The 20 scariest movie moments!

Be warned ye’ who enter: for this is THE LIST OF THE DAMNED! Not really. But we’re in a spooky mood here at Quickflix, and have decided to make a list of the 20 scariest movie moments of all time.

We’ll take you through the most blood-curdling, gut-wrenching, sweat-inducing and soul-crushingly terrifying scenes in movie history, including gory deaths, psychedelic freakouts, ambiguous endings, and the scenes that are just so weird you couldn’t forget them if you tried. Click the images to see the clip – however, EXTREME VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED. Seriously.

Spoiler alert: The endings of the following films are discussed in the below article: The Descent, Rosemary’s Baby, Audition, Requiem for a Dream, Suspiria and The Blair Witch Project.

Let’s kick off the list with a bloodletting like you’ve never seen. Captain Jack Sparrow himself gets taken to task by that other cinematic icon, Freddy Krueger.

Mr. Wonka takes his guests on a boat ride that might hurtle them straight into the bowels of hell, or an equally terrifying chocolate paradise, in one of the freakiest, most-psychedelic moments of horror in a children’s film since Dumbo saw those pink elephants.

While parents were busy keeping their kids from listening to Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, little did they realise it would eventually be Huey Lewis (and the News) that tipped their children into psychotic madness.

In one of the best first-person-POV tracking shots ever, the camera follows Michael Myers as he walks into the bedroom of his 17-year-old sister and brutally stabs her to death. Then, he calmly walks out of the house and the camera reveals that the killer is JUST A LITTLE BOY!!!

The ending of The Descent features one of the greatest jump scares ever. We’re not going to spoil it here, but the brave can view the sequence over at You Tube. Messed. Up.

The zombies in George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead aren’t the bristling athletes as seen in 28 Days Later. They are slow, lumbering, relentless beasts with dead eyes and deader bodies. In this scene, Barbara is mocked by her brother for being creeped out in a cemetery. “They’re coming to get you Barbara,” he says. Then he gets eaten. Well, he was close.

Drew Barrymore will always be the little girl from E.T. to me, no matter how many drug addictions she overcame. It was shocking enough to see Gertie flash David Letterman, let alone see her gutted in the opening minutes of Scream.

13. Rosemary’s Baby – “What have you done to its eyes?”

Rosemary’s Baby features the slowest build of terror in possibly any horror film, culminating in the subtle yet horrifying realization that something isn’t quite right with Rosemary’s baby. And apparently it has to do with its eyes.

Anthony Hopkins is a creepy man, and that’s when he’s NOT trying to eat your face. In this scene, he outwits two guards – with his teeth.

A group of men are tied to chairs as their blood is tested to find out which is actually an alien in disguise. Scary enough, right? Wait until they find out which one is it.

You see, in the quaint old days there was such a thing as a “videotape”. They could not be downloaded from the internet or played on your iPod. The Japanese classic Ringu tells the horrifying tale of a pre-DVD existence. It is not for the faint-hearted.

Audition features a finale so vile and shocking, it actually caused cinema patrons to pass out and be admitted to the hospital. This infamous scene features an innocent man being tortured in the ungodliest of ways by his young bride. Why? I’m still not sure, but I’ll be damned if I ever watch the film again.

8. The Exorcist – Demon Face

It’s a quick moment, but you cannot miss it. As young Regan undergoes medical tests to find out the reason for her ailments, the image of a demon’s face quickly flashes on screen. And it’s freakin’ terrifying.

The finale of Requiem for a Dream is a terrifying montage of the effect of drug abuse on our four lead characters. Not only is it some of the most unpleasant footage ever unleashed on audiences, but it’ll be sure to scare you away from having so much as a Sudafed next time you reach the medicine cabinet.

Look, if I were brutally honest, this entire list would be made up of scenes from Dario Argento’s Italian horror classics. His films look like nightmares; the framing, the music, the badly-dubbed dialogue. They just get to me. I had to include the final 12 minutes of Suspiria on this list, if only for the film’s genius tagline: “the only thing more terrifying than the last 12 minutes, are the first 87.

5. The Omen – The Nanny’s Suicide

At demon-child Damien’s birthday party, his nanny proudly unveils her gift – by hanging herself right in front of everyone. No card though. Rude.

It’s a controversial one, but the ending from The Blair Witch Project perfectly captures the understated terror of the rest of the film. Heather enters an abandoned cabin to find her missing crew members, only to find one of them …. standing in the corner, looking at the floor. Wait! Stop screaming Heather! What is he doing? Ah, too late she’s dead.

3. Jaws – The Opening Shark Attack

Steven Spielberg gave birth to the summer blockbuster in the brain-melting opening sequence of Jaws. A promiscuous young couple (the fodder of horror films since year one) is devoured by a particularly peckish shark. It’s terrifying, but…it’s kind of awesome too.

Stanley Kubrick keeps the camera close behind Danny Torrance’s trike as he wheels around the Overlook hotel. It’s too close. Suddenly, he happens upon the Grady Twins; the creepiest movie children ever. “Come play with us Danny.” And then it cuts to their bloody corpses. You just got Kubrick’d.

OK, it’s a cliché. But please – allow me to make my case. The shower scene in Psycho is pretty scary; but in the context of the movie (and all horror movies) it’s absolutely shocking. Hitchcock kills off the biggest star early in the film. And not just the biggest star – the main character! That just – flat out – does NOT happen in movies. The scene features more than 70 angles and includes 50 cuts – and you never once see knife piercing flesh. It’s perfect filmmaking; the kind you rarely see in today’s horror films. Plus, it’s scary enough to keep you from ever wanting to have another shower. And I LOVE a good shower.

Discuss: Disagreements? Agreements? What are your favourite scary scenes? Favourite scary movies? Any angry Saw or Hostel fans out there?

12 Responses to “The 20 scariest movie moments!”

  1. I want to put my vote in for the “spider-walking” scene from the re-release of The Exorcist. Damn, I was completely afraid of the dark for *weeks* after seeing that in the cinema.

  2. And when (in the Exorcist) Dimmy’s mum goes back downstairs into the subway. Aaahh. Getting goosebumps now…

  3. “You got Kubrick’d” – LOL!!! Like Danny, I always end up covering my eyes when the twins come onscreen.I never saw The Omen but I read it a couple of times when I was 10, and always freaked myself out. The stills from the movie shown in the book were enough for me. And yeah, that (almost) subliminal flash of the monster face in the Exorcist can screw you up bigtime.

  4. Spread the word – I’m hoping to make “you got Kubrick’d” a nationwide catchphrase.

  5. My mum and dad took me to see poltergeist when I was about 10 (I know – WHAT WERE THEY THINKING???? – they saw Spielberg’s name and thought “ET”). Anyway – I still freak out when I think of that tree that comes in through the window to get them…. I have never been able to watch really scary horror movies – and I put it down to that. I haven’t been able to watch the original Alein movie, or any of the rites of passage for my generation – Evil Dead, Nightmare on Elm St series, Halloween series, the Shining…

  6. @Kristi: Oh my god, I remember that! I was around the same age and we had Poltergeist on VHS…(and I watched it at home, but still) I also think watching Chucky when I was 5 put me off horror films to life…-_-Some of these scenes some pretty cool — gonna view them when I manage to get on a better comp. 🙂

  7. Oops, Kirsti, not Kristi, sorry! XD

  8. How can the opening telephone scene of the original “When a Stanger Calls” not be on the list? “Have you checked the children” and the shrill ringing of the phone leading to “he’s in the house, get out of the house” is the by far the scariest movie scene because it “could happen”

  9. Also in the Shining, what about the sexy lady who turns into a corpse with skin that rubs off? It has turned me off sex in the bath for life

  10. “Kubrick’d”? – Is this what happens when someone takes 10 minutes to explain something that could’ve been explained in 2?

  11. Carrie – after the prom when she is walking down the street all covered in blood and then the end of course.

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