NEW YORK — Happy Halloween! With Michael Myers returning to the big screen just in time for his favorite holiday this year, it’s as good a time as ever to poll Americans on their most beloved horror movies of all-time. A new survey finds that despite the many heart-pounding fright flicks that have spooked moviegoers in recent years, you’ll have to turn back the clock for the scariest films ever.
The survey of 2,000 American adults, commissioned by video streaming service Vudu, had few surprises. Americans agreed that the most horrifying film ever created was The Exorcist, followed by the first iterations of Halloween, Friday the 13th, and A Nightmare on Elm Street.
Rounding out the top five, perhaps unexpectedly for some, was the 2013 haunted house nightmare The Conjuring — the only horror film made in the past 30 years to make the top five.
Meanwhile, when it came to the most popular horror villain, it was no surprise either that the man who sets out to haunt nightmares, Freddy Krueger, of the Nightmare on Elm Street series, took the top spot. Michael Myers from Halloween came in second, followed by Jason Voorhees (Friday the 13th), Hannibal Lecter (Silence of the Lambs) and Leatherface (Texas Chainsaw Massacre).
For many, shedding the fear they felt the first time they watched these flicks has been a tall task, even after so many years. The survey found that three in 10 respondents are still afraid of the scary movies and characters that frightened them in their childhood. Just getting through an entire horror film is a challenge: 36 percent admit they simply cannot stomach a scary movie in its entirety. In fact, it takes just 13 minutes into the movie on average before people start feeling nervous.
Here’s a look at the final tally for the scariest movies and the top villains as ranked by participants:
TOP 10 SCARY MOVIES
Freddy Krueger (Nightmare on Elm Street)
Michael Meyers (Halloween)
Jason Voorhees (Friday the 13th)
Hannibal Lecter (Silence of the Lambs)
Leatherface (Texas Chainsaw Massacre)
Pennywise the Clown (IT)
Regan MacNeil (The Exorcist)
Norman Bates (Psycho)
The Creeper (Jeepers Creepers)
TOP 20 BEST HORROR MOVIES
Friday the 13th
A Nightmare on Elm Street
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The Amityville Horror
Night of the Living Dead
Cabin in the Woods
The survey was conducted on Vudu’s behalf by OnePoll in October 2018.