The 10 best scary movies of all time are actually some of the best movies ever created. Making horror films takes a lot of ability from the filmmakers. Fear is a strong emotion, and generating a lot of fear with visuals in a film is among the most technical things that film directors do. These films are all brilliant in the way they handle that challenge, and all are absolute must-see movies for any film aficionado.

  1. “Nosferatu, a Symphony of Horror” was one of the earliest horror movies, and it’s still the best. Director F.W. Murnau brought a vampire to the screen that almost seemed real, and the result is easily one of the best scary movies ever.

  2. “The Shining” was director Stanley Kubrick's sole entry into the horror genre. The best scary movies usually have more going on than just the fear-factor, and “The Shining” definitely fits that description. In some ways, the film is just as much an exploration of a dysfunctional family as anything else.

  3. “The Exorcist” has a reputation as one of the best scary movies of all time and it’s well deserved. This movie about demon possession may actually be the scariest movie on this list.

  4. “Jaws” is one of those scary movies that actually changed the way people thought and behaved when it came out. Many people who saw the movie developed shark phobias afterwards that made them hesitant to visit a beach.

  5. “Psycho” is one of the first scary movies that could possibly be called a “slasher.” This may not be Alfred Hitchcock’s best movie ever, but no list of the best scary movies ever would be complete without it.

  6. “Planet of the Vampires,” is a film by director Mario Bava. It’s about a spaceship that is marooned on a desolate planet occupied by evil body-stealing spirits. The film is genuinely creepy, and it was the first truly great blend of science fiction and gothic horror.

  7. “Carrie” is a film directed by Brian De Palma, and it’s based on a novel by Stephen King. The movie is about a teenage girl with psychic powers who suffers bullying by other people in her school.

  8. “Cat People” has more subtext than any other film on this list of the best scary movies of all time. This movie came out in the 1940's, and it’s about a woman from a tribe of people who supposedly have the capacity to transform into panthers. The film has a lot more going on under the surface than meets the eye, including a lot of interesting sexual subtext.

  9. The original “Dawn of the Dead” is the greatest zombie movie of all time. Anything it lacks in special effects, it more than makes up for with brilliant social commentary and a smart script.

  10. “They Came From Within” is about a virus that attacks an apartment building, turning people into sexual deviants. This was one of David Cronenberg’s first films, and it’s his most successful venture into the horror genre.