The 20 Scariest Movies Ever Made, According to Science

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If you’re a dedicated horror movie buff, you’ve probably experienced the letdown of finishing a scary film without having been scared at all. The best ones really get your heart racing—and thanks to BroadbandChoices’ “Science of Scare” study, we know exactly which ones those are (and even how fast your heart may race while watching them).

As Bloody Disgusting reports, researchers first compiled a list of 30 must-see horror movies based on Reddit recommendations, critics’ picks, and last year’s “Science of Scare” list. They then had 250 participants watch all 30 movies while hooked up to heart rate monitors, so they could assess how pulse-pounding each program actually was.

The winner was Host, a 2020 British movie filmed completely over Zoom and released on Shudder. It’s not even an hour long, but you can plan on being in a state of fright from beginning to end: Viewers’ average heart rate throughout the movie was 88 beats per minute, a good 24 beats more than the resting average.

Sinister (2012), the Ethan Hawke-starring supernatural horror movie known for its jump scares, came in second place with an average heart rate of 86 beats per minute (which was good enough to land it in the top spot last year). As for the highest single spike, third-place finisher Insidious (2010) took the blue ribbon: Viewers’ heart rates climbed to a downright alarming 133 beats per minute at some point during the film.

Classic horror films made appearances, too. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Halloween (1978), and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) all tied in 10th place with an average of 77 beats per minute. But in general, the list was dominated by newer offerings—14 of the top 20 were released in 2010 or later.

See the rest of the top 20 below, and explore more stats from the study here.

Host (2020) // 88Sinister (2012) // 86Insidious (2010) // 85The Conjuring (2013) // 84Hereditary (2018) // 82Terrified (2017) // 82It Follows (2014) // 81A Quiet Place Part II (2021) // 80Paranormal Activity (2007) // 80The Conjuring 2 (2016) // 79The Babadook (2014) // 79The Descent (2005) // 79Hush (2016) // 78A Quiet Place (2018) // 78The Ring (2002) // 78A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) // 77Halloween (1978) // 77The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) // 77It (2017) // 76The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021) // 76

[h/t Bloody Disgusting]

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