First, let me preface this list by laying out my bona fides as a horror expert. I have watched a lot of scary movies. My Comcast onDemand playlist is almost entirely populated with FEARnet movies. I also happen to be a card-carrying member of the Commander USA fan club. Don’t know who Commander USA is? Well, then you don’t want to get into a discussion with me about Mexican vampire or other low budget horror movies.
The following list includes my personal picks for the best scary movies of all time. Noticeably absent are zombie movies, most slasher flicks and classic, but not really all that scary, horror movies. Why did I exclude those? Well, I don’t understand zombies. They are gross, dead things. Why do they need to eat? “Zombieland” was mildly entertaining in a comedic sense, but that was it. As for slasher flicks, many horror movies (maybe most) involve some gore but non-stop gore is just unnecessary, distracting and often laughable. The best gore is the gore you don’t see. And while I thoroughly enjoy classic horror movies such as “Dracula,” “The Invisible Man” and “The Mummy,” they really aren’t very scary.
So, that said, here is my countdown of the 10 scariest movies of all time:
10. Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) – This is a true horror classic. The sequels were awful, but the original was great.
9. Witchboard (1986) – I don’t think many people saw this movie, but I thought it was pretty creepy. If you have seen enough horror movies, you know you just don’t mess with Ouija boards.
8. The Shining (1980) – The book was scarier than the movie, but Jack Nicholson was pretty awesome as the lead character.
7. The Birds (1963) – This is my favorite Hitchcock movie. Let’s face it, birds are everywhere and if they go rogue, we are all in big trouble.
6. Christine (1983) – Once again, the book is scarier than the movie, but I still count this as one of the best horror movies of all time. I mean we are talking about a murderous car that possesses people. How scary is that?!
5. Pet Sematary (1989) – I’m not going to lie. I checked under my bed more than once after watching this movie. What’s scarier than a murderous, possessed car? An evil little toddler back from the dead! Even worse, the evil little toddler kills Fred Gwynne. Poor Herman Munster.
4. The Amityville Horror (1979) – This movie still scares me. I think the book might be scarier, but I haven’t been able to finish it because it is just too creepy. If my house ever tells me to get out, I’m getting out.
3. The Omen (1976) – It must be quite a bummer to learn your adopted son is the Antichrist. In addition to featuring the most disturbing movie birthday party ever, this film has one of the most unusual priest murders in horror movie history.
2. Halloween (1978) – What better day than Halloween for a masked killer to run around terrorizing the town folks? The best part about watching this movie is counting off all the rookie mistakes the characters make. There are some things you just don’t do when a killer is on the loose. I also give this flick bonus points for best theme song.
1. Poltergeist (1982) – Are the special effects cheesy at times? Yes. Do I sometimes secretly wish they wouldn’t rescue Carol Anne? Yes. Is this an incredible horror movie? Yes. The movie starts with some simple chair movements and bam! Before you know it, bodies are surfacing in the pool, a portal has opened to another dimension and the house gets sucked up into who knows what kind of horror vacuum (which makes for an interesting problem in "Poltergeist II" as the Freelings try to collect on their homeowner’s insurance policy - seriously).
Now it’s your turn. What are your picks for the scariest movies of all time? Tell us in the comments.