The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
One of the scariest movies because: Who wants to imagine being eaten by Anthony Hopkins?
What the critics say: "For all the unbridled savagery on display, what is shrewd, significant and finally hopeful about Silence of the Lambs is the way it proves that a movie can be mercilessly scary and mercifully humane at the same time."—Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
One of the scariest movies because: Worse than Anthony Hopkins, who wants to imagine being eaten by hordes of undead strangers?
What the critics say: "George Romero's remarkably assured debut, made on a shoestring, about a group of people barricaded inside a farmhouse while an army of flesh-eating zombies roams the countryside, deflates all genre clichés."—Elliott Stein, Village Voice
The Host (2007)
One of the scariest movies because: It's genuinely surprising: Movie monsters are often slow and stupid, but the beast in this Korean film is fast, even calculating. Creepy.
What the critics say: "A gross, scary, funny, and dramatically satisfying ride... it's enough to make you think twice about that river-rafting trip you were planning for next summer."—Dana Stevens, Slate
Ring / "Ringu" (1998)
One of the scariest movies because: It's about a killer videotape—which doesn't bode well for the viewer of this unsettling Japanese original. More atmospheric than the American remake, Ring is worth a late-night viewing.
What the critics say: "Ring forces fear into every cut as a psychic telejournalist counts down the hours till a fatal visitation, while making a gung ho attempt to save her brood."—Edward Crouse, Village Voice
One of the scariest movies because: Even though the death traps are beyond gruesome—though, clever in this first Saw film, tortuous in its sequels—what's scariest is that you just might understand the villain's twisted motives by the end of the film.
What the critics say: "A messy, gristle-cut B psycho thriller that makes you squirm a few times, but mostly makes you giggle."—Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
The Orphanage (2007)
One of the scariest movies because: It covers the full horror spectrum with ghost children and a disturbing, possibly murderous old woman.
What the critics say: "A doom-laden Spanish thriller... the atmosphere oozes with anxiety and grief."—Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer
The Fly (1986)
One of the scariest movies because: Hideous, mutant body horror abounds in this remake of the '50s sci-fi film.
What the critics say: "Makes the monster in Aliens look like Grandma in a Norman Rockwell painting."—Caryn James, The New York Times
Nosferatu, a Symphony of Horror (1922)
One of the scariest movies because: The silent film doesn't have today's blood 'n' guts special effects, but director F. W. Murnau still creates a creepy, nightmarish setting with shadows and tension. Brilliant.
What the critics say: "Remains one of the most poetic of all horror films"—Time Out
Watch the whole movie, below:
One of the scariest movies because: The deaths are grisly, the setting is surreal, and the labyrinthine details of the plot might just have you questioning reality by the end.
What the critics say: "Highly ambitious and cerebral... a veritable nightmare of a movie."—Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times
Black Swan (2010)
One of the scariest movies because: Determined women dance ballet, vigorously, and Winona Ryder gouges her face with a nail file. Black Swan is an award-winning blend of highbrow suspense and horror schlock.
What the critics say: "It’s outlandish and melodramatic and spectacular... a magnificent blend of pop and art cinema."—Andrew O'Hehir, Salon