Our list of the scariest films of all time

Lifestyle reporter


Lifestyle reporter

Our top 10 list of the scariest films of all time

Ah yes, Halloween, that wonderful time of year when someone suggests breaking out the most frightening films, so we can all spend the next few weeks nervously checking under the bed, in the cupboard and avoiding people called Jason or Damien.

So here is our take on the top scary movies of all time - do you agree?

9. The Blair Witch Project (1999)

Ok, so this may be a stretch for many who didn't see this movie when hype about it was at its height...but it really, really, really was scary stuff - especially as the online stories had you believing it may actually have some basis in reality. 

8. The Omen (1976)

There is a certain generation of people who would never consider naming their offspring Damien as a result of this film. And as for that scene with the impaling of the priest with his own spire.....Creepy doesn't even begin to describe it...

7. Hellraiser (1987)

The movie posters are enough to give yourself nightmares for week. Hellraiser isn't just horrifying, it's disturbing on a level which makes the Hostel and Saw movie franchises look like something from the muppets. There is an important lesson to be learned from this film - never mess with something you've bought back from overseas - in this case it's a box -  or you may just open a portal to hell....

6. Halloween (1978)

Why, oh why, would anyone actually enjoy this movie? I can't even talk about how freaky I found it and I only managed to stomach half of this slashfest before I switched it off and checked behind the couch. The back story is bad enough - a six-year-old is arrested and imprisoned after murdering his sister on Halloween night. 15 years later, Michael Myers escapes and heads back to his hometown to claim more victims.

5. The Ring (the original Japanese film from 1998)

Forget the American remake of this cult Japanese film, the original tale of the cursed video tape is much more terrifying! The story is pretty simple. You get the tape, watch it and then receive a phone call telling you that you have a week to live before you pass the tape on to some other unsuspecting fool. What is seriously creepy is Sadako, the girl in the well who gives a new definition to terror. As for the part where she climbs out of the well...enough said!

4. The Exorcist (1973)

While all of us, as teenagers, probably resembled aspects of The Exorcist, the film, well, let's just say that 44 years on, it's still one of the most frightening pieces of cinema ever. The work of William Friedkin, this film centres on a young girl who is the subject of demon possession. Cue spinning heads, projectile vomiting and disturbing closeups of a girl who has gone one HUGE step beyond the average teen tantrum.

3. Paranormal Activity (2007)

While we can all laugh hysterically at the many, many haunted house investigation reality shows on tv these days, this movie is not funny, not a bit. While the Blair Witch Project kicked off a slew of, let's be honest, fairly rubbish, found-footage movies, Paranormal Activity delivered a knock out blow to our self confidence because it, gulp, happened in a house...while everyone was asleep. Remember the demon footprints in the baby talc? There goes a good night's sleep for everyone.....

2. The Shining (1980)

Am I completely alone in believing there is something slightly homicidal looking about Jack Nicholson at the best of times? Well welcome to The Shining, where he takes things to a whole knew level in a scene involving a locked bathroom and a hatchet. The story is fairly harmless to start - a writer moves his family to a hotel and becomes a caretaker in the hope of curing his writer’s block but then his son starts having premonitions - i.e writing Red Rum on the furnishings (Red Rum being murder, backwards). Then of course, daddy dearest discovers a dark secret that turns him into a homicidal maniac. Apparently it was shot in a real hotel. Yep, I'm NEVER going there.

1. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

Canabilastic family? Check. Chainsaw-toting villian wearing a human skin mask? Check. Oh joy, it's the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. This film was once described by Empire as “the most purely horrifying horror movie ever made”. They weren't wrong....just the word 'Leatherface' is enough to make me turn on all the lights, and leave them on.