Some of these horror trailers are meant for adults, so be warned ahead of time. I don't think any of these horror movie trailers are gruesome or gory enough to be rated "R", but just to be safe, let's assume that they are.
You'll probably notice that most of the horror trailers listed are from movies that came out a long time ago. There's a pretty simple reason for that; most newer horror movies, (and newer horror movie trailers) just aren't very good.
Where possible, I've linked the name of each movie to a fan site or blog article about the movie that I enjoyed.
I enjoyed putting this list of the top 50 horror movie trailers together though. It made me want to re-watch some of these movies.
1. The Exorcist
William Peter Blatty, who wrote the novel on which The Exorcist is based, won $10,000 on the show You Bet Your Life. When asked by Groucho Marx, the host, what he was going to do with the money, Blatty replied that he was going to take some time off and write a novel. The Exorcist was the result.
John Carpenter made the most successful independent film of all time when he made Halloween or $325,000. And it's still a far better movie than the dull and lifeless Rob Zombie remake.
3. The Thing
John Carpenter didn't just make slasher movies. The Thing still holds up as one of the best scifi, horror, thriller movies of all time.
4. The Fog
Another John Carpenter movie that's as good today as it was in 1980.
This 1983 film has a dual pedigree; it's not only directed by horror director legend John Carpenter, but it's based on a novel from horror novelist legend Stephen King.
Alice Cooper as a homeless zombie. Another John Carpenter classic that's truly creepy and not as well-known as his other movies.
The original George Romero zombie movie, which was clearly inspired by Hitchcock's The Birds.
As long as you can get past the blue zombies (and you can) then this is a zombie classic from George Romero that you shouldn't miss.
The George Romero original is terrific. The recent remake was so bad that all copies of it should be destroyed. (Unlike the Dawn of the Dead remake, which was as good as the original.)
10. Zombi 2
This unofficial "sequel" to George Romero's zombie movie is a pretty decent picture in its own right, and the trailer is really cool.
11. 28 Days Later
The zombies aren't really dead in this movie; they're just infected with the Rage virus.
The rarest of remakes, Dawn of the Dead is as good as its source material, and possibly better. A great movie.
13. The Shining
Stephen King didn't like Kubrick's version of The Shining, but watch the trailer and remember how brilliant and original this movie was when it came out.
Another horror classic that really doesn't need a remake but is getting one anyway.
Hitchcock was too cool.
16. The Birds
I was amazed at how clearly this was the inspiration for Night of the Living Dead.
17. Evil Dead
This was the movie that made Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell superstars, as far as I'm concerned.
I saw this as a kid, and it scared me then, and it still scares me now.
19. Texas Chainsaw Massacre
This was never one of my favorite horror movies, but the trailer is still darned cool.
This is really one of my favorite horror movies, and the cast is just amazing.
I wonder why this classic isn't being remade right now.
Some horror movies become dated. Silence of the Lambs is a horror movie that has not become dated at all, and I suspect it never will.
23. Black Christmas
The original Black Christmas was a trendsetter for slasher movies. Much of what is cliched in slasher films originated here. (Black Christmas was never as popular as Halloween, but some people have noticed that a lot of what was innovative about Halloween originated in Black Christmas.)
The sequels have all been pretty bad, but the original Saw was a masterpiece. And so was the trailer for the movie.
Love means never having to say you're ugly.
The Quentin Tarantion presents gimmick almost kept me away from this movie, but I'm glad I saw it.
27. Ginger Snaps
Women as werewolves.
This was released back when Stephen King was calling Clive Barker "the future of horror". It's still a cool horror movie trailer.
29. Cemetery Man
A radically different kind of zombie movie, and it's clearly a different horror trailer too.
Kathy Bates STILL creeps me out.
31. Rosemary's Baby
Back when Mia Farrow was REALLY hot.
32. The Omen
Gregory Peck brought a much-needed gravitas to his role in this 70s horror masterpiece.
Margot Kidder is in this one, back when she was still really hot.
A classic horror movie trailer.
Go visit the Tall Man for yourself.
36. Prom Night
This movie helped solidify Jamie Lee Curtis as the scream queen of the 70s.
37. The Stepford Wives
A quick look at this horror movie trailer will leave you wondering what the makers of the 2004 remake were thinking.
38. Event Horizon
Yes, it had it's cheesy moments. But the horror trailer for Event Horizon makes you expect a masterpiece.
Not just a great horror movie, but one of the greatest movies ever, with a stellar cast.
40. Pet Sematary
Sometimes dead is better. I took my mom to see this in 1988; she loved it, and so did I.
41. The Lost Boys
A cool 80s vampire movie.
Obviously inspired in no small part by When a Stranger Calls, this movie is probably better than its inspiration.
The trailer to this movie is scarier than the actual movie, but When a Stranger Calls is still worth seeing.
We all float down here.
45. The Hitcher
Another movie with an ill-advised and needless remake.
46. Child's Play
Chucky's debut, baby!
One word. Badass!
The scariest dog movie ever, except maybe for Turner and Hooch.
49. Fright Night
A still-great vampire movie that is often forgotten on horror best-of lists.
The best movie I saw last year, period. Also the most original vampire movie ever.