The 25 scariest '90s horror movies

16. The Sect (1991)

The scary movie: Also known as The Devils Daughter (or La Setta in its native Italian), this is kind of like Michele Soavis take on Rosemarys Baby. A young schoolteacher (Kelly Curtis) almost runs over an old man (Herbert Lom) and decides to take him home to make sure hes okay. But hes no harmless pensioner: hes the head of a Satanic sect looking for someone to give birth to the Anti-Christ.

Hide behind a cushion when: Anyone goes down to the basement.

15. IT (1990)

The scary movie: Clocking in at over three hours long, this adaptation of Stephen Kings scary clown story is bloated and baggy - which shouldn't come as a surprise for anyone who's read the doorstopper tome. But all of its failings become irrelevant every time Tim Currys Pennywise is on the screen, because he is terrifying. No wonder the kids of Derry, Maine aren't fond of birthday parties...

Hide behind a cushion when: You hear inane giggling. Nothing good is about to happen when that clowns in a laughing mood.

14. The Silence Of The Lambs (1991)

The scary movie: Rookie FBI agent Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) hopes to catch a serial killer by enlisting the help of another one. But while Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) might be behind bars, hes still just as dangerous as Buffalo Bill. This is one of those horror movies people like to call a thriller, because it sounds cleverer, but make no mistake: its scary.

Hide behind a cushion when: Actually, your cushion wont help you much here, because the scariest scene takes place in almost complete darkness at the film's tense climax.

13. Cube (1997)

The scary movie: Didnt like maths at school? Better hope you never find yourself in the same situation as the group of random strangers in Cube. After waking up in a bizarre maze of interlocking cubes, their only hope of escaping with their lives is to solve the puzzle and there might be some long division involved.

Hide behind a cushion when: Pretty much anyone ventures into a new room in the Cube. Its almost certainly going to end in someone getting minced.

12. Scream (1996)

The scary movie: A horror-loving psychopath is on the loose in the small town of Woodsboro, murdering anyone who cant answer a trivia question about scary movies. And then a load who aren't given the option. Scream packs in plenty of horror movie references for die-hard fans to pick up on, but it still stands up as a proper slasher movie in its own right.

Hide behind a cushion when: The masked killer taunts Drew Barrymore over the phone during the opening scene... and then breaks into the house.

11. Begotten (1990)

The scary movie: An experimental, dialogue-free nightmare of a movie that plays with pagan and Christian mythology in a grotesquely gory way. Characters listed in the credits include "God killing himself" - who is probably the closest this terrifying slice of gornography gets to a leading man. One things for sure: youve never seen anything else like it.

Hide behind a cushion when: You put the DVD in the player. And then just dont come out until its over. Want to truly be irked to your very soul? This is the film for you.

10. Misery (1990)

The Scary Movie: James Caan's novelist Paul Sheldon gets dealt a double dose of bad luck - first he crashes his car, and second, he's yanked out of the wreckage by his self-confessed "biggest fan". Who turns out to be seriously unhinged, and played to perfection by Kathy Bates who delivers some of her finest moments as nurse Annie Wilkes. She'll help him convalesce alright, as long as he writes what she likes.

Hide Behind A Cushion When: After escaping from his room, Paul wheels around Annie's house to find a way out... when her truck pulls into the driveway.

9. In The Mouth Of Madness (1994)

The scary movie: Horror novelist Sutter Cane has gone missing, taking the manuscript of his last novel with him. His publishers, understandably, arent too happy about that, and hire an investigator (Sam Neill) to track him down. Realising the fictional setting of his novels - Hobb's End - to be a real place is just the start of the madness. Then everything goes a bit Lovecraft, with eldritch horrors all over the shop. The most meta horror movie of the entire decade, hands down.

Hide behind a cushion when: Cane finally hands over his manuscript. Because of course its not as simple as that.

8. The Exorcist III (1990)

The scary movie: This sort-of-but-not-really sequel to The Exorcist follows a detective and a priest investigating the apparently satanic murders of the Gemini Killer. Written and directed by William Peter Blatty - who penned the original source novel - its might not be as iconic as the original, granted, but its definitely got a ton of truly scary moments.

Hide behind a cushion when: Everything goes very quiet as a nurse heads into a patients room to check everythings okay (spoiler: its not).

7. Candyman (1992)

The scary movie: Legend has it that if you look into a mirror and recite Candyman five times, a hook-handed ghost will show up to murder you. A grad student (Virginia Madsen) investigating the legend tries it out and, sure enough, the legend comes true. Bit reckless, that. Still, it's a blast watching the unique methods of fearmongering the Candyman uses (hint: there's bees).

Hide behind a cushion when: Any time anyone says Candyman near a reflective surface. It's never gonna end well.

Gem Seddon

Gem Seddon is GamesRadar+'s west coast Entertainment News Reporter, working to keep all of you updated on all of the latest and greatest movies and shows on streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Outside of entertainment journalism, Gem can frequently be found writing about the alternative health and wellness industry, and obsessing over all things Aliens and Terminator on Twitter.