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Simply put, the anthology is a collection of stories blended into one complete work. Some of the best-known and most celebrated stories have been told in this manner on both the big and small screens. Telling stories through an anthological style often allows for more creative freedom, as directors and producers weave together a multitude of creative elements to build a body of work. They also tend to hold the audience’s attention for longer periods of time, keeping them guessing with every twist and turn – especially when each story contributes to a greater and more collective narrative. Horror is a genre that has historically followed this pattern of success.

Many anthology stories work best as television shows, while others find greater success as films. For example, The Twilight Zone has long maintained popularity, with each individual episode following a different unfortunate happening, while American Horror Story takes its audience into a new realm with each new season. Capitalizing on cult followings and the must-see nature of movie magic, some of the most successful horror stories are conglomerations of a few terrifying tales within one film. Take a look at the best horror anthology movies, ranked.

7 The Mortuary Collection (2019)

This Shudder original, a relatively new entry into the horror genre, is full of cautionary tales and unforeseen twists. In The Mortuary Collection, a young woman looks for work at the Raven’s End Mortuary and embarks on a tour of the place led by Montgomery Dark (Clancy Brown), the head mortician. Montgomery begins to spin some stories about the unfortunate souls that have ended up there. Each of these is more horrifying than the next, featuring outlandish creatures and increasingly dark imagery. One memorable segment titled “Unprotected” follows a frat boy (Jacob Elordi) with unsavory intentions who soon reaps the consequences of his actions, with monstrous results.

6 Trick ‘r Treat (2007)

Trick ‘r Treat is a spooky tale about Halloween night gone horribly wrong. The film blends together five different stories, all encroached upon by Sam, a pint-sized trick-or-treater draped in a burlap outfit. Sam seems to follow people who don’t respect the rules of the holiday, exposing to the audience the harrowing demise of those who don’t subscribe to its time-honored traditions. Poisoned candy, the awakening of ancient creatures, and terrible tricks follow as a result. Released in 2007, this film has become somewhat of a cult classic that encourages viewers to double-check who’s outside their door before they open up. Fans have clamored for a sequel, which director Michael Dougherty says may happen eventually if the stars align just right.

Related: New Trick ‘R Treat Comic Collection Brings Sam’s Halloween Stories Back for the 10th Anniversary

5 The ABC’s of Death (2013)

The ABCs of Death is an absolute whirlwind, highlighting 26 different scary stories and drawing upon a new horror director for each individual letter of the alphabet. From the imaginations of big names across the globe, like Ti West and Nacho Vigalando, every chapter details a different manner of death with a letter corresponding to it. “E is for Exterminate” positions a man against a disappearing spider, who is much closer than he realizes. “T is for Toilet,” a claymation segment, features a commode hungry for human flesh. The film has been praised for its absurdity but also called poorly connected, with a review from NPR stating, “while some of the directors are able to make that simplicity work for them, some … not so much.”

4 Body Bags (1993)

John Carpenter’s Body Bags is a campy and creepy salute to the horror renaissance of the ’90s. This made-for-TV movie features a star-studded cast that includes Wes Craven and Sam Raimi. John Carpenter plays the coroner, who takes the audience on a trip through three stories – “The Gas Station,” “Hair,” and “Eye” – whose characters have recently ended up in the titular body bags within his morgue. The first of these harrowing happenings takes place close to Haddonfield, Illinois, a nod to Carpenter’s highly successful Halloween movies. This atmospheric anthology spotlights some big names in horror while still maintaining a sense of fresh originality through its terrifying tales.

3 Creepshow (1982)

The original iteration of Creepshow is indeed “the most fun you’ll ever have being scared.” Written by Stephen King and directed by George A. Romero, this cult classic follows after the style of immensely popular horror comic books from the 1950s. The audience takes a seat to five spooky tales, each led by the Creep himself, the ugly undead host of the series. Stephen King stars as Jordy Verrill in the short “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill,” which was adapted from his own short story, “Weeds.Creepshow went on to become a more recent horror anthology television series of the same name, produced by Shudder. It was recently renewed for its fourth season.

Related: These Are the Best George A. Romero Movies, Ranked

2 Trilogy of Terror (1975)

Trilogy of Terror is a classic entry into the world of horror anthologies, leading many films to follow in its footsteps. Based on short stories by Richard Matheson and inspired by EC Horror Comics (much like Creepshow), each of these three tales stars Karen Black. “Julie” illuminates a dangerous relationship between a college student and one of his teachers. “Millicent and Therese” captures twin sisters caught in a disgusting dichotomy. “Amelia,” perhaps the most well-known story from this film, follows a woman on the run from a possessed wooden fetish doll with murderous intentions. A review from Slant Magazine stated, “The script by Richard Matheson is a mini-masterpiece of slow-building tension escalating into full throttle maniacal action…Black is such a volcano of emotion she keeps you with her character at every moment.”

1 Tales from the Crypt (1972)

The original Tales from the Crypt is a next-level horror anthology that packs a punch. With its basis in EC Comics stories that have spooked audiences for decades, the film has remained an iconic pillar of the horror world. When five individuals embark on a catacomb tour, they get much more than they bargained for when the creepy Crypt Keeper spins stories about their imminent deaths. Including a killer Santa Claus, a fateful car accident, and a reinterpretation of the horror short story “The Monkey’s Paw,” there’s no question why this film has remained a cult classic. Its celebrated anthological style inspired a television series that premiered in the late ’80s, attracting well-known actors to direct single episodes.



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