The 13 Scariest Halloween Movies of All Time
Always in search for the next big fright? Addicted to chills down your spine? Here are the most terrifying horror movies of all time. Grab some popcorn and a warm body and indulge in one of these guaranteed to scare-your-socks-off flicks.
By Koryn Kennedy
"All work and no play...." Jack Nicholson creeped out an entire generation in The Shining.
Photo Credit: Courtesy Everett Collection.
13. Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Freddy Krueger is one of the most memorable villains of the '80s low-budget horror wave. Why? Um, because he's a disfigured monster with razor-blade fingers that he uses to stalk and murder people in their dreams. Added bonus: Johnny Depp...before he started wearing eyeliner.
12. Halloween (1978)
This aptly titled movie features Jamie Lee Curtis's film debut and the introduction of slasher superstar Jason. Halloween inspired a lucrative franchise and made the hockey goalie mask the go-to Halloween costume for countless teen boys.
11. Scream (1996)
It may not pack the same punch of terror now that it did when it premiered in the '90s, but Scream spawned numerous sequels and spoofs, birthing an entirely new genre of teen movie. And if you're honest, the first time you saw it, you were totally freaked.
10. Don't Look Now (1973)
A married couple encounters some creepy old ladies in a church in Venice while being tormented by visions of their dead daughter (who appears to being running around the city in a red raincoat). Add in '70s cinematography and you have one downright eerie film.
9. Arachnophobia (1990)
Swarms of deadly spiders arrive in a small town and start killing people off one by one. It's like your girliest, stand-on-a-chair-and-scream nightmare coming true.
8. Saw (2004)
Saw got on at the ground floor of the "gorno" (that's gore porn) genre. While horror connoisseurs classify the excessively gruesome as lazy, we believe in giving credit where credit is due: Jigsaw was not only one of the first of his kind, but disturbingly crafty at killing.
7. Poltergeist (1982)
Supernatural activity plus suspense and a creepy child equals classic horror. The poster alone is enough to give you chills. Plus, the fact that a handful of the original cast and crew members died shortly after filming is enough to make this one of the scariest movies ever made, on set and off.
6. Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
Brutally gruesome, the Texas Chain Saw Massacre was rumored to be based on a true story and incorporated cannibalism, bizarre family relationships, hot teenagers, and murder by chainsaw a perfect storm of terror and one of the most influential slasher flicks ever. Not to mention all the remakes of this classic.
5. Child's Play (1988)
The one thing more terrifying than a deformed, bloodthirsty slasher or an eerily calm child is an animated, homicidal doll. Chucky scared the pants off of an entire generation, most of whom are still traumatized.
4. Jaws (1975)
Jaws is about two guys who sail out after a killer shark that's threatening their picturesque coastal town. While the premise seems kind of weak, this film was so scary it kept people off of beaches and out of swimming pools for years after just one viewing.
3. The Shining (1980)
What do you get when you pair a homicidal, crazy-eyed Jack Nicholson with an ax, Shelley Duvall chain-smoking and crying, "Redrum" scrawled all over the mirrors, and some really freaky-looking twin girls in a nearly abandoned hotel in the mountains of Colorado? Stephen King's bizarre psychological masterpiece and one of the best horror movies ever.
2. The Ring (2002)
As we've already established, if you throw a spooky child into the plot, you're on the verge of horror gold. Building on this theme, The Ring takes it up a notch by having a deformed, vengeful tween crawl out of TV sets in order to administer a series of seriously brutal murders.
1. Tie: The Exorcist (1973) and Rosemary's Baby (1968)
These are two of the most terrifying films ever made, so it's hard to choose one over the other. In fact, what makes each so worthy of the top spot is the exact reason they're so different. Rosemary's Baby brought '60s psychological terror to a crescendo while The Exorcist was one the first films to bring graphic gore to the big screen. Both flicks will have you sleeping with the hall light on...and the closet door closed.