I used to be a pretty big horror fan. There was a time when I would rather watch a good scary movie than a comedy. Over time, I have lost interest in horror. I don’t hate scary movies, but I also don’t go out of my way to watch them like I used to. Maybe it’s the gore, maybe I have had my fill, or it could be that I don’t want my kids to walk in on me watching something that could give them nightmares. I still have a great deal of respect for the genre, and there are a few movies that have stuck with me. These movies are not necessarily what I would say are the best scary movies, so much as the scariest scary movies. I left out some of the better horror films, it’s simply because they just didn’t scare me. (Or I haven’t seen them) This is a list of movies that scared the crap out of me. They made me jump or kept me from sleeping for a few nights. These movies have haunted me from the first time I saw them. Some of them have created new fears for me. Either way, these are by far the most terrifying movies I have ever experienced.
13. Return To Oz (1985) PG
Yeah, I know this isn’t suposed to be a scary movie, But imagine being an 8 year old kid watching this movie in the middle of the night. There is a woman who has a closet filled with talking heads. She can take her own head off and switch it out with the other heads. Now that is horrifying!!! This movie was way to dark for young kids to watch.
12. Alien (1979) R
Slow simple plot with a great build up. Then, when it’s time to pull the trigger, we finally get to see the alien and all hell breaks loose. My favorite scene is the ending when she realizes the alien has made it onto the escape ship with her. Freaking scary stuff.
11. The Strangers (2008) R
The scariest thing about The Strangers is that it actually happened. Throw in some creepy masks and you have a terrifying home invasion movie that will have you installing a top notch security system in the morning.
10. Halloween (1978) R
They weren’t able to use big budget special effects to tell their story. They had to get creative and use creepy music, good camera angles, and actual suspense to make one of the greatest slasher films of all time. I saw this for the first time as an adult and it still scared the crap out of me. Every time Michael Myers came on screen I jumped. He is by far my favorite scary movie bad guy.
9. The Blair Witch Project (1999) R
I remember seeing this in the movie theater. It absolutely scared the crap out of me. I drove home through some woods that night, and I did it with the interior lights on. I was constantly looking in the back seat of my truck for weeks after that one.
8. The Evil Dead (1981) R
How scary is this movie? I didn’t even watch the whole thing, and I never will. This movie is more pure evil that scary. The scariest thing about this movie was that someone was demented enough to make it.
7. The Mist (2007) R
I watch this movie every chance I get. I can’t say too much. If you haven’t seen it, then I don’t want to ruin the ending. But, I will say there are plenty of moments that will have you grabbing your seat.
6. Poltergeist (1982) PG
Seriously, how did this movie get a PG rating?!? There are skeletons crawling around in the mud and a woman that can’t get away from them. The mom crawling on the ceiling had me running out of the room when I was a kid. This movie still scares me.
5. Paranormal Activity (2007) R
This movie had me standing up jumping and cussing a couple times. IT WAS SCARY!!! Knowing that this kind of evil exists and that some people have experienced it added to the terror. I have never seen the sequels because I don’t want to ruin that original experience.
4. The Exorcist (1973) R
Not only is the movie scary, but all the true behind the scenes stories about the things that happened to people in the film are pretty scary too. The movie has a great redemptive ending, but I wouldn’t want to have to go through any of that.
3. Contagion (2011) PG-13
No, this is not meant to be a scary movie. It is by no means part of the horror genre. But, it is still one of the scariest movies ever. To think disease could spread that fast and kill that many people. This movie is totally realistic and could happen. It’s not just the threat of disease that is scary. The behavior of desperate people in a state of panic can be scary also. I will never forget this movie. If you are a germaphobe, I recommend you stay away from this one.
2. The Descent (2005) R
This movie is crazy intense and does a good job of making you feel claustrophobic. Even if you are not claustrophobic, you will feel stuck in a small space for the entire film. A group of gal pals decide to go spelunking and find themselves in a bit of a pickle. It turns out there is a heard of blind mutant humanoids hunting them in the caves. Not only that, but their relationships start to dissolve, the walls are crumbling in on them, and they start to experience some equipment failure. Moral of the story: Stay above ground, you idiot!!
1. Event Horizon (1997) R
So, they make this spaceship that is able to create worm holes and travel anywhere in the universe without having to worry bout time. Pretty cool, right? NO! It is not cool at all! Especially if that spaceship accidentally goes to Hell and comes back possessed. I can never un-see the things I saw in this movie. The ship starts to play on the characters deepest fears and regrets. And I’ll tell you, there are some pretty nasty things a satanic spaceship will do to you based on those fears. I guess, if you think about it, the movie was pretty accurate as to how Satan operates. If you have a strong stomach, I recommend this one. Not for the easily offended either.
In the year after making this list, I saw 2 more movies that I felt needed to be added. I didn’t feel like completely reordering this list, so I am just adding them right here.
The Purge (2013) R
I just recently saw this movie on regular cable. It was edited and didn’t include much gore or cursing. What scared me about this movie is that it seems to represent a mentality that we as a country/world are headed towards. The ideals pushed by Margret Sanger and Hitler are all over this movie. Kill the poor and the weak so the rich don’t have to take care of them. Make money off of fear. For one night out of the year, all crime, including murder, are legal. The whole purpose of doing this is so people can go out a kill off all the homeless people and less fortunate.It’s one night when the country “regulates” itself without thought of punishment. I don’t know about you, but this is pretty scary.
The Conjuring (2013) R
About half way into The Conjuring, it became the scariest movie I have ever seen. Forget that it was based on a true story and that some of this actually happened. There are so many moments that will make you want to throw the remote at the TV, scream out loud, and jump out of your own skin. I still can’t talk my wife into watching this movie, and if you haven’t seen it, I can’t tell you anything else. I highly recommend this one if you are even kind of into scary movies. You will not be disappointed.
“[Horror fiction] shows us that the control we believe we have is purely illusory, and that every moment we teeter on chaos and oblivion.”
― Clive Barker