Jered Eastmond

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 15: Actress Vera Farmiga arrives at the premiere of Warner Bros. "The Conjuring" at the Cinerama Dome on July 15, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

It’s time to grab your favorite movie-time snack and try not to get scared. What movies will forever reign at the top of your list?

Well, Rotten Tomatoes released a list this year of the top ten scariest films in which they had users enter into a poll to see which film would scare your pants off and which films would have you looking over your shoulder when you shut the lights off.

Rotten Tomato’s also used an outside ‘scare’ifitic study conducted by a British broadband service to help guide them in their selection. You can find their full study by Clicking Here.

So without further ado let’s take a look at what the public considers to be the Scariest Movie of All Time.

  • 10. IT (2017)

    Coming in at number ten is the clown king of scares Pennywise. This isn’t the first time that Pennywise has made audiences afraid of clowns, but the 2017 version put a whole new spin on terror. Bill Skarsgard was the right choice to fill in the shoes set by his predecessor Tim Curry. The IT films feature a mix of jump scare horror and phycological horror. Especially because unlike some other horror icons. Pennywise is doing this to feed. So, playing with what he considers food is a major part of his kit. Another major point that makes him scary is the impressive CGI that was done. It doesn’t look too fake and that’s the reason he’s in the top ten.

  • 9. Insidious (2010)

    Now I have to admit a little bit of favoritism here because I grew up with this film franchise and I remember the fear I felt during particular scenes. However, by the time this film came out other franchises like Paranormal Activity was kicking off so the type of horror used didn’t feel unique. So, no matter how much I personally love the film and would put it higher. I can understand why it’s ranked at number nine especially when you consider that other more known films that follow similar premises have ranked higher on this list. 

  • 8. Sinister (2012)

    Now, this is a film I will gladly show favoritism towards as I think it should have been ranked higher. Though maybe it’s a generational difference as this film not only scared my socks off but also took them and hung them up over their mantle. The use of silent suspense in this film I dare argue is in a class of its own. Only surpassed by A quiet place, which also I feel should have been ranked. The study that we mentioned before agreed as Sinister is still one of the scariest films according to science as they looked at the average heart rates of those watching the film. Sinister won their award back in 2020 and has since been a consistent second on the charts.  

  • 7. Halloween (1978)

    In 7th place we have the film series that began it all. Halloween gave us not only Jamie Lee Curtis but helped make the world aware of John Carpenter’s talent. Despite the ongoing drama with the latest installment Halloween Ends (2022) this classic film helped make the slasher franchise into what it is today. So, after 44 years there is a reason, it’s credited as one of the best horror franchises. Michael Myers’s use of silent but deadly puts fears into those watching because he truly could be around any corner. You also have to consider the psychosocial aspect of the franchise as Myers, even stops to admire each kill. Truly horrifying. 

  • 6. Ring (2002)

    The Ring came to us as a recreation of a Japanese horror film, so it is certainly a tough job to take something that works well in one completely different culture and make it work in a different one. However, director Gore Verbinski, was up to the task and made it work, by keeping the source material’s creepy imagery and it showed that no matter where you’re from. A killer ghost girl dressed in white will have you sleeping with one eye open. So, I feel placing it just before the top five is a fair and accurate judgment. 

  • 5. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

    Halfway through our list and here is another cult classic that is right up there with Michael Myers, but adds a major difference in both artistic style and horror elements. Where Halloween I would call more sophisticated horror. TCM is bloody and grim to watch, just look at the difference in killers Myers is silent and calculated, whereas Leatherface is loud and abrasive. What made the film more frightening as stated in the list is that this could actually happen. It’s not too often you see masked men like Michael Myers walking around taking all kinds of injuries and being okay, but with TCM they’re just a bunch of crazy cannibals. That adds to the realism which scared audiences. With a new game releasing sometime new year. It’s no wonder that TCM is ranked in the top five. 

  • 4. The Shining (1980)

    Talk about a classic. Unlike anything so far on this list, The Shining is a cult classic in the phycological horror department and was a great film adaptation to King’s work, despite him admittedly not liking the movie very much Jack Nicholson alongside Shelly Duvall and Danny Lloyd played their parts perfectly. Some may look at director Stanly Kubrick’s methods as harsh as they were, but as a film, it will forever be cemented as an anytime classic and its follow-up Dr. Sleep (2019) is a must-watch. 

  • 3. The Conjuring (2013)

    Here we are in the big three according to Rotten Tomato’s list the Conjuring takes the spot at third for their effective use of jump scare horror and telling the story of real-life paranormal investigators Edward and Lorane Warren. Their names are legendary within the spirit and horror community as their experiences have been the bases of a large-scale franchise that again has an aspect of possible realism to it. Ghost hunting has since become a staple in the entertainment world Television series like Ghost Adventures and over on YouTube Ghost Files are booming. 

  • 2. Hereditary (2018)

    A more modern film has taken second place and honestly, it’s well deserved. Hereditary is a unique concept that blends classic horror tropes with new material. You also have to realize that this was director Ari Aster’s debut film with masterful use of CGI and practical effects. As well as downright award-winning performances. It’s clear why it is one of our favorites in the modern era. 

  • 1. The Exorcist (1973)

    Finally, we have reached the end of our list, with the 1973 Exorcist reigning as Rotten Tomato’s all-time scariest film. I can certainly understand why they would choose this film as it was the highest-grossing rated R film for 17 years and the ones that did beat it from that century weren’t even horror films. Speaking much more to its legacy. The Exorcist has reports of causing civil unrest over its content causing nausea and panic as well. So, while I may not personally put it at the top, you cannot deny it is a great film. But what movies would you consider the scariest films of all time? 

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