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Halloween is often more light-hearted and fun than scary. Still, there are those of us who seek the horror-filled thrills of shock and fright. For a good scare, our crack research team at the Daily Top 10 peeks through trembling fingers and lists the most terrifying scary movies.
As always, feel free to disagree or weigh in with your choices in our comments section.
1. The Shining -- One of many unforgettable performances by Jack Nicholson. This Stanley Kubrick classic is a showcase of cinematography, acting, direction and psychological terror.
2. Scream -- A trend-setter. This movie made horror hip with a cast of young stars and an impressive soundtrack. Scream also inspired a Halloween mask that has all but displaced Jason's hockey mask from Friday the 13th.
3. The Ring -- Oh, this one was scary. With long, narrative scenes broken up by flashes of intensely disturbing imagery, this movie easily leaves a lasting impression. The way the ghost girl moves out of the well is so sickly and exaggerated that it may scar you.
4. The Exorcist -- Perhaps one of the best films of all time. The Exorcist not only frightens, but also questions commonly held religious beliefs and makes a statement about the power of evil.
5. Psycho -- What would this list be without Alfred Hitchcock? From this movie we get the shower scene, now clichéd in horror films, as well as that high-pitched sound effect that accompanies knife stabbings.
6. Blair Witch Project -- You never really saw anything scary in this one, just scared people. The directors left it up to the imagination. The concept was interesting, but the unsteady camera was enough to make you sick.
7. Halloween -- There's no forgetting this major movie franchise. Michael Myers predated Jason as the mute, faceless killer. Besides, the name is only fitting. Would we do this list if tomorrow weren't Halloween?
8. A Nightmare on Elm Street -- The original "Nightmare" introduces Freddy Krueger, another horror-movie character who produced real nightmares for plenty of psychologically scarred children. As with many franchises, the first was creative as well as horrifying -- the sequels not so much. It's worth being on the list just for the creepy, sing-song nursery rhyme.
9. Saw -- No, not "Saw 5." Do these things keep coming out? The horror movie sequel is no longer a surprise, though the bloody gore of the "Saw" movies may come as quite a shock.
10. Plan 9 from Outer Space -- So bad, it's scary. This Ed Wood cult classic combines science fiction and zombies to make the most ill-directed movie of all time. Every cinematographic mistake shows up in this movie, from continuity errors to meaningless closeups. The acting is just as bad, to boot.
Matt Cahill's Daily Top 10 comes out every weekday. Coming Friday: Top 10 last-minute Halloween costumes.