The 10 scariest movie scenes

The 10 scariest movie scenes. By Simon Miraudo.

Werewolf bar mitzvah; spooky scary. Boys becoming men; men becoming wolves!” Halloween is just around the corner, and it’s got us reminiscing about our favourite horror flicks, as well as the scariest movie scenes of all time. So, grab some edible fingers, pour yourself a glass of eyeball fizz and fit yourself with some adult Depends before checking out our top 10 (with video evidence). All treat. No trick. WARNING: Spoilers, gore, and general spookiness abounds!

1. The Shower – Psycho

How could we go past the most iconic scene in horror history (if not film history)? Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho does the unthinkable and dispatches its leading lady halfway through the picture, in a moment so unexpected, so viciously violent, and so sexually bizarre (let’s not forget that moments earlier Norman Bates was pleasuring himself and is now dressed up as his mother) that it makes us shudder at the thought of showering at a desolate motel run by a taxidermist. And that used to be how people relaxed!

2. The Diner – Mulholland Drive

David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive is a fever-dream come to life, with more haunting, indelible and unsettling images than in the entire Saw franchise. Here, a mysterious man regales a friend with his recurring nightmare, only to discover that it is all too real. When the meaning behind the scene is revealed in the picture’s final moments, it takes on a devastating new relevance. But, the first time you see it, it’s scary as ****.

3. The Blood Test – The Thing

The recent prequel to John Carpenter‘s The Thing attempted to replicate the legendary ‘blood test’ scene – in which the extra-terrestrial serial killer is unearthed – with a sequence in which Mary Elizabeth Winstead checks everyone’s fillings. No surprise that it wasn’t quite as effective.

4. The Grave – Carrie

The final jump scare in Brian De Palma’s awkward-teen-comedy/revenge-fantasy Carrie is probably the best ever committed to film. When Sissy Spacek passes away, people will be very reluctant to visit her tombstone.

5. The Last 12 Minutes – Suspiria

Dario Argento’s gore-tastic masterpiece Suspiria may not have topped this list, but it claims the greatest ever poster tagline: “The only thing more terrifying than the last 12 minutes of this film are the first 92”. Never mind that the film is only 98 minutes long; the dizzying, blood-drenched, eye-popping, phantasmagoric cornucopia of colour and chaos that closes proceedings is unforgettable.

6. The Body – Les Diaboliques

Not that we really thought it needed to be said, but it’s probably not the best idea to team up with your husband’s mistress to kill your cheating hubby. Don’t just take our advice – the extended finale from Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Les Diaboliques should convince you, via one of the most chilling twists of all-time.

7. The Lake – Lake Mungo

Joel Anderson‘s criminally under-seen Aussie picture outdoes both Paranormal Activity and The Blair Witch Project in the freaky found-footage stakes. This mockumentary takes the form of an episode of Australian Story, in which a family attempts to understand the suspicious, supernatural goings-on following the drowning death of teenage Alice Palmer. In this scene, the parents head to Lake Mungo to recover Alice’s lost phone, and, thanks to some creepy recorded video, make a horrifying revelation.

8. The Hands – Repulsion

Catherine Deneuve gives a stellar performance in Roman Polanski’s Repulsion as a young agoraphobe driven insane by the prying eyes of men. She traps herself inside her apartment and allows food to slowly rot, while she imagines the roof cracking in two and hands emerging from the walls to grope her. (Is it the height of irony to point out that Deneuve is absolutely gorgeous in this film?)

9. The Chestburster – Alien

You know it; you love it. We must admit though: John Hurt reprising his (doomed) character Kane for this hilarious spoof in Spaceballs did diminish the fright-factor of Ridley Scott‘s somewhat.

10. The Operation – Eyes Without A Face

In Georges Franju’s forgotten French flick Eyes Without A Face, a demented surgeon attempts to rebuild his daughter’s gorgeous visage by abducting young women and stealing their skin. As disgusting as that sounds, you might assume that a 52-year-old film may have lost a bit of its bite, especially in this post-Human Centipede/Serbian Film age. That is not the case, and this scene in particular is a gut-churner. Since it’s not on YouTube, please enjoy this Billy Idol music video instead. Super creepy, right?

Discuss: Your suggestions? We know we left out such classic films as Rosemary’s Baby, Jaws, The Exorcist, Night of the Living Dead, An American Werewolf in London, The Night of the Hunter, Nosferatu, Salo, Halloween, The Vanishing, Audition, The Blair Witch Project, The Descent, Deep Red and Black Sabbath. What else did we miss?

9 Responses to “The 10 scariest movie scenes”

  1. The Diner scene in Mulholland Drive is one of the scariest I have ever seen! This list is a winner. Good call on The Thing too. Can’t believe there was an attempt at replicating that classic scene in the 2011 version. I need to see Suspiria – been on my list for a while now.

  2. A good list but I think that for out and out scare-factor and sense of foreboding, Alien and Aliens could just about fill the list on their own.

  3. Not a bad list but silence of the lambs hanabal lecter should be in there, and dont forget the all time classic The exorsist, with the head turning around with the green vomit, absolutly terrorfying!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. The two scariest stories I remember are a movie and a tv series episode.

    The Movie: Jaws – the kid on the float raft getting chomped.

    The TV Series – the updated version of Alfred Hitchcock Presents from the 70s, with the episode titled “The Final Escape”. A woman gets sent to prison, and ends up being buried alive.

  5. What about the man in the bed in the original When a Stranger Calls? It had a group of us 12 year old screaming at a slumber party! Oh Simon LOL at the Billy Idol inclusion.

  6. The scene near the end of “Silence of the Lambs” where Buffalo Bill stalk Clarice with night vision goggles on.

  7. What about any scene with Chris Walken being, well, Chris Walken? – goosebump city

  8. Lol Andrew – nice one :o) For years I never saw the end of American Werewolf in London due to the forest scene when he finds himself on the hospital guersey in the forest. Finally grew up & watched the rest of the movie plenty of times since!

    There was also a movie as a kid that I literally hid behind the couch when my parents watched it – I think it was called The Alchemist. Never rewatched – I doubt it would hold the same scare factor 30 yrs later!

  9. Im really disappointed with the TOP 10 of all time. I mean Billy Idol? Was this list compiled from IMDB and not a true horror fans collection?

    There are so many. The one that belongs there is definately Carrie. Other noteable entries should be

    Black Christmas – 1974 – The Eye Scene.
    Texas Chainsaw Massacre – 1974 – Terri’s Death
    Friday The 13th – 1980 – Alice being pulled into the lake.

    Im sure I could compile a more noteworthy list.

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