The highly-anticipated Scream: The TV Series debuts on MTV tonight at 10/9c, taking a fresh stab (sorry) at the horror genre on the small screen. It remains to be seen how big of an impact the show will have, but the slasher flick that it’s adapted from was nothing short of a game-changer. Directed by horror god Wes Craven (The Hills Have Eyes, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Serpent and the Rainbow), the 1996 hit smartly satirized scare-flick clichés and was equal parts horrifying and hilarious. As any successful horror movie does, it spawned several sequels and a slew of teen-friendly horror movies in the mid to late ’90s. Not all of them approached the greatness of Scream, but some were quite good. In recognition of the original film’s impact, we created the definitive list of ’90s teen horror flicks.
11. The Rage: Carrie 2 (1999)
The original 1976 Carrie is a classic. It speaks to the teenage desire for acceptance, bullying, and the plague of school violence that has become commonplace and is both beautiful and haunting. This sequel, which follows Carrie White’s telekinetic half sister Rachel, is little more than generic teen horror. It should have served as a warning to stop making Carrie movies, but some people never learn, do they?
10. I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998)
The killer fisherman with the hook hand is back and chasing down sexy young people, now on an island resort in the Bahamas (the better for wearing bathing suits)! Brandy, Mekhi Phifer, and the return of Jennifer Love Hewitt’s cleavage couldn’t save this sequel from pointlessness.
9. Idle Hands (1999)
This horror comedy follows a stoner whose hand becomes possessed and starts doing naughty/evil things. It’s incredibly gross, crass, and stupid (even by teen movie standards), but in the ’90s if you didn’t love Devon Sawa and Seth Green, did you really know love at all?
8. Urban Legend (1998)
It’s basically spooky sleepover fodder made into a movie, but this totally bonkers horror flick with Jared Leto, Joshua Jackson, and Rebecca “the Noxema girl” Gayheart definitely had one of the most deranged and ridiculous killers of the ’90s genre. The person behind the urban-legend-inspired murders is so implausible that you can’t help but love it.
7. Disturbing Behavior (1998)
This gem starring James Marsden and Katie Holmes is about teens losing their individuality to mind control, something that anyone who remembers the struggle with parents and teachers can relate to. It also had the best song to be featured in a ’90s teen horror movie (The Flys’ “Got You Where I Want You”) and the best song to be featured in the trailer for a ’90s teen horror movie (Harvey Danger’s “Flagpole Sitta”).
6. The Faculty (1998)
It’s a movie about high school teachers (including Jon Stewart and Salma Hayek) who are secretly aliens and it’s directed by Robert Rodriguez and written by Kevin Williamson (who also penned Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer). So, yeah, it rules.
5. Halloween: H20 (1998)
Despite the fact that this movie is not set under water, as far as the many iterations of the Halloween saga go, this one, which finds Michael Myers still after his sister (and now her son, played by Josh Hartnett), is pretty great, for casting alone. It’s not every day you get to watch a movie with LL Cool J, Michelle Williams, Hartnett, and the original scream queen, Jamie Lee Curtis.
4. I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
Starring all your ’90s teen crushes—Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Freddie Prinze Jr., and Jennifer Love Hewitt’s cleavage—this hokey but fun horror flick, about a pissed off fisherman with a hook hand who hunts down the teens who left him for dead, supplied its fair share of pop-up scares and quotable lines.
3. The Craft (1996)
If you were a goth/goth enthusiast in the ’90s (or ever had an after-school get-together with your girlfriends) this movie about teen witches using their powers to get back at the world was basically your guide to life.
2. Scream 2 (1997)
Horror sequels usually suck. Heck, the characters in Scream 2 even tell you that. But that is simply not the case here. Like the original, this one is self-aware, smart, funny, and you guessed it, legitimately scary. (Oh, and R.I.P. Randy.)
1. Scream (1996)
Come on, was there really any question? The one that started it all was not only the best of its entire saga, but it’s one of the best horror movies of all-time. Everything from the mega-’90s cast (Neve Campbell, Skeet Ulrich, Rose McGowan, Matthew Lillard), to the ’90s soundtrack, to the ’90s fashion screams ’90s, and it’s still a legitimately terrifying thrill ride all these years later.