The Horror Genre is my absolute favorite. I love getting scared. While I may enjoy all versions of Horror now, it wasn’t always that way. There are also people out there who are not like me. They find horror to be intimidating, too scary, or they’re, but they don’t know how to dip their toe in.

Horror comes in all shapes and sizes. Its tone can vary from psychological thrillers to slasher films, even campy comedies. Of course, just like with everything, everyone has an opinion and preference. So, inspired by Blumhouse’s latest film, Imaginary, I’ve compiled my favorite gateway horror movies for those interested in but not ready for House of 1000 Corpses.


Stephen King is the “King of Horror”. That said, I don’t find his stories to be particularly scary, but they are very creepy and make you think. There have been a couple of incarnations of his novel, Pet Semetary. However, the 1989 version is my absolute favorite. The story revolves around a family who moves to a rural town and discovers a mysterious burial ground in the woods near their home. The burial ground has the power to bring dead animals back to life, but with disturbing consequences. When tragedy strikes the family, they are faced with a choice that leads to terrifying and unforeseen consequences.

The latest adaptation has its own twist on the family in the end. Then, if you want to see an adaptation of the story Jud tells Louis Creed on his porch about the Baterman family check out Pet Semetary: Bloodlines.


Like Imaginary, Happy Death Day is a Blumhouse horror film. However, this time, it’s a Horror-Comedy. The film follows the story of a college student named Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) who finds herself trapped in a time loop. This loop has her reliving the day of her murder over and over again. Eventually, she figures out that she must figure out who her killer is in order to break the cycle. The film combines elements of slasher films with a Groundhog Day-style premise, adding humor and suspense to the storyline.


Get Out was the first horror from from Jordan Peele. Previously Peele was know for his comedy sketch show, Key & Peele, but quickly proved he had so much more to say.

Get Out is a fantastic example of how you can use the horror genre to make something entertaining, but poignant. The story follows a young African American man named Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) who visits his white girlfriend’s family estate for the weekend. So, as the weekend progresses, Chris begins to uncover disturbing secrets about the family and their intentions, leading to a series of unsettling and terrifying events. The film uses horror elements to address issues of race, privilege, and cultural appropriation, creating a thought-provoking and suspenseful narrative.


The Burbs was one of my favorite films growing up. It’s not overly scary, but it is very creepy. In this horror-comedy starring Tom Hanks (Asteroid City), the story follows a group of neighbors who become suspicious of their new, reclusive neighbors and begin to investigate them. As they delve deeper into their suspicions, they uncover a series of strange and increasingly bizarre events that lead to comedic and suspenseful situations. The film stars Tom Hanks and explores themes of paranoia, suburban life, and the fear of the unknown.


I love a Gothic Horror. Crimson Peak is more of a ghost love story with really interesting visuals, stunning costumes, as well as Tom Hiddleston (Loki). Need I say more?

Crimson Peak is a gothic romance film directed by Guillermo del Toro. So, the story follows a young aspiring author named Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) who falls in love with a mysterious and charming man named Sir Thomas Sharpe (Hiddleston). She marries him and moves into his decaying and ominous mansion, Allerdale Hall. Of course, this place is plagued by supernatural occurrences. As Edith unravels the dark secrets of the Sharpe family and the history of the mansion, she discovers the true horrors that lie within. Crimson Peak does an excellent job combining elements of romance, horror, and mystery to create a visually stunning and atmospheric gothic tale.


I understand I have a little bit of a trend going with the Horror-Comedy genre, but there’s a reason. Movies like Tucker and Dale vs Evil are a perfect blend of scaring you in the moment and being able to find relief in laughter.

Tucker and Dale vs Evil follows two well-meaning hillbillies, Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine), who are mistaken for murderous psychopaths by a group of college students while on a vacation in the woods. As a series of misunderstandings and accidents occur, the college students inadvertently end up causing harm to themselves while Tucker and Dale try to help them. The film humorously plays with the “hillbilly horror” genre and explores themes of stereotypes, miscommunication, and friendship.


The Blackening is an excellent horror satire film that’s a much-needed update to something like Scary Movie. In the film a group of seven friends embarks on a weekend getaway, only to become ensnared in a secluded cabin with a vengeful killer. So, they are forced to rely on their wits and horror movie expertise, they must outsmart the murderer in a deadly game of survival to escape with their lives intact.


Fright Night is vampire horror. Typically I’d say go for Lost Boys here, but I say start with this first. The film tells the story of a teenager named Charley Brewster who discovers that his new neighbor, Jerry Dandrige, is a vampire. As Charley tries to convince others of the danger posed by Jerry, he seeks the help of a former horror movie actor turned vampire hunter named Peter Vincent. Charley and Peter attempt to stop Jerry before he can claim more victims.

The 1989 version of Fright Night is excellent and still holds up, However, if you want a more modern take and one that’s a little scarier watch the 2011 version starring Colin Farrell (The Banshees of Inisherin).


I grew up on these books. The stories were creepy. The illustrations are horrifying. They were my gateway reading if you will. So, when the movie was being released I was all over it.

So, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is a horror film released in 2019, directed by André Øvredal and produced by Guillermo del Toro. The movie is based on the children’s book series of the same name by Alvin Schwartz.

The story follows a group of teenagers who stumble upon a mysterious book of scary stories written by Sarah Bellows in the abandoned house of the Bellows family. So, as they read the stories, they discover that the tales are becoming a reality and they must find a way to stop the evil that has been unleashed. The film features a blend of horror elements, including supernatural occurrences, creepy creatures, and suspenseful moments.


Scream is my all-time favorite horror movie. It truly changed the face of horror forever and gave us an iconic Scream Queen in Nev Campbell. The franchise is a little all over the place, but always a good time. I’m even a huge fan of the reboot trilogy starring Jenna Ortega (Wednesday) and Melissa Barrera (In the Heights).

Taking place in the quiet town of Woodsboro, Scream tells the story of High School student Sidney Prescott (Campbell), as well as her group of friends. As they mourn the anniversary of Sidney’s mother’s death, they find themselves being hunted by a masked serial killer named Ghostface.


Child’s Play is a horror film that follows the story of a mother who gives her son a popular doll named Chucky for his birthday. Shortly after receiving the doll, strange and violent things start happening around the house and the family begins to suspect that the doll may be possessed by the soul of a notorious serial killer. As the body count rises, they must race against time to stop Chucky before it’s too late.

This Child’s Play franchise is another one of my favorites. Is it really possible to make a doll possessed by a serial killer, Charles Lee Ray, scary? I don’t think so. What it does is give you entertaining characters, and cringe-worthy kills, while having a lot of fun. If you enjoy the movie series make sure to check out the TV Series on SyFy!


The late 90s was full of iconic teen horror films. I Know What You Did Last Summer is iconic. The first film is loosely based on the folktale about the man with the hook for a hand but with its own twist.

I Know What You Did Last Summer is about four friends who accidentally hit a man with their car and decided to cover up the accident by disposing of his body. A year later, they are haunted by mysterious messages and a hooded figure who seems to know their dark secret. As the group unravels the truth behind the man they hit, they realize they are being targeted by someone intent on seeking revenge. The film stars Jennifer Love Hewitt, Freddie Prinze Jr, Ryan Phillippe, as well as Sarah Michelle Gellar. I told you. Iconic.


I was truly surprised by The Boy. The story of a girl (Lauren Cohan) who runs away from her life to another country to be a nanny to a young child named Brahms. Shockingly, it turns out Brahms is actually a doll. She soon discovers that the doll is believed to be alive and possessed by the spirit of a deceased child. As she delves deeper into the mystery of the doll, she uncovers dark secrets about the estate and its history. The film explores themes of grief, loss, and the supernatural.

While the film isn’t scary, it’s creepy and has a very satisfying ending.


Fully disclosure. I’ve never actually seen An American Werewolf In London. However, when asking Jason Blumhouse what his gateway horror film was this was his answer. So, I felt I had no choice, but to include it.

An American Werewolf in London follows two American college students, David and Jack, who are backpacking across the English countryside when they are attacked by a werewolf. Jack is killed, but David survives and is hospitalized in London. As he recovers, David experiences disturbing dreams and begins to transform into a werewolf himself. The film explores themes of guilt, identity, and the supernatural as David struggles to come to terms with his new monstrous nature.


I love a monster film and Tremors checks all the not overly scary boxes! Is it suspensive? Yes. Of course. Tremors is a 1990 monster film directed by Ron Underwood. The film follows the residents of Perfection, a small town in Nevada. However, this town is terrorized by giant underground creatures known as Graboids. The Graboids are attracted to sound and vibrations, and the townspeople must find a way to outsmart and defeat the monsters before they are all killed. The film blends elements of horror, comedy, and action as the characters try to survive and escape the deadly creatures. Oh, and did I mention it also stars Kevin Bacon?


Everyone knows the hit TV Show Buffy the Vampire Slayer starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. However, the story originally started as a movie starring Kristie Swanson, Luke Perry (RIP), and so many more.

So, the 1992 film Buffy the Vampire Slayer follows high school student Buffy Summers (Swanson), who discovers that she is the chosen one, a vampire slayer destined to battle creatures of the night. With the help of her mentor Merrick (Donald Sutherland), Buffy embraces her destiny and faces off against the powerful vampire king Lothos (Rutger Hauer). Lothos is intent on destroying her and taking over the world. The film combines elements of horror, action, as well as comedy while Buffy fights to protect her friends and loved ones from the forces of darkness.


The Black Phone is one of my favorite horror thrillers of the last decade. The storytelling, acting, writing, all of it is impeccable! The Film is also produced by Blumhouse!

So, The Black Phone follows the story of a young boy named Finney Shaw who is abducted by a sadistic serial killer (Ethan Hawke). As he is held captive in an isolated basement, Finney discovers a disconnected phone and uses it to communicate with the other victims of the killer. With the help of the mysterious voices on the phone, Finney must try to outsmart his captor and find a way to escape before it’s too late. The film explores themes of survival, resilience, as well as the power of connection in the face of unimaginable evil.


The zombie horror genre can be terrifying to dive into. You don’t want to start with 28 Days Later or Train to Busan. However, diving into a Zombie Horror Comedy is a great place to start.

So, Shaun of the Dead is a British horror comedy film directed by Edgar Wright. The film follows Shaun (Simon Pegg), a 30-something man who is stuck in a rut and feeling disconnected from his girlfriend and friends. When a zombie apocalypse breaks out in London, Shaun decides to take charge and try to save his loved ones, all while trying to survive the chaos of the undead. The film combines humor, wit, and a touch of horror to create a unique and entertaining experience.


The supernatural horror genre is also one of my favorites. As someone who believes in ghosts, outside of things that can really happen ie Strangers, hauntings are always scary for me! However, Poltergeist…I don’t think is that scary and it is a great Gateway film into the ghost/haunting side of horror films. However, be aware that the movie features creepy shadows, monsters hiding in closets, and themes of separation from family. There is a scene where a character appears to rip the flesh from his face, although it is later revealed to be a hallucination.

So, Poltergeist is a horror film that follows a family who moves into a new home, only to discover that it is haunted by malevolent spirits. The spirits begin to terrorize the family, particularly targeting the young daughter, Carol Anne. So, the family turns to parapsychologists for help in battling the supernatural forces, ultimately leading to a dangerous and intense confrontation with the poltergeist. The film explores themes of fear, family bonds, and the unknown forces that may exist beyond our understanding.


Okay, yes this isn’t technically a movie. However, the IT tv-mini series was my personal Gateway into the horror genre. As a 6-year-old girl, it scarred me for life and I will never enjoy clowns. However, as an adult, this version of the story is not scary.

The IT mini-series is also based on the novel by Stephen King. So, It follows a group of childhood friends who reunite as adults to face an ancient evil creature known as Pennywise the Dancing Clown (Tim Curry), which terrorizes their town of Derry, Maine. The story explores themes of friendship, fear, as well as the power of facing your deepest fears to overcome them.

If you watch the mini-series, as well as a few other films on this list, and are feeling brave you can check out the reboot from 2017. It’s terrifying!