Oh, Halloween: the perfect time of year to hunker down with your nearest and dearest to watch a film that’ll hopefully scare the living hell out of you.
Note the word “hopefully.” While feeling unnerved by an approaching jump or lingering spook is a thrill most people don’t care to admit they enjoy, the act of being scared is something cinemagoers have been relishing for over 80 years, in films as early as 1920’s The Cabinet of Dr Caligari and Nosferatu (1922).
Frustratingly, only a marginal number of horrors are actually capable of achieving their purpose. Those that do, however, linger in your memory forevermore.
From Corman and Kubrick through to, er, Walt Disney, the below gallery is comprised of all the films that gave us sleepless nights.
Advance at your peril.
While the majority of the selected films sit right at home within the horror genre, you’ll notice how we’ve included a couple that may confuse you upon first glance – films that tap into social paranoia or include nightmarish depictions of the uncanny that, at one time or another, crawled deep enough under our skin to ensure its placement on this list.
The list includes at least one film from every decade since the 1950s and features zero sequels and/or remakes (five went on to be remade and nine earned sequels). Six are foreign-language films.
Only one director – Japanese filmmaker Hideo Nakata – has more than one film on the list and the only actor to have more than one appearance is American star Maika Monroe.
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