A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)via amazon.com
One of the scariest movies because: Adolescence is tough enough without worrying about razor-armed Freddy Krueger killing hormonal teens in their sleep.
What the critics say: “Tailor made for those who like their gore leavened with thought-provoking ideas—something that is a rarity in this genre.”—James Berardinelli, ReelViews
The Birds (1963)amazon.com
One of the scariest movies because: You’ll never quite look at ravens the same way after seeing them descend upon a group of schoolchildren as if they were mealworms.
What the critics say: “Genuinely disturbing thriller classic from the master of suspense.”—Kim Newman, Empire
Alien (1979)via amazon.com
One of the scariest movies because: The suspense mounts until it’s nearly unbearable, and then, finally [spoiler alert!], a bizarre creature rips through a man’s chest. After that, the real horror begins.
What the critics say: “Even with its horrifying villain and scenes of bloody excess, Alien endures as a superior piece of filmmaking, with a pace that’s like watching an art film.”—Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle