Do you remember which film gave you the biggest jump scare of your life?
All of us can point to at least one example of, “The scariest movie I ever saw!” but as we all know, one person’s nightmare fuel is another person’s fandom. For every viewer so freaked out by Freddy Krueger that they can’t watch another A Nightmare on Elm Street movie, there’s another happy to indulge in annual Nightmare marathons and endless replays of that Freddy’s Greatest Hits album.
But enough about the Springwood Slasher. After all, the lasting impact of a horror film is subjective, right?
Not if you ask science. Recently, a study conducted by broadbandchoices.com sought to determine the scariest movies ever made by measuring the rising heart rates of its participants.
The “Science of Scare Project” determined 2012’s Sinister to be scariest of them all. Other films that made the Top 25 include Insidious, The Exorcist, Hush, Halloween, and the aforementioned A Nightmare on Elm Street.
But do those results hold up with our Now Playing Podcast hosts? Certainly, they’ve seen enough horror to be considered experts on the subject. So, we asked them.
Here are the movies that terrified, and still terrify, the hosts.
Jakob – The Thing
“Even after multiple watches, the blood test scene in John Carpenter’s The Thing is so tense I’m always on the edge of my seat. When the shapeshifter is finally revealed, it never fails to get my pulse pounding.”
Marjorie – Poltergeist
“I still don’t like TV static. Nor do I like looking under my bed. As an adult, it’s Fire In the Sky. I couldn’t even make it through the movie and had nightmares about what I did see.”
Brock - The Shining The first time I watched The Shining I recall being very uncomfortable. Psychological horror movies get me going more than slasher movies ever can. The Shining just keeps building the tension and creepiness as it pulls you in.”
Arnie – Contagion
“Are we all picking Contagion? Or is that just me? I am hard pressed to think of a horror movie that has scared me, as in made me want to sleep with a night light on. Some gross me out, but to me that's different than fear, it's revolting.”
Stuart - 2001: A Space Odyssey
“It’s not a horror movie, but 2001 elicits primal terror when the computer, HAL, clips unlucky astronaut Frank Poole's air hose. I can't watch that little guy float off, gasping into a silent abyss, without needing to grab an arm rest or something grounding. The worst death imaginable!”