I'll be very interested to read Kate's and Keeb's take on this topic and I hope you enjoy mine. I'll do a mix of movies and books since I've read more scary books than I've watched scary movies.
TOP 10 SCARY MOVIES/BOOKS
My older sister had this book and when she went away to college she left it behind. I read it and had nightmares and trouble sleeping for a long time afterwards. Stephen King does a fantastic job with this book and if you enjoy building tension kind of scares this is a good one. The movie isn't bad either and Kathy Bates is fantastic as Annie Wilkes.
2. The Turn of the Screw
I had this as a condensed graphic novel as a was a child and I don't think my parents really knew the book or they wouldn't have given it to me to read. At first I was too young to understand what happened at the end, and later on when I realized what was going on and how the terrible end came about, well, I still read it because it had that weird fascination that scary things sometimes have. Somehow you think it will be better the next time you read it and it never is.
3. American Psycho
My BIL has a horror fascination and told me that I needed to read this one. It has a lot of graphic sexual violence, so keep that in mind if you ever think about reading it. It was a very creepy book and I have no interest in re-reading it. I never saw the movie.
4. Rosemary's Baby
I still find this movie pretty scary and likely as a mother now it would be even worse. It's like Gaslight, which I found fairly terrifying as a child, only ramped up to 11. This is a classic horror film and doesn't show any graphic violence since it's so old, but it's heavy on the implied terror and very sinister.
Yes, Stephen King makes this list twice. I used to enjoy his books tremendously and have fond memories of reading them and scaring myself silly. I haven't been able to read them as much since I had DD. I did listen to this as an audio book while I was pregnant and it was read by Steven Weber, who did a terrifyingly good job. This Steven Weber, crazy Brian from Wings:
Read the book, the movies never manage to capture the terror that Shirley Jackson can weave into her stories. I've read this a couple times and I'm always excited to see if a movie can do well with it, but they never seem to manage. Ms. Jackson makes each character come alive to me and you really feel like you're in their shoes. If you haven't read this yet, it's worth it!
7. Evil Dead (2013)
DH is a big fan of the Evil Dead series and was excited to see this one. I was a few months pregnant at the time, which I don't recommend if you plan on watching this one. There is some graphic violence and I missed a few scenes because of the need to visit the facilities. It had a great plot and some good nods to the old series.
8. Shadow of a Doubt
Since this is an older film I've seen it a few times and it's always been far enough between watchings that I don't quite remember where all the scares are. It's definitely worth watching if you haven't seen it yet. Since it's an older thriller it definitely uses more psychological terror and does it very well.
9. Event Horizon
This is a full-on scary movie. Not light as some of the others in the list, this one will scare you. It has psychological terror and gruesome death and since I watched it in '98 I can't bring myself to watch it again. It even scares DH and he's not scared by movies generally.
Event Horizon is an even rarer film in that it's a legitimately scary sci-fi movie. It uses its location to good use with the plot instead of being more like a bottle scare movie on a spaceship.
10. The Illustrated Man
I had to read this book in school and I can't remember now if it was the whole book or only a story from it. "The Veldt" was particularly creepy, although many of the tales have themes that stay with you for years later. I'm fairly sure I read it in grade 9 and that has to be 25 years ago now. I remember "The Veldt" extremely well and a few of the others. I think this is a must-read as well and I hope DD enjoys it when she's a lot older.
I hope you enjoyed the list and I'm sure you can easily tell I tend towards psychological thrillers vs. graphic violence.
Happy Stitching and maybe you'll enjoy a movie or book from the list while you stitch,