Horror films have a way of staying with you. A generation still shivers recalling Freddy and Jason, while a new breed has remakes of The Hills Have Eyes and Dawn of the Dead to keep them up at night. Think you're immune? Then check out the first part in our rundown of the 50 scariest movies. Warning: Contains dismemberment, claustrophobia, cannibalism and Nicole Kidman.
50. Hostel (2006)
At first this seems like a moronic comedy in the Eurotrip vein. But director Eli Roth has a far more sadistic itinerary in store for the three stoners searching Eastern Europe for an easy lay. All twisted limbs, projectile vomiting and floods of blood, Hostel's final hour is the equivalent of being in a human meat grinder.
Don't look! The eerie picture Jay Hernandez receives on his cell-phone when his buddies disappear--you just know something bad has happened to them.
49. The Wicker Man (1973)
Before he was The Equalizer, Edward Woodward went looking for a missing girl at the edge of the world, and learned that pagan customs die hard. Despite a tour de force from Christopher Lee as a village elder, disgusted producers tried to bury the movie in a landfill.
Don't look! The haunting final shot--we won't be so cruel as to spoil it for you here.
48. The Devil's Rejects (2005)
For anyone who thinks contemporary horror is too formulaic, Rob Zombie gives his House of 1000 Corpses a splatter-tastic sequel. Sending the psychotic Firefly family on a cross-country killing spree, this tribute to cheapo '70s scarers is as affectionate as it is (almost) unwatchable.
Don't look! Zombie's idea of a love scene: One psycho kissing his next victim, while wearing his last victim's face.
47. Haze (2005)
A man is trapped in an agonizingly small room. He has no idea how he got there. He doesn't know how to get out. Only 50 minutes long, director Shinya Tsukamoto's fiendish shocker dares you to breathe.
Don't look! The man (played by Tsukamoto himself) escapes one chamber of horrors, only to find worse waiting for him in the next room.
46. The Others (2001)
Rigid disciplinarian Grace (Nicole Kidman) and her two young children await the return of their soldier father in an old dark house. The kids are allergic to light, and the seldom-seen servants and mysterious noises suggest that something more is going on than meets the eye.
Don't look! Grace ventures downstairs to the shadowy music room to get to the root of the bumps in the night. What happens next puts all those it's-just-the-cat frights to shame.
45. Sleepy Hollow (1999)
It's no secret that Tim Burton loves the thrift-shop aesthetic of Hammer horror films like The Curse of Frankenstein. He does them right in this adaptation of the Washington Irving story, where an old-world sense of evil pervades the paranoia our forefathers felt for the virgin continent's wilderness.
Don't look! Johnny Depp's first glimpse of Sleepy Hollow -- the quaint sort of burg that looks like it burns witches on a weekly basis.
44. The Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983)
The product of many hands, this portmanteau tribute to Rod Serling's TV series scores with "Terror at 20,000 Feet," an episode in which John Lithgow tries to convince his fellow passengers that something is munching on their Boeing 707. The tension is so great, you'll wish an oxygen mask would drop down.
Don't look! The gremlin on the wing wags a disapproving finger at the frantic Lithgow.
43. El Dia de la Bestia (1995)
A priest thinks he has cracked the code that foretells the birth of Satan's son, but his superiors don't believe him. So he joins forces with a metal-head and a TV psychic to prevent the coming Apocalypse. Is he right? Or just insane? Mixing scares and silliness, this Spanish satire did away with horror movie conventions.
Don't look! During a ritual to summon the devil, a black goat wanders into the room, stands on its hind legs, and grins--all without the aid of C.G.I. They do things differently in Spain.
42. Near Dark (1987)
The vampire movie had fallen on hard times (Love at First Bite, anyone?). Then this cult classic sent a gang of toothy blood suckers on a rampage through the badlands. With its explosions of mayhem pitched to MTV levels of intensity and the Tangerine Dream soundtrack, it made The Lost Boys look like Eddie Munster.
Don't look! Sunlight scorches the undead and their human tagalong during a Bonnie & Clyde-style ambush.
41. Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
This pseudo documentary about a film crew that becomes dinner for a South American tribe was so realistic that Italian director Ruggero Deodato had to go to court to prove it was only special effects. The film was banned in nearly 60 countries, and its brutality can still bring up lunch in the faint hearted today.
Don't Look! Just when your eyeballs have taken a beating, a fetus is ripped out of a woman's womb. Hurl!
40. Lost Highway (1997)
Skronk saxophonist Bill Pullman starts receiving mysterious videotapes shot inside his home. One shows him killing his wife, platinum blonde Patricia Arquette. Then things get really freaky in this David Lynch flick, which warps reality so much that characters seem to bleed into one another.
Don't look! Pullman meets an ashen Robert Blake at a party. Blake gives him his cell phone and tells the befuddled musician to phone home. When he does, it's Blake himself who answers. Shudder!
39. The Innocents (1961)
Governess Deborah Kerr is convinced that her young charges are in the thrall of two former servants' evil spirits. This jarring adaptation of a Henry James story keeps you wondering whether the whole thing is a product of the neurotic spinster's overheated imagination.
Don't look! The boy, Miles, gives Kerr a less-than-innocent goodnight kiss. Kinky!
38. The Omen (1976)
If you were born in 1976 and your parents named you Damian, then they must have one helluva sense of humor. It's a truism that movie kids can be creepy--just check out the chiller Children of the Damned. The babe with the number of the beast did for adoption agencies what Psycho did for shower curtains.
Don't look! Damian gets the nanny he deserves in the downright devilish Billie Whitelaw.
37. Suspiria (1977)
This beautifully surreal movie is the Memoirs of a Geisha of horror. Balancing full-throttle gore with splashes of garish color and an elegant set design, Italian director Dario Argento's chiller follows a young neophyte's progress at a dance school that harbors a supernatural wickedness.
Don't look! With typically demented Argento logic, the killer gets two victims for the price of one, throwing one student through a stained-glass ceiling so the broken shards of glass slice up another below.
36. Repulsion (1965)
A timid young Belgian woman (Catherine Deneuve) starts to unravel when her sister leaves her alone in their shabby London flat. Roman Polanski wrote and directed this paranoid classic about a repressed ex pat who is undone by the hostility--real and imagined--of her adopted home.
Don't look! It's not just creepy British men out to get the virginal Deneuve. Grasping hands also grab at her from the walls of the apartment.
35. The Fly (1986)
Smart casting: when you get Jeff Goldblum to play a giant fly, you save money on makeup and costumes. His mad scientist slowly changes from normal-Goldblum creepy to scaly-skin creepy, losing his mind and terrifying girlfriend Geena Davis in the process.
Don't look! Goldblum arm-wrestles a bully. Endowed with the proportionate strength of a fly and the mother of all sugar highs, he wins--leaving his opponent with a grisly compound fracture.
34. Possession (1981)
Unfaithful was nothing like this. Sam Neill suspects his mad housewife Isabella Adjani is having an affair. Then he finds out what she's been knocking boots with. The man who designed the inhuman participant in this menage a trios later created E.T.--The Extra Terrestrial.
Don't look! Adjani goes into hysterical overdrive while suffering a miscarriage in a Berlin subway. Possibly the creepiest birthing scene since Rosemary's Baby.
33. Daughters of Darkness (1971)
Two things that go great together: 1) a chic art-house sensibility and 2) lesbian vampires. Forget cheesy fangs. Oozing with perversion, a blood-thirsty ageless countess seduces both an innocent bride and her sadistic husband in a decaying European resort. You can almost taste the decadence.
Don't look! Newlywed Valerie learns her husband likes it rough on the second night of their honeymoon. Hope she's got her lawyer's number handy.
32. 28 Days Later (2003)
Danny Boyle's zombies are different. They're fast. They're smart. And with kinetic energy, they chase Cillian "Red Eye" Murphy through a post-apocalyptic England. But they're just hungry. The real villains are a group of soldiers planning to divide the women survivors between them.
Don't look! In the gory climax, Murphy goes on a killing spree that leaves us wondering if he's still human. Or if it matters.
31. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Rookie F.B.I. agent Clarice Starling must rely on the help of super-genius sociopath Dr. Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter if she's going to prevent a missing young woman from being murdered by another killer. If only he'd stop eyeing her like she was the main course.
Don't look! Trust us: Your flesh will creep when epidermis-wearing psycho Buffalo Bill tells his terrified captive, "It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again." Blech!