The 10 Scariest Movies Ever, According to Me

Do you like scary movies?

I do. Horror is my favourite genre, in fact, although it’s important to note here that I like ‘creepy’ rather than ‘gory’, which means my list of the scariest movies ever will be … probably not all that creepy to some of you. Consider yourself warned. (But then, in the manner of all good horror movies, continue reading anyway, because as soon as someone tells you NOT to do something, you know you have to do it. Ideally in the dead of night, with only a flickering torch for company, and maybe a dog which we all know will get killed at some point. Seriously, why does the dog always have to die in a horror movie? And why does that bother me more than when one of the human characters is dramatically decapitated with an axe? So many questions…)

Now, I’m not one to adopt a “certain activities at certain times of year” approach (When people say they love autumn because ‘I love curling up on the sofa with a good book!” I always just think, “What, you can’t sit on the couch with a book in springtime?”), so I’d watch scary movies all the time if I could. As it’s October, however, and Halloween is almost upon us, I figured now would be as good a time as any to share with you my favourite scary movies. So here they are: the scariest movies ever made – according to me…

The Scariest Movies Ever

Are these the scariest movies ever made?

01.
Insidious

I’ve written about this before (in a post which I’ve just this second realised begins almost exactly the same way as this one: whoops!), but Insidious scared me to the point where I literally couldn’t sleep. Or take a shower, for that matter, because we all know that when someone takes a bath or shower in a horror movie (always in one of those old-fashioned claw-footed tubs, with a circular shower curtain around it), they’re probably going to die. I’m not going to say too much about the plots of any of these movies, because I don’t want to give too much away, but this is essentially your classic ‘haunted house’ tale, which is my favourite kind, because you can actually imagine it happening to you. I mean, when it’s something with vampires and zombies or whatever, I’m all, “meh, SO totally unbelievable!”, but haunted houses… those are, like, REAL, aren’t they?

Actually, the real reason this movie scares me so much is because it raises the possibility of things being visible in mirrors/photographs which aren’t visible to the naked eye.  And by “things” I mean “Scary Things”. And if there’s anything creepier than the thought that you might be constantly surrounded by Scary Things, and you just don’t know it, I don’t want to know what it is. So, if you’ve ever had to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, say, and have deliberately avoided looking into the mirror for fear that you’ll see someone reflected in it who isn’t really there, this movie is probably not for you. (Or it very much IS for you, if you enjoy scaring yourself stupid.)

02.
The Ring

Until Insidious came along, The Ring was the scariest movie I’d ever seen – and another movie which had me lying awake at night, scared to close my eyes because I knew that if I opened them, Samara would be standing by my bed, and I would literally die. There are two versions of this movie – the Japanese original and the American re-make – and, somewhat controversially, I prefer the American version. I realise I’m alone in this opinion (Well, not really: Terry agrees with me.), but I just find the American version much creepier – some of the visuals from that movie stayed in my head for a long time afterwards, and I also felt that it made better use of Creepy Samara than the original did. But that’s just me: they’re both good movies in the ‘students find a mysterious old video tape in a cabin in the woods: soon they’re all dead!’ vein. Love it.

This movie is also the reason I occasionally wet myself when the phone rings, by the way*. So there’s that.

*Not really.

03
Paranormal Activity

Another haunted house movie, this one of the ‘found footage’ variety (Sidenote: ‘found footage’ movies are some of the scariest movies out there, as far as I’m concerned, because, as with the haunted houses, they’re TOTALLY REAL.): a couple start to notice strange things happening in their home, so they set up cameras in a bid to see what’s going on. Then they wish they hadn’t, because OMGSOSCARY. Also, this could SO EASILY happen to any one of us. And it probably will.

(Another sidenote: if you find Paranormal Activity as scary as I do, maybe don’t  have children who will require a video monitor in their rooms. Every time I look at Max’s, I’m terrified I’m going to see something that isn’t actually there…)

04.
The Others

This movie isn’t about The Others in the sense that I use that term: i.e. to refer to people who just Aren’t Like Us. No, these Others are Other Others. As in, even MORE Other than most Others are Other. Are you following this? This is a really awesome ghost story, with one helluva twist: in fact, I’ve always meant to re-watch it, so I can see it from that “knowing what I know NOW,” perspective, but I’ve somehow never done it. Maybe this month will be the month?

05.
Dark Water

Dark Water is another movie with an American re-make of a Japanese original, but this time I have to agree that the original is much creepier. The theme for this one? Scary little girls. Because little girls can be SO SCARY, can’t they? I kinda wish I’d known that when I WAS a little girl, then I could’ve gone around creeping people out all the time. I think I actually did a pretty good job of that anyway, though, so no regrets.

This is one of those movies in which the setting plays a big park: dark, gloomy, wet… a bit like Scotland, now I come to think of it, but haunted. Oh, so very haunted…

06.
The Blair Witch Project

The Blair Witch Project: once again, it’s scary because it’s TRUE. Well, not really (YES REALLY), obviously, but this is one of the early ‘found footage’ movies: my friend and I saw it in a movie theatre and agreed that it was creepy, sure, but definitely not one of the scariest movies of all time, say. Then we realised we were too scared to walk home in the dark. As you should be, people: as you should be…

07.
El Orfanato 

So, there’s this creepy old former orphanage in the woods, right? And this young family decide that why, it would make the perfect family home, this creepy, creepy old dilapidated mansion house. I mean, what do YOU think happens? What happens is that one of the children starts to talk to an invisible “friend”, and right away the family are like, “Oh crap, we’re obviously in a horror movie here, what were we THINKING?” Nah, they’re not: because then there wouldn’t be a movie, would there? What actually happens is… I’m going to let you find that out for yourselves. Just don’t come running to me when it’s 2am in the morning and you’re too scared to sleep: because I will be too…

the scariest movies ever made08.
Candyman

My best friend and I rented Candyman one night when we were at university. At the time, we lived on the top floor of one of those old Edinburgh apartment buildings that you just KNOW has probably seen its fair share of Scary Stuff over the years. Because we were absolute idiots, we watched the movie with the lights out, and, well, quite a lot of wine. And then – as you do – we dared each other to go into the dark bathroom, and say “Candyman” three times into the mirror. Even although I’m not ACTUALLY as stupid as people think I am, and I know perfectly well that movies are not real (Except Insidious, which is totes real, obviously…), I was too scared to do it: and even too scared to watch my FRIEND do it, so I ran and hid in my room. To this day, I have no idea if she said ‘Candyman’ three times into the mirror, or if she was just winding me up. She’s still alive, though, so probably the latter.

09.
The Shining 

The Shining is  a great book, but it also makes an amazing horror movie: like, THE BEST, seriously. I should probably have put it higher up the list, really, but c’est la vie. Again, the setting (Creepy old hotel, cut off from the rest of the world by snow) is everything here, and there are some classic scenes (scary twins, anyone?) which are practically guaranteed to make your hair stand on end.  My friend and I watched this in the same Edinburgh flat we’d seen Candyman in, and we managed to scare ourselves so much we had to keep taking breaks to recover. At one point the word ‘Friday’ flashed up on the screen – to signify that it was supposed to be, you know, Friday? – and by that stage we’d worked ourselves up into such a state that we both screamed and almost fell off our seats. Now I think of it, I seem to recall wine being involved in this one, too. It’s still an awesome movie, though…

10.
The Birds

Well, you can’t make a list of the scariest movies ever without some classic Hitchcock, can you? It was between The Birds and Psycho: they’re both good, but I’ve gone with The Birds mostly so I have an excuse to show you this Halloween costume again. And also because birds really ARE scary, aren’t they? The pointy beaks. The sharp claws. The little beady eyes. The fact that they’re all secretly just waiting for the right moment to gang up and take over the world, killing everyone in their way. Yes, there are LOTS of reasons to fear birds, friends, but I think that would have to be the main one, all things considered.

Finally, it’s not actually a movie, so it technically has no place in a list of the scariest movies ever, but I couldn’t end this post without quickly mentioning The Haunting of Hill House, which is honestly scarier than anything on this list. Terry and I binge-watched it last year, and after one of the episodes, I had to be escorted upstairs to bed, because I was too scared to go on my own, while Terry unloaded the dishwasher. Later that night, I had one of those, “I need to go to the bathroom, but I can’t, because the Bent-Necked Lady will almost surely be standing behind the door when I open it,” moments. It’s THAT good, people: so, if you fancy a good scare this Halloween, and none of the movies on this list are doing it for you, head over to Netflix: you won’t regret it…

What are the scariest movies according to you?

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COMMENTS
  • Karlie

    REPLY

    The original Halloween. I don’t really like scary movies but I love this one.

    October 19, 2015
  • Anything involving a creepy child is just a no no no no from me. And also, why DOES the dog always have to die? Not cool horror genre.
    For me, always, the most terrifying thing ever is the original Nightmare On Elm Street – probably down to watching it at the ripe old age of 11 at a sleepover with some far braver friends than I. I didn’t sleep afterwards for a week. I’m pretty wimpy though, a late night Hollyoaks once gave me nightmares.

    October 19, 2015
  • Jaynie

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    I’m not really a scary movie person. But the Ring — despite the fact that I don’t believe in demons or ghosts or haunted objects or whatever the actual premise was — has the power to make me double check all the televisions in the house whenever someone mentions is, even all these years later. You know. Just in case. (I even feel the urge to check now, and I don’t even HAVE a TV at the moment!)

    The Shining is the only movie I couldn’t sleep after though. Although I did love the image of you jumping at the word Friday 🙂

    October 19, 2015
  • I’m yet to find a movie that actually scares me… I’ve got this weird thing where I’m scared of absolutely everything APART from horror movies. They don’t bother me one little bit. I hate gore, but I would quite like a film to freak me out for once. We watched a brand new one – Unfriended – at the weekend and I thought the concept for that was really good, actually. It’s about a haunting done through the internet – felt very relevant and almost believable. But then it got too gory for its own good. Yuck. If you like being creeped out of the thriller variety, I recommend The Babadook.

    October 19, 2015
  • I remember watching a movie that had a particular song that played whenever the bad (evil monster-type) guy was coming. I can’t remember what the movie was called, but it was C.R.E.E.P.Y and scared the living daylights out of me. I’m actually trying NOT to remember it at the moment because I don’t want to be reminded and then have nightmares. Oh No… it just came to me 🙁
    Jeepers Creepers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Suzy x
    http://www.suzyturner.com

    October 19, 2015
  • Myra

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    Have you seen “The Eyes of Laura Mars”. It’s the only film ever to scare my unscareable sister

    October 19, 2015
  • I think I like the idea of scary movies more then I actually like scary movies. Because I get really scared and scream a bit here and there in the movies when nothing have happend in a while or when the music gets to scary, and that kind of ruins the movies for anyone that’s watching it with me.
    I do however like some of the movies you listed, like the ring and the others. I just can’t look at them anytime close to bedtime. And I really looking forward to the new Tim Burton movie Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, even if the book made me sleep with the lights on. /love Ida

    October 19, 2015
  • Sally

    REPLY

    For some odd reason Darkness Falls and Drag Me To Hell scared the living daylights out of me. But then, so did When a Stranger Calls (2006) and Cabin in the Woods.

    To this day I refuse to watch Nightmare on Elm Street. I have vivid enough dreams that that could totally be real. Not happening. Ever.

    October 19, 2015
  • Right, I think you are way off, because the scariest film ever is Jurassic Park. Think about this: dinosaurs actually existed. In real life. Verified by scientists. I have recurring dreams about T-recession on the loose in W H Smiths.

    October 19, 2015
    • My predictive text thought recessions more terrifying than a t-rex…

      October 19, 2015
  • Annabel

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    I’ve never seen a horror movie. Yes, really. I used to be deathly afraid of Sherlock Holmes books and CSI, so a movie with demons, dead people, monster, etc? NOPE. However, my taste has changed *a lot* and now I LOVE dark, mysterious -both gory and creepy- things. I mean, a few months ago I found myself watching a TV show about vampires, demonic possessions and horrible murders at 3am, alone, in the dark (Penny Dreadful btw- it’s on netlfix, it’s only eight chapters long and it’s awesome). So, I decided I would enjoy this Halloween the way it should be and have a horror movie marathon with all the great ones (Psycho, The Shining, Synister, Children of the Corn, etc). Then I learnt I have a final exam Monday the 2nd- Halloween has been cancelled, guys

    October 19, 2015
    • Annabel

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      Also, the telephone rung right after I finished reading this and it pretty much scared me to death. I’m actually writing this from the grave. WiFi’s awesome on the other side

      October 19, 2015
  • Alison

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    Horror is the best genre. “Friday the 13th” is my favorite series. Jason Voorhees terrifies me, which is funny because other horror icons such as Freddy Krueger and Michael Meyers don’t really scare me. Also, I know people complain that the Ft13 movies are all the same, but it doesn’t bother me.

    I also like a lot of random cheesy 1980s horror films such as “Chopping Mall” “Pieces” and the “Night of the Demons” series. I love horror from the ’80s!

    October 19, 2015
  • Liz

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    Hands down Wolf Creek. That movie scared the crap out of me. I think mostly because I actually live in remote Australia and the whole “based on true events” thing…. *shudder*.

    October 20, 2015
  • Amy

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    The Blair Witch Project scared me to death because you don’t actually SEE anything scary, you have to imagine it. As someone with an overactive imagination, I found that to be much more terrifying than special effects or a guy in ghoulish makeup. Another longtime favorite is the original Halloween. A few more that I love: Ils (Them), Shiver, The End of the Line (it’s a low-budget Canadian horror movie), It Follows, and The Descent.

    October 20, 2015
  • Paranormal Activity (and any sequal) are definitely on my list. I saw the first one in theatres and when it ended IT DIDN’T HAVE CREDITS!! WHICH MEANT IT WAS TRUE! And after that, I slept with the lights on for like 2-3 weeks.
    I couldn’t even finish watching the second one it was too scary

    October 21, 2015
  • The Ring. Definitely. I had to sleep with the lights on after watching it. Both times I watched it actually. I also loved The Others. It was a creepy good time at the movies, but didn’t scar me for life, like The Ring.

    October 24, 2015
  • Hi Amber,

    Amazing list! Have you seen the Steven King version of The Shining? It was an American TV mini seris but it was really interesting to see the differences between it and the kuberick version. It was released in 2003 if you wanted to look for it 🙂

    October 25, 2015
  • Ha-ha, now I had to go and read this! I don’t watch scary movies, I have an over-vivid imagination and things stay with me for a long time, scaring me to death. I watched a zombie film as a child – this guy was giving free cinema tickets to random people on a platform of the New York (?) metro and when they all attended, one of the characters got a small cut on his face by trying on a mask hanging off a sculpture in the cinema foyer. Then they all turned to zombies and I couldn’t sleep for two weeks. So, I don’t watch scary stuff, but love reading the film plots on Wikipedia, as you do, so that I can scare myself nevertheless. I love suspense though, so my favourite film is Rebecca. Now off to Google Insidious and the Eyes of Laura M.

    October 25, 2015
  • Brenda

    REPLY

    Children of the Corn pretty much did it for me. Can’t drive by a corn field without thinking about it. Another one I found really scary, but I actually don’t think it’s in the “horror” genre, was the movie “Seven”… more suspenseful, about a serial killer. Messed me up for DAYS. I am not a huge horror movie lover, I prefer to get my sleep. But my daughter went through a big Steven King phase and insisted we watch The Shining. It was indeed scary, but the scariest part of the entire movie was Shelly Duvall’s acting. It was a little “out there”… imo!

    October 27, 2018
  • Allegra

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    I am currently watching the Haunting of Hill House too – and totally loving how they remade Shirley Jackson book to create something so different, and yet so similar in some ways. I started a couple of days ago, all by myself since the husband is abroad this week, and well… I am a bit hesitant to admit I am far too scared to continue until he comes back home tonight. But I think that is the “beauty” if horror. Lol.

    Another favourite classic of mine is The Wicker Man. I can´t get over that ending…

    In any case and as much as I love Halloween, I agree with you there is no reason to watch horror in the Autumn only.
    I think it is a good excuse to make thematic marathons, though.

    October 27, 2018
  • Vanessa Diviny

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    I’ve seen The Shining and The Birds from this list. The Birds I wouldn’t really describe as scary, The Shining was not as scary as I expected it to be. I made sure I watched it during the day as I didn’t want to have nightmares. Horror is not a genre I actively seek out, but there are rare exceptions.

    October 28, 2018
  • Selina McEntee

    REPLY

    The horror movie that has really stuck with me is Lake Mungo, and I think I watched it because you mentioned it in a previous blog post about horror movies. Funnily enough, although I found it quite scary when I was watching, it wasn’t until after the movie that it really started to freak me out. Every now and then I flash back to that final scene (of the video on her phone) and scares the bejesus out of me. Oh, and the credits, when they revealed the actual ghosts in the faked ghost photos. *shiver*

    October 28, 2018
  • You know what Amber, when I was younger, much younger! I loved horror movies my number 1 favourite was Salem’s Lot filmed in Salom in Maine. Trouble is as much as I would love to watch it again (I’ve read the book too) I’m way to scared. As I’ve got older I can no longer watch horror nor will I allow my girls, well, the two that still live at home anyway and they are 18 and almost 20. They’re like Mum, really, come on it’s not that scary but I’m like nope! I don’t want no reason to bring bad vibes to our home. I know, sounds rediculous but I’m just a scared old woman now. Lol Not that old actually. However, you mentioned Birds I love that movie and love Tippi Hedrin although I wouldn’t have thought you were old enough to have watched and enjoyed that old classic? That’s a compliment by the way. If I could have added a photo here I would have as I had taken a beautiful photo just last week outside my back garden with a little school of birds flying around and the beautiful views I live with every day. I will add it on my fb page and mention your page in the comments so you can see it. The photo brought to mind the movie Birds and did so for some of my followers too. Anyhow hope you have had a lovely chilled weekend and a productive week ahead. x

    October 28, 2018
  • I am most definitely going to have to watch El Orfanato now!
    I am tempted to watch The Haunting of Hill House, but I listened to a book on tape that was loosely based on that story and it was so disturbing (for not regular creepy reasons) that is discovered you can actually get audible to remove all history of you having ever listened to a book. I’ve been scarred by that adaptation and it may ruin the show for me.
    Also, The Birds should maybe be #1 on this list, only because it will absolutely follow you for the rest of your life. I’ve never met someone who has seen it and isn’t now afraid of flocks of birds.

    October 29, 2018
  • Elisya

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    Can i know what font you using for this Amber ? thank you ☺️

    January 2, 2020
  • alex

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    how about serbian film, climax or the man behind the sun? 🙂 they were good. i actually never found a film scary or f’d up enough for me, shame really, makes me feel a bit like a very odd person as i can sit though all the films i just mentioned in one sitting 🙂

    August 31, 2020
  • May

    REPLY

    I enjoy a good scary movie too and since I’ve been watching a movie a week since lockdown started I decided to keep that going by watching a horror movie every weekend through October. So far I’ve seen Pet Sematary (classic 80s non-slasher horror film, just *chef’s kiss*) and Sleepy Hollow (which personally I’d describe more as “late 90s Tim Burton movie” than “horror movie”, though to be fair to my younger self I once saw the trailer when I was around seven and it scared me to the point of tears). I’m planning to watch Train to Busan and I’m thinking of ending things and send off the month with the Scooby Doo movies- it ain’t spooky season without children’s spooky content.
    I’m usually more into the psychological horror/thriller (like Get Out or Silence of the Lambs) but I *loved* The Haunting of Hill House and I can’t wait to watch The Haunting of Bly Manor (just released by the same director). If you’re looking for suggestions about horror movies with monsters, watch A Quiet Place. It’s so so good

    October 12, 2020
  • lalie

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    I loved movies like the Saw franchise, but I struggle to find really scary movies – the keep-you-wide-awake-at-night kind of movies. Horror films I watch seem to be so over the top I don’t get into that much.

    Open Water, Open Water 2: adrift were unnerving. (might be a theme there!)
    I agree about Wolf Creek (but I did watch it before a holiday to Australia, as you do!), the second 1 is poor.

    The one that really creeped me out is a documentary, “Haunters: The Art of the Scare “, especially the Mcsomething Manor part. It’s very disturbing. But I also found Flowers in the Attic very disturbing!

    October 13, 2020
  • Laura

    REPLY

    Great list! My scariest scary movie is The Innocents (based on The Turn of the Screw) – it’s in black and white because it’s from the 60s but if anything that just makes it *more* creepy.

    October 13, 2020
  • Emerald

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    I’m not a great fan of horror movies, but I do like psychological thrillers. I loved Midsommar! And I find about anything involving being in the middle of the ocean with no land in sight or being eaten by sharks terrifying.

    I went to see the Blair Witch Project with a group of friends and the consensus was that it wasn’t scary, although the premise is. Three of us were still discussing how scary it wasn’t as we were walking though a little strip of park that goes up Brixton Hill. Suddenly an elderly man cycled past me, unexpectedly, and I jumped out of my skin. My friends have, quite rightly, never let me forget it!

    October 14, 2020
  • Dianne

    REPLY

    The Haunting of Bly Manor is brilliant!

    October 22, 2020
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