A ranking of the top-10 best scary movies is almost as controversial as universal health care. Most of these movies debuted before 2000 and are the best representations of a genre that defies boundaries. The best scary movies are often made on shoestring budgets and utilize actors who don't always have the most experience. In the digital age, black-and-white movies--with their lurking shadows and dramatic camera angles--continue to evoke dreadful sensations. While these are not all typical horror films, each movie raises heart rates and initiates a rash of goosebump outbreaks.
10. Evil Dead II: More remake than sequel, this sentimental favorite takes a tongue-in-cheek approach and paved the way for movies that sought to elicit as many laughs as screams.
9. Jaws: The animatronic shark in Jaws is a herky-jerky antique compared to today's fluid, digitized monsters, but 30 years ago, it was terrifyingly lifelike, making viewers avoid the beach and the ocean.
8. Rosemary's Baby: Evil neighbors, selfish desires and a pre-scandal Roman Polanski direction combine to make this a scary classic.
7. Alien: Visionary artist H.R. Giger lent his terrifying creation of a highly evolved killing machine to this futuristic thriller. This film has it all--a strong female lead, the isolation of space and a saliva-dripping monster.
6. Night of the Living Dead: Highly controversial upon its release because of its graphic content, this movie takes place almost entirely in a farmhouse, pitting its characters against zombies, as well as each other.
5. Psycho: Norman Bates and his maternal issues continue to raise neck hair in Hitchcock's penultimate effort, while single women still think twice about taking late-night showers.
4. Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Gallons of blood, inbred cannibals and a devastating yard tool: yep, an all-time classic.
3. Saw: More cerebral than visceral, Saw proved that scary films do not have to have enormous budgets and predictable outcomes in order to be successful.
2. The Exorcist: Outstanding direction combined with a growing belief in demonic possession has solidified this movie's place among the scariest movies of all time.
1. The Shining: Nothing is more terrifying than a psychic boy fleeing from his deranged father, all set in a secluded, haunted hotel. Add in terrifying twins and an elevator blood tsunami and The Shining takes the creepy cake.