Graveyard Shift

Horror Movies That Keep You On The Edge Of Your Seat From Start To Finish, Ranked  

Orrin Grey
1.3k votes 321 voters 10.9k views 14 items

List Rules Vote up the movies that keep you on the edge of your seat the ENTIRE time.

Different horror movies bring different things to the table. Sometimes, you want a fun slasher flick or creature feature; sometimes, you want a creepy slow burn that seeps into your dreams after the credits roll; and sometimes, you just want to watch something go bump in the night. Other times, though, you want a movie that keeps you on the edge of your seat from the first frames - the kind of film where you only realize you've been holding your breath when you finally let it out in a big gasp.

When you want a horror movie that's relentless, aggressive, and intense - a movie that'll leave you white-knuckled from clutching the arms of your seat - these titles ought to fit the bill.

1
Aliens is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Horror Movies That Keep You On The Edge Of Your Seat From Start To Finish, Ranked
Photo: 20th Century Fox

We can debate all day whether this or the Ridley Scott original is better - and there's little doubt that 1979's Alien is, in most ways, the scarier of the pair - but when it comes to piling on the pace and never letting up, James Cameron's 1986 sequel may be the movie to beat.

From the desperate boardroom sequence of the film's opening to the climactic fight with the alien queen, Aliens just keeps accelerating - and if it ever had brakes, it has forgotten where they are and no longer cares.

Actors: Sigourney Weaver, Bill Paxton, Michael Biehn, Paul Reiser, Lance Henriksen, + more

Released: 1986

Directed by: James Cameron

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The Descent is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Horror Movies That Keep You On The Edge Of Your Seat From Start To Finish, Ranked
Photo: Lionsgate

Sure, The Descent is a nightmare for the claustrophobic among us - filmed almost entirely in tight cave sets, often lit only with flashlights, flares, and other tools the film's group of spelunkers would have had on hand - but even before they get into the caves, things start out from a pretty intense early shock.

Once they do make their way underground, they're faced with tight quarters, grievous harm, the threats of falling, and of course, the creepy, humanoid monsters that make this particular cave system their home.

Actors: Shauna Macdonald, Natalie Mendoza, Alex Reid, Saskia Mulder, MyAnna Buring, + more

Released: 2005

Directed by: Neil Marshall

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The Hitcher is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Horror Movies That Keep You On The Edge Of Your Seat From Start To Finish, Ranked
Photo: TriStar Pictures

It's a legendary performance from the late Rutger Hauer. It's a classic horror story of the perils of picking up strangers along the road. It's a slasher movie and an action movie and a road movie and a desert movie. It's visceral and unrelenting.

It's also much darker and stranger even than its logline makes it sound - a haunting urban legend come to life, with Hauer's maniacal hitchhiker taking on the almost mythic undertones of the boogeyman.

Actors: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Rutger Hauer, C. Thomas Howell, Armin Shimerman, Jeffrey DeMunn, + more

Released: 1986

Directed by: Robert Harmon

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The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Horror Movies That Keep You On The Edge Of Your Seat From Start To Finish, Ranked
Photo: Bryanston Distributing

Even if you parse it simply as one of the first in a long line of parables about why city folk should be wary of the backcountry, the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre is as unrelenting as they come, especially for a movie from 1974. But it's so much more than that.

An undiluted shot of pure nihilism, it's one of those rare films that hold up as well to academic dissection as to a purely visceral reaction.

Actors: Gunnar Hansen, Marilyn Burns, Edwin Neal, John Henry Faulk, Jim Siedow, + more

Released: 1974

Directed by: Tobe Hooper

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