What one person calls scary another may think of as simply being silly. These differences in opinion make it very difficult to correctly rank the scariest movies of all time. To be fair to all contenders each movie was considered in the time it was originally released. Another criteria was the effect, if any, the film had on society. A movie such as Jaws had an economic impact on ocean side vacation spots as people were scared to go into the water.
Films can be scary for several different reasons. Some films use suspense for their scares others rely on psychological terror to elicit fear. Regardless of the methods a film utilizes it’s no secret that, as a society, fear is intriguing. If this wasn’t a fact the horror genre would be nonexistent. People like to be scared. Although what scares certain people is not universal there are some films that are more terrifying than others.
There are plenty of scary tricks-of-the-trade to frighten us in horror movies, but the fear and anxiety also stem from environment and space. Often the location of the danger taps into other kinds of fears, or our unconscious unease about liminality. A liminal space is somewhere that transcends or transgresses boundaries: it’s neither one thing or another, but exists somewhere in between. In supernatural horror, this can be evil portals or doors to hell, but everyday liminal spaces still make for scary hiding places for all the eeriest bad guys…
Unlike today’s scary movies, the horror films from the 1950’s and 60’s actually leave something to the imagination. These five black and white thrillers can still hold their own when it comes to giving goosebumps.