clichéd plot. Whatever one says about Braindead, it's hard to deny how utterly disgusting, gory, and blood-soaked the film is.

5 Cannibal Holocaust

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Horror films have always been controversial, but not many films have landed jail time for the filmmakers behind the project. Cannibal Holocaust is one of the most horrific films ever made for depicting violence, animal cruelty, and cannibalism gruesomely. The movie was deemed a snuff film in many places and was banned in nearly 50 countries in its heyday. Many of these restrictions still stand in place, while the measure has been relaxed in countries like the USA.

The movie is directed by Ruggero Deodato and written by Gianfranco Clerici. The casting features mostly unknown actors such as Robert Kerman, Carl Gabriel Yorke, and Francesca Ciardi. The story follows a man searching for a missing crew in the Amazon rainforest. We slowly discover their fate as the crew tests the locals' patience, who seek to teach them a permanent lesson. It's still considered one of the most visually brutal films ever made.

4 The Devil's Rejects

Goriest Horror Movies of All Time, Ranked (17)

Rob Zombie loves violence, yet he's the chilliest dude on earth, which makes you wonder what's going on in his head. The Devil's Rejects is the first sequel to House of a 1000 Corpses, which follows the sad*stic rampage of the Firefly family, played by Sid Haig, Sheri Moon Zombie, and Bill Moseley, who are on the run after the events of the first film.

The film is written and directed by Rob Zombie, and it plays like the ultimate stand-off story as the family is cornered by a squad of cops who look to wipe the family after killing over 75 people over the years. While most of the family are killed and captured, the main trio escapes and begins a game of cat and mouse with law enforcement and one Sherriff who seems to have a huge gripe with the family.

3 Re-Animator

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Some horror films go so over the top with the graphic killing they essentially become a parody of the genre. Such is the case of Re-Animator. The film is directed by Stuart Gordon with a screenplay by Dennis Paoli. The mostly unknown cast features the talents of Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, and Barbara Crampton; the story is loosely based on H.P. Lovecraft's serial novelette Herbert West–Reanimator.

In the film, a medical student named Herbert West creates a serum that can reanimate dead bodies. Herbert manages to revive a cat and tries to share his discovery with the dean of the university, who expels him instantly. Herbert and an associate return to the campus to retrieve his work and end up in the morgue, reviving a whole person who comes back to life in a violent zombie-like state, which of course, goes south immediately.

2 The Fly

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Who says gore films can't have a touch of drama? The Fly is the groundbreaking hit of director David Cronenberg, who sought to remake the classic movie with a brand new story. Edward Pogue and Cronenberg himself write the screenplay. The story features the talents of Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis. In the film, we follow the rise and fall of a brilliant scientist named Seth Brundle, who has discovered the means to teleport inorganic matter from one place to another.

In his quest to further his own technology and gain more funding, he must discover how to teleport organic matter without frying it in the process. After a successful test with a monkey, Brundle tests the technology on himself without realizing a fly gets with him in the teleporting pod. After merging their molecules, Brundle begins a slow and painful metamorphosis into a fly-like creature with gruesome consequences.

1 Tokyo Gore Police

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Splatter punk is a genre rarely explored outside of animation, mostly because these stories have shock for shock's value and nothing else. Tokyo Gore Police, however, managed to land on this list since the live-action film puts a fun twist on the genre by making it actually fun to watch. The film is the solo effort of Yoshihiro Nishimura, who wrote, directed, and edited the movie with the assistance of Kengo Kaji. The casting call features the talents of Eihi Shiina, Itsuji Itao, and Yukihide Benny.

The story is set in a dystopian future, where a young woman named Ruka joins the Tokyo Police Corporation to hunt down and kill the wildly dangerous mutants known as the Engineers. This over-the-top film plays out precisely as you'd expect from something with such a bombastic name. Tokyo Gore Police it's visually striking, with incredible practical effects and a relentless onslaught of graphic imagery. The movie lives up to expectations for being intense, bloody, perverse, and bizarre.

Goriest Horror Movies of All Time, Ranked (2024)
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