10 very scary movies

There are a lot of top ten lists for “scariest movie of all time,” but from box office hits to oddball cult classics, there are some movies that turn up again and again. You’ll notice a few favorites are missing, namely HALLOWEEN (1978), which has great 70s kitsch value and hands down more naked boobs than any movie on this list, but as a movie, it’s really not all the frightening, right? And no, I didn’t forget THE EXORCIST (1973) either, but buckets of green puke are more gross than scary. You’ll notice, too, that there aren’t a lot of new scary movies, and that’s not because I don’t like them, but I think we should let them stand the test of time a bit before we start putting them on all-time lists.

10. WAIT UNTIL DARK (1967)

This oft-forgotten gem stars Audrey Hepburn as a blind woman terrorized by Alan Arkin and his gang of thugs who think she has a doll full of heroin. Bet you never thought a refrigerator light would save your life.

9. NOSFERATU (1922)

Greatest vampire movie of all time? Michael Myers stole all Nosferatu’s best moves in HALLOWEEN (the white face, the lurking) but the original is still the bone-chilling best.


Before Freddy Kruger spawned a franchise of films (what’s the word for seven-quel?) he appeared here in what is arguably Wes Craven’s biggest, scariest hit.


If you were unfortunate enough to stumble upon this epic spatter-fest at an age far too tender for so much blood, it will remain one of the most horrifying, most difficult to revisit movies you’ve ever seen.


Mia Farrow is raped by the devil and gives birth to his baby. Any questions?


I know ROSEMARY’S BABY won some Oscars but seriously, SILENCE OF THE LAMBS cleaned up in 1991. And for good reason, too. It’s not creepy and weird just for the sake of it. It’s so haunting you’ll be thinking about it years later.

4. PYSCHO (1960)

You think the shower scene is scary? What about when Norman Bates wheels around in a chair, dressed up in his dead mother’s clothes? Even creepier is the fact that PYSCHO, SILENCE OF THE LAMBS and TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE all borrow from real life psycho killer Ed Gein, who dug up dead bodies that resembled his dead mother so he could skin and tan them and make them into a girly suit. Yikes.

3. ALIEN (1979)

Far superior to James Cameron’s action-oriented sequel (ALIENS), Ridley Scott knew how to make things extra scary by keeping the alien mostly out of sight.

2. REPULSION (1965)

This is as creepy as it gets. Watching Catherine Deneuve slowly but steadily sink into insanity (we’re talking rape fantasies, rotting plates of meat and discarded dead bodies) still gives me goosebumps.

1. THE SHINING (1980)

THE SHINING wins the number one spot for combining elements of the classic scary movie (the remote location, the creepy kid, the epic axe-weilding final scene) with stunning photography and great performances. It nails all the scary movie categories: it’s weird, it’s suspenseful, it’s thrilling, it’s got weapons and chasing and blood. You’re on the edge of your seat, but it’s Kubrick, so what else would you expect?