Top 10 Scariest Movies Of All Time
Welcome back horror fans!
Last week, I brought you my top 10 favorite creepy movies, and was ridiculed by my friends for a few of the titles on that list (SHUT UP, House of 100 Corpses is TERRIFYING!).
This week, I’ll be taking you through the “professional” opinion of the top 10 horror movies. This list has been complied from various sources, my books on horror movies, websites, etc., and I’ve tried to make the list as fair as I possibly could.
There aren’t many duplicates to my list which I found interesting. This either means I’m a sally girl who gets scared over stupid things – or that I’ve become desensitized to films that use subtlety as an art form. I’m betting it’s the latter.
Regardless here are the “official” top 10 scariest movies for your viewing pleasure.
# 10 – A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, directed by Wes Craven is the story of Freddy Krueger, the killer that can only hurt you in your dreams. He has one gloved hand with fingers made of blades, and he also speaks almost completely in puns.
I think that’s why I have a hard time with this as a scary movie. When I was younger this movie scared the living daylights out of me, but I wouldn’t consider it a “top 10 scariest movies of all time”.
Freddy is creepy. Freddy will get you when you’re sleeping, and once Freddy has you in dream world, he can bend it however he wants. The original A Nightmare on Elm Street (not to EVER be confused with the horrendous “reboot” from 2010) has Robert Englund as Freddy, and to this day I still remember an interview with him where he apologized to the youth of America for scaring them so badly.
The first installment of the series is by far the scariest. The franchise has gone on to make 9 installments of the film, comic books, a (brief) television show, and started Johnny Depp’s career. While it is iconic and while “One, two, Freddy’s coming for you…” still gives me the creeps, I don’t find this to be one of the scariest movies of all time.
# 9 – Audition (1999)
AUDITION was scary because the villain in the film was just so innocent looking! Audition is the story of a widower that holds an audition (arranged by his friend) to find him a new wife, and ends up picking the WRONG girl.
Eihi Shiina is Asami Yamazaki, the beautiful girl that Shigeharu chooses, and who turns out to be COMPLETELY off her rocker. When she realizes that the audition is NOT for a movie like initially stated, she decides to take out a little revenge on Shigeharu… in the worst ways imaginable.
I won’t give anything away, but let’s just say that some of her methods include piano wire, needles, and eyes. *shudder* This movie had me sitting with my mouth agape as I watched certain scenes, and I think I actually needed to look away once because I was so grossed out.
# 8 – Jaws (1975)
I love this movie so much that I always forget it’s a “horror” movie. JAWS to me just embodies an EXCEPTIONAL film; regardless of the goofs, broken props, and the difficulties that they had shooting. It’s got it all – scares, jumps, and humor. It gave us “You’re gonna need a bigger boat…” which is probably one of the most used pop culture phrases ever. It’s amazing how many scenarios that line can apply to.
The opening sequence of Jaws when poor Chrissie Watkins is yanked under the deceptively still water to her HORRIBLE death, is so deeply disturbing that it ruined my short lived scuba diving dreams for life.
What’s scary about Jaws is that you KNOW when Bruce (the mechanical shark for those of you out there that don’t know random pop culture facts) is going to attack; and the musical score that serves as his soundtrack is just as nerve wracking as the attack itself!
Jaws terrified audiences and made us think twice before going back into the water (or in some cases, even the bathtub). No matter what Spielberg says, that shark looks REAL!! And when Bruce belly flops onto the Orca and makes poor Quint his lunch, well… That’s imagery that will stay with you for a LONG time.
# 7 – Halloween (1978)
YAY! I’m vindicated! HALLOWEEN is one of two films that crossed over from my list last week; so I have some sense of pride knowing that I picked at least ONE of the scariest films of all time.
Since it debut in 1978, Halloween has gone on to spawn 7 sequels, and 2 reboots by Rob Zombie, comic books, and countless films that tried but did not succeed, to take use the Halloween formula.
Like I said before Halloween is awesome. Enough said.
#6 – Psycho (1960)
I saw PSYCHO so long ago that I have very little recollection of anything that occurs other than the infamous shower scene.
Psycho follows Norman Bates of the Bates motel, a deeply disturbed man with HUGE mommy issues. To this day I cannot stay in a hotel without opening the shower curtain the second I walk into the bathroom; so despite my not remembering much from Psycho it has sufficiently scarred me enough.
#5 – The Thing (1982)
Unlike Psycho which I saw YEARS ago, I am ashamed to admit that I have never seen THE THING, and ergo, will not be a good judge of exactly how scary this film is.
However, I did do a little research on it so as not to leave you, the reader, with NOTHING to go off of, and WOW does this sound messed up! And also like an episode of the X-Files, but I digress.
Directed by John Carpenter (how come I haven’t seen this?!), The Thing takes place in a Antarctic research station (as if that’s not scary enough already – what the hell is in Antarctica that can help you if you’re invaded by something?) where a research team has uncovered a frozen alien life form.
The alien infects the researchers and then proceeds to take the form of the last person it has infected; which leaves the team in a pretty bad place. I won’t spoil anything other than the pictures I found of The Thing, even for working with effects from 1982, look TERRIFYING.
I must see this movie. For those reading that HAVE – what did you think? Should it be #5 on this list?
#4 – Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Kudos, Romero. DAWN OF THE DEAD made me gag RIGHT out loud when I saw it. My best friend has a slight obsession with zombie movies, and one weekend we rented all of Romero’s films and had ourselves a little zombie festival.
Looking back on it, Dawn of the Dead was pretty scary. The zombies didn’t scare me so much as they grossed me out; the scene when they literally RIP apart one of the characters and begin to eat him is when I gagged. Loudly. And had to leave the room.
What scared me in this film was how resigned to the fact that the heroes were to living in this shopping mall. There are MOBS of zombies outside, but after securing the mall, they seem completely okay with living this way for the rest of their lives. Which, I guess, when you’re surrounded by the zombie apocalypse, what other choice do you have?
Romero is always great, and there is always an underlying message to his films, and they will always be more than just mindless zombie movies if you look deep enough. But he never fails to scare (or completely gross out) his audiences (with the exception of last year’s Survival of the Dead) while making his point.
#3 – Alien (1979)
I remember being more scared of the suspense in ALIEN, but not so much with the scare factor of the film sticking with me after I turned off the DVD. It’s scary, don’t get me wrong. Any film that takes place in a desolate space with no hope of rescue is always scary.
And the premise is pretty creepy – Aliens are never anything to mess with, especially when they’re out for blood.
For me, Alien was more about what was lurking around the next corner and where the hell the Alien was hiding. It’s a space ship! There aren’t that many places to go; but this stupid thing for REAL gave Ripley a run for her money.
How can you not love a movie that gave us Ellen Ripley? She’s a kick ass “final girl” (if we classify Alien as horror and not Sci-Fi) and showed us that women in movies can actually do some damage themselves and not just wait for a man to rescue them.
#2 – The Shining (1980)
I have to say I’m disappointed in myself that I didn’t add this to my list of scariest movies. THE SHINING is so deeply disturbing that it creeps me out to even think about it enough to write up this snippet.
Let’s face it. Anything that comes from the mind of Stephen King is bound to be a little twisted, and The Shining is no exception.
Jack Nicholson is astounding, and I don’t know about you, but I fully believe he went insane while filming this movie. The Overlook Hotel (which is based on the Stanley Hotel in Colorado) is the PERFECT setting for this ghost story.
The awesome thing about The Shining is that there is something for everyone. Gore fans will love the elevator opening up to spill gallons upon gallons of blood into the entryway, the murders of the little girls are shown, albeit briefly, but with enough gore to stick with you.
If a psychological scare is more your speed, watching Jack go slowly insane being locked away in this giant hotel with only his family and novel to keep him company is deeply creepy. There is a scene when Jack is sitting completely still on the edge of his bed in a bathrobe, just staring at nothing; and you hold your breath just WAITING for something to happen… *shudder*
If ghosts and hauntings creep you out – OH MY GOODNESS. The little ghost girls in their matching blue dresses begging Danny (Jack’s son) to “come play with us…” will FOREVER haunt your dreams. I STILL have nightmares about those stupid little girls.
I’ll say it again, I’m MAD at myself for not putting this on my list, and will have to for sure rent this before the end of October.
#1 – The Exorcist (1973)
VINDICATION AGAIN! And for the number 1 spot!
As you all know, THE EXORCIST scares the bejeesus out of me to this day. I can give myself nightmares just thinking about it; I don’t even have to watch the movie.
Here’s a bit of creepy Exorcist trivia for you:
• Ellen Burstyn agreed to doing the movie only if her character didn’t have to say the scripted line: “I believe in the devil!” The producers agreed to eliminate the utterance.
• The demon that is possessing Regan is NOT the devil. The demon is actually named “Pazuzu”.
• Due to its controversial material, this movie was not available on video in the UK until 1999 when the British Board of Film Censors approved an uncut version.
• Linda Blair is not the voice of the demon. Actress Mercedes McCambridge actually provided the voice of Pazuzu.
• There are tales about ominous events surrounding the year-long shoot, including the deaths of nine people associated with the production and stories about a mysterious fire that destroyed the set one weekend. Actors Jack MacGowran and Vasiliki Maliaros died before the film was released.
• The Exorcist affected audiences so strongly that many theaters called paramedics to treat those that had fainted and others that went into hysterics.
• This is the first horror film to be nominated for “Best Picture” at the Oscars.
That sums it up for this week! I share two movies on my top 10 list with the scariest movies of all time, which is okay with me! What say you? What movies would you add to this list? I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions!
Also, stayed tuned for next week – with Halloween right around the corner, we’ll take a look at each horror category individually and see what films make the cut! I’ll try VERY hard not to repeat the last two weeks, so let me know if you have suggestions!
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