Horror movies really hit their stride in the late ’70s. While there was plenty of quality stuff before that, Hitchcock’s Psycho springs to mind, it doesn’t quite live up to the psychopathic standards of todays youth.
Thus we have suffered through the screams so that you don’t have to and collated the 13 scariest movies of all time.
Fear not! You will never have nightmares again about which movie is more horrifying. Here is a comprehensive list of the 13 scariest movies ever made.
13. A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)
A play on the idea that nightmares could actually kill you, Freddy Krueger brought the fright to the one safe place left. If a generation of kids were afraid to go to sleep then that’s one hell of a successful horror flick.
12. Wolf Creek (2005)
Famously based on the backpacker murders by Ivan Milat, the Australian outback just got a whole lot spookier. One of the most unbearably tense, sadistic films ever made, Mick Taylor has the creepiest laugh we’ve ever heard.
We’ll never forget the way he says, “you’re a head on stick”.
11. Paranormal Activity (2007)
After The Blair Witch Project opened the floodgates to handheld horror films, nothing upped the anti until Paranormal Activity. Each night CCTV footage was shown of things getting weirder and weirder.
When Ouji boards catch fire it’s time to move house.
10. 28 Days Later (2002)
It’s funny to look back after watching Peaky Blinders at a Cillian Murphy not so in control. Dan Boyle’s spin on the typical apocalyptic zombie flick was flipped on its head by one simple change. The zombies are all Usain Bolt.
With a new rush of adrenaline, people weren’t even sure wether they could outrun zombies anymore, let alone fend them off.
9. Alien (1979)
Just as scary as a witch in the woods is a slow, stalking alien in deep space. This is arguably cinemas masterclass in less-is-more gore and unbearable tension. From an alien being born in a man’s belly to Ellen Ripley turning into a flame throwing bad ass, this is potentially Ridley Scott’s finest work.
8. The Silence Of The Lambs (1991)
The ultimate cannibal, Hannibal Lecter had the best eye contact. Anthony Hopkins made this fright-fest all the more unnerving with his intense veracity for the enjoyment of human flesh.
Between Lecter and the lady skin collector, Buffalo Bill, there was more than enough serial killer chills to make The Silence Of The Lambs an instant classic.
7. Saw (2004)
‘Torture porn’, as it was once ceremoniously dubbed, is undoubtedly true of Saw, especially after the first film. Yet James Wan’s original is still a sleek slice of bloody perfection and one of the scariest movies of all time.
‘How far would you go to survive?’ is a perfectly powerful premise for a horror film. Before the Byzantine rate maze and shlock gore of subsequent films, Saw was a psychological curve ball and we are still trying to puzzle it all out.
6. Halloween (1978)
John Carpenter‘s breakout masterpiece is the archetypal teenage slasher flick. Inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, Halloween saw Michael Myers stumble around with a kitchen knife. He never broke into a run though making it all the more terrifying.
The score is even more amazing, recorded by John Carpenter himself in a few days. Everything about Halloween is revolutionary, from the jump scares to the immortal silent killer.
5. The Shining (1980)
While it might not live up to today’s horror standards, The Shining is a tense, psychological classic. Based on the famous Stephen King novel, Stanley Kubrick and Jack Nicholson procure some of their finest work here.
I’ll never forget how to spell ‘REDRUM’ again, and the creepy twins talking in unison have become a horror staple among many others. ‘HEERE’S JOHNY!’
4. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
The movie that changed horror for ever, The Blair Witch Project was almost scarier due to the psychological realism surrounding it than the shaky, nausea inducing camera shots.
Co-Director Daniel Myrick went to great lengths to make the movie appear real. The actors were made deceased on IMDb, missing posters were made, their parents were receiving condolence calls. A fictional legend was even fabricated using manufactured newspaper articles, newsreels, television news reports, and staged interviews.
This kind of thing would never work in 2019 and just added to the legacy of the film.
3. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
While often reviewed as a gore-fest, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is surprisingly low on gore by today’s standards. Yet its gritty realism and sheer intensity is world-class as a group of young teens kiss the chain of Leatherface and his cannibal comrades.
2. Ring (1998)
The original Japanese version of Ring has to take the stake in terms of all time horror quality. Compared to its sightly dulled down American counterpart (2002), spearheaded by Dreamworks, Sadako is absolutely terrifying making for one of the scariest movies ever made.
Countless hours of sleep have been lost over the years due to this film and has probably convinced a lot of people not to watch as much TV, or pick up the phone.
1. The Exorcist (1973)
When The Exorcist hit the theatres in 1973 it was so terrifying that it caused bouts of fainting and vomiting. There were even reports of cinemas providing barf bags and ambulances standing by outside.
Developed from the novel of the same name, The Exorcist was based on the real life exorcism of Roland Doe. During a screening in Rome, a 400 year old steeple was struck by lightning, crashing into the plaza below. Furthermore, during filming the house was burnt down yet Regan’s room was untouched.
Too add to the demonic legacy of the film, nine people died during its filming. Actor Jake MacGowran died of a heart attack, while actor Jason Miller’s toddler son was struck by a motorcycle.
Furthermore, actress Mercedes McCambridge lived a horror story of her own when 10 years later her son shot his wife and children before turning the gun on her self. And this is all before we even talk about the movie.