I’m not sure if you’re aware, but it’s Halloween soon, and that means that it’s time to watch some scary movies, isn’t it? That’s what you do at Halloween, because Halloween is scary, and scary movies are scary. Just this week we already brought you a list of the top 10 scariest horror movie moments, as decided by the British public, but today we’re zooming out a bit. Today, it’s the 10 scariest movies as a whole.
Unfortunately, it has also been decided by the British public, so it’s not correct, but whatever. The study was carried out by mobile phone insurance provider, Insurance2go, for reasons unknown to everyone other than themselves. It goes like this:
10. The Omen (1976)
Come on though, is it actually scary? Yeah, actually, it is. The Omen holds up so well, and that bit with those bloody dogs is still bum-weepingly terrifying. The less said about the sequels and the remake, the better, but the original is a creepy cult classic. Just look at that little prick up there in his stupid hat - it doesn’t get worse than having that as your son.
9. What Lies Beneath (2000)
Come on though, is it actually scary? Well, yeah, a bit - quite spooky, a bit tense, sometimes shocking. That’s about all you can ask for in a horror film, really. But the ninth scariest film of all time? WOULD NOT HAVE THOUGHT SO.
8. The Evil Dead (2013)
Come on though, is it actually scary? Yeah a bit, I guess. This was the remake that nobody wanted, but it somehow came out of left-field and ended up a banger. It’s probably a bit too silly to be truly scary, but there’s some great gore and a couple of good jump-scares - again, you’re on a hiding to nothing if you’re asking for more than that.
7. 28 Days Later Series (2002-)
Come on though, is it actually scary? OK, bit weird that two films are being bunched together as one, but never mind. Luckily both are very good, and both are to a certain extent, rather ‘scary’. Try and find a more breathless, tense and harrowing opening to a movie than that horrendous chase scene at the beginning of the sequel. Christ I wanted a lie-down after that.
6. Alien Series (1979-)
Come on though, is it actually scary? This is of course the stupidest entry on the list because there are loads of Alien movies and they all differ wildly in quality, so clumping them altogether makes zero sense. If we simply take the first one, then yes, it is scary, and it’s an utter milestone in sci-fi horror filmmaking, but as the series goes on, the scares drop and everything gets a bit muddled. None of the others are scary, basically.
5. Poltergeist (1982)
Come on though, is it actually scary? Yeah, go on then. I mean, I have only seen this once and it was when I was much younger, but it definitely scared me. I reckon a repeat viewing might dilute things a bit, but it’s still a good’un. And still: clowns.
4. The Exorcist (1973)
Come on though, is it actually scary? Not really - it’s too silly and dated to be scary. I understand the uproar it caused when it was first released, but in the grand scheme of things, it falls short behind a lot of other scary movies. Still good though, mind.
3. Paranormal Activity (2007)
Come on though, is it actually scary? It is scary all the way through, right until the dumb ending, which ruins everything. As such, the rest of the film is rendered not scary. Paranormal Activity is therefore: not scary. Sorry.
2. Psycho (1960)
Come on though, is it actually scary? Not now, that’s for sure - it’s been done to death, it’s ingrained in our heads, its influence is everywhere. Back in the day? I couldn’t possibly comment as I was nowhere near existing in the ‘60s.
Mum’s big reveal is a bit horrible, I guess, but that’s about it.
1. The Shining (1980)
Come on though, is it actually scary? A couple of nicely creepy bits here and there, but I don’t know, The Shining just doesn’t feel like a scary film, to me - let alone the scariest of all time. It’s just a great film, sans an abundance of scares, and that’s just fine.
In conclusion: rubbish list and everyone’s an idiot. Obviously the scariest film of all time is Son of the Mask. Christ I still have nightmares about that one.
Get ShortList Daily straight to your inbox for free
Get exclusive shortlists, celebrity interviews and the best deals on the products you care about, straight to your inbox.