It’s October again and you know what that means; Halloween is upon us. Just like Valentine’s day has chocolate and Christmas day has Xmas trees, Halloween just wouldn’t be complete without scary movies. As you put out the jack-o-lantern and stock on delicious candy, you might be wondering what the scariest horror movie is to complete this year’s October 31st Holiday. Well, science has an answer that will scare the bejeesus out of your family and friends.
Winning an argument over which horror movie is the scariest could be tricky because different people react differently to various types of horror movies. Some scare easily to slashers and gothic horror, while others are terrified of post-apocalyptic and zombie horror. Regardless, broadbandchoices, a UK company that compares broadband deals, might have a scientific answer to this debate.
Last year they set out to determine the scariest movie of all time using science in a project dubbed the ‘Science of Scare Project’. During the experiment, an audience of 50 people of varying ages had their heart rates monitored as they watched over 100 hours of scary films. After the experiment, broadbandchoices made a list of the top 35 scariest films that had the biggest reactions from the audience’s heart rates.
Now, granted there could be restrictive factors like the small sample size and the fact the experiment only relied on movie ratings from Rotten Tomatoes, Reddit, and IMDB to select the top 50 films for the research. Nevertheless, the results disclosed what movies scare audiences the most and how much they get scared.
“Sinister”, a 2012 horror film directed by Ethan Hawke took the scariest movie crown last year, spiking audience heart rates to an average of 86 beats per minute (BPM). The participants had a resting heart rate of 65 BPM hence “Sinister” caused a 32% increase.
In 2021, broadbandchoices decided to update the experiment by increasing the audience sample size to 250 and updating the movie list. “Host”, the 2020 horror/mystery film directed by Bob Savage beat out “Sinister” and “Insidious” to be crowned the scariest movie of all time. “Host” is movie low budget British horror film shot entirely on Zoom during COVID-19 quarantine. It follows six friends who unintentionally invite a demon during a virtual séance.
It caused a chilling 37% increase in audience heart rate from an average of 64BPM to 88BPM, with the scariest scene peaking at a heart-pounding 130BPM. It is only edged out by last year’s “Insidious” whose most terrifying scene peaked at 133BPM. That being said, Science Project 2021 lists the films below as the top 20 scariest movies of all time:
- “Host” 2020
- “Sinister” 2012
- “Insidious” 2010
- “The Conjuring” 2013
- “Hereditary” 2018
- “Terrified” 2017
- “It Follows” 2014
- “A Quiet Place Part 2″ 2021
- “Paranormal Activity” 2007
- “The Conjuring 2″ 2016
- “The Babadook” 2014
- “The Descent” 2005
- “Hush” 2016
- “A Quiet Place” 2018
- “The Ring” 2002
- “A Nightmare on Elm Street” 1984
- “Halloween” 1978
- “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” 2003
- “IT” 2017
- “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It” 2021
Well, there you have it. The most hair raising and spellbinding flicks ever made, according to science. The next time you debate over the scariest film ever, remember that science has an opinion as well.