'Sinister' crowned scariest movie of all time after heart rate experiment

Ethan Hawke in 2012 horror movie 'Sinister'. (Credit: Momentum)
Ethan Hawke in 2012 horror movie 'Sinister'. (Credit: Momentum)

If you’re looking for the scariest possible movie to watch this Halloween, then 2012’s Sinister is your best bet — according to science.

Broadband Choices recently carried out a study, entitled The Science of Scare, in which they tracked the heart rate of 50 viewers watching a curated list of 50 memorable horror movies.

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Sinister came out on top, with an average heart rate of 86 bpm across the movie and a highest spike of 131 bpm for the biggest jump scare — presumably the unforgettable lawnmower scene.

Other modern horror efforts completed the top five, with Sinister only narrowly beating Insidious, The Conjuring, Hereditary and Paranormal Activity.

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Insidious managed the biggest single spike, with one jump scare shooting participants’ heart rates to an average of 133 bpm.

Modern films dominated the list, with A Nightmare on Elm Street (13th place) deemed the scariest movie released prior to the new millennium.

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Sinister tells the story of a crime writer, played by Ethan Hawke, who secretly moves his family into a home with a violent past in the hope that it will inspire him.

He finds a box of Super 8 snuff films, with Hawke’s character ultimately noting the presence of a demonic figure — revealed as Pagan deity Bughuul — in each of the movies.

'Sinister'. (Credit: Momentum)
'Sinister'. (Credit: Momentum)

Scott Derrickson helmed the film, which earned $83m (£63m) at the global box office and was followed by sequel Sinister 2 in 2015.

Derrickson followed Sinister with another horror effort in Deliver Us From Evil before making the jump to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the man behind Doctor Strange.

Read more: Chiwetel Ejiofor says Sam Raimi is perfect for Doctor Strange 2

He has been replaced for the Doctor Strange follow-up by Sam Raimi, but has signed up for a new project of his own in the shape of a sequel to cult fantasy film Labyrinth.

As creepy as the Goblin King was first time around, it doesn’t quite pack the same fear factor as Sinister — as far as we know.

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