What Do You Think are the Scariest Movies of All-time?

Alien, The Shining, Jaws, Jacob’s Ladder, Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Photo: Fox / Universal / MGM

Over at Hollywood-Elsewhere Jeff Wells points out that The New Yorker‘s Ben Greenman has listed what he believes to be the five scariest movies of all-time. His list goes as follows:

  1. Texas Chainsaw Massacre Tobe Hooper (1974)
  2. The Silence of the Lambs Jonathan Demme (1991)
  3. The Body Snatcher Robert Wise (1945)
  4. Night of the Hunter Charles Laughton (1955)
  5. Mulholland Drive David Lynch (2001)

I haven’t seen The Body Snatcher or Night of the Hunter but personally I don’t think the other three are all that scary. I ask the question in the headline, What Do You Think are the Scariest Movies of All-time?, because I want to do a top ten list of scariest movies ever and need to make sure I watch as many films that are considered “scary” before I start my list. The Body Snatcher and Night of the Hunter are already covered and I also plan on watching Jacob’s Ladder (1990), The Haunting (1963) and Don’t Look Now (1973) which were recommended in the comments on Hollywood-Elsewhere and hope you may have others.

Also know, I am looking for the films that gave you the chills. The one’s that hit home. I remember when I was young and Jaws really freaked me out and I think it still has scare appeal. When I first saw The Ring I remember getting quite the chill. The Shining definitely gives me the creeps as does the moment before Tom Skerritt dies in Alien. I thought The Others was truly creepy as well as The Orphanage. The first Amityville Horror has some scary moments as does Poltergeist, Hellraiser and The Devil’s Backbone. Is The Thing scary or just kick ass? What about the original Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street? Maybe I’ll have to watch those again.

I know I am missing some because I think truly scary films have a gutteral and personal impact on the viewer. The Blair Witch Project is another one that creeped me out, but I am sure many just laughed it off. So what is it for you? What film(s) really scare you and cause goosebumps to raise on your arms or have you gripping the arm rests? I am looking for scary films, and not necessarily gory films. Sure, a bunch of blood and guts can be scary if done properly, but for the most part films like Saw and Hostel are just attempts to be gross and not particularly scary.

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