The horror genre has produced some of the best movies ever made. It has allowed filmmakers to bring to our screens some of the most iconic characters and stories to have ever come out of the human imagination. Over the years we have all sat in movie theatres watching buckets worth of blood splashed everywhere as these films have done their best to scare us to death ( Scariest Movie Scenes ).
Love them or hate them horror movies play on one of our strongest emotions, fear. Why we continue to love going to the theatre to actually pay get scared out of our minds is anyone’s guess, but year after year we do. Thankfully, the horror film has seen something of a revival of late. Starting back in the early 2000’s, the horror film underwent a rebirth that has resulted in a string of great new horror films.
Films such as Saw (2002), 28 Days Later (2002), Hotel (2005), and American Psycho are just a few of the great horror movies made over the last two decades. What I really love about this genre is that it has always been teaming with original ideas and scary characters. Directors somehow seem to be able to let their imaginations run wild whereas in other genres, original ideas are often muted for fear of ruining box office takings.
Every horror fan could argue for hours about what their top 10 scariest movies scenes of all-time are. So I decided to just make a list of the scenes that really made me jump out of my seat when I first saw them.
A good horror scene should really stay with you long after you have left the cinema. After I watched Alien as a 9-year-old, I remember not being able to sleep properly for weeks after. To me this is the essence of a really good horror film. It should scare you in a way that stays with you for a long time after.
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Here are my top 10 scariest movie scenes of all-time:
Psycho Shower Scene
Alfred Hitchcock was a true master of suspense. When Psycho first came out, it literally had to be shown with a warning that it might be too scary for some people to watch. Nothing like it had been seen on the big screen before, or by mainstream audiences at least.
The shower scene in which Norman attacks a young hotel guest with a knife as she takes a shower is enough to put the fear of God into anyone. The sharp piercing shriek on the musical soundtrack is instantly recognizable and made even worse by the images of a screaming woman and gushing blood. Without question, this is one of the best horror scenes ever made, and one that has really stood the test of time too.
The Fly – Acid Vomit
The Fly was one of the very few Hollywood remakes that is better than the original. It is also a film that has a more than one scene that could have easily made it onto this list. For me, the scariest one is when Brundle, who has now almost turned completely into a fly, regurgitates digestive acids onto the hand of Stathis Borans, who has come to try to stop him. We are treated to typical Cronenberg style gore as we see Borans’ hand slowly melt away as he screams in agony.
The Blair Witch Project – Ending
The ending of The Blair Witch Project is probably the scariest last few minutes of a horror film ever. Most horrors end with the surviving characters sharing a few happy moments together, but not The Blair Witch Project.
For about 10 minutes leading up to the ending the shaky hand-held camerawork and poor lighting ratchet up the tension until suddenly the Blair Witch strikes. This is one of those scenes that the first time you see it will have you jumping out of your seat.
The Thing – Defibrillation Scene
The Thing is arguably the best Hollywood remake ever made. It has become a classic in its own right and is always included on any self-respecting horror fan’s list of the best horror films ever made. As with The Fly there are loads of great scenes that could easily make it to this list. My personal favorite is the defibrillation scene. Special effects man Rob Bottin created some amazing visual effects including a spider head, which still jumps into my mind whenever I see a resuscitation scene in a movie.
Phantom of the Opera – Unmasking the Phantom
You might not expect a film that was made nearly 100 years ago to be scary but you would be wrong. While Phantom of the Opera might not be as scary as Nosferatu there is one scene that is undoubtedly the scariest of any silent film ever made.
The moment when Christine unmasks the Phantom to reveal his hideous face underneath actually caused audience members to faint. For me, as a 10-year old kid, it was enough to make me never want to go to a church again.
Seven – He’s Alive!
The scene in which one of John Doe’s victims comes to life is the modern version of the unmasking of the Phantom. If it is enough to scare the hell out of Brad Pitt and a bunch of tough SWAT guys then it was bound to send half the audience jumping out of their seats in fright.
Don’t Look Now – Ending
Don’t Look Now is director Nicolas Roeg’s masterpiece. More a suspense thriller than an outright horror, the scene in which Donald Sutherland meets his end is not only scary but incredibly creepy too. Added to this scenes power is the ambiguity of what is really going on in the first place. As the audience and Sutherland’s character await the innocent little girl to turn around, he is instead confronted with a hideous being who proceeds to stab him to death.
Ring – Crawling out of TV scene
There is nothing like seeing a sinister woman crawl out from the TV to scare the socks off you. I saw this film on the big screen and remember the whole audience gasp as it happened. The really great thing about this scene is that it suggests that no one is safe because she is just one screen away from us too. After watching the film, I knew for certain that not one person was ever going to look at their TV the same way again.
Jaws – Opening Shark Attack
Steven Speilberg’s film Jaws was so scary that even today people are scared to go in the ocean. When I first saw the film I wouldn’t go near a swimming pool for a long time after. The opening scene, where the shark attacks a swimmer, is really horrific. As if that wasn’t scary enough for one film, a later attack where we see the shark swim up under its victim, with its jaws open wide, probably emptied every beach in the USA for years after.
Alien – Dallas death scene
While most people pick the chest burster scene as their scariest, I have to say that for me the scariest moment of the film came as Captain Dallas tried to escape the alien. The moment that Dallas turns around and shines a light on a screaming alien who is about to kill him is without question the scariest movie scene of all-time.
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