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
The Evil Dead (1981)via amazon.com
One of the scariest movies because: It’s so packed with evil that even the trees rip hapless teenagers apart in this pre-Spider-Man flick from director Sam Raimi, which has enough murder and supernatural mayhem to warrant an NC-17 rating.
What the critics say: “Sam Raimi directed this 1983 horror feature fresh out of film school, and his anything-for-an-effect enthusiasm pays off … The film is ferociously kinetic and full of visual surprises.”—Pat Graham, Chicago Reader
The Cabin in the Woods (2012)via amazon.com
One of the scariest movies because: This recent movie lampoons horror conventions while packing in some thrills of its own—a hulking family of zombies is mostly meant to be funny, but they’re sort of disturbing.
What the critics say: “It is by turns moderately horrifying and wickedly funny, offering more nods and winks than a narcoleptic on jury duty.”—Christopher Orr, The Atlantic
If staying in a haunted cabin is your cup of tea, here are 8 haunted houses you can rent on Airbnb.