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Martin Scorsese Picks 11 Scariest Horror Movies of All Time!

by
October 30, 2009
Source: The Daily Beast

Martin Scorsese

If there is anyone I would want to choose what movies I watch this Halloween weekend (besides Stephen King or Wes Craven), I'd want it to be Oscar winning director Martin Scorsese. He's a genius filmmaker and I'm sure he knows great horror when he sees it. I think this would've been much better coordinated if his new movie Shutter Island was actually out in theaters (damn you Paramount), but either way this is a great list. The Daily Beast asked Scorsese to choose some horror movies for Halloween and he came up with his own list of the 11 Scariest Horror Movies of All Time. Read on to see what great classics he chose!

1. The Haunting (Robert Wise, 1963)
2. Isle of the Dead (Mark Robson, 1945)
3. The Uninvited (Lewis Allen, 1944)
4. The Entity (Sidney J. Furie, 1981)
5. Dead of Night (Alberto Cavalcanti, 1945)
6. The Changeling (Peter Medak, 1980)
7. The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)
8. The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973)
9. Night of the Demon (Jacques Tourneur, 1957)
10. The Innocents (Jack Clayton, 1961)
11. Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)

Scorsese provides a brief bit of commentary on each of them over on The Daily Beast. He mainly mentions, for most of them, that it's not about what you see, but what you don't see. For example, his thoughts on The Shining: "I never read the Stephen King novel, I have no idea how faithful it is or isn't, but Kubrick made a majestically terrifying movie, where what you don't see or comprehend shadows every move the characters make." For anyone that saw Paranormal Activity, that was why that movie was so scary. I hope this has given you some good ideas for great films to watch, whether it be for Halloween this weekend, or anytime.

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  • whomever
    Old people like old movies.
    • Matt
      Idiotic reasoning. I'm 40 years younger than Scorsese and I love this list.
  • Al
    whomever (#1)seems dumb. Anyway I would have guessed Marty would go for The Wicker Man (original of course)
  • Dan the Fan
    shocking. every movie is at least 30 years old. didn't see that one coming. /sarcasm
  • loci
    What a disappointing predictable list.
  • Welbanks
    Its because most new movies arent scary, they're just gorey
  • #3 and #4 - If this list is so disappointing, what do YOU think are the scariest movies of all time?
  • Dark Fist
    If only everyone had the exact same taste in scary movies... Then we'd all just have one list and could get on with our lives knowing we all completely agree! Wouldn't that be just the best thing ever? And not only scary movies, all movies, all art, everything! Let's all hold hands with Dan and loci and agree about everything! Wow, I'm getting excited just thinking about that utopian vision... and who wouldn't? Oh, yeah. /sarcasm
  • topher
    The only one I've seen is the Shining but The Shining!!! Seriously? I laughed my ass off for that entire film, I thought it was terrible. Bad music, bad acting, very slow moving, nothing real creepy or even remotely enough to make me jump. If that's on this list, then I am a little skeptical about the rest of the films. So I say at least that one is disappointing but what my list would be...I really don't know because of the horror movies I've seen the only one that scared me is the Grudge, granted i was like 14 when I saw it so that probably doesn't say much since I was a child; but, apparently as an adult I don't get scared which is unfortunate because I like the feeling....
  • xerxex
    Hey Alex I'll take a shot at it. 10.) 28 Days Later 9.) Hellraiser 8.) Arachnophobia 7.) Rosemary's Baby 6.) The Others 5.) The Thing 4.) Pet Cemetert 3.) The Fly 2.) Naked Lunch 1.) Alien There you have it.
  • xerxex
    his list is all right I guess
  • lo
    #7 I like where you're goin with that! #8 You can laugh at anything. All you have to do to make something stupid, is to think it's stupid and laugh at it. It's a state of mind. Not to mention it's very old so naturally it's gonna be slower than movies of today. And although The Grudge is scary, it's more disturbing and sudden. It's not as well thought out as some of the older movies, like Psycho for instance. Not to mention I don't think The Grudge is on many Best Horror Movies of All Time lists, and I'm pretty sure The Shining is. I think you should watch it again because you're missing out and an awesome film!
  • Boxoffice Marco
    Leave Scorsese alone. It makes sense that someone of his generation likes older movies. Nothing wrong with that. Look at it like this, in 20-30 years when WE start talking about movies like "Fight Club," "Requiem For A Dream" or "The Dark Knight" as masterpieces, people are going to think we're old fogies too.
  • topher
    eh. scary, disturbing, and sudden is preferable over slow non creepy and really annoying music any day. i've seen it multiple times and it never gets better I guess I just don't see the attraction. Now the grudge is not on the all time lists the same reason its not nominated for an oscar -- its a movie not a film. Kubrick made a film. The grudge was out for thrills and scares. Shining is out for story and meaning. That's the difference. That's what the academy ignores and frankly thats what I enjoy the best. Critics hate it I love it oddly.
  • xerxex
    topher in all honestly todays critics are wrong nearly 75% of the time.
  • Caitie
    I pretty much hate every new horror movie out their, nothing is truly scary anymore, it's all about gore (which is good if done properly.) and stuff jumping out at you. And I'm sorry but #8 is an idiot, The Shining is my favorite horror movie of all time. And I don't care what you guys say, it's a masterpiece. I've only liked really The Ring, Silent Hill, Jeepers Creepers, and The Toolbox Murder remake in the past 10 years. I respect this list, he knows what he's talking about.
  • topher
    14 you were scared by Shining? Because thats why I watched it for scares. All I got were some weird twins, alcoholic jack nicholson, some creepy jack stares, and a very sweet axe chase at the end. There were no scares. It may be a masterpiece in its own right but it is not horror at all. Merriam-Webster horror is: painful and intense fear, dread, or dismay. If you got that from Shining good for you; but, what I got was not even close to fear let alone intense fear. To me this falls nowhere near a horror film.
  • xerxex
    Yeah it scared the ever living outta me! But I agree with you, its more of a suspence thriller. I'm saying that you don't need to listen to critics at all mostly they are wrong, form your own opinion, which you have, and if I'm not mistaken you actually liked the film...right?
  • xerxex
    Hey Caitie, I agree with you on Silent Hill, movie is extremely terrifying. The best types of horror films out there are psychological thrillers.
  • LuckyLoser
    more than half the movies were made before my parents were born! and i havent seen none of those movies listed above!
  • topher
    oh no i don't listen to critics ever. in fact i do the exact opposite of critics if they like it i wait for dvd, if they don't ill go see it in theaters. i do have my opinion, not that strong of an opinion though because this is one of two movies i disliked, and obviously no one agrees with me about that but that's okay ill take what i can.
  • Karl
    Jaws, Halloween, Alien scared the poop out of me when I saw them in the movie theater. Jaws hit on some serious primal fears.
  • Sabes
    I wasn't scared by the Shining. I didn't much like it. Atmosphere wise it was pretty good, but the whole boy with the wiggling finger thing made me eyeroll, not to mention some of the performances. I read the book so though I can appreciate what it tried to do, I have no real love for it. The only other thing I've seen on that list is Psycho. I'd had to say for -my- list I would have The Grudge and The Ring on there. Those two made me jump, not to mention I couldn't look at the TV in my room comfortably after that. I also ran screaming from my room in the middle of the night because I thought I heard that guttural throat sound the girl from The Grudge made. >.< I can't think of any other movie that's really scared me. Mostly horror movies now just have gore stuff, which doesn't really bother me.
  • JimD
    Have to admit I havent seen the top 4. Some of those on the list are very good. But I would have to put the excorcist at the top. At least its on his list. That's definitely one of the scariest. There is a difference between gore slasher movies and scary. Too mmany of the supposed horror movies of today are just slasher gore flicks like Saw and all that other crap. @21 Jaws was scary for sure but I wouldnt categorize it as a horror movie. Aliens was great sci fi with awesome suspense. Actually Spielbergs Poltergeist had some great scary moments that were very effective. The scene with the clown on the chair in the boys room is just a classic scene.
  • A Nostalgic List
    Why top 11? Because Martin Scorsese likes to go one step further!
  • Tone
    So where's 'A Tale of Two Sisters'?!
  • Metatasian
    Scorsese's list is rubbish end of story, he's an old man, not surprised all the movies on his list are ancient. Eyes wide shut scared me more than the shining. some of the best horror films were like Candyman, American werewolf in london, texas chainsaw massacre (original) etc.
  • rowdy
    i thought the last 15 minutes of "fire in the sky" was the scariest moment in any movie ive seen i dont know about "the shinning" being a "scary" movie though or i just never thought it was scary not saying it was a bad movie deffinetly one of the best but jack nichelson was just so much fun to whatch he made more entertaining then scary
  • David Banner
    What's cool about this list, is very few have been remade. I checked out some of them they seem to be in 'public domain'. Got me thinking, if a picture is i 'public domain', can anyone snacth it and remake it? A bit odd no film listed after 1981? That's a bit harsh of you Mr. Scorsese, I'd expected at least Howard The Duck among your list.....
  • subcelsious5g
    very old movies , i guess he doesn't get out much
  • Matt S
    Why do so many people discriminate against "old movies" now adays? I'm only 22 years old, but I absolutely adore certain films from the 70's, 60's, 50's, and prior. I also hate some films from those eras, just as I do with films now adays. People are so obsessed with acting like they're knowledgible at something, they always seem to jump at the oppurtunity to lump something into a basic category and make extremely general comments about it. Saying that "old movies" suck, based on your immersion into a handful of old movies, is just as dim as someone who's watched four or five Sci-Fi films, or action, or horror, whatever, and says that that entire genre sucks. Sounds fucking stupid right??? Anyway, it's Marty's list, get over it. They're old movies, Marty's also old, but maybe you should meditate on the idea that there may be another reason he put them on the list, besides "he's old". He does know a thing or two about films, you might learn something.
  • RPH
    Does anyone else think The Orphanage or The Mist deserve mention? Both are well done and in my eyes rather scary, I don't scare easily and these two did that for me. If anything I think Scorsese's list tunes us into films we should see....
  • #9 Xerxex - Fine list, but they're not really scary. I've seen Naked Lunch and even watched both The Thing and The Fly recently and will have to say, those 3 movies aren't "scary." Scary is like Paranormal Activity, that shit is scary. Those are just good horror movies. I think the problem is most people are thinking of good horror movies, not movies that are scary, which is what I think Scorsese was ideally going for. For example, Alien and 28 Days Later, both fantastic movies, but neither of them are scary. They're just awesome horror/action/sci-fi movies.
  • Dan the Fan
    My point is that it's ironic that he never picked any movies from the last 3 decades. It's not to say he can't have his own list with his own choices, but did he STOP watching films after 1980? Because there have been some epic, film changing horror flicks since 1980 that I feel he has omitted. The Ring? Saw? Two examples of horror flicks that have changed the genre. And 'shockingly' I'm sure weren't even an option. Because... enter sarcasm... Mr. Scorsese is a classical man... And it is ironic, which is so funny; and I know I'm not the only one that expected that. /sarcasm
  • Johnny
    yes...the grudge is clearly a superior film to the shining....who wouldn't agree with that?? numb skull.
  • Audioout
    I don't think anyone has any right to say anything about this list unless they've seen at least half of the films listed. I mean, maybe he's dead on. I'm the kind of person that STILL thinks Citizen Kane is the best movie I have ever seen but second place easily goes to There Will Be Blood. You all knew about what you were getting when you clicked to read this link, mostly obscure older films. People's shit would have flipped if he'd said Saw, or The Ring. Besides, both of those films are decent at best. My list? Paranormal Activity Jaws Dawn Of the Dead (original) Mothman Prophecies Psycho Noroi Suicide Circle Fire In the Sky (at least as a kid) Of course I come from a different generation. Also, disturbing can be scary sometimes.
  • xerxex
    I know that my list isn't all too scary, but I've woken up in the middle of the night and was either thinking of Naked Lunch, 28 Days Later and The Thing (The head scene oooh!) I picked those as runner ups and Alien remains my all time favorite scary film of all time, and Scorsese list really is chalked of many horror films but I approve of his list. I pefer psychological thrillers/horrors mainly because the mind can bring even the most unthinkable scenario to life. The only one I can think of is Sublime, but that really isn't a horror film. I guess Hellraiser is the only "horror" horror movie on my list that and maybe Rosemary's Baby or Pet Cemetery? When it comes down to it, we all like different things in end, and what others find scary, others usually just find as a good flick.
  • jouls
    woah, marty's into ghost rape (via the entity). dirty birdy.
  • topher
    haha #34 i didn't say superior I said scarier did you read it? This is Scorsese's list of the scariest 11 movies not the the best 11 movies. So thats why I don't agree with the selection of the Shining: The Grudge scared me, the Shining made me laugh. It definitely is a superior film by all means, but its definitely not scarier in my opinion. That's all I'm saying.
  • Bo
    Interesting to see the complete lack of intelligence from most of the comments. Especially the ones about Scorsese being old. The list was "of all time" you dunderheads!! If you would pause and try to think (if that's possible) you may understand what that means! So if the scariest of all time doesn't include films from years ago then what's the point? The list doesn't say from the last two years, or the last five years. It is a list of 'all time'!! Get it? Man oh man. And if you just dismiss Scorsese without realizing his film history acuman then you really are dummies! Learn from history! Learn from your elders who obviously know more than you do. Or stay in the trap of ignorance and stupidity and live your lives accordingly. Wake up....wake up from your ignorant slumbering!
  • Al
    Have there been good scary movies in the past 20 years? Yes. (28 Days Later, and The Others come to mind) but those films aren't scary, they are just good. The older generation had scarier flicks. end of discussion.
  • anthony
    the exorcist is the scariest movie ever no question about it i do agree less is more things that go bump in the night and the unseen have always worked its the unknown that makes us scared showing too much and explaining everything doesnt always work
  • Sabes
    @Xerxex, I forgot about The Thing! I like that movie, and it was pretty creepy the first time I saw it. >.< The game actually scared me a lot more though, so much so I stopped playing it, haha.
  • Dan the Fan
    35 - I agree, however it's due to the fact that he listed it the '11 scariest horror movies of all time'. Now had it been 'Scorsese's all time favourite...' it's a bit harder to argue. They're his favourite, his opinion, which he's obviously entitled to. Given the fact that it's of all time opens it up to debate. He's now saying, these are them: *bam* I disagree with him.
  • DoomCanoe
    Alex if Paranormal Activity scared you then you are a total puss. And how can you call Alien not scary? what the hell is wrong with you... by the way its a horror/scifi/thriller no action involved. DICK! 1. Martyrs 2. Rec. 3. Jaws 4. Signs 5. The Shining 6. Arachnophobia 7. Eraserhead 8. The Mothman Prophecies 9. The Blair Witch Project 10. The Decent 11. Evil Dead Suck on that list Alex and just try to tell me that its not compiled of "Scary" movies. DICK!
  • atoj
    No Event Horizon? That movie still scares the crap out of me.
  • anthony
    blair witch was also scary
  • Quanah
    Alex is right. Horror and Frightening are two different things. For example: "The Others" scared the ever livin' shit outta me. "The Entity" was pretty terrifying in my opinion. Mostly because it was based on an actual case study from Culver City, CA--Although there's speculation to the validity of it. Point is, you can look at a film like "Hellraiser" and say it's scary, but until you watch a film that has some element of possibility or touches a small part of reality or true fear, than you haven't really seen scary. I mean, c'mon--What if you were being molested by a ghost, or were one and didn't know it...Wouldn't YOU be freaked out? Yeah, that's what I thought.
  • Tra la la la la di da
    Alex...how can you say that? His movies aren't scary. Scary is stupid stuff that makes you jump but horror is what haunts you, makes you turn on every light while heading to the kitchen at night despite the nightlights that may light the way. They're roughly the same, so I'm not sure why you're trying to nitpick but horror I think of...duh, horrifying where as scary is just scary. People can say anything is scary and they say it often but how many people say something is horrifying? If they do, they steer clear. If it's scary, it's typically risk worthy. #1 is right. Scorsese I'm sure these were scary at the time but certainly, most at least, are not now. I'd call them classic horror actually as the Shining can be quite haunting if you've ever bene in a big "haunted" hotel at night and you're scared to turn a corner. #44, while some of those, I think, sucked, I'll agree it's a good list. But Signs? Seriously? I hated Blair Witch and Decent but at least they fall into the genre. Mothman was more of a psych thriller but I enjoyed. Wouldn't watch it again, wasn't that great to watch over and over. Still....Signs?
  • Al
    sense everyone is making there lists: The Wickerman Halloween Jaws The Shining A Clockwork Orange The Fly Alien Psycho The Exorcist The Thing (no particular order) There are some movies I would not have on my list had this been "best" horror movies. But I agree with Mr. Alex Billington with the fact that this is "scariest horror films," not best.
  • scm1000
    Wow, people hitting on Scorsese, one of the biggest film geeks ever who also happens to be brilliant? Why? I admit I've only seen Psycho, The Innocents, and The Shining on that list, but I find it fascinating and would like to watch others on there. Considering his age, he probably got scared by most movies when he was young, like we do, so these movies were terrifying when they came out. Now they may be less scary, but they're still almost guaranteed to be creepy and gripping. I actually think scary movies are sort of like comedies: Everyone just has different things that make them laugh/scare them. We can mostly agree on dramas that are really good, or any sort of movie that's really well done, but some things scare some people that don't scare others, and some stuff is funny to some people but just really stupid to others.
  • hayze
    guys, guys!! Marty's list is superb! Only movies missing are Sam Raimi's Evil Dead series. Dead of Night may be 1945 but hey, that's when actor's could scare the snot out of you! The dummy scene still scares me 37 years on!! As for the Exorcist, well being Catholic, it scared the fuck out of me! And as for oldies, how bout Bette Davis ~ Charlotte Sweet Charlotte & Whatever Happened to Baby Jane ~ AAArrrrggghhhhh... Sorry guys, the new horror movies just don't cut it except for maybe The Others.
  • rowdy
    #50 you hit the nail right on the head
  • Fuelbot
    Alex, I get what you're saying about horror vs. real terror but 28 Days Later and Alien are not examples of that. Those films provide real, unflinching views of terror. The interntal isolation of being in a completely deserted world, or the claustrophobia of being trapped in the dark with some unknown creature...they tap very real, primal fears. And they do it a hell of a lot better than Paramoron Activity.
  • Xbot
    LOL What?
  • chris
    people who like psychological horror are boring
  • xerxex
    #54 what? "people who like psychological horror are boring" what does that even mean?
  • Mark
    #9... Alien tops the list. Good choice. As for old films... I can't help but love them, however they do move a little slower. The solution? Watch them at 1.5 speed on your DVD player... Suddenly they seem to go at a normal pace!
  • DoomCanoe
    #48 Signs scared the piss out of me. until the whole... god and water thing but when the alien was on the roof, or trapped in the pantry... scary shit man scary shit
  • Here's my list 10- Hellraiser 9- The Wicker Man (original) 8- Halloween (original) 7- The Blob (80s remake) 6- Psycho 5- Night of the Living Dead (original) 4- The Evil Dead 3- The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (original) 2- The Evil Dead II 1- Dawn of the Dead and Re-Animator It's not a list of scariest, by the way. Just my favorites (that I could think of, at least).
  • TCox
    Wow. No respect for Scorsese. You jerks gotta remember he's an old dude, so what is scary to him, may not be scary to a 20 year old who has seen all 32 Saw movies. Respect your elders, especially one who has contributed so much to the industry. Now, if I was to pick a top 10, here's what it would be: 10. A Nightmare on Elmstreet (original...before they became comedies) 9. Paura nella città dei morti viventi (aka The Gates of Hell) 8. The Evid Dead/The Evil Dead 2 (tie) 7. The Dead Alive (more gory than scary, but disturbing enough to be included) 6. Night of the Living Dead (original B/W version still creepy as hell) 5. Poltergeist (freaked me out when dude tore his own face off) 4. Stir of Echoes (still have nightmares from it) 3. Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight (ok, so not so scary, but a great Horror flick about demons) 2. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (original or remake - both are equally disturbing) 1. The Exorcist (anyone who is not scared by this is probably not safe to be around) Honorable mentions: Friday the 13th (original or remake, not any of the sequels), The Thing (when dude's head pops off and grows spider legs...), The Blair Witch Project (only the first time you see it), Saw (original....the sequels substituted gore for the pyschological torment the first one used), The Ring/ Ringu , and Final Destination (all of them...they make me scared to leave the house).
  • TCox
    I completely forgot to mention 28 Days Later which has been mentioned here several times. That's a fantastic movie that turned the Zombie genre upside down. It was scary, and gory, and really made you think about what you would do in that situation. 28 Months later was a good sequel, that touched on similar themes. I recommend both flicks.
  • I have to say that I'm very impressed that Scorcese has The Changeling at Number 6. I am always banging on about that to people as being a film that is genuinely unnerving.
  • Men of Honor
    EVIL DEAD TRILOGY!!!....without a doubt #6 MR Alex Billington. :-0
  • ethermay
    almost all of these movies arent SCARY...... Alien and The Shining though are quite terrifying though.
  • ethermay
    i say though alot. and ill correct myself. First time views only taken into account: Alien The Shining The Exorcist Only movies the scare the EFF out of me. seriously have me dreading a moment. Alien set the groundwork for a ridiculous amount of movies after it. the other 3 movies to come after are all jokes.
  • I thought What Lies Beneath and The Ring were really freaky. Also, before I found out Blair Witch Project was 100% fake, that was up there too.
  • jonny
    to all you kids that say movies like The Shining, Exorcist, or Rosemary's Baby aren't scary ...you're either lying to impress or you're brains are malfunctioning. Maybe you have a different idea of what "scary" or "scared" means but to me it's a movie that has an unsettling vibe, like there's something more going on behind the scenes, a real touch of madness involved. The reason true horror fans pick old classics as their favorites is because most give that underlying dread, it's like the movies have a soul. That is something that recent horror lacks, soul. Take Paranormal Activity for instance, what was new or dreadful about that? I've seen so many horror films involving the mockumentary touch, ouija boards, demons ...but that isn't why PA was bad, it's bad simply because it lacks feeling, it was mechanical. I'm all but ready to completely give up on new horror but I have my fingers crossed that something good will come out soon. I had high hopes for both PA and House of the Devil but both let me down, hell, even Romero can't make a decent horror film anymore. I think horror is a lost art.
  • Rachel Replicant
    you guys are all forgetting that most of the modern (not older than 25 years) movies all take what was learned from all those older classic films!!! Its different seeing "The Shining" today than in the theaters when it came out, seriously..how many times havent you seen "RED RUM" referenced?? I mean, even last weekends "Venture Brothers" kept making overt references to "That Mans got the shine on him" and even looking like the scat man character..You guys are confusing movies and films! Nothing is wrong with entertainment, but thats like comparing "Gone with the Wind" to "Coyote Ugly" Im sure a lot of you kids would prefer watching Tyra sling bottles of liquor around over watching drama on the plantation but that really doesnt make coyote ugly any better!!! CMON!!! I MEAN, THE RING???? Saw??? they changed the genre more than the shining or Psycho??? REALLY??? how old are you? what do you know about the genre begore those movies? Really? Prince of darkness scared me more than either of those two..shit, I laughed outloud in the theater when I watched the ring!!! I cant wait for the prequel "THE TELEGRAPH TAP" OOOOHHHH... get a clue and learn your history, just like marty needs to acknowledge movies after the 80s, you stupid fucks need to learn and realize there is a whole world of movies from BEFORE THE 90's and 80's!!!! yes, its true...there were AMAZING movies before computers, before blue screen even!!!!!
  • h
    #67 the Shining had no "unsettling vibe" at all at least in my opinion. It had a slightly creepy vibe possibly....Jack staring out a window for several hours, him typing the same thing over and over again for several hundred pages, weird twins, etc. none of which got close to unsettling, well maybe they were initially shocking, initially being like the very first five seconds they were introduced, but not ever unsettling. All i got from the Shining was 2 hours of laughs and annoying music plus a sweet hedge maze axe chase scene. I haven't seen Exorcist or Rosemary's baby so I won't comment on those but hopefully they are way more unsettling than Shining was or I will be severely disappointed.
  • Madmooney
    Missing from the list: Doctor Tongues 3D House of Stewardesses That stuff just flies at you!
  • SlashBeast
    You guys are idiots. If everything is opinion, how can critics be wrong? It's not critics that are out-of-touch with general audiences, it's general audiences who are out-of-touch with critics!
  • Scaramouche
    Everybody is missing the point in this discussion. It's not whether he's old. Remember, he's still making films. It's also not really how scary it is. (Scary is in the eye of the moviegoer.) He's talking about atmosphere, creepiness, things you don't see but make you feel uneasy. Films like Chainsaw Massacre and The Thing and The Grudge, etc., are all good in there own ways. But he's talking about mind games. Things that make you turn the light on in the house when you're by yourself. That's why The Haunting is No. 1. Want to see a piece of junk? Check out the remake. Special-effects baloney. Robert Wise was a master. He made junk too, but some of his best movies still haven't been topped. Day the Earth Stood Still. I Want to Live. The Sand Pebbles. He was an adult director with adult ideas.
  • Ben
    I agree with #72, its not just the content of the movie, but the atmosphere of it. A true Horror movie can display and transfer feelings if impending doom without the use of blood, guts or anything like that, or at least not show it (like in Halloween, there is not a single drop of blood the entire movie). That's what makes movies like "Psycho" and the other movies on Martin's list so great. It seems like people have differing opinions on what "Horror" truly is, its a genre now, there's Psychological Thriller, Slasher, "Pop Up" (like Alien & Jaws), Gory (like Saw, Hostel & Hellraiser) and Foreign Horror (Ringu/The Ring {Japanese}, Ju-On/The Grudge{Japanese, saw the original, not too bad but not scary}, The Orphanage {Spanish}). Classic Horror is what Martin was going for, movies that seemed to bring forth the darkest nightmares and let them loose. Here's my list: #11 - The Messengers - nice "pop up" horror flick, I think it deserves recognition as such #10 - Gothika - as a psych student when I saw it, the thought of waking up on the other side of the door was freaky #9 - Dawn of the Dead - remake, I know EVERYONE is going to argue with this but try watching it alone at 10pm in a giant, dark dorm room with like 7 windows with people that KNOW you're watching it...I was paranoid the entire time #8 - Samantha Darko (aka Donnie Darko 2) #7 - El Orfanato (aka The Orphanage) #6 - The Shining - the remake, the original with Jack Nicholson and Shelley Long was just retarded, she ruined the movie...literally, anyone else for the mom and the original would be on here, the acting was just simply horrible in the original..and what's scarier: and Axe? or getting bludgeoned to death with a freakin' CROCHET MALLET?!?!? #5 - Halloween - the original, though Zombie's remake was really good, but the movie has to be on 35mm film...otherwise it gets removed from the list #4 - Donnie Darko - I had nightmares about Frank #3 - The Haunting of Emily Rose - I'm not catholic, but that movie was messed up...especially with all the dark figures and the barn scene...holy crap people #2 - House on Haunted Hill - original, decent remake but the original is the scarier #1 - Event Horizon - still can't watch it in the dark I know that Event Horizon has more blood and death than most psychological horror movies, but it is still the scariest movie I've ever seen. Really anything by Vincent Price should be up there, like the Original House of Wax...the only redeeming factor that piece of crap they call a remake had was that Paris Hilton got a metal pole thrown through her head (the people cheered in the audience when I saw it, I literally burst out laughing). Calling The Evil Dead trilogy and The Blair Witch Project (aka lamest movie ever) "scary" movies is like saying that the live-action "Scooby Doo" duo or "Monsters and Aliens" should also be included. Michael Crichton's "Sphere" or/and "Silent Hill" has more reason to be up there than those movies...even Resident Evil saga is scarier than Blair Witch. Alien did have things "pop out at you" and it was claustrophobic throughout the whole thing so it was disturbing but then you see the Alien and it just goes downhill. Also, The Others? was not scary...it was like an M. Night Shamalyan movie, interesting story with (usually) a decent twist at the end. I laughed during Signs (mainly on how cheesy it was), groaned through Lady in the Water and The Village, the only decent one was The Sixth Sense. You want a list of disturbing movies instead of horror? Rob Zombie's "House of 1000 Corpses" tops the chart...hands down, that movie is sick. Mainly because Hostel ruined itself, The Ruins was just lame and Saw has been played out 5 movies too many (Saw 2 sucked so much that I refuse to see the rest).
  • Equal amount
    Just shut the fuck up everyone and stop arguing over this. Scorsese made a list, now accept it, shut the hell up and put an equal amount of blueberries in each muffin.
  • lando
    funny how Stephen Kings LAME ass list of scary movies didnt get as much criticism.. rather than criticize a master, pay attention and learn something. maybe your film opinion isnt as matured and in depth as his?
  • William
    I have seen THE HAUNTING listed at the top of Martin Scorsese's list. The film is one of my most favorites and I think it is a SIMPLY EXCELLENT film and would highly recommend it to anyone.
  • bonk
    "THE EXORCIST" , HAND DOWN, the scariest movie that ever made, got 10 oscar nominations[ including best pictures], 2 won[including best adapted screen and linda won best supporting actrees] , and won best picture at golden globe award. "The film earned $66,300,000 in distributors' domestic (U.S. and Canada) rentals during its theatrical release in 1974, becoming the second most popular film of that year (trailing The Sting).[26] After several reissues, the film eventually earned $89,000,000 in domestic rentals.[27] To date, it has a total gross of $440,000,000 worldwide; if adjusted for inflation, this would be the top-grossing R-rated film of all time.[1] It was nominated for ten Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and also won four Golden Globes, including the award for Best Picture – Drama for the year 1974.". i remember the first time i saw it on tv, it was on 1995. first of all i didnt know this movie exist, till i saw and watched it accidentally, the funiest thing and experience after i watched it, i was scare to the bathroom and alone in my room for long time, lol
  • Robert
    Anyone who has not seen at least five Val Lewton horror films really shouldn't even be commenting here. Isle of the Dead is a great Robson film, but I'd choose Robson's 1943 film, The Seventh Victim. Jacques Tourneur's best horror film was probably The Leopard Man which heavily influenced Mario Bava, but Night of the Demon is a solid choice too. Psycho is a great film, but Hitchcock's scariest is still The Birds (1963). I'd probably add Night of the Living Dead (1968), Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) and Don't Look Now (1973). Great and unique list by Scorsese. There is definitely a thin line between just plain disgusting, gory and disturbing films (Miike films like Audition (1999) and many modern day films) as opposed to films which give you a feeling of dread that I associate with horror films.
  • lando
    Night of the demons fx are still pretty good too! val lewton horror and most scary films of that period relied on creeping you out and making you feel that tension as opposed to grossing out the audience. Personally I find creeping people out to be the harder of the two... those movies really ingrained a certain sense of fear..fear that would linger long after the movie..like at home going to bed..I feared something coming to get me more than I feared a phone call after I saw "THE RING"!!!! its not horror if you leave your fear in the theater..
  • Ivan
    new scary movies are laughable. all gore, no suspense, no atmosphere. violence doesn't create tension, it just releases it. Scorsese's right, it's not what you see, it's what you don't see. Seeing the Saw movies isn't scary at all, it's just stupid, senseless gore, no thrill, no feeling, nothing!
  • Ivan
    btw, next time you see psycho, think about it a little alright. think about how vulnerable u are when ure just taking a shower, take a look a norman, what a peaceful fella he seems to be, and see how safe you feel if you take a shower afterwards.
  • Lorne
    Let me just say that every movie listed by everyone has it's merits from an entertainment aspect. I too am a mood person and find that if properly done it can create fear or dread of the unseen. I love to eventually see the monster but the steady build-up of suspense feeds my couriosity and with the eventual appearance of the beast often makes the experience that much more rewarding. Thats when you know a movie is great, when you actually place yourself within the character(s) mind and you find yourself imagining what you'd do if it were you in that situation, or telling them, "No don't open that door!" And it's ok if they're B movies! Some movies that I love, that give a spooky atmospere, include; The Giant killer Shrews, I love the opening naration, so creepy, and being b/w showing the night sky with the moon and storm clouds rolling in, a few lightning strikes for each word in the title as they apear. Now that's atmosphere, right from the beginning! Lots of suspense with man eating shrews running loose while trapped on an island overnight durring a typhoon and a cowardly assistant that is irresponcible and capable of anything while having numerous melt downs trying to survive. Nosferatu, This flick is awesome if you don't mind silent film, again the mood is erie. Sound of Horror, An invisible beast guards an ancient treasure in a cave located in Greece. When he's awakened he goes about slashing everyone to death, while making one of the most delightfully horrifying screems I've ever heard in film! It involves dank cave and brutal night slayings. You hear it coming, truly blood curdling, but see nothing! Night of the Living Dead, a true classic and irrefutably "In the mood!" Night of the Demon, I too like this one though it's been 30 or so years ago since I had seen it, but I remember it was awesome! Jeepers Creepers, Long desolate country roads, dark night, creepy truck with scary horn set the mood for a demon that intentionally moves in slow because he needs your fear to tell him what body part he needs to rip out of you and eat! But once he knows what he wants he is like greased lightning and nothing's going to stop him, or get in his way. Pumpkinhead, Long desolate country roads, bumpkin children acting almost sinister, the untimely death of an absolutly adorable hick child, lead to night scenes setting the mood for digging up a corpse and releasing a demon to wreak revenge on the perp and his friends. The mood is particularly unsettling because everyone is a victim, even the perp as he accidentally killed the boy only when he dashed out infront of his dirt bike. The perp's friends were only guilty of being at the wrong place at the wrong time. The father would realise too late that he had done wrong releasing the demon and sacrificing his soul. The Thing from Another World, Dark, and trapped in arctic isolation and a blizzard none the less, sets the mood for an alien that was discovered earlier to be released. There's nowhere to run, so the crew must fight or die where they stand before they freeze to death. Holloween, Dark and creepy, Mike Myers is super-strong and unstoppable Friday the 13th, Dark, creepy, isolated and stormy The Evil Dead, Dark country roads and isolation, no where to run! You get the idea. If the movie succeeds at making me feel alone and trapped in the dark with something almost unstoppable and creepy persuing me in the dark. Throw in a stormy night, and some horrifying and blood curdling shrieks is what sets the mood for me.
  • Amber
    The problem with scary movies now-a-days is that you don't have to work through the movie, you just seat there and let the movie tell you what to feel. Older horror movies are the best because it works every human's (for the most part) greatest asset, their imagination. Using it to fill in the blanks and figuring out what's going to happen next, that is what makes a horror movie great. The Tension!! If a movie makes me uncomfortable and nervous, then someone has out done themselves. Like, The Shining, someone said it was slow. HELLO, that's the point. You invest yourself. Watch the tension and body language between Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall as the hotel starts to wear on them. You spend time worried the kid's cracking up and his dad is the one losing his marbles. Still to this day I get chills when she walks into the great hall to look for him and she starts to read his novel, " All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" over and over again. Locked in a creepy places with a psycho, who has hurt your kid before and you're getting snowed-in. That's what we're missing that give and take with the audience, and that feeling like you're crawling out of your skin because you keep thinking "What if it were me!!"
  • stonrdude
    Implied horror is always more scary than seen horror. Scary is not gore and blood, it is what is out there and gonna get you. The Haunting, 1963 is so scary, you never see what is out there, but you feel, sense and imagine the entity pushing that door open. I am glad he picked The Uninvited as #2. That is a scary movie in every sense!
  • Lajones57
    this is his list - not your list. i agree with the #1 movie on his list. it is the scariest movie i have ever seen. he did not do a list for everyone else.
  • Lajones57
    'The Others was the scariest movie i have seen since 'The Haunting' 1963. the main reason is because you never really saw anything, you had to use your imagination.
  • Lajoens57
    i think every man would agree that "hard candy" was the scariest movie ever made.
  • HelenB
    Dear youngsters, the difference between today's horror movies and those on Scorsese's list comes down to 1 thing: good screenwriting often based on brilliant novels.  It is difficult to make a sophisticated, intelligent movie without a good script.  Most of today's movies, with some notable exceptions like The Others, rely on continous gore- and one movie only looks to top the last in blood and body counts.  And enough mindless young people flock to them that producers make a fortune.  They don't even have to be good, just demented.  I think the days of the thinking person's horror movies are soon to be gone.  
  • If you all you hipster internet young ones even knew what a film was I would maybe take your comments into consideration.

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