1. THE SHINING (1980) Directed by Stanley Kubrick - Who can forget Jack Nicholson's over-the-top performance as deranged Jack Torrance? No other Stephen King novel has ever been depicted quite as chilling as this.
2. THE EXORCIST (1973) Directed by William Friedkin - A tormented priest tries to exorcise the devil from 12-year-old Linda Blair. In the process, he unleashes some of his own demons in a series of twisting heads, spinning beds and a stomach-churning spew of green vomit projectile missiles.
3. THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991) Directed by Jonathan Demme - FBI agent Clarisse Sterling (Jodie Foster) interviews cannibalistic murderer Hannibal Lechter (Anthony Hopkins), in the hope that he will help the bureau catch another serial killer who is preying on young women. The interrogations turn personal as Lechter, a psychiatrist, turns the tables and makes Clarisse the object of his dangerous cat-and-mouse game.
4. JAWS (1975) Directed by Steven Spielberg - A police chief (Roy Schneider), a scientist, and a grizzled sailor set out to kill a shark that is menacing the seaside community of Amity Island. For years, this movie made me horrified at the mere thought of getting into beachwater. John Williams' brilliant soundtrack added much to the cringe-factor.
5. HALLOWEEN (1978) Directed by John Carpenter - Michael Myers has been in an institution since he was a young boy for murdering his sister. Now he's escaped and is heading back home to terrorise the quiet community which still remembers him.
6. PSYCHO (1960) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock - Best-known for its' legendary shower scene featuring Janet Leigh, the unforgettable turn of Anthony Perkins as creepy Norman Bates still endures with its share of many nail-biting moments. Little wonder that the Bates Motel is one of the star attractions in the Universal Studios tour.
7. POLTERGEIST (1982) Directed by Tobe Hooper - "They're baack!" A young family is visited by ghosts in their home. At first the ghosts appear friendly, moving objects around the house to the amusement of everyone, then they turn nasty and start to terrorise the family before they "kidnap" the youngest daughter.
8. A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (1984) Directed by Wes Craven - Freddy Kruger is inside the nightmares of a group of four teenagers. He always appears strangely dressed and has knives on the fingers of his right hand. Then one of them is gruesomely murdered in her sleep. The survivors soon realise that if Freddy kills them in their sleep, then they will die in real life too. Thus begins an ordeal of wakefulness as they try to find some way to stop Freddy.
9. CARRIE (1976) Directed by Brian De Palma - Based on another Stephen King novel, Carrie is the story of Carrie White (Sissy Spacek). She is a girl brought up by a psychotically religious mother. When other students hatch a plot against Carrie, her telekinetic powers are unleashed during the school prom.
10. THE OMEN (1976) Directed by Richard Donner - An American ambassador (Gregory Peck) learns to his horror that his son is actually the son of Satan - the next Antichrist.
11. AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON (1981) Directed by John Landis - Two American tourists in England are attacked by a werewolf that none of the locals will admit exists. It eventually became the inspiration for Michael Jackson's Thriller, which was also helmed by Landis.
12. THE EVIL DEAD (1982) Directed by Sam Raimi - In this cult classic, Ash (Bruce Campbell) and four friends arrive at a backwoods cabin for a vacation, where they find a tape recorder containing incantations from an ancient book of the dead. When they play the tape, evil forces are unleashed, and one by one the friends are possessed. Precursor of the hilarious spoof, Army of Darkness, also starring Campbell.
13. ROSEMARY'S BABY (1968) Directed by Roman Polanski - Rosemary Woodhouse (played by Mia Farrow) discovers that her pregnancy is actually part of a satanic ritual.
14. SCREAM (1996) Directed by Wes Craven - Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) becomes the target of a killer who has stalked and killed one of her classmates. The only clue is a ghost mask. A local tabloid reporter, Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox) is on the case to find out who the killer is. This is where Sidney's offbeat group of friends rally to unlock the town's secrets and get caught up in the deadly results.
15. AMITYVILLE HORROR (1978) Directed by Stuart Rosenberg - Based on a true story of a family that moved into a perfectly nice house in Amityville, New York not knowing that a murder had been committed there. They soon experience strange manifestations which drive them away.
16. THE SIXTH SENSE (1999) Directed by M. Night Shyamalan - A boy (Haley Joel Osment) who communicates with spirits that don't know they're dead seeks the help of a disheartened child psychologist played by Bruce Willis. This film shot its director right into the spotlight, enabling him to do others in quick succession.
17. THE OTHERS (2001) Directed by Alejandro Amenabar - Grace (Nicole Kidman) retires with her two photosensitive children to a mansion on Jersey, towards the end of the Second World War, where she's waiting for her husband to come back from battle. She later becomes convinced that her family home is haunted
18. WAR OF THE WORLDS (1953) Directed by Byron Haskin - Loosely based on H.G. Wells' classic tale, the film follows the world's failed efforts to protect the Earth from an invasion from Mars. It offers plenty of scares, but the biggest has to be the encounter with a Martian in the abandoned farm house.
I have since shunned horror movies. Reason being I get so scared that I am on the verge of neurosis for days on end. From what I hear, Ringu (1998) and Ju-On: The Grudge (2003) would've been right up there in my list as well but then I'm too chicken now to have a jolly good screamfest like before. Maybe one day soon.