RANKED! 10 Horror Films Scary Enough to Make You Crap Yourself
Everybody loves a good scare now and then. Except when the terror is so intense it scares the living crap out of you. After all, we’d like to keep our dignity while chasing thrills, facing death, and staring evil in the face. But with these 10 terrifying films, that just isn’t possible. Each movie on this list will drain away every ounce of your courage and leave your inner child rocking back and forth in inconsolable fright. So while horror movies are one of the most visceral and satisfying genres out there, is it really worth it? You decide.
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10. 'Rosemary's Baby'
There’s something extra creepy about Satanism becoming so pedestrian that all your neighbors do it. Roman Polanski’s directorial debut presents an eerie glimpse into fanaticism and the occult with stomach-churning results. And even though old apartments, basement laundry rooms, and self-obsessed husbands can be scary, the most terrifying part of Rosemary’s Baby is the notion that groupthink can steadfastly overpower individuality.
9. 'The Blair Witch Project'
Robert Frost ain’t got nothing on this ode to the woods. The original shoestring budget smash hit, The Blair Witch Project, is both loved and hated for its stark and inflexible filmmaking style. But the thrills and chills it achieves are surprisingly visceral for the very fact that three quarters of the movie is awfully mundane. Because life is mundane and evil can strike at any time. If nothing else, it will make you second guess every camping trip you go on for the rest of your life.
8. 'The Exorcism of Emily Rose'
Exorcism stuff always strikes a nerve, even for us non-believers. This movie thrives during its scenes with Emily, as her reality descends into madness...not dissimilar to a bad acid trip. The disturbing visuals of everyday life turning to shit (thanks to old anti-Christ), will nestle beneath your subconscious mind and release doses of fear every time you wake to see something standing in the darkness at the edge of your bed. Warning: Do not watch after taking a bong rip.
7. 'The Conjuring'
Forget Poltergeist, The Conjuring has all the makings of a haunted house classic. The great thing about this movie is that you get to experience the unnerving discovery of evil spirits twice, first through the family that moves into the secluded country house, and then again when the ghostbusters arrive to slay the unwanted spirit. The Conjuring will raise the hairs on the back of your neck as it convinces you that certain spaces are absolutely filthy with nasty ghouls. Choose your next apartment wisely.
6. 'Paranormal Activity'
Paranormal Activity took what The Blair Witch Project started and brought it home. The beautiful thing about this film is the truth it uncovers: real fear doesn’t cost a thing. After turning out all the lights and watching this flick, the home you once felt safe in will be forever tainted. And all the noises in your house that you chalked up to old pipes and shoddy carpentry will start to sound credibly evil.
5. 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre'
The news-cycle realism of this narrative immediately makes you sit up and take notice. Before The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, life was all candy and roses. Afterward, it's just a violent freak-show waiting to happen.
Because this film has been endlessly emulated, you will probably recognize some of the visual themes Alfred Hitchcock established in his first foray into straight-up horror. But few, if any, films of the genre take the sum of their parts and create such a sturdy masterpiece. With every aspect of the film so well conceived, Psycho delights in subverting the genre, manipulating the viewer with each turn and climaxing in one of the most unsettling moments in cinema history. Perhaps in 2019 you just might manage to keep your bowels in tact, but we know for a fact that moviegoers in 1960 shat themselves in record numbers.
3. 'The Ring'
While the original Japanese film was great, the American version arguably cranks up the terror even higher. A slow-burning, ticking time bomb of a psychological horror thriller, the film follows the journey of a skeptical reporter looking to dismantle the urban legend of a videotape that, when watched, predicts the viewers death within seven days. Great horror films make you afraid of commonplace things. By movie's end, you'll be afraid of circles. Try doing the dishes in that state of mind.
When we see a guy dressed like Freddy Krueger walking toward us down the street, we don’t even bat an eyelash. Yet when Michael Myers comes shuffling into view (even if he's only 4 feet tall), we freeze in absolute terror. Something about the low-key, unrelenting evil of Myers chills us to the very bone. Combine his menacing presence with the brilliant, lean filmmaking of John Carpenter, and the creepy piano score (the one that immediately inspires fetal-position yoga), and you have the ultimate stalker flick that still kills to this day.
1. 'The Exorcist'
Good always triumphs over evil…right? The Exorcist begs to differ. No movie has captured the inadequacy of goodness in the face of pure evil quite like this. The filmmakers used the sound of bees, slowed down to near sub-sonic frequencies, to create a feeling of disquiet from beat one, and things just unravel from there.
The Exorcist also boasts the most real-life evil surrounding it. For instance, an actual serial killer (before he was caught) played a medical technician in the diagnostic scene of the movie. Then a lightning bolt struck the 400-year-old church across from the movie theater during the film's premiere in Rome. Notably, several of the actors died horribly tragic deaths not long after filming wrapped (among other rumored curses). While all this adds to the dark mythos of the film, the real potency of this masterpiece rests in the lingering effects of quiet dread that stay with you long after the credits have rolled. Like a soft ringing in your ears when all else falls silent, the sound of fear remains forever embedded in your psyche. Thanks for that, guys.