Top Ten Scariest Horror Movies

I've watched a bunch of horror films. I've watched old silent films of the '20s and other black-and-white films until late '80s. When it comes to paranormal ones, I'm terrified with Asian films the most. Asian horror films attack on one's psyche whereas Western films just upset one's stomach (with vomit and gore fest). For this, Western paranormal horror films don't look scary adjacent to the Asian ones.

Perhaps, it's partly due to the comfort when I see a cross on Western films. Somehow, everything gets to be all right after some rite with the Holy Cross. Asian horrors on the other hand seem to have no workaround at all. The curse's motion in Asian films will keep moving forward, trampling on everything and everyone. I have yet to know a story of an Asian curse dispelled by Christian rites.

Know about Chinese Gu magic: It's like what I learned in Ghost Hunt anime series. There's an ancient curse in China, called kodoku in Japan, where bugs are placed in a pot and then buried in the earth (golden silkworms used to be used).

Several months later, when it is dug up, the bugs have eaten each other until only one remains. The curse's method uses this remaining bug. The bug takes possession over the house of the one being cursed, and brings in an enormous amount of wealth, but in return, unless you kill a person and offer them to it regularly, it will chew the householder to death. If one is unable to feed the bug, then all of the wealth that the bug brought in, plus interest, must be converted to gold or silver wares, and left out in the road. This is called the “golden silkworm transfer”. Whoever picks it up won't know what it is, so the curse will be passed unto them.

Now imagine, until no one suspects the kodoku curse, everyone will die in the house where the curse has been passed on. Eventually, the last person will die and the house will be left barren. After years of abandonment, the next residents of the house will get the curse. They will only be safe from the curse until one knows how to purge it.

The kodoku is just one of the Zuzhou hexes. In the anime Ghost Hunt, in place of bugs, spirits were used. Spirits ate each other up until only one is left to complete the death curse sent to someone that was set in motion by performing a rite of a modified Ouija board by unsuspecting students to a particular teacher.

Most scary Asian films use this idea. The object of the story (the bug) is different in films but the dynamics is the same. There are other scarier dynamics than this for human sacrifice but Asian filmmakers have just a way of delivering their stories in films especially when it comes to nuances. Plus, the idea of using spirits vs. blood is way terrifying. I mean, after a horrible death, the soul is freed from the body and for a horror Asian film, the story has just started.

Without further ado, here's my Top Ten Scariest Films:

Ju-on: 2 (2003, Japan)

Ju-on Horror Film

This is The Grudge 2.0, way scarier than the original. If Kayako won't visit you in your dream the night you finished watching the film, it's guaranteed she'll visit you in one of your dreams some time later, even after two years.

Wig walking on its own? Hair falling from the ceiling? Black spot appearing on the floor? Sound of cat mewling? And that weird sound produced from the throat coming from the depths of the diaphragm (I don't mean singing)? They are telltale signs that you're cursed. Well, in the film that is. These are just few of the genius that the filmmakers came up with that some people think they must be Antichrists. They're definitely right. For starters, they don't believe in Jesus. They have a different religion but you get what these people meant.

The whole story of The Grudge series goes like:
A man who got suspicious that the child his wife is carrying isn't his ended up killing his wife. Blinded by his rage, he locked his own son up on the closet where just atop, he hid the body of his wife. That night, as he was trying to escape from the authority, a trash bag followed him on his way causing him to die. Since then, anyone or anything that's connected to the family dies a mysterious death. If you visit the cursed house where they used to live, you'll get cursed and you'll bring the curse with you to every place you ever visited just before you die.

The Ring (2002, Hollywood Remake)

The Ring 2002

There's a viral VHS. If you watch it, after 7 days, your phone will ring and a white lady with long dark hair will come out of your TV to kill you.

The Hollywood remake was stellar compared to the original. There are more gory details, and the story lengthens. It's not just about the details, the sound effects were more terrifying and the jump scares will really make your heart jump, making the original material appear solemn.

Shutter (2004, Thailand)

Shutter Thai Horror Film

A photographer gets haunted by a female ghost that he captures on his camera.

This is how the use of camera flash to see in the dark became famous.

Noroi, The Curse (2005, Japan)

Noroi, The Curse 2005

A documentary filmmaker goes to investigate paranormal incidents connected to a legendary demon called “kagutaba” in the mountain.

I only chanced upon it on youtube on 2011. What I didn't expect from this film was the emotional factor. Eventually, you will just find yourself seemingly attached to characters and then horrible things happen to them when you least expect it. It's not just about the death, it's about the process of the death and how the soul gets doomed in the afterlife. I couldn't remember that much but that was my take on it. What I could remember on that part was I badly want to vomit. I think that after watching this film, I was desensitized to certain horrors.

[Rec 2] (2009, Spain)

[Rec] 2 (2009)

A SWAT team was sent to aid a priest in retrieving a confidential item on a quarantined building.

Insidious (2010)

Insidious Horror Film

A family transfers to a big new house and ends up horrified when one of the boys ends up in a coma and turns out to be haunted.

There's one thing guaranteed to happen to you after watching this film, you will never be able to listen to any of Tiny Tim's music the same ever again.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

The Exorcism of Emily Rose Horror Film

This is an exorcism film in legal action. A lawyer takes on a case of a priest doing a rite that involved the death of a young girl. I just had to point out that there was one scene where it was implied that the girl was raped by the demon. Of course, the demon was not shown, it was invisible. Though the action was subtle, the meaning was palpable. Look out for it.

Voice: Whispering Corridors 4 (2005, Korea)

Voice 2005 Korean Film

Throat paper cut as the opening sequence. A girl tries to unravel the mystery behind her friend's death. Her own horror ensues.

The Exorcist (1973)

A girl was possessed by a demon. Two priests come in to the rescue. Cue vomit gore.

Feng Shui (2004, Philippines)

Feng Shui Movie Philippines
image credit:

A woman and her family is put in danger when they installed an old Chinese bagua (mirrored luck item). Even her friends weren't spared.

Following after hit horror Japanese films in the Philippines, Filipino filmmakers came up with this beautiful film. A horror story really is scary when the dynamics of an ancient Chinese curse is used. On hindsight, if you turn the volume down, the film becomes less scary. Aside from the nuances, the film heavily relies on the jump scares set by sound effects.

The early 2000s redefined the horror genre. That era staged a new standard for horror that filmmakers take note on. How about you? What horror film scared you the most? Do you agree on my list? Comment below.

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