The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Scary Movie: From Classic to Contemporary


Choosing the best scary movie can be a daunting task– with so many options to choose from, how can you possibly decide?
In this article, we’ll explore different aspects of scary movies to help readers decide which one is truly the “best”. From the top six most terrifying movies of all time, to breakdowns of iconic scenes, to the psychology of fear, we’ll cover it all.

The Top Six Most Terrifying Scary Movies of All Time

What makes a movie “terrifying”? Everyone has their own opinion, but these six movies are consistently mentioned as some of the scariest:

  1. The Exorcist
  2. The Shining
  3. Halloween (1978)
  4. Psycho (1960)
  5. Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
  6. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

What sets these movies apart? Often, it’s the combination of suspenseful storytelling, visual effects, and psychological horror that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats. It’s important to note, however, that these rankings are subjective; one person’s “best” horror movie may not be the same as someone else’s.

Why The Exorcist Should be Considered the Ultimate Scary Movie

The Exorcist is a classic horror film that continues to terrify audiences to this day. Not only was it one of the first movies to include themes of demonic possession, it also utilized special effects that had never been seen before on the big screen. The combination of jump scares, the eerie score, and stomach-churning scenes of possession make it a movie that is hard to forget. Experts agree; Steven Greydanus from the National Catholic Register calls it “the greatest horror film ever made” and Geoffrey Macnab of The Independent calls it “a landmark in American cinema.”

From Classic to Contemporary: Which Era Produced the Scariest Films?

Horror has been a popular genre since the early days of cinema, and it’s interesting to take a look at how horror movies have evolved over time. Some of the most notable eras of horror include:

  • Classic horror (1920s-1940s)
  • Psychological horror (1960s-1970s)
  • Slashers and monsters (1970s-1980s)
  • Found footage and torture porn (2000s-2010s)

While all of these eras have their own merits, it’s often the psychological horror movies that leave the most lasting impression. Movies like Psycho and Rosemary’s Baby are still just as effective today as they were when they were first released.

A Breakdown of the Most Iconic Scenes from the Best Scary Movies

Some horror movie scenes are so iconic they’re instantly recognizable. Here are a few of the most famous:

The Shower Scene from Psycho

This is perhaps the most iconic scene in horror movie history. The combination of sharp editing, screeching music, and a sudden attack make it a classic jump scare that still holds up today.

The Twins from The Shining

The ghostly twins that appear in the hallway of the Overlook Hotel are a haunting image that is now cemented in pop culture. The way they stare at the camera, unblinking, makes what could have been a cheesy scare into something truly eerie.

Why Fans Keep Going Back to Halloween Every Halloween

One of the reasons why Halloween is such a beloved horror movie is the way it established many of the tropes that would become standard in horror movies for years to come. The movie introduced the world to the unstoppable killer Michael Myers, and the way his face is always obscured by a mask is a technique that has been imitated in countless other horror movies. It also doesn’t hurt that Halloween is set on the titular holiday, making it the perfect movie to watch on October 31st.

The Psychology of Fear: How Rosemary’s Baby Masterfully Plays with Your Emotions

Rosemary’s Baby takes a more subtle approach to horror, relying on psychological horror and suspense to scare the audience. By using a slow-burn approach, the movie keeps the viewer on edge as Rosemary becomes increasingly paranoid about the intentions of her neighbors. It also raises questions about human nature and the fear of the unknown.


Choosing the “best” horror movie is always going to be a matter of personal opinion, but by exploring different aspects of the horror genre, we hope to have provided some helpful insights. Whether you prefer classic horror, psychological horror, or modern horror movies, there is something for every type of horror fan.

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