The Top 10 Scariest Horror Films of All Time

The Exorcist
Warner Bros. Pictures/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

When it came time to put together a top list of horror films, compiling this 'Best Of' list was relatively easy. Most of the films I've selected are mainstream frightfests that send goosebumps racing up and down the spines of even the most hardened horror movie fans. You're a brave moviegoer if you can make it through all ten without screaming.

It's impossible to put together a Top 10 Horror Movies list without placing The Exorcist at or near the top. Linda Blair stars as the young daughter of an actress (played by Ellen Burstyn) whose imaginary friend turns out to be the Devil. With scenes that even in this age of CGI technology produce screams and shivers from viewers, The Exorcist is a thoroughly frightening look at demonic possession.

Rosemary (Mia Farrow) and her husband, Guy (John Cassavetes), move into an apartment building with wonderful, caring neighbors -- or at least that's what Rosemary believes. When she becomes pregnant the atmosphere in the apartment building changes and the question becomes, "Just who or what fathered the baby?"

Richard Donner directed this chilling horror film that features a stellar cast led by Gregory Peck and Lee Remick. The Omen places the son of the Devil into the happy home of a prominent, influential, political family. Mayhem occurs as the child grows up and destroys anyone who comes between the Devil's spawn and his goal of world domination.

Staring into a fuzzy TV screen has never been as terrifying as it is in Poltergeist. As if the film itself wasn't spooky enough, there's also seems to have been a curse that surrounded the cast (several cast members, including child star Heather O'Rourke, died prematurely). Was there more to this movie than appeared on the silver screen?

Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall star in director Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, based on the novel by Stephen King. This version of The Shining is one of the best adaptations of a Stephen King novel to date, faithful both in tone and spirit -- although King himself doesn't care for it.

This one made my list because when I originally saw it, it scared me to death. Looking back on it now, it's not as scary as The Exorcist and other horror classics. But since I still remember how much it scared me back then, it deserves a spot on this list. James Brolin and Margot Kidder play a couple who move into a house where, unbeknownst to them, a family was brutally slain.

You've got to love a film that spawned the tagline: "In space no one can hear you scream." Sigourney Weaver may headline the cast as tough girl, Ripley, but the real stars of this film are the horrific aliens themselves. Alien spawned a franchise, but nothing beats the original.

More of a psychological thriller than a straight horror film, The Sixth Sense features Bruce Willis stars as Malcolm Crowe, a child psychologist who's honored with an award and returns home to find a very dissatisfied ex-patient laying in wait. Shortly afterwards Crowe becomes determined to help another child in need. Crowe starts working with Cole (Haley Joel Osment), a young boy who believes he sees dead people. Crowe and Cole team up to find the source of Cole's frightening visions.

John Carpenter's 1978 horror classic features Jamie Lee Curtis as a babysitter terrorized by the psychotic killer Michael Myers. The first - and still the best - film of the Halloween franchise, Carpenter's film was made for just $300,000 and went on to gross $47 million in the United States.

George C. Scott stars as a lonely man whose family was killed in an accident. Retiring to an empty mansion, he begins to experience creepy supernatural occurrences.

Edited by Christopher McKittrick