Before starting off this list, I think it’s important to remember two things, this list is based solely off opinion and there’s a chance that some of these picks were made off of pure nostalgia. Most importantly, if you disagree with anything on the list, or think I’ve forgotten something, let me know. I love horror movies and am always looking for films from the genre that I’ve missed out on. Oh and SPOILERS!
10.) Jeepers Creepers “Beating You”
With movies like Valentine and Thirteen Ghosts being released in 2001, the horror genre was pretty much dead. It’s why, as a kid, I was so excited to watch Jeepers Creepers. Seriously, I must have watched this movie 40 times as a kid, and sure, Jeepers Creepers may not necessarily have that one “scary” moment but I do think the movie as a whole delivers on attempting to tell a scary story. There are several scenes that I thought would have worked really well for this list, but I always end up going back to the opening scare. It’s a great moment that just sort of happens upon the characters and audience all at the same time.
9.) The Red Dragon Wheelchair Scene
For whatever reason, maybe because Hannibal was so bad, Red Dragon isn’t really talked about much and when it is, it’s treated like a lesser movie. I couldn’t disagree more though. Great performances are given from everyone including Ralph Fiennes and Phillip Seymour Hoffman who are the stars of this scene. The evil that Fiennes is able to present is matched only by the absolute terror that Hoffman gives. A scene that, with lesser actors, could have been completely laughable is held in check by these two great actors.
8.) IT, Georgie’s Death
As a kid who loved horror movies, there were only 4 movies that scared me and this is one of them. The death of Georgie is absolutely terrifying. While I can recognize that it perhaps doesn’t hold up as well as it once did, Tim Curry’s Pennywise is incredibly creepy in this scene. When young Georgie asks if the balloons float, there almost seems to be a sexual release given by Pennywise. As a kid I was scared of the close up shot of Pennywise’s fangs but as an adult, that little detail of sexual urge only makes the scene that much creepier.
7.) The Zodiac Basement Scene
This scene on it’s own may not seem all that scary, but once you’ve spent 2 and a half hours collecting all of the clues along side Jake Gyllenhaal, tension reaches it’s maximum level with this scene. As this scene begins, it reminds the audience of all the clues and it’s then that you realize that for the first time in the entire movie, Jake’s character is in actual danger. No longer is he an Eagle Scout having fun playing detective. It’s in this scene, that just maybe, Jake’s character has gotten too close to the case and is now part of the Zodiac’s game.
6.) The Blair Witch Project “The House”
I absolutely love found footage horror movies and it would be a shame to not include my favorite film in the sub-gene. After a tiring, endless walk through the woods, the characters finally come across something other than trees, a house. Inside this abandoned house are bloody handprints on the wall, rooms filled with darkness, and the screams of their best friend. A fantastic ending to one of my favorite movies.
5.) Silence of The Lambs “The Asylum”
As far as I’m concerned, Silence of The Lambs is one of the greatest movies ever made. What’s great about this scene is that you can talk about it like a film snob and mention how the red lighting is to represent that Clarice is heading towards hell, and Barney being dressed in all white represents an angel watching over her as she begins her descent into hell, or you can watch this movie like a normal person and talk about how fucking crazy it is because you get to watch a man throw his cum in Jodie Foster’s hair. Either way, it’s an incredibly unsettling and scary moment even though the main character of the scene is in no real danger.
4.) Halloween’s Ending Chase
I said there were four movies that scared me as a kid and it’s time to get to number two. Michael Myers is a crazed mass-murder just like so many other horror movie characters, but what makes him so scary is the fact that he could be real. He doesn’t have any powers, he’s not some ghost that’ll kill you after you watch a video tape, he’s just a man with a knife… who is accompanied by some of the scariest music ever put in a film. Scary music and scary murder man, with your powers combined I give you one of the scariest scenes of all time.
3.) Texas Chainsaw Massacre “The Dinner Scene”
The original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, for me, falls into the exact same category as Halloween. This movie is scary because it could actually happen and the dinner scene is easily one of the craziest and scariest moments in any horror film. Not only is this scene terrifying for the character but you really start to wonder if the actress herself is in some kind of danger. This isn’t a found footage film but the way everyone acts is so realistic and so bizarre that you almost forget that you’re watching movie. On top of that, from the character’s stand point, all of her friends are dead, she’s tied to a chair, surrounded by cannibals, and she’s in the middle of nowhere. All hope is lost.
2.) The Attic Scene from REC.
Rec is easily one of my favorite horror films and it’s ending scene is just fantastic. After following these two characters through this horrible apartment, we find them trapped in darkness, being stalked by some sort of a monster. One of the things that so many filmmakers seem to forget is that to make a great horror film, the audience is suppose to be cheering for the main characters to live and this scene proves exactly why. If I didn’t care about these characters all tension would be lost but because I like them so much, I’m on the edge of my seat sweating anxiety because I want them to be okay…
1.) The Sister from Pet Sematary
Well, I said four movies scared me as a kid and it’s now time to get to the third one: Pet Sematary. When I was a little boy, I would stay up late watching Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Silver Bullet and none of it scared me. Pet Sematary however was one of the few films that resulted in me burying my head underneath the blankets. The scene in particular that I always go back to is with the character Zelda. To be honest, if you haven’t experienced this horrifying scene before, you should just click on the clip and see it for yourself. Maybe I’ve got my nostalgia glasses on but I re-watched the scene while making this list and it still creeped me out.
Well, that’s it for my list of top 10 scariest scenes of all time. Like I said before, I know I’ve missed a couple classics but that’s what you’re here for. Let me know in the comments, what you think are the scariest moments in movie history. Oh and before I go, I seemed to have only mentioned three of the four movies that scared me as a little kid. Looks like one day I’ll have to sit down and tell you all about the movie that scarred me for life… one day. Thanks for reading this and have a safe and happy Halloween!