The Shining (1980)via amazon.com
One of the scariest movies because: Jack Nicholson is seriously freaky as crazed novelist Jack Torrance, who [spoiler alert] tries to chop his family to little bits after a particularly stressful winter.
What the critics say: “Scaring the viewer is easy… What is harder is to accentuate the horrifying aspects of things that are familiar… Kubrick isn’t out for screams, but he manages to make his movie thoroughly unnerving by keeping the horror so close to home.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times
If fake horror movies don’t scare you, binge watch these 11 true crime movies that will chill you to the bone.
Halloween (1978)via amazon.com
One of the scariest movies because: This John Carpenter original is a cold, bloody slasher flick that cuts to the bone; and it’s not afraid to take itself seriously.
What the critics say: “A visceral experience—we aren’t seeing the movie, we’re having it happen to us. It’s frightening.”—Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
If Halloween is your fright trigger, these 13 scariest Halloween movies of all time will rock your world.
Poltergeist (1982)via amazon.com
One of the scariest movies because: Things aren’t what they seem in Poltergeist: A static TV screen releases evil spirits, invisible beings rearrange furniture, and houses move through dimensions, which might make shadows seem a bit menacing as you settle into bed after watching.
What the critics say: “…a marvelously spooky ghost story that may possibly scare the wits out of very small children and offend those parents who believe that kids should be protected from their own, sometimes savage imaginations.”—Vincent Canby, The New York Times