10. Night of the Living Dead (1968) Although this is not one of my favorite films, I absolutely have to pay homage to it. With a budget of only $114,000, George Romero took an idea and created a sub-genre. Although it was not the first zombie movie, it revolutionized the zombie culture and went on to gross $12 million nationally, $30 million internationally and has been remade twice; once in 1990 and again in 2006. In 1999, the Library of Congress selected the film for preservation in the National Film Registry.
9. The Haunting in Connecticut (2009) This lesser known film will chill you to the bone and make you turn on all the lights before you go up the stairs to bed. You may even check behind you once or twice just to make sure nothing is there. Set in Connecticut in 1987, the story is based on the allegedly true story of paranormal events. A psychological, supernatural thriller with bits of the occult, how can you go wrong when there is necromancy involved?!
8. Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) It would be a crime to leave this master piece off the list, so I won’t. If you never watch another foreign language film, please see this film. It will not disappoint. A story of childhood fantasy mixed into a world of war and violence. Set in Spain five years after the Spanish Civil War, during the Fran Quist reign, the film weaves in and out of the real world and Ofelia’s fantasy world. But what is scarier, the world that she has created or the one that she is trying to escape from?
7. Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) While I personally feel most slasher flicks are more cheesy than scary, this one scared me. And 25 years later, Freddy Krueger still haunts my dreams on occasion. The story of a local child killer, that was burned alive by concerned parents, has come back for revenge on the children. The catch, he shows up in your dreams and if he kills you in your dreams you die for real. With numerous sequels and a remake that hit theaters in 2010, this film has become a favorite of the genre. We heart you, Freddy!
6. Rosemary’s Baby (1968) In this psychological thriller, a young couple moves into a new apartment only to be surrounded by peculiar people and strange occurrences. When Rosemary becomes pregnant, she is only concerned with the wellbeing of her unborn child. Adapted from the bestselling novel by Ira Levin, which was inspired by the recently founded church of Satan, Rosemary’s Baby is a chilling tale of a woman’s innocence being shattered by the people she surrounds herself with.
5. The Descent (2005) The story of six woman who, on their annual adventure, decide to go caving only to discover that their friend brought them into an unknown cave system. It’s tense and claustrophobic, and you never know what might be lurking in the dark just around the corner. If you ever wanted to go caving, you might not after seeing this film.
4. 28 Weeks Later (2007) Now this is my idea of a scary zombie movie. The zombies move FAST and they are even more violent than their slow and lumbering counterpart. This is the sequel to 28 Days Later, and in my opinion, is the better movie. 28 weeks after the outbreak of the Rage virus in London, the government thinks they have it under control and starts to let people back into the city. All it takes is one.
3. Open Water (2004) Based on a true story of an American couple left at sea during a scuba diving trip, Open Water will play with your mind and leave you thinking about it for weeks. After the initial discovery that they have been left behind, very little actually happens in the movie. However, the realization that they are alone with nowhere to go and there is nothing they can do about it except anticipate death, makes emotions surface that are unbelievably hard to digest.
2. Stephen King’s It (1990) Although this movie is actually a two part mini-series, I couldn’t possibly leave it off my list. This movie changed the way I look at clowns forever. It takes place in 1960 with a group of seven kids and then jumps forward 30 years to 1990, when the same group of kids, all grown up, resolve to destroy to entity that terrorized them years before. You may only be able to watch it once, but it worth the entire 192 minutes of your time. Unless, of course, you just can’t handle it.
1. The Shining (1980) And finally, The Shining. Stephen King truly is the master of horror, isn’t he? The setting is The Overlook Hotel, secluded in the mountains of Colorado during the peak of winter. Jack Torrence (Jack Nicholson) brings his wife and son to The Overlook Hotel, secluded in the mountains of Colorado, to be the caretaker while it closes for the winter. Jack goes from the harsh reality of a struggling marriage to udder insanity in the blink of an eye. The voices of the hotel are telling him to kill his wife and child, as his wife (Shelley Duval) is trying to remain calm, protect her son and figure out what was going on with her husband. The acting is brilliant, the directing is spot on. Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is a true master piece of horror.