10 Movies That Make you Scream

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Horror movies have an attraction all of their own. The possibility of something scary that can happen in real life together with the utter helplessness that humans feel in the face of powers larger than their own make it impossible to pass on a horror film, whether it is one with lots of spilled blood and guts or with scary minimalist effect. So here are ten well-known films which are sure to make you scream in horror and keep the lights on all night.

  1. The Exorcist

    The first horror film to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture of the Year, it is a true classic of the genre. The way a young girl is transformed from a normal preteen who playfully dabbles in the occult to the horrifying image of a possessed soul, was enough to make a viewer scream. Much of the credit goes to the slew of special effects like the young actress spinning her head around backwards, levitating over her bed, spewing projectile green vomit, doing terrible things with crucifixes and hurling priests out her bedroom window. These sequences became quite famous in 1973 and set the benchmark for succeeding filmmakers of horror to follow and overcome.


     
  2. The Shining

    This 1980 film directed by Stanley Kubrick was based on a novel of the same name by Stephen King. With such an impressive pedigree and a remarkable cast which included an actor of the caliber of Jack Nicholson, The Shining succeeds as one of the most terrifying films ever. It mainly belongs to the genre of the psychological thriller and is about a family which is snowed in a remote hotel where the little boy sees ghost from the past and future while the father descends into madness. In the process, the dynamics of the dysfunctional family prove scarier than any specter and sinister subtext strikes uncomfortably close to the viewer’s heart.
     
  3. Rosemary’s Baby

    Roman Polanski deftly directs this 1968 film which also earned Ruth Gordon an Oscar for the Best Supporting Actress. The film is about an expectant couple who movie into an apartment with a view of the Central Park but do not know that the sweet little old lady next door happens to be a witch who enjoys conducting occult rituals and human sacrifices in her kitchen when she's not watching afternoon soap operas. The image of the Satan-worshipping stark naked senior citizens serves to make a viewer queasier than any amount of blood and gore.
     
  4. Psycho

    Directed by Alfred Hitchcock and one of the most memorable films of the horror genre, Psycho not only released to huge box office success in 1960 but was subsequently hailed by international film critics as a gem of cinematic art. The plot of the film depicts the encounter between a secretary, Marion Crane who hides at a secluded motel after embezzling money from her employer, and the motel's owner and manager, Norman Bates who has a scary secret of his own. The film is famous for the iconic scene in the shower where Crane is stabbed by Bates. The secret of the thrill lies partly in the use of startling editing techniques borrowed from the Soviet montage filmmakers as well as to the screeching violins in the background musical score.
     
  5. The Others

    This 2001 film is based on the subgenre of the haunted house horror film and has Nicole Kidman playing the hauntingly beautiful single mother who desperately fights to save her children from "the others" and compels them to hide in the shadows of her darkened mansion. The Others harks back to the Hitchcockian style of filmmaking which depends on the power of suggestion and mounting suspense rather than on visceral images for the effect of terror.
     
  6. The Amityville Horror

    Directed by Andrews Douglas, this 2005 film is remake of the 1979 film with the same title but scores higher in the horror department, partly because was better executed than the earlier version and also because the filmmakers downgraded the role of the priest. Both are based on the 1977 novel of the same name by Jay Anson, which documents the alleged experiences of the Lutz family after they moved into a house in Long Island which had been the scene of a mass murder committed by Ronald DeFeo, Jr. who shot six members of his family there in November 1974.
     
  7. The Sixth Sense

    This is the 1999 film that brought hitherto-barely known director Manoj Night Shyamalan onto international stage as much as it gave new meaning to the term psychological terror. The story of the film revolves around a child who has a sixth sense for seeing the dead. What the child goes through and how an equally troubled child psychologist is able to help him forms the crux of the plot. The startling images of mutilated dead and the surprise ending is enough to give even the most stout-hearted viewers the creeps.
     
  8. Dracula

    The most famous historical figure from Transylvania has been the star, so to speak, of a number of horror films starting from the 1931 classic Dracula to 2004 Van Helsing. However the 1958 version remains one of the most memorable, primarily for the way Christopher Lee essayed the role of the Count Dracula who is terrifying as well as impossibly attractive in equal measure. And even though six decades later, the stagy theatrics of the supporting cast members in the original DRACULA look painfully dated, Lee's transcendental performance remains as vibrantly undead as ever.
     
  9. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

    This 1974 movie which permanently skewed the reputation of the Lonestar State launched a head-on assault on viewers with horrifying images of what sledgehammers, meat-hooks and chainsaws are capable of. The plot revolved around a bunch of cannibalistic cowboys who kill and dismember every lost city slicker foolhardy enough to hitchhike or ask for directions. “Who will survive and what will be left of them?" screamed the ad campaign for the movie and was enough for viewers to break into a sweat.
     
  10. The Night of the Living Dead

    This film released in 1968 and soon became a cult classic. The film starts with an account of a NASA space probe which returns from the planet Venus with an extraterrestrial virus. As a result of the infection from the virus corpses on Earth begin to rise again as ghouls who then go on to massacre living people, not sparing even their own family members. Brutally minimalist in style, the film was shot on grainy black and white film stock that looked starkly similar to old newsreel footage. The effect was so scary that according to media reports, during its first late night TV broadcast in 1972, concerned NYC TV station managers repeatedly flashed the warning: "This is only a dramatization!"