When it comes to cinema, everybody has their own taste. Some like movies that make them laugh, some love a good mystery story, and some love a suspense film that will keep them on the edge of their seat. My personal taste has always been for the horror genre. I find that there is something simply exhilarating about a film that gets your heart racing and makes you jump at every howl of the wind outside.

So what are the top 10 scariest movies of all time? This is certainly a question that is open for debate, and different individuals may have different preferences in their horror. Some prefer the slasher film, some the supernatural and paranormal movies, and others may find entertainment in the recent slew of torture films. Taking into account various factors, I've compiled my own personal list of what I believe to be the top 10 scariest movies of all time.

In compiling this list, three things were kept in mind. First, I considered the significance of the films in horror movie history. Movies that were considered ground-breaking in their time were obviously viewed this way for a reason. The second criteria considered were the films' storylines. While bad acting can be overlooked (and in many horror movies MUST be overlooked), an excellent plot separates the good from the great. The final criteria is simply this: does this movie scare me?

That being said, here is my list of the top 10 scariest movies of all time.

10. The Changeling

There are a number of films that could have been placed in this tenth spot. The Changeling was chosen for the simple fact that it is one of the most underrated and under-appreciated horror films of all time. This movie is creepy, has an excellent storyline, and is one of the greatest ghost stories ever. For these reasons, The Changeling had to be included as one of the top 10 scariest movies of all time.

9. The Shining

Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of Stephen King's "The Shining" is one of the most iconic horror films ever. Say the words "Heeeeeere's Johnny!" and every horror buff gets the image of a crazed Jack Nicholson peering through an ax shattered door.

8. The Exorcist

Though often parodied, there is no denying the chilling atmosphere of The Exorcist. I did not sleep a wink the first time I watched this film years ago. That alone is enough to include it on my list of top 10 scariest movies of all time.

7. Halloween

Another iconic American horror film, Halloween was revolutionary when it was released. Though not the first slasher film, Halloween was possibly the biggest influence on the future popularity of the genre.

6. Poltergeist

Anybody else develop an irrational fear of clowns for weeks after seeing this film? An interesting storyline, creepy atmosphere, and lasting impression secure poltergeist the number six spot.

5. A Nightmare on Elm Street

Wes Craven's greatest accomplishment, A Nightmare on Elm Street made the name Freddy Krueger a staple in American culture. The story is truly original, and frankly is quite terrifying. The idea of a murderer who claims his victims in their dreams is enough to make you think twice about going to sleep. The film has stood the test of time and deserves this spot in the top 10 scariest movies of all time.

4. Night of the Living Dead

Romero's original zombie flick was truly ground-breaking. The concept of zombies may have been around before this film, but Night of the Living Dead led to years of walking dead entertainment that we can still enjoy today.

3. The Amityville Horror

Creepy, original, supposedly based on a true story. This 70's haunted house story has all of the elements necessary for an unnervingly entertaining supernatural thrill ride.

2. Jaws

While not at all a typical horror movie, there is no denying the scare factor of Jaws. While we all love a terrifying yet far-fetched film, there is something particularly enjoyable about a scary movie that is very much set in reality. Jaws takes our positive feeling about a fun day at the beach, and turns it into a nightmare.

1. The Evil Dead

Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell come together to bring us a low budget, cult classic scare-fest. The Evil Dead is campy and funny, yet somehow manages to deliver its share of chills. A secluded cabin in the woods can be creepy, a "Book of the Dead" and possessed best friends make it even more creepy.

For a horror buff it is difficult to narrow it down to the top 10 scariest movies of all time. Many deserving films have been left off, and they should all be experienced. But if you're looking to expand your horror film collection, this list is a good starting point.