20 Best Scary Movies Of All Time

Last Updated: June 15, 2016

Fantasy is a necessary ingredient of our lives. Movies are a great way to escape from reality and into our very own little fantasises. While Horror Films are definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, but you will be enthralled by this list of ultimate Scary Movies of all time, if you happen to be one of those adrenaline junkies.

Well, there are some ordinary Horror Movies that will keep you entertained for the time being and you sooner forget what you witnessed. But there are some of the lot, which will send nerves down your spine and will haunt you every time you close your eyes. There are horror movies that you wished you didn’t watch them in the first place.

20 Best Scary Movies to Watch in 2015

Read on further if you are one of those adrenaline-seeking movie enthusiast who just loves the idea of ultimate horror. Below are the 20 most appreciated and best Scary movies of All time.

1. The Exorcist

Genre: Horror

IMDb Rating: 8.0/10

One of the most oldest and arguably the scariest movies of all times is The Exorcist, released in 1973. Adapted from a novel of the same name, The Exorcist original movie took audience by their seats throughout the entire length of the movie. The movie is about a demoniacally possessed 12 year old girl, for which her mother seeks the help of two priests to perform Exorcism on her. This novel and movie were inspired by original events recorded back in 1949. The Exorcist is followed by four other movies in the same series: Exorcist II, The Exorcist III, Exorcist: The Beginning, Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist.

Voted as the Scariest movie of all time by Maxim and Entertainment weekly, this movie is a must-watch for all those adrenaline seeking movie junkies.

2. The Grudge

Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller

IMDb Rating: 5.9/10

The Grudge is one of the Top 10 highest grossing horror movies in the Hollywood and the first instalment was arguably the best of the lot. Although a remake of the Japanese file Ju-on, The Grudge won many accolades and praise for its cinematography. The Grudge 2 and Grudge 3 of the series are not remakes, but are loosely based around the Ju-on series.

The movie is a Supernatural chain of horror events that revolve around the curse followed by the death in a grip of rage or sorrow. The curse spreads from one person to another and the entire movie revolves around this concept. The non-linear presentation of the series of events and the amazing cinematography make The Grudge series a must-watch for any horror movies’ enthusiast.

3. A Nightmare on Elm Street

Genre: Horror

IMDb Rating: 7.5/10

A Nightmare on Elm Street is one of the best American Horror Movie franchise, grossing over $450 Million in Box office collection across the Nine sets of Movies. Written and Directed by Wes Craven, The Nightmare on Elm Street of 1984 is one of the scariest horror movie you will ever watch.

The Story revolves around Freddy Krueger, who stalks the teenagers of the people who burnt him alive. He stalks these teenagers in their dreams and kills them before terrorizing them. Although the franchise comprises of nine movies, the first part is arguably a must watch among all of the lot.

4. The Shining

Genre: Horror

IMDb Rating: 8.5/10

The Shining is a horror movie adapted from the same novel by prolific American author, Stephen King. The Shining was named as one of the scariest Horror movies by Hollywood director Martin Scorsese. Although not quite popular during its release, The Shining is now often regarded as one of the scariest movies ever made in the Hollywood.

The Shining is a Psychological, Horror movie that revolves around a family who move to a possessed hotel in the outskirts of the city during the winter. His son possesses of ‘The Shining’ that lets him visualise the past and future events at the hotel. The father soon gets into fits of rage and violence and attempts to kill his own son and wife. Starring Jack Nicholson, The Shining is one of the best scary movies to watch.

5. Ju-on Series

Genre: Horror

IMDb Rating: 6.7/10

The Ju-on is a Japanese Horror movie series and this instalment of the series was the first to be released theatrically and the best of the series. Ju-on: The Grudge was followed by many other movies, with the last instalment Ju-on: The final, released on June 20 2015. The Ju-on series follows the tales of a haunted house and how it affects people at different locations, told in a non-linear fashion.

The Ju-on Grudge movie revolves around a haunted house where the wife, kid and the family cat all were killed in the same place. Anyone who enters the house gets cursed and it spreads on from the location of their death. The non-linear storytelling fashion and the storyline itself made Ju-on movie series easily one of the most scariest horror movies of all time. An American remake of this movie was also released in 2004, which too did pretty well at the box office.

6. The Conjuring

Genre: Horror

IMDb Rating: 7.5/10

Based on real-life documented events, The Conjuring was one of the top-grossing horror movies of 2013. This Supernatural Horror movie revolves around two paranormal investigators, working to help a family get relief from a paranormal dark presence in their farmhouse.

The Conjuring’s $318 Million Worldwide grossing make it easily one of the highest grossing horror movies ever made. The Conjuring’s reception made rise to the making of The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist, which is scheduled to be released in mid-2016.

Below is the trailer of ‘The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist’


7. The Blair Witch Project

Genre: Horror

IMDb Rating: 6.4/10

One thing that could be definitely well said about this movie is how well it was marketed. The movie begins by informing the audience that this is a pseudo-documentary horror film and that the real people behind this documentary were never to be found. This movie was marketed as the real-life horror documentary, albeit it wasn’t. This hype alone led to this movie grossing $248 Million in the box-office.

The movie is about three film making students who decide to document their visit to the haunted forest of Maryland. The first-person Point of view documentary cinematography caught the attention of many users and is arguable one of the most scariest horror movies of all time as you experience fear and paranormal events through their eyes.

8. Grave Encounters

Genre: Adventure, Horror, Mystery

IMDb Rating: 6.1/10

Grave Encounters is one of the footage-found Canadian Supernatural flick, similar to The Blair Witch Project in many ways. The story revolves around a Reality Show crew deciding on locking themselves inside an abandoned and haunted psychiatric hospital to witness the paranormal activity that it was notoriously famous for. This was albeit the cast’s last footage, as they witness horror first-hand.

The movie is an absolute beast of a horror flick and you can expect it to run through your mind, even days after watching the movie. These documentary-style footage found movies have recently found themselves much likening among the audience and this led to the creation of The Grave Encounters 2, which was released in 2012.

9. Insidious Series

Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery

IMDb Rating: 6.6/10

The Insidious is one of the most famous horror movie series of Hollywood. This American supernatural Horror movie was released in a three-part series with the latest third part yet to be released. The best of the lot is the Insidious 2, which revolves around the Lambert family trying to uncover the secrets of their haunted child, which carry on from the first part.

The Lambert family’s child enters a comatose state mysteriously and becomes a trap for the demons to haunt him for his life. The latest third part is actually a prequel to the Insidious series, reflecting on a haunted girl who is saved by the Lambert family.

Below is the trailer of Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015)

10. The Exorcism of Emily Rose

Genre: Drama, Horror, Thriller

IMDb Rating: 6.7/10

The Exorcism of Emily Rose is one of the all-time scariest movies in the history of Horror movies of Hollywood. This movie is largely based around a courtroom trials, where a priest pleads innocence in his self-defence due to the death of a girl while he performed exorcism on the haunted girl.

The priest is brandished and accused of negligence and homicide on the girl and the events are unfolded in a flashback sequence. This movie is based loosely on the real-life incidents of a girl from Germany. The movie leaves spectators spell-bound with the kind of horror scenes and cinematography that entails it.

11. The Evil Dead

Genre: Horror

IMDb Rating: 7.6/10

The Evil Dead was one of the scariest horror movies of all time, which started out as a low-budget movie following the writer’s success at the 1982 Cannes Cannes Film Festival. The story revolves around four Michigan State University students visiting a haunted and abandoned cabin in the woods and accessing an audiotape, that released demonic possessions and ghosts onto these young trailblazers.

The ghosts haunt these students to a level where the victims are turned into heartless monsters, seeking out the life of their fellow friends ruthlessly.

12. Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Genre: Horror, Thriller

IMDb Rating: 7.5/10

Considered a modern horror classic movie, Texas Chainsaw Massacre is one of the best low-budget horror movies of Hollywood. Although some of the crimes depicted in the movie are loosely based on real-life incidents, the entire movie plot is fictional. This movie is about five group of friends who visit their grandparents’ grave, only to find themselves around a slaughterhouse filled with cannibals and weapon-yielding monsters.

With just a budget of $300,000, this is arguably the best low-budget horror movie you will ever come across that has become a horror classic due to its exquisite attention to detail and plot.

13. Last House on The Left

Genre: Horror

IMDb Rating: 6.6/10

The Last House on the Left, released in 2009, is actually a remake of a movie of the same name released in 1972. Although the original movie didn’t do quite well, this latest release is one of the best horror and thriller movie.

The story is about the gruesome revenge tactics of a family on a drug addict named Krug, who ruthlessly killed two detectives, escaped from police custody, assaulted two women, one of whom happen to be the child of the family residing in the vacation home.

14. Paranormal Activity 2

Genre: Horror

IMDb Rating: 5.7/10

The Paranormal Activity Series got quite a spin off with its first release back in 2007. The original movie is as creepy as it gets, although filmed on a low-budget production. But Paranormal Activity 2, which is actually a prequel to the turn of events in the first part, is one of the scariest in this series.

Paranormal Activity 2 is actually about the turn of events two months prior to the original movie and the follow up to it. Installations of security cameras after burglary and vandalism leads to something more horrific and creepy as the violence escalates.

The latest sequel Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension is soon to be released by the end of 2015. Below is the trailer of the same.

15. The Descent

Genre: Adventure, Horror

IMDb Rating: 7.2/10

If you have watched James Franco’s 27 hours, add horror to it and you get The Descent. Originally released in 2005, The Descent is an adventure-turned-horror movie that is highly rated as one of the scariest movies of all-time. The movie is about a women who lost her husband and daughter a year back and her undertaken adventures after the tragic incident.

While she leaves out to explore an unmapped cave along with her friends, they get trapped within with limited access to supplies. Flesh-eating humanoids and the cave-dwelling species await them as they fight for their survival.

16. Mirrors

Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller

IMDb Rating: 6.2/10

The Mirrors is one of the most amazing horror movies ever made in Hollywood. With a beautiful script and interesting play on mirrors and reflections, Mirrors just gets as creepy as it can. This movie revolves around the demonic spirits trying to enter into the lives of a police detective through the aid of mirrors.

The movie is rated a bit low, as it is loosely based around a South Korean Movie called ‘Into the mirrors’, with a similar concept of mirrors and reflections. But Mirrors’ screenplay and cinematography make it easily one of the must watch horror movies.

17. The Ring


Genre: Horror, Mystery

IMDb Rating: 7.1/10

The Ring was one of the earliest American movies which happened to be a remake of a Japanese horror movie. This movie is an awesome amalgam of horror and suspense, which only unfolds as the story comes to a conclusion.

The Ring is about a videotape which is rumoured to kill the person in a week of viewing it. Now that the tape was recovered by Journalist Rachel Keller, she has to run against time to saver herself and her son.

Below is the trailer of The Ring 3 (2015).


18. Sinister

Genre: Horror, Mystery

IMDb Rating: 6.8/10

The Sinister is a supernatural horror movie that brings in a flair of suspense along with it as the protagonist moves into a new house, where a gore crime incident took place. Being a true-crime writer with a flailing career, Ellison Oswalt decides to move into the house to research more for his book, before things turn out to be sore.

He finds 8mm recorded tapes of some crime scenes that date back to 1960’s and as he gets engulfed in it, he puts himself and his family in grave danger. This fight for survival horror movie is often rated as one of the scariest movies ever made. Its sequel – Sinister 2 is due to release in August 2015.

19. Halloween

Genre: Horror, Thriller

IMDb Rating: 7.9/10

Talk about scariest movies and The Halloween movie of 1978 is just as scary as it could get. With the Halloween franchise boasting of ten feature movies to its name, with the latest release in 2009, the original movie was the best of the lot.

The movie revolves around a 6 year old kid who gets institutionalized for stabbing his 15 year old sister on Halloween’s day. He escapes rehabilitation centre after 15 years with questionable motives. This movie grossed today’s equivalent of $250 Million back in those days.

20. Poltergeist

Genre: Horror

IMDb Rating: 7.4/10

The first part of the Poltergeist series, released back in 1982 is one of the all-time scariest movies ever made. This movie was co-written by Steven Spielberg and that makes it a flawless storytelling and cinematography. A family is visited by a host of ‘friendly’ ghosts who initially amuse the occupants.

But as things turn out to be sour, they get more aggressive, to the point where they kidnap the youngest daughter of the family. A remake of this original classic was released recently in May 2015, but didn’t do as well as the original Poltergeist.


SEE ALSO: 15 Best 3D Movies You Should Not Miss Out On

So, as we come to the conclusion of the list of Best Scary movies of all time, do you think any of your favourite movies was left out? Feel free to share your thoughts and comments below.


Srikanth A.N. is a freelance writer whose articles got mentions from the likes of The New York Times, Kissmetrics and AllTopStories. He writes articles, novels and poems; spends most of his time reading everything he could get his hands on. He is currently pursuing his Masters from The University of Illinois and holds a Bachelors in Electronics Engineering from the University of Mumbai. He is a programmer, a motivational writer and speaker. Reach him at his social media profiles linked below.