When it comes to people who truly know how to scare the ever-living shit out of someone, Stephen King is at the top of the list. Both his books and the movies that come from them, are a masterclass of scares, chills and frights that get to you. So, what makes a creepy mind of that caliber get scared in return, I wonder?

Apparently, it’s a lot of the same things that scare us too.

Universal Pictures

Dawn of the Dead (2004)
The Zack Snyder remake is one of his favourites, due to the horrifying nature of the zombies. He referred to them as “terrorists that never quit,” and commented that the opening few minutes is one of the best opening sequences he’s ever seen.

Warner Bros.

IT (2017)
Despite there being several adaptations of his books, he doesn’t love them all equally. He admits that he wasn’t prepared for how good this one was and how faithful it was to the spirit of the novel.

IFC Midnight

The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)
It was the unique story, visceral terrorand the creep factor that rivals Alien and anything that David Cronenberg could come up with.

Artisan Entertainment

The Blair Witch Project (1999)
This was the original ‘found-footage’ film and the novelty and innovation behind the film and marketing, really chilled his bones. He admits he had to turn if off midway through, the first time he saw it, because it felt too real.

It was also during the time he was convalescing in the hospital after his near-death car accident.

Associated Film Distribution

The Changeling (1980)
Makes a haunted house story almost seem plausible, which is all the more terrifying.

Universal Pictures

Crimson Peak (2015)
This film electrified him with his gothic horror and beautifully rendered supernatural elements.

Warner Bros.

Deep Blue Sea (1999)
This was the first film he saw in theatres after being released from the hospital, and he enjoyed the sheer terror of a genetically modified and super-intelligent shark running amok. Plus, there’s that scene with Samuel L. Jackson, that just comes out of nowhere.

Pathè Distribution

The Descent (2005)
King cites that the relationships between the women and their secrets, highlight the monsters in a way that most horror movies don’t. It takes more than VFX to truly scare someone.

Paramount Pictures

Event Horizon (1997)
According to King, this is “Basically a Lovecraftian terror tale in outer space with a The Quatermass Experiment vibe, done by the Brits.”. Plus, the visuals are just insane.

Universal Pictures

Duel (1971)
Probably the only Spielberg film you’ll see on this list, but King thought that it was a very inventive and stripped down film, with real dreadful elements to it.


Les Diaboliques (1955)
Not a lot of films can out-Hitchcock Hitchcock, but this one does.

New Line Cinema

Final Destination (2000)
King loves the Rube Goldberg-esque set ups of events that lead to the deaths. While all of them are scary, the first one is the best; it’s genuinely scary.

Rogue Pictures

The Hitcher (2007)
While Rutger Hauer was delightfully insane in the first one, this is a rare remake that works in an updated setting.

Rogue Pictures

The Last House on the Left (2009)
This reimagining of a Wes Craven classic is considered by King as one of the best and most brilliant remakes of the decade. He considered it brutal and uncompromising , yet beautiful as well.

Dimension Films

The Mist (2007)
King admits that Frank Darabont, the director, had more balls than he, to end the film the way he did. It’s truly horrifying and the ending will tear your heart out.


Night of the Demon (1957)
This is a very understated horror film, until the very end. Then it gets you.

Paramount Pictures

The Ruins (2008)
While it’s not as good as the book, King says, it’s still very creepy and disquieting. Especially because you know that a) it’s plants that are coming for you and b) no one’s gonna get away.

The book is really fucked up. Read it if you can.

Paramount Pictures

Sorcerer (1977)
Stephen King considers this one of his favourite films. It’s suspenseful, but also about a journey though darkness.

ITC Productions

The Stepfather (1986)
Nothing is more terrifying than watching Terry O’Quinn play a murderous, yet charming, psychopath looking for a family to love him. He just comes out of nowhere.

Artisan Entertainment

Stir of Echoes (1999)
What could be more relatable than an unsettling exploration of what happens when a regular guy starts to see ghosts.

Rogue Pictures

The Strangers (2008)
There’s a growing sense of disquiet and trepidation as a couple gets terrorized for a random reason. It goes from unease to horror in no time.


The Village of the Damned (1960)
A hybrid of British horror and sci-fi, it’s nearly a perfect film. Shooting it in black and white adds to the unease.

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