Top 50 Scariest Movies

by axrhodes | created - 08 Jan 2016 | updated - 17 Feb 2018 | Public

A mixture of scary movies from different decades to make goosebumps rise and heartbeats stampede. From horror author A.X. Rhodes - www.axrhodes.com

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1. The Exorcist (1973)

R | 122 min | Horror

81 Metascore

When a 12 year-old girl is possessed by a mysterious entity, her mother seeks the help of two priests to save her.

Director: William Friedkin | Stars: Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Linda Blair, Lee J. Cobb

Votes: 351,824 | Gross: $232.91M

2. Psycho (1960)

R | 109 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

97 Metascore

A Phoenix secretary embezzles forty thousand dollars from her employer's client, goes on the run, and checks into a remote motel run by a young man under the domination of his mother.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, John Gavin

Votes: 580,367 | Gross: $32.00M

3. The Shining (1980)

R | 146 min | Drama, Horror

66 Metascore

A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where a sinister presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from both past and future.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers

Votes: 859,394 | Gross: $44.02M

4. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

R | 118 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

85 Metascore

A young F.B.I. cadet must receive the help of an incarcerated and manipulative cannibal killer to help catch another serial killer, a madman who skins his victims.

Director: Jonathan Demme | Stars: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Lawrence A. Bonney, Kasi Lemmons

Votes: 1,222,372 | Gross: $130.74M

5. The Conjuring (2013)

R | 112 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

68 Metascore

Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren work to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in their farmhouse.

Director: James Wan | Stars: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ron Livingston, Lili Taylor

Votes: 426,747 | Gross: $137.40M

6. Halloween (1978)

R | 91 min | Horror, Thriller

87 Metascore

Fifteen years after murdering his sister on Halloween night 1963, Michael Myers escapes from a mental hospital and returns to the small town of Haddonfield, Illinois to kill again.

Director: John Carpenter | Stars: Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tony Moran, Nancy Kyes

Votes: 220,560 | Gross: $47.00M

7. Poltergeist (1982)

PG | 114 min | Horror, Thriller

79 Metascore

A family's home is haunted by a host of demonic ghosts.

Director: Tobe Hooper | Stars: JoBeth Williams, Heather O'Rourke, Craig T. Nelson, Beatrice Straight

Votes: 137,140 | Gross: $76.61M

8. Rosemary's Baby (1968)

R | 137 min | Drama, Horror

96 Metascore

A young couple trying for a baby move into a fancy apartment surrounded by peculiar neighbors.

Director: Roman Polanski | Stars: Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon, Sidney Blackmer

Votes: 185,404

9. The Sixth Sense (1999)

PG-13 | 107 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

64 Metascore

A boy who communicates with spirits seeks the help of a disheartened child psychologist.

Director: M. Night Shyamalan | Stars: Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette, Olivia Williams

Votes: 888,374 | Gross: $293.51M

10. The Ring (2002)

PG-13 | 115 min | Horror, Mystery

57 Metascore

A journalist must investigate a mysterious videotape which seems to cause the death of anyone one week to the day after they view it.

Director: Gore Verbinski | Stars: Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, Brian Cox, David Dorfman

Votes: 313,075 | Gross: $129.13M

11. Jaws (1975)

PG | 124 min | Adventure, Thriller

87 Metascore

When a killer shark unleashes chaos on a beach community, it's up to a local sheriff, a marine biologist, and an old seafarer to hunt the beast down.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary

Votes: 531,444 | Gross: $260.00M

12. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

R | 91 min | Horror

76 Metascore

The monstrous spirit of a slain child murderer seeks revenge by invading the dreams of teenagers whose parents were responsible for his untimely death.

Director: Wes Craven | Stars: Heather Langenkamp, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund, John Saxon

Votes: 198,466 | Gross: $25.50M

13. Candyman (1992)

R | 99 min | Horror, Thriller

61 Metascore

The Candyman, a murderous soul with a hook for a hand, is accidentally summoned to reality by a skeptic grad student researching the monster's myth.

Director: Bernard Rose | Stars: Virginia Madsen, Xander Berkeley, Tony Todd, Kasi Lemmons

Votes: 66,910 | Gross: $25.79M

14. Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Not Rated | 96 min | Horror

89 Metascore

A ragtag group of Pennsylvanians barricade themselves in an old farmhouse to remain safe from a bloodthirsty, flesh-eating breed of monsters who are ravaging the East Coast of the United States.

Director: George A. Romero | Stars: Duane Jones, Judith O'Dea, Karl Hardman, Marilyn Eastman

Votes: 112,209 | Gross: $0.09M

15. Insidious (I) (2010)

PG-13 | 103 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

52 Metascore

A family looks to prevent evil spirits from trapping their comatose child in a realm called The Further.

Director: James Wan | Stars: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Ty Simpkins, Lin Shaye

Votes: 269,661 | Gross: $54.01M

16. The Omen (1976)

R | 111 min | Horror

62 Metascore

Mysterious deaths surround an American ambassador. Could the child that he is raising actually be the Antichrist? The Devil's own son?

Director: Richard Donner | Stars: Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, Harvey Stephens, David Warner

Votes: 103,961 | Gross: $4.27M

17. The Birds (1963)

PG-13 | 119 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

90 Metascore

A wealthy San Francisco socialite pursues a potential boyfriend to a small Northern California town that slowly takes a turn for the bizarre when birds of all kinds suddenly begin to attack people.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren, Jessica Tandy, Suzanne Pleshette

Votes: 165,615 | Gross: $11.40M

18. The Descent (2005)

R | 99 min | Adventure, Horror, Thriller

71 Metascore

A caving expedition goes horribly wrong, as the explorers become trapped and ultimately pursued by a strange breed of predators.

Director: Neil Marshall | Stars: Shauna Macdonald, Natalie Mendoza, Alex Reid, Saskia Mulder

Votes: 195,492 | Gross: $26.02M

19. The Thing (1982)

R | 109 min | Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi

57 Metascore

A research team in Antarctica is hunted by a shape-shifting alien that assumes the appearance of its victims.

Director: John Carpenter | Stars: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David, Richard Masur

Votes: 356,433 | Gross: $13.78M

20. The Blair Witch Project (1999)

R | 81 min | Horror, Mystery

81 Metascore

Three film students vanish after traveling into a Maryland forest to film a documentary on the local Blair Witch legend, leaving only their footage behind.

Directors: Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sánchez | Stars: Heather Donahue, Michael C. Williams, Joshua Leonard, Bob Griffin

Votes: 225,996 | Gross: $140.54M

21. Rear Window (1954)

PG | 112 min | Mystery, Thriller

100 Metascore

A wheelchair-bound photographer spies on his neighbors from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey, Thelma Ritter

Votes: 428,309 | Gross: $36.76M

22. The Fourth Kind (2009)

PG-13 | 98 min | Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi

34 Metascore

A thriller involving an ongoing unsolved mystery in Alaska, where one town has seen an extraordinary number of unexplained disappearances during the past 40 years and there are accusations of a federal cover up.

Director: Olatunde Osunsanmi | Stars: Milla Jovovich, Elias Koteas, Will Patton, Hakeem Kae-Kazim

Votes: 72,435 | Gross: $25.46M

23. In the Mouth of Madness (1995)

R | 95 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

53 Metascore

An insurance investigator begins discovering that the impact a horror writer's books have on his fans is more than inspirational.

Director: John Carpenter | Stars: Sam Neill, Jürgen Prochnow, Julie Carmen, David Warner

Votes: 58,907 | Gross: $8.95M

24. Phantasm (1979)

R | 89 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

72 Metascore

A teenage boy and his friends face off against a mysterious grave robber known only as the Tall Man, who keeps a lethal arsenal of terrible weapons with him.

Director: Don Coscarelli | Stars: A. Michael Baldwin, Bill Thornbury, Reggie Bannister, Kathy Lester

Votes: 30,893 | Gross: $11.99M

25. The Changeling (1980)

R | 107 min | Horror

70 Metascore

A man staying at a secluded historical mansion finds himself being haunted by the presence of a spectre.

Director: Peter Medak | Stars: George C. Scott, Trish Van Devere, Melvyn Douglas, Jean Marsh

Votes: 28,785

26. House of Usher (1960)

Not Rated | 79 min | Drama, Horror

75 Metascore

Upon entering his fiancée's family mansion, a man discovers a savage family curse and fears that his future brother-in-law has entombed his bride-to-be prematurely.

Director: Roger Corman | Stars: Vincent Price, Mark Damon, Myrna Fahey, Harry Ellerbe

Votes: 11,460 | Gross: $3.16M

27. The Babadook (2014)

Not Rated | 94 min | Drama, Horror

86 Metascore

A single mother and her child fall into a deep well of paranoia when an eerie children's book titled "Mister Babadook" manifests in their home.

Director: Jennifer Kent | Stars: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Daniel Henshall, Hayley McElhinney

Votes: 188,373 | Gross: $0.92M

28. Suspiria (1977)

R | 92 min | Horror

79 Metascore

An American newcomer to a prestigious German ballet academy comes to realize that the school is a front for something sinister amid a series of grisly murders.

Director: Dario Argento | Stars: Jessica Harper, Stefania Casini, Flavio Bucci, Miguel Bosé

Votes: 75,955

29. Halloween II (1981)

R | 92 min | Horror

40 Metascore

While Sheriff Brackett and Dr. Loomis hunt for Michael Myers, a traumatized Laurie is rushed to hospital, and the serial killer is not far behind her.

Director: Rick Rosenthal | Stars: Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence, Charles Cyphers, Jeffrey Kramer

Votes: 71,798 | Gross: $25.53M

30. Misery (1990)

R | 107 min | Drama, Thriller

75 Metascore

After a famous author is rescued from a car crash by a fan of his novels, he comes to realize that the care he is receiving is only the beginning of a nightmare of captivity and abuse.

Director: Rob Reiner | Stars: James Caan, Kathy Bates, Richard Farnsworth, Frances Sternhagen

Votes: 177,436 | Gross: $61.28M

31. The Innocents (1961)

Not Rated | 100 min | Horror

88 Metascore

A young governess for two children becomes convinced that the house and grounds are haunted.

Director: Jack Clayton | Stars: Deborah Kerr, Peter Wyngarde, Megs Jenkins, Michael Redgrave

Votes: 25,629 | Gross: $2.62M

32. The House of the Devil (2009)

R | 95 min | Horror

73 Metascore

In 1983, financially struggling college student Samantha Hughes takes a strange babysitting job that coincides with a full lunar eclipse. She slowly realizes her clients harbor a terrifying secret, putting her life in mortal danger.

Director: Ti West | Stars: Jocelin Donahue, Tom Noonan, Mary Woronov, Greta Gerwig

Votes: 39,481 | Gross: $0.10M

33. Se7en (1995)

R | 127 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

65 Metascore

Two detectives, a rookie and a veteran, hunt a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his motives.

Director: David Fincher | Stars: Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey, Andrew Kevin Walker

Votes: 1,389,081 | Gross: $100.13M

34. Cujo (1983)

R | 93 min | Horror, Thriller

57 Metascore

Cujo, a friendly St. Bernard, contracts rabies and conducts a reign of terror on a small American town.

Director: Lewis Teague | Stars: Dee Wallace, Daniel Hugh Kelly, Danny Pintauro, Christopher Stone

Votes: 37,981 | Gross: $21.20M

35. Black Christmas (1974)

R | 98 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

65 Metascore

During their Christmas break, a group of sorority girls are stalked by a stranger.

Director: Bob Clark | Stars: Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, John Saxon

Votes: 31,179 | Gross: $4.05M

36. The Others (2001)

PG-13 | 104 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

74 Metascore

A woman who lives in her darkened old family house with her two photosensitive children becomes convinced that the home is haunted.

Director: Alejandro Amenábar | Stars: Nicole Kidman, Christopher Eccleston, Fionnula Flanagan, Alakina Mann

Votes: 328,443 | Gross: $96.52M

37. Alien (1979)

R | 117 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

89 Metascore

After a space merchant vessel receives an unknown transmission as a distress call, one of the crew is attacked by a mysterious life form and they soon realize that its life cycle has merely begun.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt, Veronica Cartwright

Votes: 762,092 | Gross: $78.90M

38. Hellraiser (1987)

R | 94 min | Horror, Thriller

57 Metascore

An unfaithful wife encounters the zombie of her dead lover; the demonic cenobites are pursuing him after he escaped their sadomasochistic underworld.

Director: Clive Barker | Stars: Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence, Sean Chapman

Votes: 99,449 | Gross: $14.56M

39. Audition (1999)

R | 115 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

69 Metascore

A widower takes an offer to screen girls at a special audition, arranged for him by a friend to find him a new wife. The one he fancies is not who she appears to be after all.

Director: Takashi Miike | Stars: Ryo Ishibashi, Eihi Shiina, Tetsu Sawaki, Jun Kunimura

Votes: 69,849

40. Village of the Damned (1960)

Not Rated | 77 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

77 Metascore

In the English village of Midwich, the blonde-haired, glowing-eyed children of uncertain paternity prove to have frightening powers.

Director: Wolf Rilla | Stars: George Sanders, Barbara Shelley, Michael Gwynn, Laurence Naismith

Votes: 14,396

41. Event Horizon (1997)

R | 96 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

35 Metascore

A rescue crew investigates a spaceship that disappeared into a black hole and has now returned...with someone or something new on-board.

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson | Stars: Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Kathleen Quinlan, Joely Richardson

Votes: 153,062 | Gross: $26.67M

42. The Hitcher (1986)

R | 97 min | Action, Thriller

32 Metascore

A young man who escapes the clutches of a murderous hitchhiker is subsequently stalked by the hitcher and framed for his crimes.

Director: Robert Harmon | Stars: Rutger Hauer, C. Thomas Howell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jeffrey DeMunn

Votes: 42,267 | Gross: $5.84M

43. Carnival of Souls (1962)

Approved | 78 min | Horror, Mystery

After a traumatic accident, a woman becomes drawn to a mysterious abandoned carnival.

Director: Herk Harvey | Stars: Candace Hilligoss, Frances Feist, Sidney Berger, Art Ellison

Votes: 19,596

44. The Amityville Horror (1979)

R | 117 min | Horror

28 Metascore

Newlyweds move into a large house where a mass murder was committed, and experience strange manifestations which drive them away.

Director: Stuart Rosenberg | Stars: James Brolin, Margot Kidder, Rod Steiger, Don Stroud

Votes: 34,125 | Gross: $86.43M

45. Sinister (I) (2012)

R | 110 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

53 Metascore

Washed-up true-crime writer Ellison Oswalt finds a box of super 8 home movies which suggest the murder he's currently researching is the work of a serial killer whose work dates back to the 1960s.

Director: Scott Derrickson | Stars: Ethan Hawke, Juliet Rylance, James Ransone, Fred Thompson

Votes: 211,815 | Gross: $48.09M

46. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

PG | 115 min | Horror, Sci-Fi