In July of 2013, a horror movie called The Conjuring hit theaters and made away with $42 million in its first weekend — the box office record for an original R-rated horror movie opening. The movie — starring Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as husband-wife paranormal investigators enlisted by a family to exorcise their haunted farmhouse — was also lauded by critics. The Conjuring scored an 86% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, as well as praise for its smart plot, cinematic beauty, and well-crafted scare-moments that harken back to classic horror films like The Exorcist.
The key to The Conjuring's tremendous success — and the reason it got a sequel, The Conjuring 2, this summer — is really pretty simple: It scared the shit out of people. And from the paranormal fright-fests and the psychological thrillers to the classics, that's what a good horror movie does. So we decided to round up the best scary movies — i.e. the ones most likely to make you shit your pants.