The month of October is a pretty popular time to watch horror movies. There’s a reason Netflix released Stranger Things and the Haunting of Bly Manor, and movie studios often release their scary movies this month, and that reason is Halloween.
My wife and I like to participate in a “Spooktober” tradition of watching horror movies all month long, but we often have trouble agreeing. (I want to watch scary stuff like Hereditary and the presidential debates, whereas my wife prefers nostalgic trash like Hocus Pocus and Teen Witch, both of which are a lot more frightening to someone like me!)
Thankfully, throughout the month, countless lists of “scariest movies” or “best horror movies” circulate online, and in my house, we use them for inspiration. And now, science has come up with what may be the definitive list.
A UK site called Broadband Choices released a list of horror movies that have been scientifically analyzed to determine their scariness. Their list of the top 35 scariest movies was determined by measuring heart rates.
At the top is the fairly recent Sinister, starring Ethan Hawke as a true-crime writer who moves his family into a house that was the scene of some grisly murders. Insidious, The Conjuring, Hereditary, and 2007’s Paranormal Activity round out the top 5.
Most of the movies on this list are recent, which may seem a little odd but also makes sense, as audiences have become harder to shock and thrill over the decades. The oldest movie in the top 10 is Rob Marhsall’s spelunking movie The Descent from 2005. It’s not until the teens that the older movies start to crop up, including classics like A Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and The Exorcist.
Check out the full list in this nifty infographic, and sound off with your pics in the comments. Just remember, science knows!