The 10 scariest movies of all time take the thing that scares the audience the most and turns it against them. In most cases, the terror in these classic films is only implied. But that insistence that the audience use its imagination is what makes these the scariest movies of all time.
- “The Blair Witch Project” (1999) This movie was shot for around $20,000 by college students. There was no script and we never saw a monster or bad guy, but it still remains one of the scariest movies of all time.
- “The Exorcist” (1973) When this movie was released it literally scared people into coming to the theater. The movie was condemned by the church and wound up being one of the greatest movies of all time.
- “The Shining” (1980) There was nothing cerebral or underlying about this movie. “The Shining” showed you the bad guys and then some and wound up being one of the scariest movies of all time.
- “Paranormal Activity” (2007) This was another movie shot for around $20,000 with a handheld camera in the director’s actual home. The acting was awful and the script was predictable. But the way it was filmed and the effectiveness of some of the low-budget special effects make this movie creepy enough to be one of the scariest movies of all time.
- “Frankenstein” (1931) Few movies caused the commotion and hype that this one did. Most people were familiar with the basic story behind “Frankenstein,” but when Boris Karloff appeared on screen in makeup for the first time, people were literally running for the doors.
- “Rosemary’s Baby” (1968) This movie is the perfect combination of 1960’s art films, a creepy story and an implication of the horror we would not see until the end. It makes no apologies about its origins in the worship of Satan and remains one of the scariest movies of all time.
- “Dracula” (1931) In the years leading up to the release of “Dracula,” Hollywood had developed the production trick of using light to focus on an actor’s eyes. But no one had a scarier glare than Bela Lugosi when he played Dracula.
- “Psycho” (1960) Alfred Hitchcock filmed “Psycho” in black and white to make it scarier. Even as the movie draws to a close, it is so well-done that the audience is never really sure what is going on or what was going through the head of Norman Bates.
- “Night of the Living Dead” (1968) Prior to the release of this movie, Hollywood had never really featured zombies in a film before. This introduction to the world of the living dead is one of the scariest movies of all time.
- “Halloween” (1978) What makes this movie a classic is what we do not see as opposed to what we do see. The images of the butcher knife shining in the moonlight but never really seeing where it strikes on the victim’s body haunted audiences for weeks after they saw this film.
Now check out this year’s scariest movie, As Above So Below, in theaters August 29th!