The British movie site Play.com had a wonderful idea. First it asked people to pick the scariest movie of all time. Taking the top ten, the company organized an experiment: get test subjects connected to heart monitors to watch the movies while recording their beats per minute. The winner: Stanley Kubrick's The Shining.
The scariest movie also had the scariest scene of all, with a 28.2-percent increase in beats per minute:
According to the Daily Mail, the measurements "were compared to each member's average heart rate during each film to calculate the percentage increase in heart rates of each spike. These percentage increases were then added together and compared with other spikes to find the highest percentage increase of each individual scene."
Here's the complete ranking:
• The Shining (1980)
• The Exorcist (1973)
• A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)
• Ring (aka Ringu) (1998)
• Alien (1979)
• The Silence of the Lambs (1990)
• Poltergeist (1982)
• Insidious (2010)
• Halloween (1978)
• Saw (2004)