A great horror film is timeless, but also reflects the era when it was made. Scary movies have been with us for 100 years now, with each decade introducing themes that reflected new concerns for hapless humans. While awards voters and highbrow critics often look down on horror films, the public loves them because few other genres can offer such a visceral pleasure and because they provide a catharsis for fears.

Here are 10 greats, one from each decade. The 10 are not necessarily the best film of that decade; the readers can decide what’s best. But each chosen film is a perfect reflection of what was going on at the time.