If you ever think of classic horror movies from the 1970s to the 1990s, there may be a chance that teenagers play the leading role. That is because the target audience, who are young themselves, can relate to the teenage experience and archetypes portrayed in these films. It is also entertaining to see teenagers being chased by a masked killer, having supernatural elements or any other classic horror movie trope. 

Teen horror has resonated with the horror audience for decades and will continue for many years to come. So, here is a list of 10 horror films, ranging from classic to modern, that star teen protagonists that will scare your pants off this spooky season.  

Halloween (1978)

Laurie Strode stands outside during the day while looking focused in Halloween.

The first Halloween movie is a classic in the horror film genre. The movie stars the most iconic horror villain, Micheal Myers, who stalks a group of teenagers. One teenager of the group, Laurie Strode, must try to survive Micheal Myers’ killing spree. Halloween is a Halloween staple and inspires many other slasher films in the upcoming years.

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Carrie (1976)

Still of Sissy Spacek in Carrie, a quintessential Halloween film.

Carrie is the film adaptation of Stephen King‘s debut novel of the same name and remains one of the iconic teen horror movies of the 1970s. The title character, Carrie, deals with school bullying and her extremely religious mother. Then, when one bully goes too far on prom night, she takes her revenge with her telekinesis powers. Carrie uses classic horror and supernatural elements to explore coming to age and religion.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

A photo of Heather Langenkamp as Nancy Thompson and Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger while posing for the movie A Nightmare on Elm Street.

A Nightmare on Elm Street presents a supernatural twist to the slasher genre that involves a serial killer killing people in their dreams. The film introduces us to Freddy Krueger, who takes revenge on a group of teenagers as payback for their parents, who burned him. It is considered one of the best horror movies and makes you scared of sleeping at night.

Scream (1996)

Drew Barrymore screams at Ghostface in SCREAM, which is both a Halloween movie and a good reason to have cocktails.

Scream is one of the most iconic horror movies that defined the slasher genre of the 1990s. A group of teenagers are chased by a masked serial killer known as Ghostface. The film is an entertaining ride from start to finish with classic slasher tropes and teenage stereotypes.

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The Craft (1996)

A still from the Halloween movie The Craft, with the four lead teen girls walking while backlit by a white light.

The Craft is a ’90s cult classic about teenagers using witchcraft to fix their problems. Sarah Bailey, a transfer student with telekinetic powers, joins a group of teenage girls practicing witchcraft at a Catholic school. The Craft is one of the quintessential witch movies that deals with feminism and female friendship.

I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)

The movie poster for the '90s horror film I Know What You Did Last Summer, with four teens' faces lit by a bluish white light.

Along with Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer is one of the popular teen slashers of the 1990s. The movie portrays a group of teenagers who accidentally struck a man with their car and tried to cover it up, only to be chased by an anonymous killer. It may not be a horror masterpiece, but it is fun to see Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe and Freddie Prinze Jr. in a horror movie.

Scary Movie (2000)

A still of Gabrielle Union as Brenda, Shannon Elizabeth as Buffy and Anna Faris as Cindy in Scary Movie.

If you are looking for a horror movie to laugh your pants off this season, look no further than Scary Movie. The film parodies Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer while referencing other classic horror movies. Scary Movie is the perfect movie to turn your brain off and just laugh at the jokes and gags.

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Jennifer’s Body (2009)

Jennifer stands in an abandoned pool in a white and black dress in the horror movie Jennifer's Body.

After its box office failure in 2009, Jennifer’s Body has become a cult classic among female and LGBTQ+ audiences in recent years. Jennifer Check is a high school cheerleader who becomes possessed and starts killing her male classmates to survive. Only her socially awkward best friend, Needy Lesnicki, can stop her killing spree. The film is a hilarious bloody ride from start to finish that draws commentary on feminism, sexuality and friend dynamics. 

It Follows (2014)

A blonde girl in a pink bra is tied to a chair while looking terrified in the horror movie It Follows.

It Follows is one of the best indie horror movies of the 2010s. The film centers on Annie Marshall, who becomes the target of a supernatural entity after having sex with her boyfriend. The movie draws a discussion on sexuality and STDs while using supernatural and horror elements.

The Fear Street Trilogy (2021)

Fear Street Trilogy queer horror shows

Netflix’s Fear Street Trilogy, based on R. L. Stine‘s horror series, are fast-paced and fun movies set in different timelines. The three films follow a group of teenagers facing the deadly curse that plagued their small town for centuries. The movies pay homage to classic teen horror films and include positive LGBTQ+ representation.

What are your favorite teen horror movies? Sound off in the comments below!

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