Scary horror movies are a great way to get your heart racing and keep you up at night. But what are some of the scariest horror movies out there?
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The Exorcist is one of the most classic and well-known horror movies of all time. The movie tells the story of a young girl who is possessed by a demon, and the lengths that her mother and a priest go to in order to try and save her. The Exorcist is not for the faint of heart, as it features some truly terrifying and gruesome scenes.
The Shining is a 1980 psychological horror film directed by Stanley Kubrick, co-written with novelist Diane Johnson, and produced by Jan Harlan. The film is based on Stephen King’s 1977 novel of the same name and stars Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, and Scatman Crothers.
The Shining tells the story of Jack Torrance (Nicholson), an aspiring writer and recovering alcoholic who accepts a position as the off-season caretaker of the isolated Overlook Hotel in Colorado. His young son Danny (Lloyd) possesses “the shining”, an ability to see into the hotel’s horrific past using clairvoyance and precognition. Wendy Torrance (Duvall), Jack’s wife, initially accompanies him to the Overlook, but leaves early into his tenure after suffering from cabin fever.
While exploring the hotel’s hedge maze with Danny, Jack encounters delayed visions of a former caretaker named Grady (Philip Stone), who killed his family with an axe before succumbing to suicide. Danny also meets Tony (Danny Lloyd again), another manifestation of his “shining” ability, who urges him to flee the hotel before Jack can harm him. Ignoring Tony’s warnings, Jack heads into town to purchase replacement parts for the hotel’s boiler. He grows increasingly frustrated when he realizes that he forgot his wallet, and becomes violent towards Wendy and Danny upon returning to the hotel.
During one of his “shining” moments, Danny sees gruesome images of corpses hanging from meat hooks in the walk-in freezer; sure enough, when he ventures into it later on, Jack has locked him in. Desperate and IPA-fueled, Jack begins hacking through the door with an axe while proclaiming that “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. Wendy finally rescues Danny just as Jack breaks through; seeing what he has done, Wendy flees in terror as Jack gives chase with his axe. He finally corners her in one of the rooms but she manages to escape out onto a fire escape. She makes her way back inside where she findsDanny hide under a bed; they embrace as Jack hacks at the door with his axe once more….
Rosemary’s Baby is a 1968 American psychological horror film written and directed by Roman Polanski, based on the novel Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin. The cast features Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon, Sidney Blackmer, Maurice Evans, Ralph Bellamy, Victorian Principal, and Elisha Cook Jr. The plot follows a pregnant woman who deals with the problem of her evil neighbors wanting her baby for a satanic ritual.
The film—shot on location in Manhattan during the summer of 1967—premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 1968 and was released theatrically in the United States on June 12, 1968, by Paramount Pictures. Upon its release, the film was heavily criticized for its graphic depiction of occult rituals and violent scenes. Nevertheless, it became one of the most financially successful horror films ever made, grossing $33 million worldwide against its $3 million budget. Polanski won Best Director at both the Golden Globe Awards and BAFTA Awards for his work on the film. Time magazine placed it on its list of All-TIME 100 Movies in 2006 and Sight & Sound placed it sixth on their poll of greatest films ever made in 2012. In 2014, it was inducted into the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant”.
The Omen is a 1976 supernatural horror film directed by Richard Donner and starring Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner, Harvey Stephens, Billie Whitelaw, Patrick Troughton, Martin Benson, and Leo McKern. The film centers on the birth of Damien Thorn (Stephens), who is revealed to be the Antichrist. The item was released on June 25th, 1976.
The Amityville Horror
The Amityville Horror is a 1979 American supernatural horror film directed by Stuart Rosenberg and starring James Brolin and Margot Kidder as a young couple who purchase a house inhabited by murderous ghosts. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Jay Anson, which was published in 1977. It is the first installment in The Amityville Horror franchise.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is one of the most terrifying and iconic horror movies of all time. The movie follows a group of friends who are terrorized by a family of cannibals, led by the chainsaw-wielding Leatherface. The movie is notable for its gritty realism, which makes the violence all the more shocking. If you’re looking for a truly horrifying experience, then The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a must-watch.
The Blair Witch Project
The Blair Witch Project is a 1999 American supernatural horror film written, directed and edited by Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez. It tells the fictional story of three student filmmakers—Heather Donahue, Michael C. Williams and Joshua Leonard—who hike in the Black Hills near Burkittsville, Maryland in 1994 to film a documentary about the fabled Blair Witch. The three disappear, and their equipment is discovered a year later; the footage they shot is the only clue to their disappearance.
The film was commercially released in the United States on July 14, 1999, by Artisan Entertainment. Although it was a box office success, grossing $248 million globally on a budget of $60,000, it received mixed reviews from critics.
A Nightmare on Elm Street
One of the most enduring horror franchises of all time, A Nightmare on Elm Street has seen Freddy Krueger stalking and murdering teens in their dreams since 1984. The original movie, directed by Wes Craven, is still the best of the bunch, with a roster of iconic kills and one very creepy villain.
Friday the 13th
Friday the 13th is a 1980 American slasher film produced and directed by Sean S. Cunningham, written by Victor Miller, and starring Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Harry Crosby, Kevin Bacon, and Jeannine Taylor. It tells the story of a group of teenage camp counselors who are stalked and murdered by an unknown assailant while trying to reopen a summer camp that was the site of a child’s drowning. The film was released on May 9, 1980 in the United States to commercial success.
The Silence of the Lambs
The Silence of the Lambs is a 1991 American horror film directed by Jonathan Demme and starring Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, and Scott Glenn. It was adapted by Ted Tally from Thomas Harris’ 1988 novel of the same name. In the film, Clarice Starling, a young FBI trainee, seeks the advice of the imprisoned Dr. Hannibal Lecter to catch another serial killer, known only as “Buffalo Bill”.
The Silence of the Lambs was released on February 14, 1991 and grossed $272 million worldwide against its $19 million budget. It is considered by many to be one of the greatest horror films ever made. The film won five Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Actor (Hopkins), Best Actress (Foster), Best Adapted Screenplay (Tally), and Best Director (Demme).