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The Scariest Movies Ever Made

Updated October 24, 2020 517.5k votes 26.8k voters 745.2k views488 items

List RulesOnly 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.

 

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  • 1
    The Exorcist is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
    8,458
    3,380

    The Exorcist

    Max von Sydow, Ellen Burstyn

    Released1973

    Directed byWilliam Friedkin

    The Exorcist is a 1973 American supernatural horror film directed by William Friedkin, adapted... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 2
    The Conjuring is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
    6,935
    2,194

    The Conjuring

    Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson

    Released2013

    Directed byJames Wan

    The Conjuring is a 2013 American supernatural horror film directed by James Wan and the first... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 3
    The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
    4,881
    2,184

    The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

    Gunnar Hansen, Marilyn Burns

    Released1974

    Directed byTobe Hooper

    This movie is a 1974 American slasher film, directed and produced by Tobe Hooper, who cowrote... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 4
    The Amityville Horror is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
    3,565
    1,827

    The Amityville Horror

    James Brolin, Margot Kidder

    Released1979

    Directed byStuart Rosenberg

    The Amityville Horror is a 1979 American supernatural horror film, directed by Stuart... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 5
    It is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
    4,940
    2,877

    It

    Tim Curry, Seth Green

    Released1990

    Directed byTommy Lee Wallace

    It is a 1990 psychological horror/drama miniseries based on Stephen King's novel of the same... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 6
    Pet Sematary is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
    3,508
    1,972

    Pet Sematary

    Stephen King, Fred Gwynne

    Released1989

    Directed byMary Lambert

    Pet Sematary is a 1989 American horror film adaptation of Stephen King's novel of the same... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 7
    The Omen is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
    3,572
    2,049

    The Omen

    Gregory Peck, Lee Remick

    Released1976

    Directed byRichard Donner

    The Omen is a 1976 British/American supernatural horror film directed by Richard Donner. The... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 8
    A Nightmare on Elm Street is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
    5,324
    3,131

    A Nightmare on Elm Street

    Johnny Depp, Robert Englund

    Released1984

    Directed byWes Craven

    A Nightmare on Elm Street is a 1984 American supernatural slasher horror film written and... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 9
    Insidious is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
    5,151
    2,241

    Insidious

    Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey

    Released2010

    Directed byJames Wan

    Insidious is a 2011 American supernatural horror film directed by James Wan, written by Leigh... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 10
    The Silence of the Lambs is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
    5,404
    3,146

    The Silence of the Lambs

    Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins

    Released1991

    Directed byJonathan Demme

    The Silence of the Lambs is a 1991 American thriller film that blends elements of the crime... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 11
    The Ring is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
    5,728
    3,630

    The Ring

    Naomi Watts, Pauley Perrette

    Released2002

    Directed byGore Verbinski

    The Ring is a 2002 American psychological horror film directed by Gore Verbinski and starring... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 12
    Halloween is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
    5,556
    3,565

    Halloween

    Jamie Lee Curtis, Kyle Richards

    Released1978

    Directed byJohn Carpenter

    Halloween is a 1978 American independent slasher horror film directed and scored by John... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 13
    The Shining is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
    6,334
    4,126

    The Shining

    Jack Nicholsan, Shelley Duvall

    Released1980

    Directed byStanley Kubrick

    The Shining is a 1980 British-American psychological horror film produced and directed by... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 14
    Poltergeist is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
    4,534
    2,944

    Poltergeist

    Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams

    Released1982

    Directed byTobe Hooper

    Poltergeist is a 1982 American supernatural thriller film, directed by Tobe Hooper and... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 15
    The Evil Dead is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
    2,806
    1,763

    The Evil Dead

    Bruce Campbell, Sam Raimi

    Released1981

    Directed bySam Raimi

    This film is a 1981 American horror film written and directed by Sam Raimi and executive... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 16
    Alien is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
    4,376
    2,914

    Alien

    Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt

    Released1979

    Directed byRidley Scott

    Alien is a 1979 science fiction horror film directed by Ridley Scott. The crew of the... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 17
    Jeepers Creepers is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
    2,494
    1,489

    Jeepers Creepers

    Justin Long, Eileen Brennan

    Released2001

    Directed byVictor Salva

    Jeepers Creepers is a 2001 American horror film written and directed by Victor Salva. The film... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 18
    Sinister is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
    2,817
    1,237

    Sinister

    Ethan Hawke, Vincent D'Onofrio

    Released2012

    Directed byScott Derrickson

    Sinister is a 2012 supernatural horror film directed by Scott Derrickson and written by... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 19
    The Descent is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
    2,817
    1,824

    The Descent

    Shauna Macdonald, Natalie Mendoza

    Released2005

    Directed byNeil Marshall

    The Descent is a 2005 British adventure horror film directed by Neil Marshall. Six women enter... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 20
    Saw is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
    3,393
    2,212

    Saw

    Danny Glover, Monica Potter

    Released2004

    Directed byJames Wan

    Saw is a 2004 horror film written by Leigh Whannell and directed by James Wan, in Wan's... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 21
    The Thing is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
    3,564
    2,376

    The Thing

    Kurt Russell, Keith David

    Released1982

    Directed byJohn Carpenter

    The Thing is a 1982 American science fiction horror film directed by John Carpenter, written... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 22
    The Conjuring 2 is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
    1,576
    591

    The Conjuring 2

    Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson

    Released2016

    Directed byJames Wan

    The Conjuring 2 is a 2016 American supernatural horror film, directed by James Wan. It is the... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 23
    Hellraiser is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
    2,518
    1,699

    Hellraiser

    Doug Bradley, Andrew Robinson

    Released1987

    Directed byClive Barker

    Hellraiser is a 1987 British horror film written and directed by Clive Barker, based upon his... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 24
    The Grudge is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
    3,089
    2,027

    The Grudge

    Sarah Michelle Gellar, KaDee Strickland

    Released2004

    Directed byTakashi Shimizu

    The Grudge is a 2004 American horror film and the first installment in The Grudge franchise.... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 25
    28 Days Later is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Scariest Movies Ever Made
    3,043
    2,147

    28 Days Later

    Cillian Murphy, Christopher Eccleston

    Released2002

    Directed byDanny Boyle

    28 Days Later is a 2002 British post-apocalyptic horror film directed by Danny Boyle. The... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
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