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The Scariest Movies Ever Made  

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List Rules Only major releases - no made-for-TV or direct-to-video. May include movies outside the straight horror genre.

These are the all-time scariest movies ever made. Many of these movies have become part of the pop culture lexicon due to their popularity. This list features movies from across the horror spectrum. The definition of "scary" isn't restricted or limited to a specific type of horror movie, for example, The Exorcist, a supernatural horror movie would be on here similarly to serial killer movies like Halloween, The Amityville Horror, and Saw. The same goes for psychological thrillers like Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, which is one of the scariest movies of all time. There are also horror movies from all over the world on this list like 28 Days Later.

Some of these films are considered the best of all time, while others feature some of the greatest actors and best directors of all time.

Vote for the best horror movies you think deserve the highest ranking, vote down any you don't like and be sure to rerank this list any way you like - your reranks will affect the final tally.

 

list ordered by
1
The Shining is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
Jack Nicholsan, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers
The Shining is a 1980 British-American psychological horror film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick, co-written with novelist Diane Johnson, and starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, ...more

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2
The Exorcist is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
Max von Sydow, Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair
The Exorcist is a 1973 American supernatural horror film directed by William Friedkin, adapted by William Peter Blatty from his 1971 novel of the same name. The book, inspired by the 1949 ...more

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3
Halloween is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
Jamie Lee Curtis, Kyle Richards, Donald Pleasence
Halloween is a 1978 American independent slasher horror film directed and scored by John Carpenter, co-written with producer Debra Hill, and starring Donald Pleasence and Jamie Lee Curtis in her ...more

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4
The Ring is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
Naomi Watts, Pauley Perrette, Brian Cox
The Ring is a 2002 American psychological horror film directed by Gore Verbinski and starring Naomi Watts. It is a remake of the 1998 Japanese horror film Ring, which was based on the novel Ring ...more

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#43 of 59 Every Movie Coming To Netflix In January 2020 #39 of 257 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Timefeaturing 15 Things You Didn't Know About the American Version of The Ring

5
The Conjuring is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
carlybobarly added Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Joey King
The Conjuring is a 2013 American supernatural horror film directed by James Wan and the first installment in the Conjuring series. Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) are ...more

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#65 of 257 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #22 of 769 The Best Horror Movies of All Timefeaturing The True Story Behind 'The Conjuring' Is Even Creepier Than The Movie

6
Poltergeist is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, Heather O'Rourke
Poltergeist is a 1982 American supernatural thriller film, directed by Tobe Hooper and co-written and produced by Steven Spielberg. It is the first and most successful entry in the Poltergeist ...more

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7
It is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
ChadrickH added Tim Curry, Seth Green, John Ritter
It is a 1990 psychological horror/drama miniseries based on Stephen King's novel of the same name. The story revolves around an inter-dimensional predatory life-form, which has the ability to ...more

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8
The Silence of the Lambs... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Chris Isaak
The Silence of the Lambs is a 1991 American thriller film that blends elements of the crime and horror genres. Directed by Jonathan Demme and starring Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, and Scott ...more

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9
A Nightmare on Elm Stree... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
Johnny Depp, Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp
A Nightmare on Elm Street is a 1984 American supernatural slasher horror film written and directed by Wes Craven, and the first film of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. The film stars ...more

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#49 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #114 of 630 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Moviesfeaturing Freddy Krueger Is Based On The Disturbing True Tale Of 18 People Inexplicably Dying In Their Sleep

10
Friday the 13th is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
Kevin Bacon, Tom Savini, Betsy Palmer
Friday the 13th is a 1980 American slasher film directed by Sean S. Cunningham and written by Victor Miller. The film concerns a group of teenagers who are taken out one by one while attempting ...more

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11
The Texas Chain Saw Mass... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
Gunnar Hansen, Marilyn Burns, Edwin Neal
This movie is a 1974 American slasher film, directed and produced by Tobe Hooper, who cowrote it with Kim Henkel. It stars Marilyn Burns, Paul A. Partain, Edwin Neal, Jim Siedow and Gunnar ...more

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12
Insidious is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey, Patrick Wilson
Insidious is a 2011 American supernatural horror film directed by James Wan, written by Leigh Whannell, and starring Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne and Barbara Hershey. It is the first installment ...more

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13
Psycho is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
RobertPugliese added Alfred Hitchcock, Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins
Psycho is a 1960 American horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The film centers on an encounter between a secretary, Marion Crane, who ends up at a secluded motel after taking money from ...more

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#5 of 257 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #14 of 347 The Best Movies Based On Books #9 of 769 The Best Horror Movies of All Time

14
Alien is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt, Ian Holm
Alien is a 1979 science fiction horror film directed by Ridley Scott. The crew of the commercial space tug Nostromo encounter the eponymous Alien, a deadly and aggressive extraterrestrial set ...more

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15
Jaws is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
Steven Spielberg, Richard Dreyfuss, Roy Scheider
Jaws is a 1975 American thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg and based on Peter Benchley's novel of the same name. The prototypical summer blockbuster, its release is regarded as a ...more

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16
Scream is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
wiabux added Drew Barrymore, Rose McGowan, Courteney Cox
Scream is a 1996 American slasher film written by Kevin Williamson and directed by Wes Craven. The film stars Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, Drew Barrymore, and David Arquette. Released on ...more

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17
The Omen is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner
The Omen is a 1976 British/American supernatural horror film directed by Richard Donner. The film stars Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner, Harvey Spencer Stephens, Billie Whitelaw, Patrick ...more

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18
The Thing is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
Kurt Russell, Keith David, John Carpenter
The Thing is a 1982 American science fiction horror film directed by John Carpenter, written by Bill Lancaster, and starring Kurt Russell. The film's title refers to its primary antagonist: a ...more

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#116 of 257 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #43 of 347 The Best Movies Based On Books #8 of 769 The Best Horror Movies of All Time

19
The Amityville Horror is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
James Brolin, Margot Kidder, Rod Steiger
The Amityville Horror is a 1979 American supernatural horror film, directed by Stuart Rosenberg, based on Jay Anson's bestselling 1977 novel of the same name. It is the first film in the ...more

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20
Child's Play is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
e61121169 added Brad Dourif, Catherine Hicks, Chris Sarandon
Child's Play is a 1988 American horror film directed by Tom Holland, written by Tom Holland, Don Mancini, and John Lafia, and starring Catherine Hicks, Chris Sarandon, Alex Vincent, and Brad ...more

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21
28 Days Later is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
Cillian Murphy, Christopher Eccleston, Naomie Harris
28 Days Later is a 2002 British post-apocalyptic horror film directed by Danny Boyle. The screenplay was written by Alex Garland. The film stars Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Brendan Gleeson, ...more

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22
Pet Sematary is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
TheAntiochGhost added Stephen King, Fred Gwynne, Denise Crosby
Pet Sematary is a 1989 American horror film adaptation of Stephen King's novel of the same name. Directed by Mary Lambert and written by King. Andrew Hubatsek was cast for Zelda's role. Author ...more

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23
Saw is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
Danny Glover, Monica Potter, Shawnee Smith
Saw is a 2004 horror film written by Leigh Whannell and directed by James Wan, in Wan's directorial debut. In the film, Adam (Whannell) and Lawrence (Cary Elwes) awaken chained in a large ...more

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24
The Grudge is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
AnnyMouso added Sarah Michelle Gellar, KaDee Strickland, Bill Pullman
The Grudge is a 2004 American horror film and the first installment in The Grudge franchise. It is a remake of the Japanese film Ju-on: The Grudge. The film was released in North America on ...more

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25
The Evil Dead is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
e61121169 added Bruce Campbell, Sam Raimi, Ted Raimi
This film is a 1981 American horror film written and directed by Sam Raimi and executive produced by Raimi and Bruce Campbell, who also stars alongside Ellen Sandweiss and Betsy Baker. This film ...more

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