Sponsored
27.1k voters

The Scariest Movies Ever Made

Updated October 24, 2020 523.9k votes 27.1k voters 748.8k 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.

 

Photo:
...more
  • The Exorcist1
    8,628
    3,440

    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

    More The Exorcist 

    The Story Of Roland Doe Inspired The Exorcist – But It's Way More Terrifying Than The MovieDid A Malevolent Spirit Actually Curse 'The Exorcist' From The Get-Go?

  • The Conjuring2
    7,067
    2,257

    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

    More The Conjuring 

    Why Do People Stop Watching 'The Conjuring' At The Moment Lorraine Falls Through The Floor?#17 of 242 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time

  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre3
    4,979
    2,245

    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
  • The Amityville Horror4
    3,632
    1,907

    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

    More The Amityville Horror 

    #12 of 20 20 Horrifying Crime Movies Whose True Stories Are Way More Terrifying#117 of 553 The Best '70s Movies

  • The Omen5
    3,655
    2,093

    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
  • Pet Sematary6
    3,580
    2,041

    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

    More Pet Sematary 

    Real Burial Grounds And Locations That Could Have Inspired 'Pet Sematary'#174 of 369 The Best Movies Based On Books

  • A Nightmare on Elm Street7
    5,414
    3,177

    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

    More A Nightmare on Elm Street 

    Ranking Freddy Krueger's Best Kills from A Nightmare on Elm StreetBehind The Scenes Of Glen's Death In 'A Nightmare On Elm Street'

  • It8
    5,011
    2,956

    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

    More It 

    Horrifying Things That Happened In The Book 'IT' Way Too Awful for the MoviesHow The Makers Of The '90s 'It' Miniseries Managed To Scare An Entire Generation

  • Insidious9
    5,243
    2,279

    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
  • The Silence of the Lambs10
    5,493
    3,193

    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

    More The Silence of the Lambs 

    Small Details And Trivia From 'The Silence Of The Lambs' That Left Us Hungry For MoreYou've Been Watching Silence Of The Lambs Wrong For Years: It's A Comedy

  • The Ring11
    5,815
    3,675

    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
  • Halloween12
    5,658
    3,606

    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

    More Halloween 

    Stories About Jamie Lee Curtis From Behind The Scenes Of The Original 'Halloween''Halloween' Isn't Actually A Fable About The Dangers Of Teenage Intimacy

  • The Shining13
    6,434
    4,168

    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

    More The Shining 

    Fan Theories About 'The Shining' We Can't Stop Thinking AboutThe Making Of 'The Shining' Was A Bigger Nightmare Than The Film's Story

  • Poltergeist14
    4,615
    2,982

    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
  • The Evil Dead15
    2,876
    1,794

    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

    More The Evil Dead 

    #483 of 925 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films#849 of 1,540 The Most Rewatchable Movies

  • Alien16
    4,473
    2,952

    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

    More Alien 

    Small But Terrifying Details From 'Alien' That Remind Us Why It's So Legendary50 Surprising Facts You Didn't Know About Alien

  • The Descent17
    2,890
    1,851

    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

    More The Descent 

    A Look Behind The Scenes Of 'The Descent,' The Classic Claustrophobic Nightmare Film#5 of 20 20 Shocking Horror Movie Endings That Took You by Surprise

  • Sinister18
    2,907
    1,260

    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

    More Sinister 

    #34 of 722 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time#38 of 62 The Best Movies Where the Bad Guy Wins

  • Jeepers Creepers19
    2,555
    1,538

    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

    More Jeepers Creepers 

    #17 of 70 The Best Teen Slasher Movies#16 of 35 Rainy Day Horror Movies You Can Watch Again And Again

  • Saw20
    3,449
    2,262

    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

    More Saw 

    The Best Saw Characters in the Whole Franchise, Ranked#9 of 24 The Best Movies with Twist Endings

  • The Thing21
    3,649
    2,413

    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
  • The Conjuring 222
    1,642
    618

    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

    More The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist 

    #6 of 105 The Best Horror Movie Sequels#34 of 136 The Very Best Movies of 2016, Ranked

  • Hellraiser23
    2,575
    1,731

    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

    More Hellraiser 

    #6 of 88 The Goriest Movies Ever Made#187 of 522 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked

  • The Grudge24
    3,139
    2,063

    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

    More The Grudge 

    #3 of 15 Non R-Rated Horror Movies As Scary As Anything#49 of 114 The Best Horror Movie Franchises

  • Seven25
    2,538
    1,640

    Seven

    Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow

    Released1995

    Directed byDavid Fincher

    Seven is a 1995 American psychological thriller film directed by David Fincher. The film stars... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

    More Seven 

    Behind The Scenes Stories From The Making Of 'Se7en'Small, Haunting Details People Found In 'Se7en'