Scientists Revealed the 5 Scariest Horror Movies of All Time

Scientists Revealed the 5 Scariest Horror Movies of All Time
Image credit: Warner Bros, FilmDistrict

Scientists from the Science of Scare Project decided to put the ancient debate of what the scariest movie was to end — can you guess what film won?

Good folks from the Science of Scare Project equipped 250 with heart rate monitors and sat them down to watch dozens of horror movies. They measured the heart rate (fight or flight instinct kicking in) of the viewers as well as their heart rate variance (slow-burn fear and stress) — and compiled the data into a singular Scare Score.

Each movie was ranked on a scale from 0 to 100 based on several metrics: average heart rate during the movie, its difference with the average heart rate in the calm state, the highest heart rate spike during the movie, and the heart rate variation difference. This allowed the scientists to thoroughly explore the viewers’ reactions.

“For comparison, Shrek holds a ‘Scare Score’ of three out of a hundred,” the scientists explained. In this list, however, you won’t see anything less than 88 points!

5. The Conjuring (2013) — 88 pts

As a family terrorized by the dark presence in their farmhouse reaches out for their help, a duo of paranormal activities investigators take the case — but they’re not quite ready for what awaits them. James Wan’s horror thriller only ranked fifth with a total Scare Score of 88 points despite its numerous awards and nominations.

4. Insidious (2010) — 90 points

A family with a comatose child learns that evil spirits are trying to trap him in the mystic realm called The Further — but as the parents try to save him they, too, attract their attention. Another James Wan film became the highest heart rate spike champion for the Demon in the Corner scene and finished with 90 points in total.

3. Skinamarink (2022) — 91 pts

As two children wake up in the middle of the night, they’re in for a horrifying journey as they realize that their father is missing — and weirder yet, all the doors and windows disappeared from their house. Kyle Edward Ball’s film achieved the highest HRV difference metric on the list and earned bronze with 91 Scare Score points.

2. Host (2020) — 95 pts

During the COVID-19 lockdown, six friends decide to hire a medium to have some spiritual fun via Zoom, but things quickly go wrong as the host gives them more than they’d bargained for. Directed by Rob Savage, Host is a landmark of the quarantine era that turned a Zoom conference into a 95 points-worthy silver-place horror.

1. Sinister (2012) — 96 pts

When moving into a new house, a controversial true crime writer finds a series of films suggesting that his current murder case could be tied to a mysterious serial killer from the 1960s. Scott Derrickson’s horror thriller earned 96 Scare Score points, ranking pretty high for all the metrics, and took the gold as the scariest movie ever.

Source: The Science of Scare