What Is The Scariest Movie Ever Made?

Like most things in life, 90 percent of horror films are rubbish. From hammy acting to fake looking effects, there's a lot that can go wrong. But every few years, a pitch-black reel of grueling horror will spring from the projector to disturb and terrify everyone in the theatre. (And we're not just talking about Rob Schneider comedies.)

The first horror movie that truly scared me was probably the original Texas Chain-Saw Massacre. The primitive filmmaking chops of rookie director Tobe Hooper somehow made everything more authentic and primal. It felt like a genuine snuff film and the climactic dinner table scene scuttled indelibly into my impressionable 14-year old mind.

Since the mid-90s, most Hollywood horror films have been slick, manufactured stepping-stones made by advertising and music video directors looking to break into movies. By and large they're pretty forgettable, but a few still manage to raise a chill. If you're looking for a fright tonight, recent examples worth checking out include The Conjuring, The Exorcism Of Emily Rose, The Devil's Rejects, Martyrs, REC (Spanish version) and the latest Evil Dead remake.

What do you think is the most (intentionally) terrifying movie ever made? To add an element of Lifehackery to proceedings, we also want to hear about how you enhance the mood — do you watch in total darkness? Do you crank up the volume to maximize jump-scares? Share your ideas and nominations in the comments section below. Also feel free to nominate your favourite scary video games, comics or books. (And happy Halloween!)


    Cannibal Holocaust and Salo: 120 days of Sodom. soooo F**Ked up

      I'd rate those more as disturbing than scary. Same goes for Snowtown. Brutal movie.

        I found Salo to be one of the only movies that I was sooo disgusted in myself for watching till the end

    I totally agree with your list there Chris. Three movies that I think are worth adding as well are The Strangers (with Liv Tyler), The Haunting in Connecticut (don't waste the time watching the sequel) and Sinister.

      I absolutely agree. the music in sinister and the strangers is what makes it even more terrifying. it's not gruesome, but it's the actual thought of the movie that makes it horrifying.

    I was about 10 years old when I watched Stephen King's It at a friend's house. I spent the next few weeks having such horrifying nightmares about clowns that I barely slept and couldn't even close my eyes without seeing 'him'.

    I have no idea if the movie is actually as scary as I remember it, I'm not game to watch it again :(.

      I was also terrified by "It" as a kid. I found it on DVD about a year ago though and rewatched it, and it was nowhere near as scary as I remember, maybe because the special effects are a bit dated now and I can't help but see Pennywise as just Tim Curry in makeup.

        That is so crazy because I watch the same movie as you did, I was probably about 9or 10 maybe 8. That movie scared me so much! I rented it when I was about 23, 24 and re-watched it and thought ughhhh this is the lamest movie I have ever seen LOL!!!

      I would have been about the same age, maybe a little younger. I couldn't look at a drain the same way for a very long time.

      It is not

    Watch them by yourself (only person in the house) and late at night. Makes a huge difference! Preferably "serious" scary movies, not comedy-horror.

    As a kid it was Star Crystal. For a movie from the 80's rated PG at the time, I couldn't even get halfway through until my adult years (Was 8 - 10 when I 1st saw it).
    Was basically about an alien that massacred most of the crew...gruesomely. To then later put it down to a communication issue. And then have the last two survivors happily help the alien get home. This part I missed until much later in life. Only to go "WTF did I just watch?" after it.

      Related: http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2013/07/toughen-up-your-kids-with-these-horrific-family-viewing-scenes/

    Even though rated mild now, for its time, I was scared to shits by The Thing, and also Poltergeist.
    Mirrors with Kiefer Sutherland is a scary one to watch, and 13 ghosts.

    The only movie to have ever given me nightmares was Boxing Helena.
    Definitely not for kids.

    Last edited 31/10/13 5:18 pm

    the movie KIDS

    Still makes me sick to the stomach.

      LOL it's too manufactured to take seriously.

      You go 'holy crap teenagers are scary' then you remember that the majority of teenagers (even the ones having sex and riding skateboards) are more into Pokemon than anything else.


      Pokemon is still massive!

      Sure you have scary teenagers but they are just completely and utterly rare. We just grow older and start to view teenagers as a confusing 'other'.

      Harmony Korine specialises in scandalous false reality.

      Then again, I recently found the TV series 'Skins' a little disturbing so...

    The Exorcist
    American Werewolf in London
    World War Z has some good scares in it as well

    Any reality TV show on television or the fat guy on Masterchef. Now that's scary.


    Omen original, Rosemarys Baby

    The Strangers scared the crap out of me.

    The Descent, Last horror movie i watched that gave me a fright, and the fact that it doesn't end all happy laa laa makes it even better

    Magic in the Mirror. The scenes where the kids get turned into tea creeped the crap out of me when I watched the film as a kid.

    Mothman prophecies, that movie had great atmosphere.

    Scariest game for me so far has been Penumba: Black Plague. Amnesia: The Dark Descent was scary, in that it left me with an uneasy feeling long after I'd finished playing (not sure about A Machine for Pigs, as I haven't finished it yet), but Penumba: Black Plague made my legs freeze up in panic while being chased by whatever the hell those things were. And when one spoke to me, I lost it and had to pause for a while.

    Salems Lot did me a lot of damage over the years when I saw it as a kid. Especially when the brother appeared at the window. Also Return Of The Living Dead "More Brains" the ending was brutal.

    The Exorcist directors cut with particular reference to the "crab crawling " sequence down the stairs. No CGI !!

    Glitter. That did me over for a while.

    Idiocracy. And I am not even joking, that is the most terrifying film I've ever seen. Because you just know that's exactly where the world is heading...

    As a kid the film Communion scared me and influenced my nightmare themes and imagination in the dark for years.

    I really enjoy horror films (and I don't mean that in a hurr hurr blood and gore sense) but I wouldn't say many are very 'scary'. In terms of pure scares I have to say World War Z while not overall a particularly scary film, had some of the most frightening moments in a film I've seen in a while.

    The Conjuring was quite tense and scary.

    Audition is probably one of the scariest films I've ever seen.

      Dammit, I knew there was one I forgot to mention! Agree completely.

      Don't poop

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now