The 50 Scariest Movies Ever

A man seeks direction in his life while his slacker friend enjoys living on the couch. All that changes, however, when zombies attack. This film is probably more comedy than horror, but it still has all of the elements necessary to make a perfect zombie flick. (credit: Universal Pictures)
50. Shaun of the Dead (2004) A man seeks direction in his life while his slacker friend enjoys living on the couch. All that changes, however, when zombies attack. This film is probably more comedy than horror, but it still has all of the elements necessary to make a perfect zombie flick. (credit: Universal Pictures)
A man turns his basement into a laboratory, designed for bringing dead people (and pets) back to life. But his experiments are not quite perfected yet, and they require people to be dead. There is definitely some comedy mixed into this one, but it’s still pretty gory. (credit: Empire Pictures)
49. Re-Animator (1985) A man turns his basement into a laboratory, designed for bringing dead people (and pets) back to life. But his experiments are not quite perfected yet, and they require people to be dead. There is definitely some comedy mixed into this one, but it’s still pretty gory. (credit: Empire Pictures)
Humans are being replaced by clones – nearly identical, but completely emotionless. The clones then work to get others captured and cloned, eliminating the human race. Several different film versions of this story exist, but the 1978 one is the best of the bunch. (credit: United Artists)
48. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) Humans are being replaced by clones – nearly identical, but completely emotionless. The clones then work to get others captured and cloned, eliminating the human race. Several different film versions of this story exist, but the 1978 one is the best of the bunch. (credit: United Artists)
A young boy is left to live at an orphanage when his father dies in war. He soon discovers the ghost of another child lurking in the halls, believed to be related to a bomb that shoots up from the ground in the orphanage’s courtyard. (credit: Sony Pictures Classics)
47. The Devil’s Backbone (2001) A young boy is left to live at an orphanage when his father dies in war. He soon discovers the ghost of another child lurking in the halls, believed to be related to a bomb that shoots up from the ground in the orphanage’s courtyard. (credit: Sony Pictures Classics)
An insane asylum doctor and his assistant find themselves accused of murders in a small German village. This silent film, a classic from cinema history, is credited with introducing the ‘twist ending’ to the world of movies. (credit: Goldwyn Distributing Company)
46. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) An insane asylum doctor and his assistant find themselves accused of murders in a small German village. This silent film, a classic from cinema history, is credited with introducing the ‘twist ending’ to the world of movies. (credit: Goldwyn Distributing Company)
Three documentary filmmakers head deep into the Maryland woods to investigate a local urban legend. This shaky-camera movie shows their ‘recovered film footage’ a year after the trio of students supposedly went missing. Note: ignore the studio-produced sequel. (credit: Artisan Entertainment)
45. The Blair Witch Project (1999) Three documentary filmmakers head deep into the Maryland woods to investigate a local urban legend. This shaky-camera movie shows their ‘recovered film footage’ a year after the trio of students supposedly went missing. Note: ignore the studio-produced sequel. (credit: Artisan Entertainment)
Two Americans are backpacking through London when they are attacked by a werewolf. The attack kills one of the friends, and leaves the other waiting to transform at the next full moon. Not to be confused with the 1997 sequel, “An American Werewolf in Paris.” (credit: Universal Pictures)
44. An American Werewolf in London (1981) Two Americans are backpacking through London when they are attacked by a werewolf. The attack kills one of the friends, and leaves the other waiting to transform at the next full moon. Not to be confused with the 1997 sequel, “An American Werewolf in Paris.” (credit: Universal Pictures)
An American soldier who barely escaped death in the Vietnam War returns home to face a series of hallucinations. When his buddies from the war admit to seeing the same thing, the soldiers question what has them going insane. (credit: TriStar Pictures)
43. Jacob’s Ladder (1990) An American soldier who barely escaped death in the Vietnam War returns home to face a series of hallucinations. When his buddies from the war admit to seeing the same thing, the soldiers question what has them going insane. (credit: TriStar Pictures)
A mother and her two children are forced to live in a large home without sunlight, all while being spooked by ghosts that haunt the premises. But how can you stop a ghost if you’re forced to live in darkness? (credit: Dimension Films)
42. The Others (2001) A mother and her two children are forced to live in a large home without sunlight, all while being spooked by ghosts that haunt the premises. But how can you stop a ghost if you’re forced to live in darkness? (credit: Dimension Films)
An antique dealer discovers a golden scarab piece that unfurls legs, grips him and injects him with a solution. The fluid makes the dealer feel younger and more alive, but also gives him a taste for blood. (credit: October Films)
41. Cronos (1993) An antique dealer discovers a golden scarab piece that unfurls legs, grips him and injects him with a solution. The fluid makes the dealer feel younger and more alive, but also gives him a taste for blood. (credit: October Films)
A bullied 12-year-old boy becomes friends with a girl vampire – or at least as close as you can get with a friend who needs to feed on blood. This is a Swedish film. Those who don’t want to read subtitles can check out the American version: “Let Me In.” (credit: Sandrew Metronome)
40. Let the Right One In (2008) A bullied 12-year-old boy becomes friends with a girl vampire – or at least as close as you can get with a friend who needs to feed on blood. This is a Swedish film. Those who don’t want to read subtitles can check out the American version: “Let Me In.” (credit: Sandrew Metronome)
A famous author is injured while traveling in the snow, and rescued by his biggest fan. But when the fan disagrees with the events of his latest book, the author quickly turns into her hostage. (credit: Columbia Pictures)
39. Misery (1990) A famous author is injured while traveling in the snow, and rescued by his biggest fan. But when the fan disagrees with the events of his latest book, the author quickly turns into her hostage. (credit: Columbia Pictures)
Two scuba divers are accidentally stranded in the middle of the ocean, where it is getting cold and dark. Oh yeah, and there are sharks circling them. Think they’re going to make it out alive? (credit: Lionsgate Films)
38. Open Water (2003) Two scuba divers are accidentally stranded in the middle of the ocean, where it is getting cold and dark. Oh yeah, and there are sharks circling them. Think they’re going to make it out alive? (credit: Lionsgate Films)
A scientist accidentally merges his own DNA with that of a housefly during a teleportation experiment. So begins the process of the scientist actually transforming into a disgusting creature – half-man, half-fly. (credit: 20th Century Fox)
37. The Fly (1986) A scientist accidentally merges his own DNA with that of a housefly during a teleportation experiment. So begins the process of the scientist actually transforming into a disgusting creature – half-man, half-fly. (credit: 20th Century Fox)
This horror-comedy is often regarded as one of the goriest movies ever made. A mythical rat-monkey is found and held at a New Zealand zoo, where it starts attacking people and turning them into zombies. (credit: Trimark Pictures)
36. Dead Alive (1992) This horror-comedy is often regarded as one of the goriest movies ever made. A mythical rat-monkey is found and held at a New Zealand zoo, where it starts attacking people and turning them into zombies. (credit: Trimark Pictures)
Long before iPhone gamers tossed ferocious fowl at pigs, Alfred Hitchcock directed this classic movie. The residents of a coastal California town find themselves suddenly under attack from very, very angry birds. (credit: Universal Pictures)
35. The Birds (1963) Long before iPhone gamers tossed ferocious fowl at pigs, Alfred Hitchcock directed this classic movie. The residents of a coastal California town find themselves suddenly under attack from very, very angry birds. (credit: Universal Pictures)
While conducting research of urban legends, a grad student takes her project too far and summons the hook-handed Candyman killer. For even more scares, check out the rest of the trilogy: “Candyman 2: Farewell to the Flesh” and “Candyman 3: Day of the Dead.” (credit: TriStar Pictures)
34. Candyman (1992) While conducting research of urban legends, a grad student takes her project too far and summons the hook-handed Candyman killer. For even more scares, check out the rest of the trilogy: “Candyman 2: Farewell to the Flesh” and “Candyman 3: Day of the Dead.” (credit: TriStar Pictures)
A spaceship is returning to Earth when an alien creature attacks. While the franchise has four films (“Aliens,” “Alien3” and “Alien: Resurrection”), the original is by far the creepiest of the bunch. (credit: 20th Century Fox)
33. Alien (1979) A spaceship is returning to Earth when an alien creature attacks. While the franchise has four films (“Aliens,” “Alien3” and “Alien: Resurrection”), the original is by far the creepiest of the bunch. (credit: 20th Century Fox)
While vacationing in the woods, five college students play an audiotape that accidentally unleashes evil spirits into the world. Oops. Keep the spooks coming with the two sequels: “Evil Dead II” and “Army of Darkness.” The whole trilogy is worth watching. (credit: New Line Cinema)
32. The Evil Dead (1981) While vacationing in the woods, five college students play an audiotape that accidentally unleashes evil spirits into the world. Oops. Keep the spooks coming with the two sequels: “Evil Dead II” and “Army of Darkness.” The whole trilogy is worth watching. (credit: New Line Cinema)
In this disgusting horror film franchise, people are placed into different outlandish torture situations as part of a sick game. There have been seven “Saw” movies – a new one every year. They are not particularly good, but they certainly are nasty. (credit: Lionsgate Films)
31. Saw (2004) In this disgusting horror film franchise, people are placed into different outlandish torture situations as part of a sick game. There have been seven “Saw” movies – a new one every year. They are not particularly good, but they certainly are nasty. (credit: Lionsgate Films)
A family is haunted by a spirit who has jumped out of their television set. The spooks start simple – objects shaking or moving spontaneously – but soon become violent. A group of ghost hunters come in to investigate. Two sequels can keep the creeps coming. (credit: MGM Pictures)
30. Poltergeist (1982) A family is haunted by a spirit who has jumped out of their television set. The spooks start simple – objects shaking or moving spontaneously – but soon become violent. A group of ghost hunters come in to investigate. Two sequels can keep the creeps coming. (credit: MGM Pictures)
The zombie apocalypse has come to America and infected almost everybody. A group of four surviving strangers are on a journey together to find a theme park which is rumored to offer sanctuary for those who are still among the living. (credit: Columbia Pictures)
29. Zombieland (2009) The zombie apocalypse has come to America and infected almost everybody. A group of four surviving strangers are on a journey together to find a theme park which is rumored to offer sanctuary for those who are still among the living. (credit: Columbia Pictures)
A loan officer tries to impress her boss by denying a loan to a gypsy woman. Big mistake. She is then cursed to descend into Hell three days later unless she can find a way to stop the curse and the demons that it has summoned. (credit: Universal Pictures)
28. Drag Me to Hell (2009) A loan officer tries to impress her boss by denying a loan to a gypsy woman. Big mistake. She is then cursed to descend into Hell three days later unless she can find a way to stop the curse and the demons that it has summoned. (credit: Universal Pictures)
Think you have a bad dog? This St. Bernard gets bitten by a bat and goes insane from the resulting rabies. Pretty soon, the once-gentle mutt is savagely mauling anyone who dares come nearby. (credit: Warner Bros.)
27. Cujo (1983) Think you have a bad dog? This St. Bernard gets bitten by a bat and goes insane from the resulting rabies. Pretty soon, the once-gentle mutt is savagely mauling anyone who dares come nearby. (credit: Warner Bros.)
Two sisters try to play a prank on someone, but wind up being attacked by a deadly beast that has been tormenting their town. Soon, one of the sisters begins acting strangely, and turning into a beast herself. (credit: Motion International)
26. Ginger Snaps (2000) Two sisters try to play a prank on someone, but wind up being attacked by a deadly beast that has been tormenting their town. Soon, one of the sisters begins acting strangely, and turning into a beast herself. (credit: Motion International)
A horror film fanatic soon discovers that his neighbor is actually a vampire, but has a hard time convincing people of this truth. Check out the sequel for even more creepy fun, or try to find a theater playing the 3-D remake that was just released in August. (credit: Columbia Pictures)
25. Fright Night (1985) A horror film fanatic soon discovers that his neighbor is actually a vampire, but has a hard time convincing people of this truth. Check out the sequel for even more creepy fun, or try to find a theater playing the 3-D remake that was just released in August. (credit: Columbia Pictures)
A strange creature lurks in the waters of a South Korean city. That would all be just fine, if the monster actually stayed in the water. Things get sticky when the creature emerges to kidnap a young girl. (credit: Magnolia Pictures)
24. The Host (2006) A strange creature lurks in the waters of a South Korean city. That would all be just fine, if the monster actually stayed in the water. Things get sticky when the creature emerges to kidnap a young girl. (credit: Magnolia Pictures)
Don’t go to sleep! In a small Ohio town, sleeping teenagers are murdered in their dreams by the vicious Freddy Krueger. They can’t stay awake forever! Reserve a few days to see the entire franchise – seven sequels and a remake. (credit: New Line Cinema)
23. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) Don’t go to sleep! In a small Ohio town, sleeping teenagers are murdered in their dreams by the vicious Freddy Krueger. They can’t stay awake forever! Reserve a few days to see the entire franchise – seven sequels and a remake. (credit: New Line Cinema)
Through a series of disturbing events, a couple comes to believe that their adopted son is actually the Antichrist. This one was remade in 2006 (shown above) and both are good at producing chills. Images of creepy kids are scary in any decade. (credit: 20th Century Fox)
22. The Omen (1976) Through a series of disturbing events, a couple comes to believe that their adopted son is actually the Antichrist. This one was remade in 2006 (shown above) and both are good at producing chills. Images of creepy kids are scary in any decade. (credit: 20th Century Fox)
A woman is stabbed to death in the shower of a secluded motel. An investigation into her death then follows. Avoid the two sequels and the prequel. And if you happen to stumble upon a copy of the 1998 shot-for-shot remake, destroy it as quickly as possible. (credit: Unviersal Pictures)
21. Psycho (1960) A woman is stabbed to death in the shower of a secluded motel. An investigation into her death then follows. Avoid the two sequels and the prequel. And if you happen to stumble upon a copy of the 1998 shot-for-shot remake, destroy it as quickly as possible. (credit: Unviersal Pictures)
A pregnant woman fears that her child – conceived while she was experiencing a strange series of visions – could be some sort of demon to be used as part of a human sacrifice by her occult neighbors. (credit: Paramount Pictures)
20. Rosemary’s Baby (1968) A pregnant woman fears that her child – conceived while she was experiencing a strange series of visions – could be some sort of demon to be used as part of a human sacrifice by her occult neighbors. (credit: Paramount Pictures)
A group of six women enter a cave without a map. They soon become lost and trapped as underground monsters start looking at them as food. There is also a sequel, but it doesn’t capture the same fear as the original. (credit: Lionsgate Films)
19. The Descent (2005) A group of six women enter a cave without a map. They soon become lost and trapped as underground monsters start looking at them as food. There is also a sequel, but it doesn’t capture the same fear as the original. (credit: Lionsgate Films)
A group of teenagers start dying at an abandoned campsite, with the killer believed to be the hockey-masked Jason. Block out a week if you want to watch the entire series. Jason lurks in 11 different movies – including a chapter in space – plus a remake of the original. (credit: Paramount Pictures)
18. Friday the 13th (1980) A group of teenagers start dying at an abandoned campsite, with the killer believed to be the hockey-masked Jason. Block out a week if you want to watch the entire series. Jason lurks in 11 different movies – including a chapter in space – plus a remake of the original. (credit: Paramount Pictures)
When someone dies in rage or sorrow, they release a curse that is passed and reborn as it consumes others. While the American version (and its sequels) are passable, check out the original Japanese version (“Ju-on”) for some real terrifying scares. (credit: Columbia Pictures)
17. The Grudge (2004) When someone dies in rage or sorrow, they release a curse that is passed and reborn as it consumes others. While the American version (and its sequels) are passable, check out the original Japanese version (“Ju-on”) for some real terrifying scares. (credit: Columbia Pictures)
A vacationing family gets stranded in Nevada, where they are stalked by a scary group of deformed cannibals. Watch the original one for the most thrills. But check out the sequels and remakes (shown above) for even more scary fun. (credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures)
16. The Hills Have Eyes (1977) A vacationing family gets stranded in Nevada, where they are stalked by a scary group of deformed cannibals. Watch the original one for the most thrills. But check out the sequels and remakes (shown above) for even more scary fun. (credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures)
A teenage girl who has been socially outcast discovers that she has special powers. They emerge when she becomes angry. And humiliation from her peers and teachers at prom, well, makes her very angry. Note: ignore the sequel. (credit: United Artists)
15. Carrie (1976) A teenage girl who has been socially outcast discovers that she has special powers. They emerge when she becomes angry. And humiliation from her peers and teachers at prom, well, makes her very angry. Note: ignore the sequel. (credit: United Artists)
Three college boys go looking for women at an off-the-map hostel in Europe. Soon, one of them is dead and the others are left trying to escape. Good luck with that, guys. The film’s sequel offers more chills, if you can handle the gore. (credit: Lionsgate Films)
14. Hostel (2006) Three college boys go looking for women at an off-the-map hostel in Europe. Soon, one of them is dead and the others are left trying to escape. Good luck with that, guys. The film’s sequel offers more chills, if you can handle the gore. (credit: Lionsgate Films)
Seven people try to survive a night in a rural farmhouse while being attacked by zombies. There have been two remakes of this classic horror flick – including a version in 3-D – but neither could produce the same chills. (credit: The Walter Reade Organization)
13. Night of the Living Dead (1968) Seven people try to survive a night in a rural farmhouse while being attacked by zombies. There have been two remakes of this classic horror flick – including a version in 3-D – but neither could produce the same chills. (credit: The Walter Reade Organization)
A costumed killer has brought bloody terror to a small town. A group of high school teens use horror movie conventions to track down the murderer. Keep the screams coming by popping in the three sequels. (credit: Dimension Films)
12. Scream (1996) A costumed killer has brought bloody terror to a small town. A group of high school teens use horror movie conventions to track down the murderer. Keep the screams coming by popping in the three sequels. (credit: Dimension Films)
A young couple fear that their home is haunted by some supernatural presence. So, they set up camera equipment to see if the spirits can be caught on tape. This film is supposed to be that footage. Check out the two sequels (“3” is now in theaters) for more frights. (credit: Paramount Pictures)
11. Paranormal Activity (2007) A young couple fear that their home is haunted by some supernatural presence. So, they set up camera equipment to see if the spirits can be caught on tape. This film is supposed to be that footage. Check out the two sequels (“3” is now in theaters) for more frights. (credit: Paramount Pictures)
A group of friends are hunted by a family of cannibals – including the chainsaw-wielding Leatherface – while visiting an old home. There are several sequels and remakes that all bare the franchise name (shown above), but few come close to the original’s thrills. (credit: New Line Cinema)
10. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) A group of friends are hunted by a family of cannibals – including the chainsaw-wielding Leatherface – while visiting an old home. There are several sequels and remakes that all bare the franchise name (shown above), but few come close to the original’s thrills. (credit: New Line Cinema)
A group of scientists at a research station in Antarctica are attacked by an alien lifeform that can assume the appearance of any human being. This leads to mass paranoia within the group and mass killing by the alien. Don’t bother with the prequel, now in theaters. (credit: Universal Pictures)
9. The Thing (1982) A group of scientists at a research station in Antarctica are attacked by an alien lifeform that can assume the appearance of any human being. This leads to mass paranoia within the group and mass killing by the alien. Don’t bother with the prequel, now in theaters. (credit: Universal Pictures)
A disturbing videotape is followed by a phone call, telling the viewers that they have only seven days to live. And those seven days aren’t going to be fun. The American version is all kinds of creepy, but watch the Japanese one (“Ringu”) for even more jumps. (credit: DreamWorks Pictures)
8. The Ring (2002) A disturbing videotape is followed by a phone call, telling the viewers that they have only seven days to live. And those seven days aren’t going to be fun. The American version is all kinds of creepy, but watch the Japanese one (“Ringu”) for even more jumps. (credit: DreamWorks Pictures)
A man wakes up from a coma to find London deserted and in ruins. He soon finds himself on the run from zombies who have taken over the city. For some extra scares, check out the sequel, “28 Weeks Later.” (credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures)
7. 28 Days Later (2002) A man wakes up from a coma to find London deserted and in ruins. He soon finds himself on the run from zombies who have taken over the city. For some extra scares, check out the sequel, “28 Weeks Later.” (credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures)
The murderous Michael Myers escapes from a mental hospital and begins stalking teens in an Illinois town. While the original one is the best, check out the seven sequels, remake and sequel to the remake for additional chills. (credit: Compass International Pictures)
6. Halloween (1978) The murderous Michael Myers escapes from a mental hospital and begins stalking teens in an Illinois town. While the original one is the best, check out the seven sequels, remake and sequel to the remake for additional chills. (credit: Compass International Pictures)
A Japanese widower holds mock-auditions to find another woman, but the lady that soon captures his affections may have more sinister plans. Note: many audiences – and even a handful of horror film directors – have found the movie’s torture scenes difficult to watch. (credit: Vitograph Films)
5. Audition (1999) A Japanese widower holds mock-auditions to find another woman, but the lady that soon captures his affections may have more sinister plans. Note: many audiences – and even a handful of horror film directors – have found the movie’s torture scenes difficult to watch. (credit: Vitograph Films)
After the deaths of his wife and daughter, a man moves into a mansion across the country to get his life back in order. But the ghost of a murdered child soon haunts him, leading to a mystery that begs to be solved. (credit: Associated Film Distributors)
4. The Changeling (1980) After the deaths of his wife and daughter, a man moves into a mansion across the country to get his life back in order. But the ghost of a murdered child soon haunts him, leading to a mystery that begs to be solved. (credit: Associated Film Distributors)
A pandemic has resulted in zombies who prey on the flesh of the living. The few survivors barricade themselves in a shopping mall for protection. Make it a full zombie weekend by also checking out the four sequels or the 2004 remake. (credit: United Artists)
3. Dawn of the Dead (1978) A pandemic has resulted in zombies who prey on the flesh of the living. The few survivors barricade themselves in a shopping mall for protection. Make it a full zombie weekend by also checking out the four sequels or the 2004 remake. (credit: United Artists)
A writer takes a job at a secluded hotel and becomes possessed by the ghosts who live in the building. He starts going insane and ultimately chases down his wife and young son in at attempt to kill them both. (credit: Warner Bros.)
2. The Shining (1980) A writer takes a job at a secluded hotel and becomes possessed by the ghosts who live in the building. He starts going insane and ultimately chases down his wife and young son in at attempt to kill them both. (credit: Warner Bros.)
This one’s often regarded as the single scariest movie of all time. Two priests are called in to release a demon who has taken over the body of a young girl. Be prepared for strange noises, bed shaking, green vomiting, head-spinning… and then a sleepless night. (credit: Warner Bros.)
1. The Exorcist (1973) This one’s often regarded as the single scariest movie of all time. Two priests are called in to release a demon who has taken over the body of a young girl. Be prepared for strange noises, bed shaking, green vomiting, head-spinning… and then a sleepless night. (credit: Warner Bros.)
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