The Shining (1980) Director: Stanley Kubrick

Kubrick's The Shining is a masterpiece and a contender for the scariest horror film of all time. Highly influential on popular culture, it's a joy to watch in terms of its cinematography, as well as featuring the freakiest kid in the whole of cinema - Danny (Danny Lloyd), a young boy who has 'the shine', otherwise known as ESP.

Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) takes a winter care-taking job at the Overlook Hotel, despite the fact the last caretaker went nuts and axed to death his wife and two daughters, before blowing his own brains out. This doesn't put Jack off the lucrative job and he moves his family - wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and Danny - to the hotel. The Overlook itself is eerie and imposing; a vast hotel with endless corridors and garish carpets and rugs. It frightens us all as we wouldn't want to be stuck there over winter...let alone seeing dead twin girls, a river of blood coming down the stairs and a decomposing granny trying to strangle you in room 237.

It's the iconic imagery and infamous scenes that 'get you', but not as much as the power of Danny. What an extraordinary performance from the young Danny Lloyd, who was cast for his ability to maintain his concentration for long periods at a time. His face shows absolute terror, whether he is zoning in on the supernatural 'friends' he has around the Overlook or having a vision of his father's intentions - REDRUM, REDRUM, REDRUM, REDRUM.

Jack Nicholson is outstanding too - playing the slowly-going-mad (or is he?!) Jack with flair and a good deal of dark humour. One look to camera can say it all.

The Shining is as close to perfect film-making as you can get. Kubrick adapted Stephen King's novel of the same name, co-writing with Diane Johnson, retaining key elements of it and the explanation of 'the shining', but putting his auteur touches to a film where the camera strikes horror in the turn of a corner in a corridor, or by slowly investigating a hotel room where we know something very bad lurks at the end of the shot behind that shower curtain.

It's absolutely terrifying.