Top Ten Tuesday! The Ten Scariest Movies of All Time

Feeling in the mood for some Halloween scares? Check out the movies on this list, created from a painstaking culling of countless online lists of scary movies. These are the ten that appeared most often on most of the lists. I posted this list last year and it resulted in a lot of suggestions for other great scary movies. Feel free to add your two cents in the comments.


10. Psycho (1960) Believe it or not, this one almost didn’t make the list. This is a classic that has spawned countless imitations.


9. Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror (1922) This intrigued me by appearing on a few lists. I can’t even imagine what they found scary in 1922.


8. Halloween (1978) Although Mike Myers later went on to bigger fame and fortune on Saturday Night Live and Wayne’s World, this movie has stood the test of time.

7. The Omen (1976) I never saw this, but if it’s got Gregory Peck it must be good. I hope it has Boo Radley too.


6. The Exorcist (1973) Talk about an ugly duckling! She later went on to become Miss Nevada. First time I saw this I was completely freaked out. me and my friends didn’t sleep all night. At the time I was also sure that a film like this would never be allowed in Canada.

5. Rosemary’s Baby (1968) I’m sure this was terrifying for all the old timey folks in 1968. Ironically, Mia Farrow played Rosemary, a woman impregnated by Satan. Many years later the baby she adopted with Woody Allen would later marry Woody Allen. I’m starting to think that Mia isn’t a very good mother.


4. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) I started this series with Part 3 but went back and watched them all. I find a villian who can get you in your dreams to be the scariest of all. Sadly, some idiots made a remake of this in 2010. Did anyone see that? Me neither.

3. The Shining (1980) A cool classic. Nobody plays crazy quite like Jack Nicholson.


2. 28 Days Later (2002) A zombie movie from 2002 before zombies were cool. I haven’t seen this one, but it showed up so regularly in my research I want to see it now.


1. Alien (1979) This one surprised me by being on almost every list. The suspense is painful and who can forget the tag line “In space no one can hear you scream.”

So what’s your favorite scary movie? Do you like being scared? What’s scarier, the books or the movies? What would you add to this list?

Have a great Tuesday! ~Phil

36 responses to “Top Ten Tuesday! The Ten Scariest Movies of All Time

  1. I really liked your choices. Alien has that slow burn effect that builds events up and then unleashes the terror. So good.

  2. “The Birds” Alfred Hitchcock. 50 years later I still have nightmares!

  3. Any movie that has David Caruso in it would make my list…and that’s just for the scary acting of course 😛

  4. How about I Am Legend with Will Smith? Signs from M Night Shamyalan? Neither are ‘horror’ films but I thought both were extremely scary.

  5. The Omen was really quite a good movie. You should see it. 🙂

    • It’s one of those movies that I’ve never sat down to watch from start to finish, but have occasionally walked in when it’s on TV Saturday afternoon and caught a little bit of it here and there.

  6. Nosferatu is a classic silent horror film, which is really Dracula by another name. You should watch Shadow of a Vampire, a movie about making Nosferatu. It isn’t so much scary as it is thought provoking.

  7. Great list, Phil, and a topic I love. For myself, I have to make the distinction between scary movies and scary text. Also, what I used to find scary or unstomachable has flipped (along with the stomach, ha!). Today, I typically turn my head with the goriest parts of GoT and TWD).
    As for horror movies (not texts!), I’ve always been more affected by the demon/paranormal horror (and unsettling or psychological) stuff than monsters and gore per se.
    My all-time scary favorites (some of which I’ve never watched in entirety): (1) Salem’s Lot; (2) Pet Cemetary (because I’m a parent; it was not frightening to me back in the day); (3) Suspiria; (4) The Shining (the first and, as far as I’m concerned, the only version). (5) Nightmare on Elm Street (I think part 2, where the woman flies off the bed and onto the ceiling, bleeding). [Back in the day, this really creeped me out.] (6) The Amityville Horror.
    And, as for unsettling horror or dark fantasy (probably PC could go in here as well): Něco z Alenky (or “Alice”) and Ringu (I prefer the Japanese version). I could go on forever, but I’ll spare you, Phil! Have a fun(ny) week! 🙂

  8. Halloween defo. I’d also include Blair Witch & Paranormal Acrivity. They scare the bejesus outta me every time!

  9. Pingback: Waiting for Halloween – April's Perspective

  10. The original 1963 version of “The Haunting.” Still one of the scariest films of all time!

  11. Great list, Phil.

  12. I’m not a fan of horror movies, so it’s not a big surprise that I haven’t seen any of these movies – with one exception. I did see The Exorcist when it was first released – and interestingly, not in Canada. It was in Minneapolis with a bunch of classmates on our way home from a school trip. It would be another several months before the movie finally found its way to our small town theatre.

    Give me a good comedy instead. A great comedy with a Hallowe’en theme? Hocus Pocus with Bette Midler. I watch it at least once a year 🙂

  13. Just about all of these movies made my list. Plus a few that most people have probably never heard of … like The Changeling made in 1980.

  14. I’m glad to see The Omen on here even if you haven’t seen it. Religious horror scares the crap out of me!

Leave a Reply