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The Top 7 Scariest Movies Of All Time

Most horror movie fans love to be scared and will repeatedly watch an excellent scary movie to see the scenes where they jump or cover their eyes. There are plenty of good horror movies to choose from. Still, not all are considered the best because different people have different opinions on what makes a movie truly terrifying. 

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This list represents the top seven movies deemed the most terrifying by critics and viewers who had to watch them despite their fears.

The Exorcist

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Released in 1973, the film is about a twelve-year-old girl who becomes possessed by a mysterious entity and starts to show signs of demonic behavior. The movie was nominated for 10 Academy Awards and won two (Best Sound and Adapted Screenplay). It took six months to film because the director wanted to get everything right. At one point, Linda Blair's eyes rolled so far back in her head that only the whites were showing. She would throw up between takes on the set, which she called the exorcist's breakfast.

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Stanley Kubrick's the Shining

The Shining - Rotten Tomatoes

The Shining is a 1980 horror film directed by Stanley Kubrick and based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King. It tells the story of Jack Torrance, a writer and recovering alcoholic who takes a job as an off-season caretaker at the isolated Overlook Hotel. His young son, Danny, possesses shining psychic abilities which enable him to see visions of the hotel's horrific past. As winter approaches, Danny speaks more often with Tony (John Forsythe), a ghostly butler. Meanwhile, it becomes increasingly clear that Jack has been driven mad by the power of the place, and he tries to kill his wife, Wendy (Shelley Duvall), and young son, Danny (Danny Lloyd). Finally, she manages to escape from him with their child in tow.

John Carpenter's Halloween

John Carpenter's Halloween: Movie Review

Halloween is a horror film from 1978. It was written and directed by John Carpenter, who also composed the music. The movie stars Donald Pleasence and Jamie Lee Curtis in her first significant role as Laurie Strode, alongside Nick Castle as Michael Myers. Halloween tells the story of Michael Myers stalking and killing six teenagers on Halloween night in 1963 in a fictional town called Haddonfield, Illinois. He returns to Haddonfield thirty years later to terrorize Laurie and her friends on Halloween night again with his murderous plot. Unlike other slasher films of the period, Halloween uses very little blood or gore. To keep young viewers from being frightened by scenes that might be too intense for them, Carpenter filmed most of the killings off-screen and only showed brief glimpses or hints of what was happening.

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Rosemary's Baby by Roman Polanski

MOVIE REVIEW | ***HALLOWEEN WEEK*** Rosemary's Baby (1968) – Bored and  Dangerous

Rosemary's Baby is a 1968 American psychological horror film written and directed by Roman Polanski, based on the bestselling 1967 novel by Ira Levin. The film is about a young married woman who suspects her unborn child may be anti-Christ. John Cassavetes plays her husband. They also starred Mia Farrow as Rosemary Woodhouse and Ruth Gordon as Minnie Castevet, their next-door neighbors in the building. The movie was rated R and released on June 18, 1968. It was filmed at various locations, including New York City. Many people reported feeling nauseous while watching the movie, with some even leaving to vomit. Rosemary's Baby was praised by all critics, and many of them said it was one of the scariest movies.

Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho

Psycho turns 60 – Hitchcock's famous fright film broke all the rules

Psycho is one of the most famous movies in history. It was made in 1960 and told the story of a woman named Marion who, after stealing $40,000 from her employer's client, goes on the run. She takes refuge at an isolated motel managed by a young man named Norman Bates and his overbearing mother. As Marion settles into her room, she hears a noise coming from the shower room next door, where she is horrified to discover that it is Mrs. Bates with a knife in hand. At this point, Marion realizes that Norman has been lying about himself and his mother all along, but before she can escape, Mrs. Bates manages to stab her in the shower, killing her. The ending of this movie was so shocking that people have been known to faint while watching it live!

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Inception (by Christopher Nolan)

Leonardo DiCaprio Can't Make Sense of 'Inception' 10 Years Later | IndieWire

Inception is a 2010 science fiction action film written, co-produced, and directed by Christopher Nolan. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a professional thief. He steals information by infiltrating the subconscious and is offered a chance to have his criminal history erased as payment for the implantation of another person's idea into a target's subconscious. He agrees and is given a powerful sedative which puts him in a state between wakefulness and sleep where he must incept someone while they are dreaming. Afterward, they will not remember anything that happened while they were under. Cobb starts working with Saito (Ken Watanabe) on an assignment. During this time, Cobb runs into Mal (Marion Cotillard), a woman from his past who he fell deeply in love with but then left when their sick child died.

Paranormal Activity by Oren Peli

Paranormal Activity' Director Oren Peli on Why He Doesn't Make Movies  Anymore - Bloody Disgusting

In 2007, Paranormal Activity became one of the most profitable films on a budget of less than $10,000. Unfortunately, it was also one of the scariest movies ever made. When it was released in October 2009 on DVD, it sold over 4 million copies in its first week. The movie is an example of found footage: a film shot by those involved with the portrayed events. The Blair Witch Project (1999) - One of the first found-footage horror movies and still one of the best, this film scared audiences out of their minds when they thought they were seeing real people die while watching the movie. 

Evil Dead (1981) -Filmed using a low budget but exploiting all modern special effects, this became one of the most beloved and memorable horror movies of all time.

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Final Thoughts

200 Best Horror Movie Quotes and Dialogues of All Time

Movie-going is an experience all its own, and there's nothing like a good horror movie to get the adrenaline pumping. Whether you're a fan of slasher flicks or psychological thrillers, everyone has their own personal preference when it comes to which movies frighten them the most. Thousands of people voted on the movies on this list, but they are in no particular order. While some are more than 40 years old, many are still just as scary today as they were in theaters when they came out. 

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