Which is REALLY Scariest?

I spotted another listing of Top Five (top ten, top twenty top. . . insert whatever number you want) Horror movies.  Janis Rivera's article at examiner lists the Top Five Horror Movies of all time.  Rivera's List:
5. Nightmare on Elm Street
4. Halloween
3. The Shining
2. Rosemary's Baby
1. The Exorcist
She links to a cool rare trailer of The Exorcist.  About The Shining, Rivera writes:
One of the things people tend to remember most about this film is Jack Nicholson’s near flawless portrayal of Jack Torrance, a writer who takes an off season job as a caretaker at a hotel. There are many memorable scenes, from “Here’s Johhny!” (which was improvised at the director’s encouragement) to the twins standing in a hallway. While it did not have a solid beginning, it has steadily gained popularity over the years. Stanley Kubrick, who is known for his strange and often controversial films, directed “The Shining” after reading the Stephen King story. The film has become a financial success as well as a cult classic. Not only did it explore the paranormal but it looked at what isolation can do to a person’s mind and how it can cause them to go completely mad. One thing Kubrick helped make popular was the use of the Steadicam, which is a mount for cameras which help to make scenes look more fluid and less staccato. This film helped the horror genre become more mainstream and show more ways to present a movie to the audience.
Rivera's article is HERE.
HERE is a list from the Boston Globe that is fun.

Of course, these  lists are totally subjective!  There is no "top" horror movie, anymore than there is a single movie that can claim to be the greatest movie ever.  (And yes, I do like Citizen Cain.)

So, let's have fun!  Make 2 lists: First your list of "Top Five Horror Films Of All Time."  Second, your list of Top Five Stephen King Horror Films.  (Yes, stick to genre here, okay).

Consider this: Each of us have a different list, because we were impacted in different ways by what we saw, how we filtered it and what was happening around us when it was taken in.  About the scariest TV movie I ever saw was Fatal Vision, because I was a child, and the thought of people being murdered in their own home freaked me out!  That  woman's voice still sets me on edge, "Acid is groovy, kill the pigs."

My List is my opinion only, which I change as often as I change socks.

Talk Stephen King's "Top Five non-King Horror Films Of All Time"
5. Poltergeist 
4. The Amityville Horror 
3. Silence Of The Lambs 
2. The Sixth Sense 
1. Psycho
Talk Stephen King's "Top Five Stephen King Horror Films"
5. The Dark  Half.  Brutal, scary on many levels -- this one is often under-rated. 
4. Carrie.  The movie makes you love Carrie, and after building and building, the movie peaks and lashes out with real power.  And, if nothing else, the ending is enough to keep us coming back. 
3. The Shining.  Kubrick was a true artist, and his  version of The Shining is truly haunting.  I think he mixes Jack's craziness with the power of the evil hotel over him masterfully. 
2. The Mist.  I love this movie, and it is truly scary.   
1. Pet Sematary.  Yes, I think this is stronger than The Shining in terms of sheer horror movie.  Playing on the theme of a dark, evil, resurrection, the movie is both gory and scary.  
My family casts a vote for IT and CUJO.  Might as well throw in 1408 -- because they like it. . . I think it has. . . problems.

Your turn.  Have fun.


  1. Glad to see I'm not the only person who likes "The Amityville Horror." That movie creeps me out. I kinda like the sequel/prequel, too.

    My top 5 non-King ones would look something like this:

    (5) Psycho
    (4) The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
    (3) The Birds
    (2) The Exorcist
    (1) The Blair Witch Project

    "The Blair Witch Project" sometimes scares me if I just happen to start thinking about certain scenes in it. It doesn't work on everyone, but those whom it DOES work on -- including Stephen King, by the way (who writes about it in his essay "What's Scary") -- seem to be terrified of it.

    1. I'm with you on Blair Witch. I grew up playing in a national forest. We used to wander out into those woods and get lost all the time.

      Our trick was to find a stream. We followed the stream and it led us out of the woods eventually.

      The problem was, we didn't always get out before dark -- and that was scary. There's nothing fun about being lost in the woods.

  2. 1) The Exorcist
    2) The Shining
    3) Blair Witch Project
    4) Rosemary's Baby
    5) The Omen

  3. Top 5 scary movies (Non-King)

    5. The Last Man on Earth. Starring Vincent Price, this is Richard Matheson's own adaptation of his legendary I Am Legend. It features a haunting atmosphere and story, plus a scene with Price's daughter that brought me up short with a nasty shock.

    4 M. night Shyamalan's Signs
    3.Night of the Living Dead
    2.Disney's Legend of Sleepy Hollow
    1.The Exorcist

    Top 5 King Adaptations:

    5. Needful Things (just watched it this weekend)
    4. The Mist (though highly flawed)
    3. The Shining Miniseries (Yes you heard me!)
    2. It Miniseries
    1. Storm of the Century

    I wanted to include Green Mile, but adhered to genre rules.


    1. And now as a bonus, Top 7 MST3K horror episodes along with those that made Steve King's Danse Macabre must see horror list:

      7. Soultaker
      6. The Amazing Colossal Man
      5. It Conquered the World
      4. The Horror of Party Beach (King)
      3. The Brain that Wouldn't Die
      2. The Beginning of the End (King)
      1. I was a Teenage Werewolf (until that summer of passion when I became a Man!) (King)


    2. Well, yes. It's not the best King film around, and it starts slow, and I always pictured Netty as more plump and wide eyed worried.

      Nonetheless, it seems to pick up in the second half as everyone seems to getting into the groove and starts trying their best. Also if push comes to shove, i think the novel had a few flaws and the narrative kind of got lost. The movie sort of makes up for this, especially in terms of the "Buster" Keaton character. Max Von Sydow as always gives it his all.

      One quibble I had was a religious one. Maybe I misunderstood, but I wonder if they might have denied the role of free willed in acts of sin. Take away free will and you take away the validity of all possible knowledge. Like I said, I might have misinterpreted.

      On the whole, Sydow's final lines sum up my thoughts about the film. "This is not my best work, not by a long shot. Oh sure, a few murders and a couple of rather lovely explosions. I would hardly call it a rousing success, but, what the hell.

      I'm starting to wish I'd listed Riding the Bullet.


    3. I thought it started well, setting tone, etc. But then ended with a big sermon instead of playing out the action that was in the King novel.

      It would actually make a good 3 part mini-series. More interesting than The Shining because there are so many characters.

    4. You might be onto something about the speechifying, too bad it couldn't have been made better, though I still stand by the idea that novel could have used a bit more re-writing and tightening, maybe expanding the carnage wider.

      I agree however that it should be a miniseries. I just have one stipulation; either Kiefer Sutherland plays Ace Merril or it's not going to work.


    5. One last thing, Reverend. This is off topic, however on channel 169, Turner Classic Movies, there's a Spencer Tracy vehicle. Dante's Inferno it's called. Yes, it only bares a cursory resemblance to the Comedy, in fact only a ten minute vision type sequence. I don't know if that catches interest or not, just thought I'd put it out there.


  4. Blair Witch was the only movie I saw in the theater that had me terrified. It was very clever and unique. Kids laughing in the woods at night, Jeebus, that was spooky. I just got chills writing it.

    I'm not sure if I'm doing a list for scary movies or horror movies. technically Cabin in the Woods was one of the best horror movies in a long long time but it didn't really scare me, I just think it's awesome.
    David if you haven't seen it yet, do so.
    Here are the 5 that scared me really bad:

    5. In the Mouth of Madness (that lady on the bike haunts me)
    4. Exorcist 3. I was too chicken to watch the original for years b/c I always thought you were one bad thought from letting the devil to possess you. (thanks church!) I love this movie but the fact they didn't use music and it still held me on the edge of my seat and muscles tense the whole time was impressive. Some total surprise deaths too.
    The original is scary but I watched it way too late in life to have the impact that this one had.
    3. Aliens. more scifi than horror but I was scared from the 20 minute mark until the end.
    2. Blair Witch.
    1. Poltergeist. This movie crushed me, it scarred for life. It was on video when I watched it and my sister told me it was a comedy. I was ok for most of it, but soon as that tree came alive. Man o man. It was not a comedy. Nightmares for years!

    Chris I've slowly been going through the Vincent Price movies on streaming and I haven't watched that one yet. I'll check it out this weekend.

    1. Hey, thanks. Wished I'd thought of Cabin in the Woods (no spoilers).

      If it's any consolation, I watched Exorcist just once and have never been back since. It's masterpiece and I'm kind of sorry I saw it. How messed up is that?!

      Anyway, you'll stunned at what happens to Price's daughter. It's much more faithful to the novel I Am Legend than any other adaptation.

      Also you think you got it tough, try managing religion on a case of childhood OCD.


  5. My top Five King (horror) movies

    1) the Shining
    2) Carrie (1976)
    3) IT miniseries
    4) Pet Sematary
    5) Children of the Corn

  6. If I did top horror I woul dinclude Evil Dead 2 etc.. but there not really scary as much as blissfully macabre, so I will stick to My top films for what SCARED me the most then go to FAVORITE Stephen King. Scariest to me:

    5: Session 9 (this moody little indie creeper got under my skin when I first saw it and scared the holy shit out of me, it is on netflix, it is slow and atmospheric, but man it creeped me out, and they filmed it in a real haunted asylum)

    4:Paranormal Activity, still to this day gets me. The quiet creepy unknown of it, in the theater this little film scared me shittless, now the sequels, mehhh

    3:The Descent. I saw this British sperlunking creature feature at the Sundance Film Festival and it was so expertly done, I saw it 3 times in theaters after it finally released. It has jump scare , true claustrophobic fears, creepy creatures, and is excecuted perfectly

    2: Haute tension. Another one I saw premier at Sundance Film Festival, and talk about tension this was creepy, tense, twisted and that final twist, after the 2nd or 3rd watch makes complete sense. This French movie has it all gore, scares, tension, and an awesome soundtrack

    1:Exorcist, I know it sounds cliche, but it literally scares the HELL out of me everytime I watch it, the crucifix to the crotch the spinning head the evil possesed voice everything about this movie is nightmare inducing!!

    Favorite Stephen King Movies, since most of his books when transferred to film, are not as scary as the books and are more clever and macabre and dark my list is my FAVORITE Stephen King movies:

    5:Pet Sematary is just old school 80's brilliance, cheesy fun, kinda gory, and creepy, and that baby, oh I love that baby, best performance by a toddler in film history.

    4:Misery is psychological horror at its very best, the sledgehammer, Kathy Bates best performance, and a rare oscar nomination for a Stephen King project

    3:The Dark Half is over looked for sure. The kills are effective, the mood is dreary, and the acting is amazing. Yes it is a little long, but George Romero wanted us to not only get scared but to feel for the character and fearful of his split personality.

    2:Shining is of course a classic in Atmosphere and meticulously shot By Kubrick. It may not be very accurate to the book, but the essence is there, and Jack Nicholson...WOW

    1:The Mist came out of nowhere. I did not expect much from this film at all. I thought, oh wow another supernatural King film getting the horrible Dreamcathers treatment, but Darabont directed the hell out of this movie, subtley adding the sci fi with the human aspects, the religious fanatacism, and the scares, wow the scares are right on, and that ending is crushing, best film adaptation of Stephen King material ever, not just horror.