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Movies Like 'Psycho' to Watch Next

'Psycho' is the highest-ranking horror film of all-time, based on its Metascore. But if you're looking for more scares, these 10 films come close.

Sam Rosenberg
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Anthony Perkins on the set of 'Psycho'

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Psycho currently reigns as the highest-rated horror movie on Metacritic, with a Metascore of 97. 

Although widely considered a classic, Psycho didn't always generate favorable reception. Based on the 1959 novel by Robert Bloch, the iconic Alfred Hitchcock slasher flick initially received polarized reactions upon its release in 1960 for its groundbreaking depiction of sex and violence. 

In the opening passage, the film's central unmarried couple — an embezzler named Marion (Janet Leigh) and her private investigator boyfriend Sam (John Gavin) — is shown undressed and in bed together, which was deemed a cultural taboo for its time. Then, of course, there's the infamous shower scene, which frightened audiences as much as it worried the Production Code censors, forcing Hitchcock to make minor changes around the depiction of Leigh's nudity.   

Despite these concerns, Psycho earned strong box office returns and four Academy Award nominations. The story of Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), an isolated motel manager who encounters Marion and becomes entangled in a series of murders, shaped a whole genre of American cinema while laying a foundation for tragic, complex villains.

Following Hitchcock's death in 1980, Universal Pictures continued the Psycho legacy by producing two sequels, a shot-for-shot remake directed by Gus Van Sant, a made-for-TV spin-off, and the A&E prequel TV series Bates Motel. Universal also recreated the film's set as a tour stop at their studio lots in Hollywood, Calif. and Orlando, Fla.

Several decades since premiering in theaters, Psycho remains a staple in horror filmmaking. But if you're looking for other spooky thrillers like it to watch in time for Halloween, here, Metacritic highlights 10 other films that share similar themes and styles to Hitchcock's masterpiece.


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Jamie Lee Curtis and Michael Myers in 'Halloween'

Universal Pictures

Halloween (1978)

Metascore: 87
Best for: Fans of slasher films  
Where to watch:

, , Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 91 minutes

Similar to what Hitchcock did with Norman Bates, John Carpenter cemented the mask-wearing, knife-wielding Michael Myers (Nick Castle) as a recognizable horror antagonist when he made Halloween. The independent slasher film follows Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis in her feature debut), a high school-aged babysitter whom Michael stalks after he's released from a mental asylum for murdering his sister. In a pointed nod to Psycho, Carpenter named Michael's psychiatrist, Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence), after Hitchcock's male lead. With a budget of around $300,000, Halloween grossed over $70 million at the box office, becoming one of the most commercially successful independent movies of all time. Much like Psycho, Halloween spawned a decades-spanning franchise of sequels and reboots, including 2018's Halloween, last year's Halloween Kills, and the upcoming Halloween Ends.

"Halloween remains about as distilled, raw an experience in terror as is ever likely to be committed to celluloid." — Adam Smith, Empire


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Toni Collette in 'Hereditary'

A24

Hereditary

Metascore: 87
Best for: Fans of atmospherically tense domestic horror 
Where to watch:

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Runtime: 127 minutes

In Ari Aster's Hereditary, Toni Collette plays Annie, a miniature artist grieving the death of her estranged mother. Following her mother's funeral, Annie, her daughter Charlie (Milly Shapiro), son Peter (Alex Wolff), and husband Steve (Gabriel Byrne) experience some strange paranormal occurrences in their home, leading to a series of shocking events and devastating truths that threaten to upend their domestic dynamic. Although Collette's universally praised performance didn't receive awards recognition as some had anticipated, Hereditary was still a huge success, becoming an online meme sensation and A24's highest grossing film (that is, until this year's Everything Everywhere All At Once).

"A harrowing story of unthinkable family tragedy that veers into the realm of the supernatural, Hereditary takes its place as a new generation's The Exorcist — for some, it will spin heads even more savagely." — Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out 


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Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster in 'The Silence of the Lambs'

Orion Pictures

The Silence of the Lambs

Metascore: 85
Best for: Fans of twisted psychological crime thrillers 
Where to watch:

, , Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 118 minutes

A follow-up to Michael Mann's Manhunter, Jonathan Demme's The Silence of the Lambs establishes yet another evil mastermind into the American pop culture zeitgeist: the brilliant and depraved psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins). Imprisoned for his cannibalistic murders, Lecter comes in handy when he advises the young FBI trainee Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) in finding a flesh-skinning serial killer named Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine). Despite The Silence of the Lambs raking in five Oscars in 1992, including Best Picture, its sequels — Hannibal, Red Dragon, Hannibal Rising, and the CBS series Clarice — didn't quite achieve the same level of critical admiration. Bryan Fuller's short-lived NBC adaptation Hannibal, also based on the Hannibal Lecter character but with a different law enforcement agent circling him, however, did receive some acclaim and a devoted fanbase.

"The interplay between Starling and Lector as they share an indefinable, dark understanding gives the film its unforgettable and unsettling power." — Judy Stone, San Francisco Chronicle


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Sissy Spacek in 'Carrie'

Getty Images

Carrie (1976)

Metascore: 85
Best for: Fans of emotionally disturbed protagonists with mommy issues
Where to watch:

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Runtime: 98 minutes

The first of three films based on Stephen King's debut novel, Brian de Palma's Carrie follows its titular lonely teen (Sissy Spacek), who has trouble navigating bullies at school and her religiously fanatical mother (Piper Laurie) at home. When she discovers her telekinetic abilities, Carrie plots revenge against her enemies, especially after one humiliating experience at the prom sends her into a murderous rampage. Released in 1976, Carrie was a critical and commercial smash, with many considering de Palma's take as one of the best retellings of the source material and of King's publications in general. Carrie got both a sequel (The Rage: Carrie II) in 1999 and the remake treatment (twice!) in 2002 and in 2013, though none of its follow-ups fared quite as well as the original.

"The best scary-funny movie since Jaws — a teasing, terrifying, lyrical shocker, directed by Brian De Palma, who has the wickedest baroque sensibility at large in American movies." — Pauline Kael, The New Yorker 


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'The Exorcist'

Warner Bros. Pictures

The Exorcist

Metascore: 81
Best for: Fans of unsettling, gory horror-thrillers
Where to watch:

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Runtime: 122 minutes

After reaping success with the 1971 award-winning mega hit The French Connection, director William Friedkin continued his hot streak in 1973 with The Exorcist, a tale about two Catholic priests (Jason Miller and Max von Sydow) who attempt to exorcise a demon from a young girl (Linda Blair) at the behest of her anxious mother (Ellen Burstyn). Like Psycho, The Exorcist garnered controversy for its violence, the graphic nature of which triggered multiple reportings of physical repulsion from audiences. Still, the cultural impact of The Exorcist led the film to become the first horror movie to receive a Best Picture nomination at the Academy Awards. Additionally, it received nine other Oscar nominations, ultimately winning Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Sound.

"Director William Friedkin, with his scrupulous attention to detail, his determination to convey a sense of realism, achieves such startling effects that one comes away almost completely convinced of the possibility of demonic possession." — Kathleen Carroll, Daily News


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Kathy Bates in 'Misery'

Columbia Pictures

Misery

Metascore: 75
Best for: Fans of taut, creepy psychological thrillers with obsessive antagonists 
Where to watch:

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Runtime: 107 minutes

Another well-renowned King adaptation, Rob Reiner's Misery focuses on the dueling dynamic between famed author Paul Sheldon (James Caan) and his biggest fan Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates). After rescuing Paul from a car accident, Annie nurses her hero back to health, only to keep him prisoner once she reads the manuscript of his latest book and demands he rewrite it. Misery got a stamp of approval from King himself and remains the only film based on one of his novels to receive an Oscar (that would be for Bates winning Best Actress at the 1991 Oscars).

"The actors are supported by the best kind of writerly craft and directorial technique, the kind that refuses to call attention to itself, never gets caught straining for scares or laughs. Popular moviemaking — elegantly economical, artlessly artful — doesn't get much better than this." — Richard Schickel, TIME


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Angie Dickinson and Michael Caine in 'Dressed to Kill'

Filmways Pictures

Dressed to Kill

Metascore: 74
Best for: Fans of psychosexual thrillers
Where to watch:

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Runtime: 105 minutes

Believed by some to be de Palma's homage to Psycho, the 1980 film Dressed to Kill also follows an ill-fated female lead (Angie Dickinson) and a cross-dressing serial killer. A New York City sex worker (Nancy Allen) witnesses the killer murdering Dickinson's character and inadvertently becomes his next target. Despite Metacritic's partner critics giving the film positive enough reviews to earn a favorable Metascore, Dressed to Kill did receive three Razzie Award nominations, in addition to a Golden Globe nomination for Allen. The film saw a win in profit, grossing a little more than $31 million at the box office against a $6.5 million budget

"This ingenious erotic thriller full of unexpected shocks is best seen with no foreknowledge and even better at a second viewing." — Phillip French, The Guardian


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Jack Nicholson in 'The Shining'

Warner Bros. Pictures

The Shining

Metascore: 66
Best for: Fans of haunted house stories and King adaptations
Where to watch:

, Google Play, HBO Max, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 146 minutes

With The Shining, Stanley Kubrick introduced audiences to another iconic villain, the aggrieved author Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), and his memorable catchphrase ("Hereeeee's Johnny!"). Tasked to caretake the Overlook Hotel alongside his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and son Danny (Danny Lloyd), Jack grows paranoid and eventually murderous from the seclusion and the supernatural forces that lurk within the lodge. Another adaptation of a King novel, this one did not earn the author's approval. Critics were similarly not as glowing at the time of its release in 1980, but reception toward the film and the performances by Nicholson and Duvall has grown significantly more positive in subsequent years. Nearly two decades after this 1980 film was released, a limited television event was released, and nearly four decades after The Shining, a sequel, Doctor Sleep, was released in 2019.

"Ostensibly a haunted house story, it manages to traverse a complex world of incipient madness, spectral murder and supernatural visions ...and also makes you jump." — Ian Nathan, Empire

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'Black Christmas'

Warner Bros. Pictures

Black Christmas (1974)

Metascore: 65
Best for: Fans of home invasion thrillers
Where to watch:

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Runtime: 98 minutes

Inspired by an urban legend and a series of murders in Montreal, Canada, Bob Clark's Black Christmas (alternatively titled Stranger in the House) tells the story of a serial killer who stalks a group of sorority sisters during Christmas break. Despite garnering mixed reception when it premiered in 1974, Black Christmas has attained critical reappraisal and a cult following. Some credit it as one of the earliest and most formative slasher, influencing future independent horror films like Carpenter's Halloween.

"One of the more original horror creations of the last few decades." — Oliver Lyttlelton, Indiewire


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Drew Barrymore and Ghostface in 'Scream'

Miramax

Scream (1996)

Metascore: 65
Best for: Fans of terrifying, darkly comic slashers
Where to watch:

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Runtime: 111 minutes

Filmmaker Wes Craven helped revive the slasher genre with 1996's Scream. The Miramax flick tells the story of Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), a teen in a small Southern California town who becomes the latest target in a series of murders by a masked terrorizer named Ghostface. Featuring an all-star cast of popular '90s actors — including Drew Barrymore, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Matthew Lillard, and Skeet UlrichScream became a box office sensation and cultural phenomenon, launching a franchise of commercially successful sequels and a short-lived MTV series.  

"Deftly mixes irony, self-reference and wry social commentary with chills and blood spills." — Richard Harrington, The Washington Post