Readers Pick:10 Scariest English films of all time
With The Conjuring racking up phenomenal reviews around the world, we decided to ask you, dear reader, which English horror film scared you the most and the results are gratifyingly diverse.
Your list contains everything from classics to current scares, from gore to genre-defying greatness.
Here, then, in descending order, are your ten scariest films of all time:
Image: A scene from The Conjuring
1. The Exorcist
William Friedkin’s 1973 classic is perhaps the most popular film about possession and exorcism in all of cinema, and the film — starring a young Ellen Burstyn as the possessed and Max von Sydow as the exorcist — remains chilling.
Image: A scene from The Exorcist
2. The Ring
The Ring, based on Japanese horror film Ringu, created a worldwide scare in 2002. The film was about a cursed videotape that would cause the viewer to die in seven days.
The American remake, by Gore Verbinski, was effective enough but purists swear on the original Ringu.
Image: A scene from The Ring
3. Evil Dead
Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead had a group of youngsters holidaying in a cabin and finding an audiotape that leads to demons and gore.
Wildly original, often funny and devastatingly gory, this low-budget cult classic changed and revitalised the horror genre when it released back in 1981
Image: A scene from Evil Dead
4. The Blair Witch Project
In one of the smartest marketing gimmicks in movie history, this innovative low-budget film spooked audiences by claiming to be a real film pieced together from actual footage. So successful was this “found footage” style that it has since evolved into a genre of its own.
Image: A scene from The Blair Witch Project
5. The Shining
Arguably the greatest horror film of all time, Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining — based loosely on Stephen King’s novel of the same name — combines grand filmmaking craft with surreal, nightmarish imagery. It is a mesmerisingly difficult film to shake off, and to not be affected by.
Image: Jack Nicholson in The Shining
6. Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Tobe Hooper’s 1974 slasher film was remade and ripped off several times, but the original was the one that gave us the villain Leatherface for the first time, and it remains unforgettable.
Most of the standards we see in slasher movies today — from masked villains to power-tools — originated with this very bloody success.
Image: Movie poster of Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Made for a little over $1 million, Saw grossed over a hundred times that amount worldwide as audiences were captivated by the macabre thriller that began with two people who didn’t know each other chained up in the same room. It is gorier than it is scary, but Saw remains a draw, with six sequels following the 2004 original.
Image: Movie poster of Saw
8. The Grudge
Born out of the terrifying Japanese original Ju-On: The Grudge, Takashi Shimizu’s 2004 English-language remake of his own film spawned nightmares for most who watched it.
The original film, about a curse born out of anger, is without a doubt one of the scariest horror movies of all time.
Image: Movie poster The Grudge
9. Bad Taste
Peter Jackson’s directorial debut, Bad Taste does, to be fair, try to warn audiences with its title. Based on aliens taking over a village to harvest humans as fast food, this splatter film is more comedy than horror — and significantly gross comedy at that.
Image: A scene from Bad Taste
10. Nightmare On Elm Street
Wes Craven’s 1984 film featured a truly unique villain, Freddy Krueger — played by Robert Englund — who preyed on youngsters by harming them in their dreams. A
wildly original film, this is perhaps the most iconic slasher film of them all. And hey, it even marks Johnny Depp’s acting debut.
Image: A scene from Nightmare On Elm Street