Horror films are not everybody's cup of tea. While some people are obsessed with them, others are freaked out at the very thought of them. But the thing with horror movies is that they can get you hooked and haunt you endlessly.
Now, horror movies come in different flavours: supernatural, found footage, paranormal, psychological, slasher, zombie, etc. Most horror movies are spawned by novelists such as Stephen King and Clive Barker or screenwriters like Sam Raimi and Wes Craven. Others are inspired by real-life events. Regardless of the origins, horror movies can really be fun if you have an appetite for them. So, without much ado, let me present my selection of the 10 scariest horror movies ever made.
10. Let the Right One In (2008)
This Tomas Alfredson-directed Swedish romantic horror film takes the idea of human-vampire romance to a whole new level and makes the Twilight film series look downright juvenile. Watch it only if you have a strong heart.
9. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
This American found-footage psychological horror film made by Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez is unique in every sense of the word. You better be prepared for some serious shocks if you do decide to watch this one.
8. Poltergeist (1982)
This American supernatural horror film written and produced by Steven Spielberg is about a family whose home gets invaded by evil ghosts. Poltergeist will give you endless nightmares and so you better stay away from it if you have a weak heart.
7. The Ring (1998)
This Hideo Nakata-directed Japanese supernatural film revolves around a television reporter and single mother who gets caught up in a series of deaths involving a cursed video tape. With creepy scenes galore, this film is guaranteed to scare you shitless.
6. The Thing (1982)
This John Carpenter-directed American sci-fi horror film is certainly one of a kind. An undisputed masterpiece of horror, The Thing is a freak-out fest.
5. Evil Dead (1981)
Made on a meagre budget of $350,000, this Sam Raimi-directed supernatural film today features amongst the greatest horror films ever made. Evil Dead is about five college students who come in contact with demons and spirits while vacationing in an isolated cabin in the woods. It's classic horror at its very best.
4. Rosemary's Baby (1968)
This Roman Polanski-directed psychological horror film is about a young couple who move into a building with an unsavoury history. The wife's mysterious pregnancy makes us more and more paranoid about the safety of the unborn. Here is a rare horror film which succeeds in delivering endless chills while trying to focus more on inner demons than outer ones.
3. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
This American horror film produced and directed by Tobe Hooper is often described as a pioneer of the slasher genre. It presents the story of a group of friends who get victimised by a family of cannibals. This endlessly disturbing movie is not meant for the squeamish.
2. The Shining (1980)
This Stanley Kubrick-directed British-American psychological horror film is based on a Stephen King novel of the same name. The film has had a tremendous influence on popular culture and regularly features on the lists of greatest horror films of all time. Try not to watch this film alone on a chilly winter night.
1. The Exorcist (1973)
It wouldn't be hyperbole to call The Exorcist the "Godfather" of horror films. Directed by William Friedkin, this masterpiece, an adaptation of William Peter Blatty's 1971 novel of the same name, revolves around the exorcism of a pre-teen girl possessed by a demon. The Exorcist is said to be inspired by real events, so watch it only if you're not the superstitious sort—else it will feed into your worst fears.
A version of this article was first published in A Potpourri of Vestiges.