Feature

32 Developers Share Their Picks For Best Horror Movies Ever

by Tim Turi on Oct 01, 2014 at 09:00 AM

We already grilled 28 developers for their picks for Top 5 Horror Games of All Time, but the conversation about the best scares doesn't end there. Wrapping up our month of horror (read our cover reveal for The Horror Issue here) is a collection of 32 developers' choices for the best horror films ever.

Scary movies have been rattling viewers' nerves for a long time, influencing some of the best games ever, both horror-themed and otherwise. We reached out to everyone from the creators of Resident Evil and Borderlands to the developer behind Slender: The Arrival to see what the makers of our favorite games consider truly frightening or a blood-soaked good time. Read our analysis after the list to explore talking points like which film received the most picks, pervasive horror film franchises, and more.

Thomas Grip

Frictional Games Creative Director
Best Known For: Penumbra, Amnesia

1. The Exorcist
2. Alien
3. Ringu
4. Blair Witch Project
5. Audition

Chris Ashton

Turtle Rock Studios Design Director and Co-Founder
Best Known For: Left 4 Dead, Evolve

1. The Thing
2. Jaws
3. Poltergeist
4. Evil Dead
5. Christine

Bruce Straley

Naughty Dog Game Director
Best Known For: Uncharted, The Last of Us

1. Ringu
2. The Shining
3. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
4. The Exorcist
5. Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2

Phil Robb

Turtle Rock Studios Creative Director and Co-Founder
Best Known For: Left 4 Dead, Evolve

1. The Exorcist
2. Alien
3. The Shining
4. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
5. The Howling

Neil Druckmann

Naughty Dog Creative Director
Best Known For: Uncharted, The Last of Us

1. The Ring
2. Alien
3. The Silence of the Lambs
4. 28 Days Later
5. Army of Darkness

Steve Papoutsis

Visceral Games General Manager
Best Known For: Dead Space, Battlefield: Hardline

1. The Shining
2. An American Werewolf in London
3. Evil Dead II
4. The Exorcist
5. Night of the Living Dead

Ted Price

Insomniac Games President
Best Known For: Ratchet & Clank, Resistance, Sunset Overdrive

1. Alien
2. Hellraiser
3. The Exorcist
4. Event Horizon
5. 28 Days Later

Drew Murray

Insomniac Games Game Director
Best Known For: Resistance, Sunset Overdrive

1. The Shining
2. Poltergeist
3. Reanimator
4. The Thing
5. Alien

Karla Zimonja

The Fullbright Company Designer and Co-Founder
Best Known For: BioShock 2, Gone Home

1. The Abominable Dr. Phibes
2. Ravenous
3. Hellraiser
4. An American Werewolf in London
5. Dead Ringers

Kate Craig

The Fullbright Company Environment Artist
Best Known For: Gone Home

1. Ravenous
2. Lake Mungo
3. The Thing
4. The Blair Witch Project
5. The Others

Swery65

Access Games Director
Best Known For: Deadly Premonition, D4

1. Ju-On
2. The Blob
3. Drag Me to Hell
4. The Thing
5. The Return of the Living Dead

Matt Gilgenbach

Infinitap Games President
Best Known For: Neverending Nightmares

1. The Shining
2. Ju-On
3. Alien
4. Bram Stoker’s Dracula
5. The Exorcist

Gary Napper

Creative Assembly Lead Game Designer
Best Known For: Alien Isolation

1. Alien
2. The Shining
3. Pontypool
4. Lost Highway
5. Dawn of the Dead (2004)

Garth DeAngelis

Firaxis Games Senior Producer
Best Known For: XCOM: Enemy Unknown

1. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
2. Aliens
3. Jacob’s Ladder
4. Trick ‘r Treat
5. Pan’s Labyrinth

Mike de Plater

Monolith Productions Director of Design
Best Known For: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

1. Alien
2. Funny Games
3. The Thing
4. The Evil Dead
5. Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Steve Gaynor

The Fullbright Company Designer and Co-Founder
Best Known For: BioShock 2, Gone Home

1. Alien
2. The Shining
3. The Descent
4. Hausu
5. The Happiness of the Katakuris

Kevin Stephens

Monolith Productions Studio Head
Best Known For: F.E.A.R., Condemned, Aliens vs. Predator 2

1. Ju-On
2. Dark Water
3. Aliens
4. The Thing
5. Ringu 0

Matt Allen

Monolith Productions Director of Technical Art
Best Known For: F.E.A.R., Condemned

1. Alien
2. Jacob’s Ladder
3. Hellraiser
4. Videodrome
5. The Thing

Michiteru Okabe

Capcom Producer
Best Known For: Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, Resident Evil: Revelations 2

1. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
2. Friday the 13th
3. The Ring
4. Ju-On
5. The Evil Dead

Yoshiaki Hirabayashi

Capcom Producer
Best Known For: Resident Evil (2002), RE 4, 5, 6

1. 28 Days Later
2. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
3. The Shining
4. Rec
5. The Descent

Richard Rouse III

Paranoid Productions Director, Designer, and Writer
Best Known For: The Suffering

1. Psycho
2. The Shining
3. Ringu
4. Candyman
5. The Descent

Akira Yamaoka

Composer
Best Known For: Silent Hill, Shadows of the Damned

1. Silent Hill
2. Zigoku
3. The Omen
4. Misery
5. Saw

Randy Pitchford

Gearbox Software President and CEO
Best Known For: Borderlands, Battleborn

1. Alien
2. The Thing
3. Night of the Living Dead
4. Evil Dead II
5. Psycho

Mikey Neumann

Gearbox Software Chief Creative Champion
Best Known For: Brothers in Arms, Borderlands

1. The Exorcist
2. Shaun of the Dead
3. Cabin in the Woods
4. Friday the 13th
5. Poltergeist

Oskari Häkkinen

Remedy Games Head of Franchise Development
Best Known For: Alan Wake, Quantum Break

1. The Shining
2. Predator
3. Child’s Play
4. Pet Cemetary
5. The Birds

Suda51

Grasshopper Manufacture CEO
Best Known For: No More Heroes, Killer7, Shadows of the Damned

1. Village of the Eight Gravestones
2. Hellraiser
3. Phatasm
4. Kuroi ie
5. Fallen

Glen Schofield

Sledgehammer Games Co-Founder and General Manager
Best Known For: Dead Space, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

1. Martyrs
2. Hostel
3. 28 Days Later
4. Alien
5. The Thing

Dean Evans

Ubisoft Creative Director
Best Known For: Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon

1. An American Werewolf in London
2. Videodrome
3. Suspiria
4. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
5. Cannibal Holocaust

Dan Pinchbeck

Creative Director The Chinese Room
Best Known For: Dear Esther, Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs

1. Night of the Living Dead
2. Videodrome
3. Rosemary’s Baby
4. The Shining
5. Threads

Shinji Mikami

Founder and CEO Tango Gameworks
Best Known For: Resident Evil, Devil May Cry, The Evil Within

1. Dawn of the Dead
2. Halloween
3. Yotsuyakaidan
4. The Thing
5. Alien

Alex Tintor

Founder/Director at Blue Isle Studios
Best Known For: Slender: The Arrival

1. Psycho
2. The Blair Witch Project
3. Alien
4. Event Horizon
5. The Shining

David Chateauneuf

Red Barrels Games Co-Founder, Game & Level Designer
Best Known For: Outlast

1. The Evil Dead
2. The Grudge
3. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
4. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
5. The Thing

Making Sense of the Horror

We parsed through all the developers' Top 5 Horror Movies lists and found some interesting trends. Here are some intriguing points we noticed.

  • Out of the 32 developers that offered their Top 5 Horror Movie lists, Alien secured 14 votes, making it the highest-rated pick. That means nearly half of all the devs included it on their list.
  • Behind Alien in the second slot is The Shining with 11 votes, number three is The Thing with 10 votes, and number four is The Exorcist with 8 votes. Fifth place is a five-way tie of four votes each shared by 28 Days Later, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Hellraiser, The Evil Dead, and Ju-On.
  • All the movies in the developers’ overall top four were released between 1973 and 1982.
  • The most popular foreign horror film is Ju-on with four votes.
  • The most popular zombie movie is 28 Days Later with four votes.
  • The most-picked sequel is Dawn of the Dead with three votes, followed closely by Aliens.
  • The oldest horror film on the list is Psycho, released in 1960.
  • The most recent horror film to make the cut is Cabin in the Woods, released in 2012.
  • According to these developers’ lists, Freddy Krueger and Pinhead are tied for the most popular slasher icons.