Every year around Halloween, countless publications and groups decide to weigh in on that ever popular question: what is the scariest film ever made? Whether it's a panel of experts weighing in, a public vote or some other criteria, it's a question seemingly of endless fascination - and, given the subjective nature of the question, we can expect endless answers too.
Play.com has opted to take the survey route, although have also taken things one step further and decided to put the findings to a marginally more scientific test. Initially, they polled 10,000 people to try and identify what the general public consider to be the definitively horrifying scary movies. The resulting list features a wide variety of horror classics from throughout cinema history. Topping the list was the ever-popular The Shining, followed by The Exorcist and Nightmare on Elm Street.
To put the public consensus to the test, the survey team decided to test out responses to the top three films using a heart beat monitor. As reported in The Guardian, the instantly recognisable 'Here's Johnny!' moment - where Jack Nicholson bursts through a door with an axe - indeed sent viewers' hearts racing, with an average of a 28.2% increase. While both The Exorcist and Elm Street resulted in higher average heart rates over the full length of the film - each at 25.9% - ultimately The Shining came out on top when the scariest individual scenes were taken into account.
Check out the full top 10 scariest films below. The organisers of the Dublin Film Festival have also tweeted a more Irish-centric infographic, embedded below. Someone will surely be along to challenge the findings for Halloween 2014:
1. The Shining
2. The Exorcist
3. A Nightmare on Elm Street
6. The Silence of the Lambs
— Dublin Film Festival (@DublinFilmFest) October 31, 2013
Main image: The Shining / Warner Bros.