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

anime Brie Larson American Society of Cinematographers DC Comics Travel Channel WGN Mary Poppins Returns critics Binge Guide 2018 canceled TV shows video crime independent Superheroe BBC One Countdown GLAAD TV mutant El Rey Emmys Pixar Endgame Marathons Ghostbusters Shondaland doctor who zombie nfl IFC romance Turner Columbia Pictures period drama 45 Watching Series Showtime miniseries cooking Cosplay Pop TV dragons Summer Video Games dc Logo Sci-Fi social media screen actors guild First Reviews game show teaser dceu screenings harry potter The Arrangement Podcast comic Mary poppins criterion Extras Polls and Games cars tv talk NBC golden globes See It Skip It batman YouTube Red comedies Mystery adventure cults fast and furious Thanksgiving DC streaming service Winter TV Disney A&E all-time werewolf rotten movies we love indiana jones Captain marvel christmas movies Horror Box Office Amazon Studios Shudder Hear Us Out Rocketman Super Bowl die hard award winner Walt Disney Pictures Esquire toy story TNT Disney Channel Drama twilight Sundance Now hispanic The Walking Dead Warner Bros. sequel Tumblr mockumentary psychological thriller ABC Family stoner Amazon Prime Video news Western Television Academy Lionsgate spanish language Lucasfilm HBO Go Pop OWN Amazon unscripted FOX Chilling Adventures of Sabrina true crime football scorecard Disney+ Disney Plus boxoffice Red Carpet dogs Freeform First Look robots HBO Max witnail Cannes what to watch diversity reboot 2019 Film Festival TCA Awards nature A24 Ovation VH1 Turner Classic Movies sequels Food Network Pirates VOD Apple FX video on demand USA Christmas remakes ITV spinoff Vudu Nickelodeon Starz The CW toronto crossover facebook Infographic indie Lifetime Christmas movies ghosts political drama Fox News worst Nominations Crunchyroll GoT Spring TV Black Mirror name the review FXX CW Seed USA Network YouTube serial killer SDCC jamie lee curtis 72 Emmy Awards based on movie police drama Arrowverse movie richard e. Grant finale 2017 CBS All Access 2015 Year in Review Hallmark Christmas movies 21st Century Fox Fantasy best reviews Netflix Christmas movies natural history WarnerMedia kids BET Awards Set visit Certified Fresh festival Acorn TV medical drama satire DGA Action Holiday worst movies discovery dark chucky cancelled television stand-up comedy TV Land Comedy Central Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt NYCC transformers Election crime drama Marvel Television Trivia Syfy superhero stop motion Marvel joker Song of Ice and Fire Television Critics Association biography strong female leads universal monsters halloween Rom-Com Pet Sematary Marvel Studios sitcom nbcuniversal TCA franchise breaking bad animated Lifetime Reality Competition President comiccon green book PaleyFest television CBS Animation binge 007 Trailer crime thriller Interview 71st Emmy Awards sports Valentine's Day Mudbound adaptation 4/20 Comic Book Spike Trophy Talk Star Trek cancelled spider-man AMC New York Comic Con Discovery Channel SundanceTV hist dramedy Pride Month Apple TV+ festivals concert a nightmare on elm street Paramount Emmy Nominations streaming GIFs HBO aliens Disney Plus south america Rocky Ellie Kemper comics TV renewals Tomatazos parents documentary cancelled TV shows Cartoon Network Musicals LGBT Awards The Witch cops Rock VICE Nat Geo RT21 blaxploitation SXSW Black History Month DirecTV Britbox Comics on TV technology YA films OneApp venice TCA Winter 2020 movies romantic comedy docudrama ESPN ABC Amazon Prime APB Tubi Baby Yoda TBS Sundance TV Spectrum Originals Adult Swim MCU composers Crackle directors children's TV Quiz Awards Tour DC Universe laika game of thrones asian-american hollywood Paramount Network FX on Hulu Mindy Kaling E! psycho Opinion science fiction elevated horror CNN Premiere Dates revenge Best and Worst X-Men spy thriller singing competition Comedy cartoon Avengers Photos historical drama renewed TV shows Teen TCM LGBTQ San Diego Comic-Con Creative Arts Emmys canceled Women's History Month 24 frames classics anthology MTV IFC Films Universal Epix Musical theme song Sony Pictures slashers BET Oscars Reality spain Music cats Film PBS Sundance Toys Calendar MSNBC emmy awards Netflix Schedule Biopics E3 Elton John Star Wars rotten Anna Paquin 2020 latino Hulu Character Guide Grammys book sag awards thriller foreign Martial Arts Fall TV free movies versus Apple TV Plus 2016 obituary justice league space TCA 2017 Chernobyl Kids & Family vampires child's play Holidays disaster politics Funimation war Heroines travel The Purge supernatural documentaries CMT ratings Masterpiece PlayStation BBC BBC America Country TLC Mary Tyler Moore Sneak Peek cancelled TV series quibi Bravo Winners zero dark thirty Tarantino cinemax Hallmark casting RT History 20th Century Fox Stephen King scary movies zombies Peacock talk show mission: impossible BAFTA Disney streaming service blockbuster Family Writers Guild of America TruTV TIFF Superheroes series Classic Film History YouTube Premium National Geographic Academy Awards Dark Horse Comics