Caroline Gerdes
October 21, 2014 6:00 am

I have a little obsession with holiday television—from Christmas specials to festive pageantry, I love it all. And, October is an amazing month for themed programming and viewing (even though half of the channels feature movies that are sure to give you nightmares, ‘tis the season). I enjoy, and look forward to, the classics that often air in conjunction with ABC Family’s Thirteen Nights of Halloween, like the Tim Burton fare or Hocus Pocus. But, for those of you who like the screams, here is a field guide to the scariest horror movies. . . ever.

1. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

You have to start with the classics—even when they are disturbing German-Expressionist silent films. In the same vein, you have to watch Nosferatu (1922).

2. Psycho (1960)

This film may be tame compared to the gore we are exposed to now, but that chocolate syrup in the shower was groundbreaking. If this movie had an honest tagline, it would be: You won’t want to shower for two weeks.

3. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Beware of nice neighbors. They may lend you sugar. But, at what cost? Impregnating you with the spawn of Satan?

4. The Exorcist (1973)

That scene with the stairs! Actually, the entire movie. I just can’t.

5. The Omen (1976)

If creepy children scare you, this film will make you want a tubal ligation or vasectomy.

6. The Amityville Horror (1979)

This movie is horrifying because of the “based on true events” moniker. But, not in an endearing way like Fargo.

7. The Shining (1980)         

I once met a parrot IRL who knew how to say, “Redrum.” It was horrible. Oh Steven King, how you frighten us to our cores. 

8. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Don’t fall asleep. Just don’t.

9. Silence of the Lambs (1991)

I don’t eat fava beans because of this movie.

10. 28 Days Later (2002)

This is the movie we can blame for Zombies 2.0—a faster, more terrifying strain of Virus Z.

11. Paranormal Activity (2007)

Things that go bump in the night. At home. While you’re asleep. Right next to you.

12. The Strangers (2008)

A secluded vacation home becomes an isolated death trap. See, this is why I am a city-girl.

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