The scariest movies

The Conjuring (above); Ju-On: The Grudge; Japanese horror classic Ring; and Shutter, starring Ananda Everingham.
The Conjuring (above); Ju-On: The Grudge; Japanese horror classic Ring; and Shutter, starring Ananda Everingham.PHOTO: WARNER BROS
The Conjuring; Ju-On: The Grudge (above); Japanese horror classic Ring; and Shutter, starring Ananda Everingham.
The Conjuring; Ju-On: The Grudge (above); Japanese horror classic Ring; and Shutter, starring Ananda Everingham.PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE
The Conjuring; Ju-On: The Grudge; Japanese horror classic Ring; and Shutter (above), starring Ananda Everingham.
The Conjuring; Ju-On: The Grudge; Japanese horror classic Ring; and Shutter (above), starring Ananda Everingham.PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE
The Conjuring; Ju-On: The Grudge; Japanese horror classic Ring; and Shutter, starring Ananda Everingham (above).
The Conjuring; Ju-On: The Grudge; Japanese horror classic Ring; and Shutter, starring Ananda Everingham (above).PHOTO: GMM HUB HO HIN, THAILAND

Critics and audiences alike are raving about the horror movie It, saying that it is one of the most terrifying movies in recent times.

Since the film opened in cinemas last week, it has scared its way to the top of the box office, both in the United States and in Singapore.

Which are some of the other truly scary horror movies out there? The Straits Times takes a look.

JU-ON: THE GRUDGE (2002)

The little boy Toshio (Yuya Ozeki) in the film would normally be considered cute given his cherubic cheeks, except that his super pale skin, black eye sockets and the tendency to pop up in strange places made him really unnerving to watch.

He and his mother Kayako (Takako Fuji), with her long black hair and awkwardly twisted arm movements, are possibly the scariest mother-son combination around. Directed by Takashi Shimizu.

RING (1998)

This Japanese horror classic by Hideo Nakata terrified viewers using a story that cleverly involved the audience: Anyone who watches the videotape in the film would be cursed to die a horrible death within seven days of watching it. Audiences lived in fear that the scary Sadako (Rie Ino'o), with her long black hair and pale skin, would suddenly crawl out of their own television screens one day.

The film was given a Hollywood remake in 2002, starring Naomi Watts, which performed well at the box office.

SHUTTER (2004)

This was the film to confirm Thai film-makers' reputation for being the next big hit-makers in the horror movie genre.

Directed by Banjong Pisanthanakun and Parkpoom Wongpoom, it stars Ananda Everingham as an amateur photographer whose camera captures a horrific incident from the past that will later haunt him and his friends in terrible ways. That final scene of him with the female ghost sitting on top of his shoulders - one does not need a physical photograph to forever remember that visual.

Shutter was given several international remakes, including a 2008 Hollywood version starring Joshua Jackson.

THE CONJURING (2013)

Possessed doll Annabelle is the one toy you would not be getting for your nephew's birthday.

This film, directed by James Wan, was such a hit that it has since inspired two sequels and several successful spin-offs, including Annabelle: Creation (2017), which is still performing well at the box office.

THE EXORCIST (1973)

A young girl suffers a complete mental breakdown at the hands of Satan, with her head spinning 180 degrees.

The story is shocking enough, but it was the visual effects, including the horrific make-up of the possessed child, that greatly contributed to the success of this film, directed by William Friedkin. Four more films in the franchise were made later.

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY (2007)

The found footage film set-up here is hardly new - The Blair Witch Project (1999) popularised the genre years earlier - but this terrified audiences because the concept is so close to home, that demonic spirits could be captured on any home camera system.

Viewers would not want to check their security system footage after watching this.

This micro-budgeted US$15,000 film, directed by Oren Peli, did so well that it spawned five more movies in the franchise.

THE SHINING (1980)

Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is not about jump scares. Rather, it is the creepy atmosphere and sustained sense of psychological dread throughout that have made this such a horror classic.

Some of the visuals here, set mostly in a secluded hotel, from the twins in the hallway to the massive hedge maze, have been the stuff of viewers' nightmares for decades.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 13, 2017, with the headline 'The scariest movies'. Print Edition | Subscribe