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What are the top 10 scariest movies ever and why? What does it take to make a really scary movie? What is it that makes you so scared you’re afraid to sleep in your own bed at night? There have been thousands of scary movies made, yet probably less than 10% of them really put the chill or dreadful fear in us that makes it hard to sleep at night – even with a light on. So, what is it that makes a really scary movie? To find the scariest movies ever, means we need to come up with some review criteria. I’ve come up with seven criteria, that I believe, are conducive to scaring the living crap out of us and keeping us scared for days afterwords:
Top 10 Scariest Criteria
Danger and Suspense
To be scared, you’ve gotta really sense a character’s life is in danger. Having a little boy run from the fat bully at school playground simply won’t cut it. There is simply no other way around life-threatening suspense, like a real bad guy hiding in the basement with an axe or a glaze-eyed Jack Nicholson running down a hallway chasing a couple of frantic children. Most, if not all of the top 10, have danger in them.
Eerie and Creepiness
A scientist puts a dead man’s body back together and brings him back to life as a monster. Or a boy tells his mother he sees dead people. That’s pretty eerie and awfully creepy. Not all of the top 10 scariest movies ever are necessarily creepy, but they sure can be.
The less believable it is, the less likely you are to buy into the fear. A titanic-sized dinosaur running down the street terrorizing the neighborhood might be exciting, but it’s not exactly going to keep you awake at night worrying. Seeing a possessed teenage girl turn her neck around 360 degrees, however, might give you cause to look around your room at night – if not, several weeks. Most all of the really scary moves have some form of believability about them.
This may be the most important element of fear. It is the fear of the unknown, or a world that appears in a way that is different than the way we know or understand it. Ghosts, demons, the afterlife, or anything that we don’t expect to see every day – or want to see. As you will see, not all of the most scary movies have to be supernatural.
Gore and Morbidity
See any of the horror scenes from Jaws. Or imagine a scene like in Sixth Sense where the dead boy says, “Come on, I’ll show you where my father keeps his gun.” Gore is what makes us remember what might happen. But, not all of scariest movies have gore.
Shock and Surprise
Nothing delivers a jolt to the nerves quite like a dead body falling out of your closet. Remember the scene in Jaws where they discover the dead man with the bulging eyes while diving in the water? Why do dead people always have to have bulging eyes? Most all of the scariest movies have some element of surprise in them.
Twist, Disturbance and Irony
The twist can be a surprise like in The Sixth Sense or The Others. Or it can be something very disturbing. Try The Fog, or any Stephen King story. Most of the top 10 scariest movies ever have a twist or ironic element to them that makes them memorable.
I believe I’ve covered the essential criteria of the top 10 scariest movies ever. Some scary movies may incorporate only a few of these criteria, but the really best ones have all the bases covered. You know how I love charts and ratings, so Product Review Ratings (PRR) has broken down the Top 10 Scariest Movies Ever based on the criteria above. Also, I’ve added the IMDB (International Movie Data Base)Movie Watchers Rating just to provide some perspective on the way viewers rated these horror flicks. I hope you enjoy the chart and please leave your own comments and feedback on your own Top-10 Really Scary Movies.