1. Psycho (1960)
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, Psycho is the original great horror movie. Norman Bates (played by Anthony Perkins) is the creepy owner of a motel that cash-embezzling Marion (Janet Leigh) checks into, but never walks out of alive. There’s very little violence in this film – instead, horror is created through suspense and shock, and it all ends with a spine-tingling twist.
2. The Shining (1980)
After Jack (Jack Nicholson) moves his family to a secluded hotel in the mountains, something just doesn’t seem right. His son starts having terrifying premonitions, and before long, supernatural forces start to turn Jack evil. Viewers still tremble when they hear the now iconic line, “Here’s Johnny!”
3. Saw (2004)
Director James Wan created a fan frenzy with the release of the psychological thriller Saw. The villain ‘Jigsaw’ gives his victims a choice, “live or die?” To live, the victim must survive a series of psychological tests and traps, with gory consequences. Saw is now a successful six-part franchise.
4. The Exorcist (1973)
After a teenage girl becomes possessed, her mother enlists the help of two priests to exorcise the demons from her. Heralded as one of the scariest movies of all time, some scenes in The Exorcist were considered so frightening that people reportedly fainted in the cinema. Meanwhile, its blasphemous context caused a huge uproar in the Church community… but it still went on to win two Oscars!
5. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
A group of friends lose their way on a road trip through Texas and are hunted down by a family of cannibals, including the chainsaw-wielding “Leatherface”. At the time of release, this film was thought to be based on a true story. It later emerged that the film was only loosely based on the final murders of US serial killer Ed Gein.