RT's Top 20 Halloween Movie Countdown, Part 1

by | October 26, 2006 | Comments

Just what does Rotten Tomatoes deem the all-time scariest horror flick? Is it a gruesome slasher that results in heightened anxiety and sudden spine-tingling jolts and jumps? Or, is it a psychological thriller that plagues the subconscious for weeks to come?

Author: Christina Troup

We searched the site for the top 20 horror/suspense movies to reveal the numero uno cinematic scare just in time for a frightful Halloween film fest.**

Today’s installment kicks off the countdown; check in every day ’til October 31 as we serve up the best reviewed frightening flicks for your Halloween viewing pleasure!

Oh, and be afraid. Be very afraid.

Top Horror/Suspense Films by Tomatometer, #20-16


20) Open Water (2004) 72%

It might as well be space because in the Caribbean Sea no one can hear you scream. Well, save for the circling sharks below. In the slow-paced psychological thriller "Open Water," married couple Susan and Daniel embark upon a deep sea adventure to rest, relax and reconnect. Unfortunately for the twosome, they are accidentally left behind by their diving team, smack dab in the middle of the deep blue. The pair struggle to survive amid tumultuous elements and inhospitable oceanic critters. Oh, and get this, it’s based on a true story, so you may want to rethink that next seaside getaway.

Starring: Blanchard Ryan, Daniel Travis
Directed by: Chris Kentis

19) Joy Ride (2001) 73%



Breaker, breaker 1-9. If there’s a lesson to be learned from the horror meets the highway jaunt "Joy Ride," it’s that one should never mess with a guy who goes by the name "Rusty Nail." Tetanus, people. Tetanus. Of course, on-screen bros Paul Walker and Steve Zahn didn’t get the memo and end up messing with a mentally unstable truck driver via CB radio. Essentially, a mean-spirited joke goes awry and the two brothers, along with potential love interest Leelee Sobieski, find themselves in the path of a madman’s quest for revenge.

Starring: Steve Zahn, Paul Walker, Leelee Sobieski
Directed by: John Dahl

18) George A. Romero’s Land of the Dead (2005) 74%



After a lengthy hiatus, horror master George A. Romero returned in 2005 with yet another unsettling tale of life among zombies in "Land of the Dead." This time around, the living dead and humans co-exist, but not without a structured caste system in place. Romero’s societal commentary tackles the issue of the "haves" and "have-nots," where the wealthy live in luxury, safe behind walls of protection while the not-so fortunate are relegated to life in streets. Regardless, no amount of money can keep the ever-evolving lineage of zombies at bay for too long.

Starring: Simon Baker, John Leguizamo, Dennis Hopper, Asia Argento
Directed by: George A. Romero

17) Signs (2002) 75%



Honestly, which is scarier: the little girl that asks for a glass of water or the bobble-headed aliens lurking about in M. Night Shyamalan‘s "Signs?" Beyond the suspense of who, or perhaps what, is behind the crop circles in the cornfield, "Signs" digs a little deeper and brings up issues of faith and religion. The tale of the Hess family and the series of peculiar events that have lately befallen them is a perfectly chilling romp for the whole family to enjoy.

Starring: Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Rory Culkin
Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan

16) Audition (1999) 76%



The first half of "Audition" is slow-moving, like a glob of peanut butter lodged in the back of your throat. But by the latter half, chances are you’d prefer that things had kept at their leisurely pace. Not for the faint of heart, Takashi Miike‘s disturbing tale of courtship is a perfect example that it’s never wise to mislead a woman. After all, it’s all fun and games until someone severs a limb.

Directed by: Takashi Miike
Starring: Ryo Ishibashi, Eihi Shiina

Tune in tomorrow for the next five titles, in our four-day countdown to Halloween’s #1 rated horror flick!

**These are our top-Tomatometer picks with at least 40 reviews counted, which is why some of the classics of spooky cinema aren’t included.

Tag Cloud

VH1 The CW children's TV Pop MSNBC The Arrangement 2018 Funimation Adult Swim renewed TV shows YA 2017 Black History Month cults revenge CNN Mystery FOX Mary poppins cancelled TV shows 24 frames Pixar Rocketman Infographic PBS teaser Marvel Studios spain discovery Lifetime Fox News spider-man Mindy Kaling Extras Paramount breaking bad ESPN Disney streaming service medical drama Interview Comics on TV FXX 007 Mary Poppins Returns History NBC 2016 Chernobyl Tarantino DC Comics robots Marvel Television tv talk Tomatazos Amazon Prime Fall TV science fiction E3 batman Countdown Syfy Ellie Kemper Animation Binge Guide TV renewals TV series SXSW Election Pet Sematary Grammys Superheroes Valentine's Day crime thriller Sundance TV Discovery Channel Vudu animated A24 Elton John Crackle biography Creative Arts Emmys CW Seed crime romantic comedy Calendar directors transformers what to watch Cartoon Network Lifetime Christmas movies movies politics mutant National Geographic harry potter technology witnail Box Office ABC Mary Tyler Moore kids LGBT name the review anime unscripted space Shudder binge First Reviews Writers Guild of America 2015 Columbia Pictures franchise sequel south america Emmy Nominations NYCC Pride Month Captain marvel hispanic composers Rocky Superheroe Reality Competition halloween reviews psychological thriller docudrama Year in Review Comedy OneApp hist jamie lee curtis festivals LGBTQ strong female leads See It Skip It 71st Emmy Awards Black Mirror video Sony Pictures based on movie cancelled television Ovation game show RT21 Pirates Paramount Network finale BBC Holidays Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Fantasy Comic Book Nominations Turner Classic Movies USA Music anthology Song of Ice and Fire Amazon Prime Video Hulu 45 dragons Britbox streaming Best and Worst Action Spectrum Originals Avengers Stephen King TCM Family Martial Arts Biopics screen actors guild quibi AMC Summer Winners HBO Max Apple game of thrones Teen DirecTV El Rey Disney Plus foreign Arrowverse singing competition Super Bowl RT History latino dc SDCC Podcast theme song disaster BET documentary psycho Certified Fresh comiccon christmas movies supernatural Comedy Central Classic Film comics cars Quiz Spring TV SundanceTV Pop TV Amazon Studios Musical Emmys romance Apple TV+ Polls and Games WGN casting 2020 Nat Geo joker Red Carpet HBO television crossover versus canceled cinemax Toys USA Network DC Universe Musicals TCA Winter 2020 Nickelodeon war social media cops YouTube sitcom Marvel dceu A&E comic Travel Channel TNT Women's History Month Chilling Adventures of Sabrina elevated horror Trivia ITV TV Land Thanksgiving Ghostbusters independent vampires free movies TLC GLAAD Disney justice league Rock screenings 20th Century Fox FX on Hulu Tumblr book blaxploitation Baby Yoda cooking facebook American Society of Cinematographers nature Oscars Winter TV Epix Peacock dogs cancelled TV series Hallmark Christmas movies Opinion Lionsgate cats IFC green book Mudbound Cannes scary movies Starz Trailer ratings golden globes Sundance Now Sneak Peek true crime Marathons VICE TCA spy thriller Schedule Warner Bros. CBS All Access Bravo Walt Disney Pictures werewolf Dark Horse Comics Film Disney+ Disney Plus Esquire TBS spanish language Academy Awards Netflix spinoff Kids & Family CMT indie award winner Premiere Dates miniseries President 21st Century Fox natural history Star Trek Cosplay TIFF slashers Awards Tour TCA 2017 Apple TV Plus toy story Video Games police drama PaleyFest Photos mockumentary Trophy Talk reboot rotten movies we love adventure period drama political drama DGA MTV crime drama Anna Paquin Turner GIFs Freeform sag awards Tubi cartoon CBS GoT Netflix Christmas movies Film Festival zero dark thirty historical drama First Look Disney Channel Spike Endgame Rom-Com Watching Series New York Comic Con The Walking Dead Crunchyroll cancelled 2019 Acorn TV TruTV Awards diversity Food Network Country richard e. Grant Television Academy talk show stand-up comedy BBC America WarnerMedia blockbuster YouTube Red universal monsters serial killer Sundance APB zombies Shondaland boxoffice Showtime movie sports DC streaming service adaptation The Purge Drama Horror Set visit Brie Larson aliens dramedy MCU IFC Films Star Wars Reality OWN Western Holiday Christmas The Witch FX Hallmark X-Men Logo Universal ghosts Masterpiece zombie Amazon thriller travel Sci-Fi Character Guide Lucasfilm ABC Family canceled TV shows E! YouTube Premium San Diego Comic-Con doctor who Heroines