Horror, Movies

13 Scariest Movies I’ve Ever Seen

13 Scariest Movies

So, as you’ll soon learn, I LOVE a good scary movie! Since Halloween is fast approaching, I will be watching at least two scary movies a week. I know. It’s almost as ambitious as my October TBR, but I’m hopeful that I can make this work for me. Therefore, I’ve decided to create a list of the 13 scariest movies that I’ve seen. These films are ones that I’ve watched repeatedly, and some were even originally books that I’ve also read. They are listed from the least scary to most scary. Enjoy!

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Rosemary's Baby 13 Scary Movies13. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 99%
This is the least scary film on my list, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t seriously terrify me. I have a weak spot for the paranormal, and this movie delivered that. It’s about a young couple who move into a wonderful apartment before their baby is born. As it turns out, the father offers their baby to an occult group who all live in the same building, and it appears that Rosemary’s baby is the child of Satan. This film was also a great representation of the idea of motherhood during the ’60s. This was a time where feminism was gaining serious speed, and it can be seen as an idea of rejecting home life and family.

What’s even stranger about this movie is that it represented real-life horror: the director, Roman Polansky, would eventually experience terrible loss when his own wife is brutally murdered by the Manson Family while eight months pregnant with their child. Eerie…
(This movie is based on a book.)

The Exorcist 13 Scary Movies12. The Exorcist (1973)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 86%
This story focuses on a young girl who becomes possessed by a demon and priests come to exorcise the demon out of her. It became a blockbuster, breaking records and becoming an extremely high-grossing film. This is yet another film that features a child as a representation of supernatural evil. It is also important to note that the young girl, Regan, who was possessed by the demon, was a child of divorce in the film.

Demons again. There’s something about them, and Catholic exorcisms, that give me the heebie jeebies!
(This movie is based on a book.)

The Witch 13 Scary Movies11. The Witch (2016)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 91%
This is the first recent horror film on my list, but it doesn’t disappoint. This movie was really hit or miss – some people loved it while others hated it. It’s a New England folk tale about a family living in the New England wilderness in the 1630s and is based on actual documentation on what the Puritans believed witches to be capable of. A family of 7 was originally part of a small community, but were banished by the church and left to fend for themselves. Strange things start to happen around their property, and their five children experience serious scares throughout the film. The family begin to suspect one of their daughters is a witch, and this tests the family in ways they never have before.

This was a slow burner, introducing us to horrors slowly as the minutes wear on. It’s more a test of trust and family rather than an exposé on witchcraft, which can be just as terrifying. I loved it since it’s historical fiction in film format, and the acting was very well done.

The Omen 13 Scary Movies10. The Omen (1976)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 86%
Here’s another film that brings in the theme of anti-family and motherhood that was common during the Feminist movement: A seemingly normal couple gives birth to a baby boy, but wait! He’s switched at birth by a Satanic cult with a baby that is the son of Satan. He is raised in an affluent, political home and, when he becomes a young boy, terrible accidents start occurring to the family and those around them. Scary enough for you?

I can’t express enough how scared I am of demonic/Satanic children. I work in a preschool, so the idea that these sweet, innocent children are pure evil just gives me chills!
(This movie has a companion book.)

9. It Follows (2015)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 97%
The premise of this movie really threw me for a loop. Picture this: you go on a first date with a great guy, then you have sex with him. You come to find out immediately afterwards that he has given you a sexually transmitted disease. The catch is this STD isn’t physical. It’s something that will spend your whole life hunting you down to kill you unless you pass it on (through sex) to someone else. What the actual fuck??

I loved this movie! It was unique, had a great story and terrific acting. There’s something about it that sets it apart from other movies in recent years. This is a quality I look for in horror films, and It Follows delivered for me.

Nightmare on Elm Street 13 Scary Movies8. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 94%
Okay. So this movie is a bit campy in a way that doesn’t really frighten some people. It’s got some dated special effects and some scenes even seem a bit silly. But overall, this was a fantastic original movie that inspired the idea that our nightmares can, in fact, destroy us. Freddy Krueger became a HUGE household name, and this film inspired countless sequels and remakes. This film is a fantastic representation of what latchkey children had to live through during the ’80s. They were forced to fend for themselves most of the time, and although Nightmare is an extreme representation of that, it’s easy to see the parallel.

Nightmare has often been pegged as both a feminist movie and a youth power movie. The film’s hero is a teenage girl, who is the last to survive Freddy’s killing spree, and it features young teenagers working together to fight off an evil. It’s also Johnny Depp’s film debut, and he would go on to become a Hollywood star!

Poltergeist 13 Scary Movies7. Poltergeist (1982)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 88%
I can’t remember the first time I saw this movie, since I was probably 3 or 4 years old (I was a weird kid.) But I know that Poltergeist sparked my love of horror at an early age. Poltergeist was written and worked on by Steven Spielberg, who forever connected it with his other little-known film, E.T. The two were commonly known as the Good Twin (E.T.) and the Evil Twin (Poltergeist) in that they represented the same theme of good vs. evil, just in opposite forms.

Poltergeist can be seen as a satirical film, as an attack on our way of life and the role television played in bringing down society. This is because the youngest child of the Freeling family, Carol Ann, gets sucked into another plane by a group of angry spirits who are connected in some way to a static channel on the television.

This production was steeped in sorrow and superstition. Two of the main actors (Heather O’Rourke and Dominique Dunn) died at an early age. There were also so many unexplained phenomena on set that a TV special was made just on these experiences alone. Creepy!!

Psycho 13 Scary Movies6. Psycho (1960)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 97%
Finally an Alfred Hitchcock film! And the mother of all slasher films to boot! Was ANYONE not scared by this movie?? The idea of the unknown is what brings out the fear in Psycho. We don’t see a lot of blood or gore, but our imaginations seriously fill in those missing pieces. A woman checks into a hotel, where a young man works alone as its keeper. He’s got some serious mommy issues, and some killing ensues until he’s finally brought down. Norman Bates becomes a household name and sparks discussion on dissociative identity disorder.

A quick note: Janet Leigh, who plays Marion Crane (the young woman who checks into the Bates Motel and never checks out) is the mother of Jamie Lee Curtis, who becomes the first Scream Queen for her role in Halloween. Coincidence? I think not!
(This movie is based on a book.)

Texas Chainsaw Massacre 13 Scary Movies5. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 88%
Leatherface. I find him to be one of the most horrifying antagonists I’ve ever witnessed. This was one of the first Slasher films to grace our screens. A group of friends visits an old family home and discover that their neighbors are definitely NOT the place to go if you need a cup of sugar. It’s a family of psycho killers, and Leatherface is the biggest of them all! He and his family chase these five teens around their compound of horrors, trying to catch and murder them. Why? Because they’re psychos, obviously.

Although, it’s funny to note, that only one of the five friends is actually murdered with a chainsaw…

4. Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 93%
This isn’t the first zombie horror film (that honor goes to Night of the Living Dead in 1968), but this one definitely freaked me out more. George A. Romero, the creator of the film, is credited with modernizing zombies, giving them a mission (eating flesh), and creating the notion that they can only be killed by a blow to the brain. Without him, zombies would be much different, if they would even exist at all. This film is technically a sequel to Night of the Living Dead, but it can be viewed somewhat as a standalone. The group is now holed up in a shopping mall during the zombie apocalypse.

Zombies. Freak. Me. The. Fuck. Out! Especially running zombies. I choose to believe that their lack of motor skills doesn’t allow them to run. But when filmmakers choose to make them quick, I can’t help but feel like I am personally being chased by one!

It 13 Scary Movies3. It (2017)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 85%
Ahh, my first Stephen King film on this list! I’m usually very reserved when it comes to remakes. But this movie was definitely worth the mention. No one can ever replace Tim Curry’s Pennywise. He is the reason for my insane fear of clowns. But the newest version definitely didn’t disappoint, and Bill Skarsgård did a fantastic job making me cower in absolute fear! His makeup, his costume, even his voice! Everything was on point! And the Loser’s Club kids were absolutely hysterical in their prepubescent banter.

This is probably the only raving review you will find from me for a remade film, especially in the horror genre. But I just can’t help it. This film has seriously stuck with me ever since my first viewing (yep, I saw it more than once.)
(This movie is OBVIOUSLY based on a book.)

The Invitation 13 Scary Movies2. The Invitation (2015)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 88%
When it comes to horror films, I generally stick to the oldies but goodies. They have much more originality and are such classics that it’s hard to throw them aside for a newer model. But The Invitation really gave me quite a fright. Will is invited to a dinner party hosted by his ex-wife and her new husband, along with a bunch of other people. But things aren’t what they seem. Will immediately sees a hidden agenda in his invitation, along with other holes in his ex-wife’s story about dinner guests going missing. But the audience, and Will, are led to believe that he’s being paranoid. Trust me. He’s not.

This is more of a psychological thriller, but it had some incredible scares and really reminded me of Charles Manson and his family in a way. Taking place in the Hollywood Hills, a posh group of guests are subjected to serious horrors.

The Shining 13 Scary Movies1. The Shining (1980)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 87%
Finally, we reach numero uno! To this day, no matter what type of role he’s in, Jack Nicholson still gives me the creeps. Stephen King’s finest film adaptation is definitely the scariest movie I’ve seen! Jack Torrance takes a job as a hotel groundskeeper during the off-season, and moves in with his wife and young son. His son, Danny, sees dead people. It’s referred to as the Shining. The three of them experience horrors throughout the winter as Jack really starts losing his shit, and it really doesn’t have a happy ending.

The only difference I wasn’t fond of between the movie and the book was that Jack was made into an alcoholic wife-beater in the film. I understand that this was meant to heighten our belief in his paranoia and make us not feel as bad for him in the end, but I don’t think that was a necessary addition to the horror.
(This movie is, again, OBVIOUSLY based on a book.)

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And there you have it: a curated list of 13 scariest movies just in time for Halloween! I’ve already watched two on this list (The Witches and It) and I plan on making my way through the rest of this list.

To quote Scream: “What’s your favorite scary movie?” Comment below!

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