The Scariest Movie of All Time Even Stephen King Couldn't Sit Through

The Scariest Movie of All Time Even Stephen King Couldn't Sit Through
Image credit: Haxan Films, Legion-Media

Which movie terrified the King of Terror?


  • After a horrific accident in 1999, Stephen King was in the hospital for a month.
  • His son brought him the hottest new horror movie to watch.
  • It was an indie film made on a shoestring budget.
  • King could only make it halfway through the film before turning it off.

In 1999, Stephen King was out on a walk when he was hit by a distracted driver. The results were traumatic – King woke up on the road and saw his legs pointing the wrong way. He suffered a collapsed lung, a broken hip, and a leg so damaged that doctors debated amputation. (They decided to leave the leg to see if it healed, which luckily it did.)

King spent a month in hospital, and one day his son showed up with a portable television and a bootlegged movie on VHS. He told his father to watch it.

In spite of his legacy as the Master of Horror, the movie was too much for Stephen King. He only made it about halfway through before telling his son to turn it off.

What Movie Was It?

You might be surprised to learn that the movie in question wasn't particularly gory, nor did it have any unusual special effects. In fact, it was shot on a budget of only $60,000.

The movie? None other than the groundbreaking Blair Witch Project. It was the first found footage horror movie ever made, a fact that the movie's advertisers took advantage of by pretending it was real. Terrified movie goers sometimes thought they were actually watching as a group of young students went out into the woods and disturbed the spirit of a vindictive witch.

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The shaky camerawork and the totally unknown cast made The Blair Witch Project one of the most successful horror movies of all time, grossing more than 4,000 times its original budget.

By the time King saw The Blair Witch Project in the hospital, he would have known that the 'news reports' about the missing teens were just advertising, and that the movie was not in fact real. Still, watching the movie while hopped up on painkillers was too overwhelming for King. He found the movie so frightening in his slightly high state that he had to stumble out of bed and turn it off.

Trying Again

Later, King gave The Blair Witch Project another try. This time he made it through the whole movie. In the 2010 re-release of his book Danse Macabre, King said:

'One thing about Blair Witch: the damn thing looks real. Another thing about Blair Witch: the damn thing feels real. And because it does, it's like the worst nightmare you ever had, the one you woke from gasping and crying with relief because you thought you were buried alive and it turned out the cat jumped up on your bed and went to sleep on your chest.'

The legacy of The Blair Witch Project lives on in movies like Paranormal Activity, Chronicle, and Cloverfield. The house where it was filmed had to be demolished after fans kept taking chunks of it as souvenirs. And it is regularly included on lists of the scariest movies of all time, including lists by IGN, the Hollywood Reporter, Cosmopolitan, and The Chicago Film Critics Association.

But perhaps its most remarkable feat is that it will go down in history as the only movie too scary for Stephen King to handle.