Movie Lists

13 Scariest Films Ever, According to These Prominent Scary Movie Directors

Your preferred scary directors get terrified in some cases, too. These movies are the ones that handled to do so.

Whether you’re trying to find a frightening film to set the state of mind on an uninspiring night or simply trying to find something brand-new to see, there’s hardly ever a much better method to get top-tier suggestions than by taking a look at what the very best and brightest of Hollywood need to state. Even much better, there is no group of directors that would have more to state about the very best frightening motion pictures than those directors who make frightening motion pictures. Throughout various publications, interviews, podcast looks, and whatever in between, we had the ability to put together a list of a lot of horror directors and their preferred frightening motion pictures.



These directors have actually used their viewpoints on an entire host of scary movies throughout the years, however we have actually put together a group who provided their outright preferred scary film and had a lot to state about them. What separates a list like this from any other “leading 10 scary film” lists is that the directors have actually contextualized and redefined these movies under their own lens: using brand-new point of views on movies from a perspective that you do not manage simply scanning remarks. So, without additional ado, here are a few of the scariest motion pictures ever, according to well-known scary directors.

Upgraded on October 14th, 2023, by Federico Furzan: This short article has actually been upgraded with extra material to keep the conversation fresh and appropriate with much more details and brand-new entries.

13 The Shining

Alexandre Aja

the shining jack torrance
Warner Bros./ Columbia-EMI-Warner Distributors

A widely known advocate of the New Extremity motion, High Stress director Alexandre Aja has actually spoken lot of times about his love for Stanley Kubrick’sThe Shining Aja got his start in the early 2000s as a provocateur, ultimately operating in the Hollywood system to develop movies like the 2006 remake of Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes and 2010’s Pirahnna 3D He would go on to make other scary movies like Horns ( with Daniel Radcliffe) and Crawl

When speaking with Rotten Tomatoes, the director used it up as an example of the scariest film he had actually ever seen. Aja stated after being asked what his preferred motion pictures are, “I unintentionally saw The Shining at age 7, and it was the most terrible experience and perhaps among the reasons that I’m doing what I’m doing today.” When pushed even more, Aja continued to explain his love for the Stephen King adjustment, stating that it was among those motion pictures that he might see once again and once again without problem.

12 Kwaidan

Ari Aster


Ari Aster will most likely be best understood by readers for being the author and director of the most well-known and well-regarded scary movies of the last years: Genetic and Midsommar When he isn’t making a few of the most dreadful movies of the contemporary age, Aster is likewise an authentic movie nut. He is continuously providing his viewpoints on motion pictures in interviews and discussions, which benefits individuals wishing to see where all of his creative perceptiveness originates from.

In a list that he composed for the Academy, Aster highlighted his 5 preferred scary movies. Appearing on his list were motion pictures like Do Not Look Now, Carrie, Night of the Hunter, and Belongings, however Aster particularly explained his last entry on the list as his outright favorite. 1964’s Kwaidan (directed by Masaki Kobayashi) is Aster’s preferred scary movie since, as he put it, “Kobayashi’s grand anthology may be the most breathtakingly lovely scary movie ever made … Kwaidan is heavenly and haunting and had of an absolutely feasting on dedication to artifice.”

11 The Last Home on the Left

Darren Lynn Bousman

The Last House on the Left original
Trademark Releasing/ American International Pictures

Darren Lynn Bousman is understood for being the ringleader of the Saw follows up, directing 4 movies in the franchise, and ending up being popular amongst scary fans as the 2nd daddy of that franchise. Although his filmography isn’t as deep as a few of the other filmmakers on this list, his contributions to the category need to still be appreciated. In an interview with the El Rey Network, Bousman was asked to call his preferred scary motion pictures and had some things to state about Wes Craven’s The Last House on the Left.

Last Home on the Left is referred to as among the progenitors of the “rape vengeance” subgenre of scary however likewise works as the statement of Craven onto the scary scene. When asked why this was his preferred scary movie ever, Bousman stated this: “Wes Craven is an idol and a hero of mine and numerous. It was among those movies that you simply feel incorrect viewing. It’s a vibrant option, and it was the very first time I keep in mind as an audience member wishing to search for the director.”

10 Jacob’s Ladder

Patrick Brice

jacob's ladder 1990
TriStar Pictures

Understood for his fan-favorite independent scary franchise Creep, director Patrick Brice is no complete stranger to troubling images. His tendency for basic yet harsh properties has actually made him among the most appealing independent directors in current memory. One needs to question what a guy like that would see to get his concepts and, fortunately, he’s provided some possible descriptions. In an interview with Mental Floss, Brice described Jacob’s Ladder as one of his favorites and a really underrated scary movie.

Adrian Lyne’s 1990 scary flick Jacob’s Ladder was the director’s only ever scary movie, however that does not imply it ought to be neglected: a minimum of as far as Brice is worried. When asked what he enjoys about the movie, Brice stated “There are minutes in the movie that utilize useful and in-camera impacts to manage terrifies that are beyond understanding. I keep in mind needing to rewind specific minutes asking myself how Adrian Lyne had the ability to pull them off.”

9 The Exorcist

John Carpenter

Linda Blair in The Exorcist 1973
Warner Bros.

It’s most likely impossible to believe that the master of scary himself, John Carpenter, has actually ever been terrified by anything. Introducing on to the scene with his work of art Halloween — and changing the slasher category while doing so– Carpenter has actually invested most of his profession attempting his hardest to terrify the ever-living hell out of everyone he discovers. Be that as it might, even Carpenter has actually been terrified one or two times.

In an interview with The Fader, Carpenter stated that The Exorcist might too be the scariest film he had actually ever seen. “You understand what’s frightening about The Exorcist? Everybody understands what’s frightening about that film. It’s the devil.’, Carpenter stated, going on to state that, “The very first time I saw it I believed in order to be actually efficient this film needs a belief in a greater power however ever since I have actually concerned value it simply for what it is: it’s quite damn great.”

Related: How Jordan Peele Has Helped Redefine the Horror Genre

8 Do Not Look Now

David Cronenberg

Donald Sutherland in Don't Look Now (1973)
British Lion Movies/ F.A.R. International Films

Popular for specifying and changing the subgenre of body scary, director David Cronenberg is frequently described as rather of a freak. Even still, Cronenberg needs to discover his motivation and problems from someplace, and seemingly, he has a specific tendency for Nicholas Roeg. Understood for the scary classic Do Not Look Now, Roeg is frequently pointed out as a favorite of movie directors, specifically Cronenberg.

In an interview on the Konbini YouTube channel. Cronenberg highlighted Do Not Look Now as one of his preferred scary movies: “This was a film that actually stunned me. I was actually extremely amazed by it. Simply a really, extremely strong film– extremely odd and quite about death. However in the beginning, you’re not conscious that that’s actually the topic. It’s actually a romance, however it’s a romance about Love and Death.”

7 Eyes Without a Face

Guillermo Del Toro


No complete stranger to the macabre, director Guillermo del Toro is frequently challenging the scaries of mankind in his movies. Throughout motion pictures like Crimson Peak, Hellboy, and Cronos, del Toro has actually exposed a lot about the inner desires of mankind throughout his movies. One should question, nevertheless, what has the ability to terrify a guy who so straight faces the darkness of mankind in each of his works.

Well, in an interview with Requirement, del Toro highlighted 1960’s Eyes Without a Face, in which a girl is provided a face transplant after remaining in an awful auto accident. Del Toro states of the film that “the primary character resembles an undead Audrey Hepburn. It affected me a lot with the contrast in between charm and cruelty– that Clash of Haunting and bewitching images has actually hardly ever been more effective.” For those factors, del Toro marks it as one of his preferred and among the very best scary movies ever made.

6 Nosferatu

Robert Eggers

Public Domain

Popular for his movies that have as much darkness in them as absurdity, director Robert Eggers has actually made an impression on the scary world through his uncompromising works. Whether you’re speaking about The Witch or The Lighthouse or The Northman, it’s indisputable that artistry lies at the heart of what Eggers is doing. However, when asked what scary movies have actually influenced him Eggers offered a response that just he might provide.

In an interview with Shudder, Eggers spoke about F.W Murnau’s 1922 timeless Nosferatu: a movie that Eggers is venturing to remake fairly quickly. Eggers had this to state about the quiet movie classic: “It was an indie scary in its day. A bit rough around the edges, yet it is among the best and most haunting movies ever made. I choose the bad black-and-white variation made from scraps of 16 mm prints. Those dirty variations have an extraordinary secret to them and assist construct the misconception of Max Shreck being a genuine vampire.”

5 The Blackcoat’s Child

Mike Flanagan

a scene from The Blackcoat's Daughter

Emerging is among the modern masters of scary thanks to his numerous movies and Netflix series like The Haunting of Hill Home and The Haunting of Bly Manor, Mike Flanagan has actually left an impression on numerous. Understood for his downtempo, heavily-scripted design, Flanagan has actually had the ability to terrify individuals in a way that numerous have not handled in years. Suffice to state numerous question what Flanagan views that even handles to get an increase out of him.

In an interview with Rotten Tomatoes, Flanagan put together a list of his preferred scary movies, and Osgood Perkins’ The Blackcoat’s Daughter was on that list. Flanagan stated about the movie that “Perkins’ cooling and meditative puzzler is among my favorites. Piece de resistances throughout the board and what appears in the beginning to be a story about ladies experiencing a supernatural force is exposed to be something even much deeper by the end. I enjoy this film for a great deal of factors however especially since of how it discuss an untouched aspect of belongings stories.”

4 Funny Games

William Friedkin

A scene from Funny Games (2007)
Warner Independent Pictures/ Tartan Movies

William Friedkin is understood for being the director of an entire swath of famous modern movies. Both the director of The Exorcist and The French Connection, Friedkin is among the most popular filmmakers of the 20th Century. Even still, one needs to wonder about what might potentially terrify the male who made The Exorcist, a movie so dreadful that it even terrified Carpenter.

Discussing his 13 preferred scary motion pictures with Entertainment Weekly, Friedkin singled out Michael Haneke’s Funny Games as being the most scary movie he had actually ever seen. “It’s most likely the scariest movie on my list since it includes 2 young punks in a rural Town scaring a household in their home. It’s the example you see on the news extremely frequently today and there’s a possibility of this really taking place. The movie is simply remarkably done.”

Related: Best Horror Movies of 2023

3 The War of the Worlds

Wes Craven

UFOs War of The Worlds (1953)
Paramount Pictures

Wes Craven is the mastermind behind 2 of the most essential franchises in scary history: Scream and A Headache on Elm Street The extremely kind director (his sets were understood for being enjoyable) can bringing the worst to life in renowned movies where evil wasn’t nihilistic however an engaging reflection of something extremely intimate.

In a 2015 short article he composed for The Daily Beast, Craven made a list of his outright favorites in scary. Lots of are currently on this list since of their “timeless” status, however Craven loved The War of the Worlds, the 1953 excellent movie by Byron Haskin. The director keeps in mind being horrified by “the goose-neck light product that is type of coiled, and you can turn it various methods, and these things are extremely serpentine with a type of snakelike head, and they’re simply sort of browsing the space to notice the existence of people.”

2 Psycho

Steven Spielberg

Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates in Psycho 1960
Paramount Pictures

Lots of understand Spielberg’s relationship with Hitchcock. We understand it wasn’t precisely fantastic. However this didn’t imply the director had no adoration for the master of thriller. Especially, Spielberg called Psycho as his preferred scary movie inFar Out It can’t be a coincidence thinking about Hitchcock’s scary work of art is perhaps his finest movie from an industrial and technical point of view, 2 elements extremely present in Spielberg’s brochure.

Spielberg’s efforts at scary have actually been “conservative” and rather indirect. He hasn’t made a full-blown scary movie, however his experiences are awesome and troubling adequate to make you avert every so often. By this point, we do not see him getting in scary area, however we can be sure that if he did, Psycho would be a proven motivation.

1 A Headache on Elm Street

Jordan Peele

Freddy Krueger A Nightmare on Elm Street
New Line Movie Theater

Jordan Peele has actually been singing about Freddy Krueger being the best scary bad guy of perpetuity, and he puts Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street continuously on top of his preferred scary movies list. In United States, he winked straight at the franchise in the movie’s intro, and his meaning of earthly limbo called the Sunken Location in Go Out, has a horrible fuel that we can’t assist however feel it’s a fantastic home for Krueger.

Peele’s list of scary movies you need to see (included in a March Insanity obstacle for Worry network) exceeds Craven’s movie. Oddly, he didn’t consist of The Exorcist in the list. Regardless, contemporary scary’s notable director should have pardon for that omission.

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