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The Scariest Movies of All Time (According to One Horror Chick)

Written by: Paula Haifley, CC2K Horror Chick

CC2k's resident horror chick wonders why all the scariest movies were made 30 years ago – and why nothing scares us anymore.
ImageWhen compiling my list of the scariest films of all time, I was struck by how most of my choices came from the same 10-year period almost 30 years ago. They’re not old enough to look silly, yet not new enough to have their tricks spoiled and their suspense ruined by having seen the same gag over and over again. I did honor a few modern horror movies, but all of those come out of the recent spate of techno-themed Asian horror cinema.
But regardless of their origin, I recommend all of these movies because they'll actually frighten you – not just gross you out.


It pains me to even have to say this, but I'm talking (of course) about the original Halloween, not Rob Zombie's awful rehash.

Carpenter's shocker made him a star (and a lot of money), and with good reason. I dare you to watch this movie and not look over your shoulder for the next 24 hours. I couldn't, not even during the day. In the middle of an open field. It's that unnerving.   

Sure, the opening origin-story is silly, but once Carpenter transports us to modern-day Haddonfield, Ill., it never lets up, not from Jamie Lee Curtis' first sighting of Michael Myers on a day-lit sidewalk to the final harrowing scene in a bedroom closet. In his heyday, John Carpenter could show us a car screech to a halt in the middle of the day, and it was terrifying.

It still is. 

The Shining

Elevators full of blood, creepy men in animal masks, creepy bartenders, creepy twins, creepy everything. So what if Shelly Duvall’s performance underwhelms? The Shining gets under your skin by hitting you with images so bizarre your brain refuses to process them until much later. When you're alone.  

Black Christmas

Forget A Christmas Story, this film was the late Bob Clark’s masterpiece. Halloween may be scarier, but this film is better. This is a slasher film for people who hate slasher films. In it, a psycho stalks the women of a sorority house as they all get ready to leave for Christmas vacation, and you get to see him do it through his point of view. This movie gets in your head, and I'm living proof: 

Once after watching this classic, I checked – no kidding – my cat's litter box before going to bed. I was apparently convinced that a madman would burrow from the floor below and use the litter box as an entry point. That's how scary this one is. 


I'd like to thank Steven Spielberg for ruining The Discovery Channel's Shark Week for me, because every time an ad for it comes on, I avert my eyes. And I haven't even seen Jaws in 10 years.  


This movie will fuck you up. It's not for anyone who even remotely qualifies as squeamish. Seriously. If you think Hostel is hardcore, this shit will blow your mind, and it actually has a plot. I have to watch the last few minutes in fast forward. 

Special Mention: The Ring

Everything about this film is composed and concocted to scare the living shit out of you. I saw this in the theater, and I have never had a theater experience that intense. The Ring had every single person gripping their armrests and covering their eyes – and everyone was so damn quiet and fixated on the action.

Until the end, that is. Then everyone fucking lost it.

Some like the Japanese version, Ringu, better, but I think it's a matter of different countries with different tastes. Theirs makes more sense. Ours is gorier, and you don’t really know why the little girl is evil. Like the Bad Seed, or Michael Meyers, she just is. It still scares the hell out of me every time I see it. But is this one of the scariest films ever? Will it hold up well even after all of the crappy Asian-horror remakes that are still being thrown at us? I’ll let you know in 10 years.   

A Note About Psycho:

Many people consider Hitchcock’s only horror film to be the scariest film of all time. While I don’t disagree that this film is a masterpiece, I think that, unfortunately, it has lost a lot of its effect on modern audiences. So I leave it up to you to decide. Is Psycho still one of the scariest films ever made?