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Sinister Is The Scariest Horror Movie Ever Made, Study Finds

Sinister Is The Scariest Horror Movie Ever Made, Study Finds

From zombies to vampires, to things that go bump in the night, there are dozens of Halloween flicks to choose from this year. However, a recent study has officially crowned supernatural horror Sinister the scariest of them all.

The 2012 film is about a true-crime writer Ellison Oswalt, played by Ethan Hawke, who discovers several 8mm home movies in the attic of his new house depicting gruesome murders, including one in his new home. The discovery puts his entire family in danger. The cast also includes Juliet Rylance and Clare Foley.

To find out which horror movie was the spookiest - in what sounds like a dream task for any horror movie lover - researchers asked 50 people to have their heart rate monitored while they watched 50 horror movies (that is over 120 hours of jump scares, creatures and ghouls). The films were selected based on their ratings on sites like IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes.

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Each person's resting heart rate was recorded and their average heart rate over the course of everything they watched was monitored too. As it turns out, Sinister kept their heart rates up 32 per cent more consistently than others. The film's biggest jump scare made the audience's heart rate (bpm) increase from an average of 86bpm during the film to 131bpm.

Rounding out the top 20 of what the study calls "scientifically scary movies" includes many modern day favourites such as Insidious in the runner-up position. The 2010 film is the first installment in the Insidious franchise, it tells the story of a couple whose son enters a comatose state and becomes possessed by a variety of entities from another world.

The top 10 scientifically scary horror movies (Credit: Broadband Choices)
The top 10 scientifically scary horror movies (Credit: Broadband Choices)

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Despite Sinister coming first overall, Insidious had the biggest jump-scare related heart rate increase. The Conjuring is the in top three and its sequel, The Conjuring 2, is in the top 10 at number seven.

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The hugely popular Paranormal Activity and the cult favourite The Babadook are also ones to watch for a fright.

Regan is possessed by a dark force in The Exorcist (Credit: Warner Bros.)
Regan is possessed by a dark force in The Exorcist (Credit: Warner Bros.)

In what may come as a shock for many horror fans, most of the classic horror films were elsewhere in the top 20. A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Exorcist and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre had heart-rate spikes of 104 bpm, 92 bpm and 98 bpm respectively.

Sinister (Credit: Blumhouse Productions)
Sinister (Credit: Blumhouse Productions)
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Broadband Choices, the group that conducted the study, called Sinister "one of the great modern horrors" that is "packed with scares, twists, jumps, creepy kids and bad decisions which kept our test subjects' hearts pounding throughout the whole movie."

Featured Image Credit: Blumhouse Productions

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Gregory Robinson

Gregory is a journalist working for Tyla. After graduating with a master's degree in journalism, he has worked for both print and online publications and is particularly interested in TV, (pop) music and lifestyle. He loves Madonna, teen dramas from the 90s and prefers tea over coffee. Get in touch [email protected]