Martin Scorsese Names his Scariest Films of all Time

Acclaimed American director favours classic black-and-white horror, such as The Haunting and Dead of Night – but The Shining gets a look-in

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Martin Scorsese has named his top 11 scary movies – and surprise, surprise, there’s not a Hostel or Saw to be seen.

Instead the professorial director of Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Shutter Island has come down firmly in favour of old-school black-and-white chillers, with Stanley Kubrick‘s The Shining, the Barbara Hershey starrer The Entity, and the child-ghost shocker The Changeling being the most recently-made entries, all in the early 1980s.

Number one on Scorsese’s list, compiled for the Daily Beast website, is The Haunting, the 1963 British-made spookfest about a group of ghosthunters staying overnight in a creepy mansion. Directed by Robert Wise, and starring Julie Harris and Claire Bloom, it was remade in 1999 to general disdain.

In second and third places are two more black and white horrors: The Isle of the Dead, the creepy 1945 walking-dead pic from cult exploitation director Val Lewton, and The Uninvited, a haunted house thriller made in 1944 with Ray Milland.

He also finds room for two other classic British horrors: Dead of Night (no 5), the 1945 “portmanteau” chiller which contains the famous story of the ventriloquist who believes his dummy is alive, and the creepy ghost story The Innocents (no 10), directed by Jack Clayton and adapted from Henry James’ Turn of the Screw.

Link to video: The best horror films: ‘We’d freeze-frame the bit where the head falls off’

Scorsese’s main concession to conventionality comes at no 7 with The Shining, of which he says: “Kubrick made a majestically terrifying movie, where what you don’t see or comprehend shadows every move the characters make.” One place below comes The Exorcist, made by Scorsese’s fellow Hollywood New Waver William Friedkin, which he decribes as “utterly horrifying as it was the day it came out”.

He rounds things off by placing Alfred Hitchcock‘s Psycho – the film that topped the Guardian and Observer critics’ poll of top 10 horror films – at number 11.

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