Personally, I’m not a big fan of scary films, whether they’re psychological dramas or films with horrific special effects designed to scare the you-know-what out of a person. However, I have many friends who can’t wait for the latest and greatest frightening film to hit the silver screen. They love all the suspense, the drama, the threatening music, the special effects, the frights – those ‘make you jump out of your skin’ plot twists and turns.
Me? No thanks! And that makes it difficult for me to judge which horror films would be considered the best – the most goosebump raising, the most terrifying and fear inducing. The film that gives the viewer nightmares and sends chills up and down people’s spines.
So, I decided to ask three of my friends who are all devotees of the horror film genre which movie(s) scared the bejeebers out of them the most. Here are their recommendations – should you decide to brave them!
All three of my friends (plus me) had the same instant answer for the most frightening horror film they ever watched: The Exorcist, released in 1973. The film’s pure, unadulterated evil drama about a demon-possessed child and the attempts made to rid her of it was riveting. Considering our collective ages in 1973, (I was 19) it’s no surprise we were all scared witless by this film with its extraordinary special effects and terrifying story line. We were pretty young and possibly quite incapable of separating fantasy from reality. I know I was.
This film is the one and only horror film I have ever watched.
Ok, I Also Saw Rosemary’s Baby
Actually, I lie, I saw Rosemary’s Baby in 1968, a couple of years earlier than The Exorcist, while, oddly enough, I was babysitting. That movie was pretty freaky and downright frightening for me at 14 years of age, too. I recall being terrified and unable to turn off the TV set due to being rigid with fear and glued to the couch. I could not move. I kept praying the parents would hurry up and get home early so I wouldn’t be all alone in their house. Every little sound sent me into paroxysms of fear until they returned. Let’s face it, I became a bonafide scaredy-cat from that day on.
On canvassing my three friends, all agreed that Rosemary’s Baby was a movie that they’d list in their top five most frightening film experiences.
More Gore: Second Choice Picks
The Shining (1980) was the second choice of two of my three friends. The third friend chose the 1974 film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Either one of these movies is sure to take you to the edge of screamdom: both are suspenseful, gory, psychological thrillers with heart-stopping moments where, as my friends said, you literally jump out of your seat.
I think the reason both slasher-style films are so frightening is because the scenarios could actually happen. At least with The Exorcist it’s a situation which is highly unlikely to occur in my opinion, despite being based loosely on real events according to Rotten Tomatoes, but the other two films have all the potential to occur in real life. That in itself is enough to make me afraid.
Rounding Out This Frightful List
Here’s where two out of my three friends agreed that the original sci-fi horror film Alien (1979) was right up there with the scary freak-out factor and is still considered one of the most terrifying films ever made. From an alien creature latching onto an astronaut’s face to the final scene…there is something about the ominous dark setting of outer space, closed quarters, an extraordinarily evocative music score adding to the feeling of dread and doom, and then…well I have no idea, because I’m too afraid to look.
My other friend was absolutely emphatic about his third choice. He referenced The Innocents (1961), one of the most famous adaptations of The Turn of the Screw, a novella by Henry James with the screenplay written by Truman Capote, writer of In Cold Blood fame. It’s a Gothic horror masterpiece! A classic chilling and suspenseful movie with great acting by all the cast – children and adults alike – which elicits goosebumps and downright terror for those who watch it (or read the book).
I have never seen either of these two films and I do not intend to, ever! However, I do remember having to read the book The Turn of the Screw when I was in high school and I recall having nightmares for months afterwards. Goodness knows how terrifying the film must be and I’m not about to find out! As I said before, I truly am a scaredy-cat!
There Are Many, Many More Films to Get Your Fright Night On!
This is by no means anywhere near all of the horror films out there and everyone who loves this genre of film will have their own favourite, most frightening movies they’d put on their list of ‘to be seen.’ Perhaps you’d like to share your favourites on the Everything Retirement Facebook page and see who shares the same thrills and chills?
Meanwhile, Happy Halloween! Boo!