No one likes being genuinely scared, like, actually physically terrified of something real.
But there's a sick part of us all that seriously gets a kick out of being put on edge by a good old horror, and there's no better time of year to indulge that murky bit of our psyche than Halloween.
We know what we're watching is just make believe but it still gives us that knot in the pit of our stomach, and has us checking behind the doors for any knife-wielding maniacs looking to do us in.
Some, however, do it better than others; while plenty offer cheap jumps and scares, others worm their way into our very soul, sticking with us for the rest of our lives.
Well, we've voted on dozens of movies from the genre, new and old, whittling it down to a select few, which we believe everyone should see at least one.
So, without further ado, I give you the top 10 horror films of all time...
10 Midsommar - 7.6/10
While Ari Aster’s Midsommar is far from your average cheesy, special effects-ridden, jump scare galore horror flick - that by no means makes it any less chilling.
The film self-consciously defies traditional tropes found within the genre and, instead, opts for an entirely new way to provoke discomfort, fear, and a perverted curiosity in audiences.
The entire thing takes place in a remote Swedish village, home to a pagan cult. Set in the very height of summer, where the sun quite literally never sets, there’s absolutely no room for things lurching out of the dark to put your heart rate into overdrive. Instead, all the oddity and gore of the folk horror takes place in broad daylight so viewers are forced to confront their terror without any solace of gimmick or cliché to hide behind.
The plot follows Dani (played by Florence Pugh) and Christian (Jack Reynor) who seem to be constantly on the cusp of breaking up. The story is instantly backdropped by grief after Dani finds out her sister diverted exhaust fumes into her childhood home which tragically went on to kill both herself and their parents. In the hopes of relieving herself from the pain of the monumental loss, Dani invites herself to a trip to the Swedish village for the midsummer festival Christian planned with his pals. But, soon enough, bizarre things events begin to tear the group apart before Dani finally finds her catharsis in the most harrowing of ways.
The film covers a broad range of subject matter including dysfunctional family dynamics, relationship breakdown, community, cultural insensitivity, betrayal, sisterhood and geopolitics.
Complete with the psychedelic mushroom trips, skull-smashing of the elderly and bizarre cult orgies Midsommar is, in short, one hell of a breakup movie.
9 Insidious - 7.7/10
I’ll never forgive Insidious for that jump scare, which, in the 13 years since it hit screens, I don’t think I’ve ever fully recovered from. In fact, I even use it as a comparison point for how jumpy a horror movie is.
Although the flick encompasses several classic horror tropes, it really does do what it says on the tin - scare the sh*t out of you.
Between the creepy use of the concept of Astro projection and a stellar performance from Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne, to the fast-paced storytelling and hair-raising jump scares, Insidious really is a well-executed leave-the-light-on horror that genuinely still manages to play on my mind. Safe to say I’ll never be able to listen to 'Tiptoe Through the Tulips' again without my fight or flight kicking in…
8 A Quiet Place - 7.8/10
With A Quiet Place being loved by both horror-pros and horror-phobes alike, it was inevitable that it would end up in on the list of 'best horror movies'.
The 2018 movie was directed by The Office star John Krasinski and officially put him on the map of directors to be watching out for. He also starred in the film as Lee Abbott and - I mean - I can hardly fry an egg at the time same as my bread being in the toaster, never mind act while directing a film.
His uber-famous wife Emily Blunt starred in the movie as well - which she later won an SAG Award for.
But away from the all-star cast, the film is pretty epic in itself and could make even the most easy-going of people sit on the edge of their seats.
On the flip side, if you're new to the horror genre and wanted to give it a try this spooky season, it's the perfect film for prolific scaredy cats (such as myself).
It won't have you sleeping with the lights on for the rest of your days in fear of Pennywise creeping out from a nearby grid, but it will sure give you a nerve-wracking 90 minutes of entertainment.
7 Carrie - 7.9/10
John Travolta’s breakout role with arguably a better hairdo than Grease.
You have to question the mind of the person who came up with the storyline, but it's a gripping 100 minutes nevertheless.
If you don’t like blood, it’s not for you. If you like the paranormal, you’re in for a treat.
Another Stephen King adaptation that has stood the test of time and was worthy of a 2013 remake.
Her mother did warn, 'They’re gonna laugh at you… '
6 The Exorcist - 8/10
Look, there’s a reason that when ‘best horror movie’ lists come out The Exorcist will always find itself in there.
The iconic horror might be 50-years-old but it’s as scary today as it was when it first had cinemagoers vomiting and fainting back in 1973.
Unlike a lot of newer horror flicks - I’m looking at you Saw franchise - The Exorcist doesn’t rely on splashing blood and gore around to give viewers a scare; but that’s not to say it isn’t shocking. So much so that some cities in the US even tried to ban it being shown.
The Exorcist is fairly well-known, but those of you who are yet to watch it - do it asap, I mean, tonight (31 October) is pretty much ideal - it centres on the demonic possession of 12-year-old Regan MacNeil and her mother Chris’s desperate attempts to rescue with the help of a couple of Catholic priests. With enough scares to stick with you long after the credits have rolled, The Exorcist is a perfect Halloween watch. Just don’t have nightmares, eh?
5 28 Days Later - 8.1/10
Director Danny Boyle’s tale of a Britain ravaged by a ‘rage virus’ launched the career of a certain Cillian Murphy and popularised the kind of zombies that could beat you in an 100m sprint.
It’s hella grim - especially when we learn what some of the survivors have been getting up to amid the zombie mayhem - but so gripping because of its underlying optimism, likeable characters, and thoughtful quieter moments amid the chaos.
And, for my money, it has one of the most iconic opening sequences of any horror film ever, with Murphy’s Jim wandering across Westminster Bridge in a seemingly deserted London, about to get a nasty surprise when he learns the city isn’t quite as empty as he thought it was.
There was a sequel, 28 Weeks Later, which is nowhere near as good, and since then there have been frequent mutterings about a third film from Boyle and screenwriter Alex Garland. We’ll believe it when we see it, chaps.
4 Alien - 8.4/10
"In space no one can hear you scream."
How is that not the greatest ever tagline to a horror movie?
Plenty of horror films take the mundane and warp it into something terrifying, Alien instead torments its cast of characters with something so... well, alien.
In many ways, Alien follows the classic tropes of the horror genre but the sci-fi setting adds a whole new dimension, there is not going to be some man behind the mask.
It's a thrill to watch the crew of the Nostromo be picked off one by one in the twisting corridors of the ship, all while events are being steered by sinister android Ash (Ian Holm).
From the iconic chestburster scene where the creature violently rips its way out of Kane (John Hurt) to Ripley's (Sigourney Weaver) final confrontation where it slinks out of the shadows when all seemed safe at last, the xenomorph is always terrifying.
Some might prefer the action thrill of Aliens but I guarantee that film would have had nowhere near the same impact if Alien hadn't shown us what just one xenomorph can do.
3 Get Out - 8.5/10
Get Out is not only one of the best psychological horror films ever made, but it's one of the best films ever brought to the big screen full stop.
Jordan Peele's directorial debut came out in 2017 and sent shivers down the spines of viewers for its creepy plot, while also making audiences laugh at the same time.
From Daniel Kaluuya's performance as Chris to discovering shocking secrets about his girlfriend and her family to the comedic performance of his best friend Lil Rey Howery (Rod) and the creepiness of Lakeith Stanfield (Andre/Logan), this low budget film was rich in high quality acting.
Peele has gone on to write and direct Us and Nope, which again would be seen as some of the best horror movies around if it wasn't for the fact they have to be compared to his stunning debut.
Get Out also went on to win for Best Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars, and it was richly deserved.
2 The Shining - 9.1/10
The Shining is not only one of the greatest horror movies of all time, but ranks amongst the best movies of any genre.
Even if you haven’t seen it, you’ll know at least three of the scenes from other movies and TV shows that have recreated them – The Simpsons probably did it best – and you’ll be able to quote a few key lines.
Based on Stephen King’s 1977 novel of the same name, The Shining tells the tale of recovering alcoholic Jack Torrance – Jack Nicholson in the role he was made for - and his family during a winter stay at The Overlook Hotel.
To say things take a strange turn is a bit of an understatement.
Despite the supernatural themes, the terror at the heart of The Shining isn’t based on gross-out gore or mythical beasts in silly make-up, it’s something that lurks inside of all of us, something altogether more chilling and recognisable, something much more human.
1 Shaun of The Dead - 9.2/10
F**kadoodledo! Now, I concede this is a bit of a surprise entry, and definitely not everyone's cup of tea, but the people have spoken, with a massive score of 9.2, it just pips Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece to the top of the pile.
The comedy horror kicked off what we have come to know as the Cornetto Trilogy, with director Edgar Wright teaming up with the film's stars, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, twice more for Hot Fuzz and The World's End.
An ode to George A. Romero's 1978 gorefest Dawn of The Dead - and his wider series - it follows two hapless mates as they battle to save their relationship and the ones they love amidst a zombie apocalypse.
If you've ever been to a fancy dress party in the past 19 years - yes, it really is that old - you will have seen many a Shaun lurking in the kitchen, red tie, name badge, splattered in blood, cricket bat in hand, just waiting for the inevitable 'you've got red on you' from every single person they speak to.
So, sure, it's got a lot to answer for, but it is undeniably a nostalgia-filled classic that will not only make you howl with laughter but also break your heart.
Happy Halloween!Featured Image Credit: Warner Bros./A24