The Ultimate List of the Scariest Horror Movies You Need to Watch

The draw of the unknown, the pull of the unexpected, non-scientific draws me to horror movies. To say that I like horror movies would be an understatement. I love them. I can watch them all day long, and not be scared anymore. So much so that I have started watching foreign horror movies as well, just to find the best scares. The list includes a Korean movie I watched that I quite enjoyed, albeit with English subtitles.

Whatever I say in a few words will fall short. This coming from a mere mortal (pun intended), there is one thing you can bank upon is my suggestion of the horror genre. Just a quick disclaimer: These movies are in my list of top ten because they are very scary and/or quite disturbing. If you don’t do well with the heaviest scares, avoid watching these. But, if the grisly the better, start watching them now.

I’ll probably do a list of light horror movies if it is even called that. For the vast majority of people who delight in viewing a film with some suspense but not a lot.

  1. A Tale of Two Sisters (Korean)

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This is at the top of my list of two reasons. One, it is scary beyond measure. Two, it doesn’t even have one ghost. There is irony in the second sentence but that weighs heavily only after you’ve watched the movie till the end. It plays on your emotions, your mind, the sanity of things and the way every person perceives the surroundings. Such is the sorcery of its angles that a morsel of food and a cupboard can be made scary. Watch it only if you’re fine handling a little psychological drama interspersed with the scares.

2.The Paranormal Activity Series

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What can I say about the Paranormal series that hasn’t been said before. The first one followed Katie(one of two sisters) and her husband Micah who move into a new house and quickly discover strange happenings around them. They put up cameras all around their house and “document” the movements of the house. It is raw, very real and so near to you, that you feel like you’re a part of their lives. There are 5 movies in the series, that somehow relate to Katie and her sister Kristi, and their very interesting past that spawns a lot of time-stamped footage and makes for a very enticing watch. Oren Peli is an excellent director.

3. It Follows

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This movie preys on our simple fears and the human emotion linked to having been with someone. The concept is too simple, but just enough to make you genuinely scared for a very long time. It starts with the scene that there is a supernatural entity following a girl ever since she’s had a sexual encounter with a guy. She tries to pass it on, with the same logic, but nothing is ever that simple, is it? It was very widely acclaimed for its creativity and uniqueness. It managed to give me the scare after having scavenged for a good scary movie for months.

4. The Conjuring

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A lot of controversy surrounds The Conjuring. But from the point of view of a self-acclaimed horror enthusiast, it has the perfect scare antics, a dilapidated house, a good family and very scary ghost-leg scene. The husband-wife paranormal investigator duo (The Warrens) go to the house of a family of seven – husband, wife, 5 girls and an adorable dog. Only to find that the house is haunted, with a very screwed up ghost/spirit/call what you may but it will follow them anywhere they go.

5. The Witch

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This was a surprise hit for me, and millions of other people. It is a historical drama following a very Christian family in New England, who believe the teachings of the Bible to its letter. It is what they face, and see and how they deal with it (or not?). It is thought-provoking and a sense of urgency to it and keeps you on the edge of your seat till the very end and yet you want more.

6. The Exorcist

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The classic. The best proclaimed, and a true winner of the genre. It is raw, grisly, personal and just very scary. Without any spoilers, I’ll say that there is something about little girls, the purity of thoughts and how it manifests into a tale for centuries. But, no good horror film is complete without its stable ending, which makes the Exorcist a perfect watch.

7. The Blair Witch Project

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It was the first of many other found footage films but it rules the roost. Three friends venture deep into the unknowns of the forest to look for the infamous Blair Witch. They go missing, but their video equipment is discovered a year later and that makes the movie. Needless to say, it is an ultimate watch. Chills galore, in this one.

8. The Shining

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I’ll say it too- the book was much better than the movie, Stanley Kubrick no less. But if I hadn’t read the novel by Stephen King, I would have fallen head over heels for the movie, obviously also for Jack Nicholson’s portrayal of Jack Torrance, who is the winter caretaker of a hotel buried deep in the snow. Jack takes his wife, and his son, Danny. It is revealed that Danny has the shining-the ability to see and feel things not all humans can. It is a tale of how alcoholism and the ghosts of your mind and otherwise can drive you out of your mind. And, that by spinning tales, you can end up hurting what you hold most dear. Remember Redrum.

9. The Sixth Sense

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This cult classic by M. Night Shyamalan is no short of a perfect 10 when it comes to my ghostly scale. It is psychological, other-worldly and multi-dimensional in every sense of the way. It a story of a boy who can see and talk to ghosts, and about a psychologist (Bruce Willis) who counsels him. The ending is a surprise, the acting is flawless and the story is unimaginably tender.

10. Let the Right One In

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A vampire movie done right. It is in Swedish, so definitely watch it with the subtitles best suited for you. It is slow, exacting and straight forward with its idea. The complexity lies in the emotions of a little girl vampire, who befriends a boy who moves to the next-door apartment. It is shot in a mundane, slow manner that makes it too real. It was a critically acclaimed movie, a rightful superior in its genre and worthy of a top ten.

Honorary Mentions

  • The Others
  • Cabin in the Woods
  • Haunting in Connecticut
  • Crimson Peak

Choosing my favorite ten was nothing short of scary for me. I love so many that my best had to be just the ultimate. I am on the lookout for horror books now. I loved the shining by Stephen King, and have hoarded some more of his titles. But I would love your recommendations. Please tell me if I have an unhealthy affliction of horror movies, or it is just a journey of good content and some answers about the supernatural.

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