Horror is one of my favorite genres of film, and among the many thrills and chills they deliver, some scenes stand out above the rest as that moment where you either jumped out of your seat or covered your eyes in fear. Ranging from some conventional classic thrillers to the more unexpected, today I present to you (in no particular order) my list of favorite horror movie moments! Spoilers ahead!
*Warning: some of the clips contain scary images and/or strong language. Minors may want to skip this one!
*You may notice some of your favorites left out. If so, it’s probably because I couldn’t find a high quality clip to share! Sorry!
1. The Blair Witch Project – Apology Scene
In perhaps the best found footage horror movie of all time, The Blair Witch Project is one of the few scary movies that I’ve seen that still scares the crap out of me. Chronicling an unfortunate trio of students lost in the woods and terrified by unexplained events, this scene stands out as the most iconic and one of the best. Heather’s monologue is one of someone who’s completely lost hope and her terror bleeds off the screen. A true testament to the power of the imagination, this scene lets the audience share Heather’s fear of the alleged witch…whose unseen presence makes her truly terrifying.
2. The Shining – Are You Concerned About Me?
It’s unfair to call this scene my favorite because in a film as incredible as The Shining, it’s impossible to choose a favorite. Today, however, this scene stuck out to me in particular. Why? It’s horrible to watch poor Wendy terrorized by her crazy-as-@^#$*& husband, Jack and it’s not even the creepiest part of the film. However, I chose this one because of it’s hidden meaning and questions. So Jack starts freaking out on Wendy about his “moral and ethical principles,” AKA his responsibilities as the the caretaker of the hotel. Big deal, right? He’s just nuts. Okay. Well, who exactly are the referred employers he’s signed a contract with, and what does the contract oblige him to? Are they the hotel owners and is he supposed to keep the hotel from getting dusty? In my mind, I can only imagine that Mr. Torrance is alluding to something much more sinister…
3. The Thing (1982) – Tainted Blood
John Carpenter’s super-violent The Thing is tense above all else. By brilliantly only letting the audience know as much as the film’s characters do, we become as fearful and untrustworthy as the unlucky cast. This scene demonstrates the peak of The Thing‘s suspense – MacReady (Kurt Russell) is testing the men’s blood samples in order to find the tainted one, which will tell them who is the monster in disguise. In a scene already this tense, as the characters watch MacReady eliminate the suspects, it’s jump scare is one of the most unexpected and effective I’ve ever seen. It just gets gross from there, an interesting contrast of red blood and flesh against the cold, steel environment.
4. Psycho – Arbogast On The Stairs
There’s a lot of scenes in Psycho that have been examined over and over, revealing the twisted inner psyche of Norman Bates or highlighting a particularly brilliant technique of Hitchcock’s. I love all of those, but I decided to pick the one that scared the living daylights out of me and made me wary of climbing stairs. The anticipation eats away at the audience and when the big scare comes – it’s time to change your shorts. The fear on the doomed detective’s face as he plummets down the stairs is unforgettable and moments like this make Psycho thrilling.
5. Halloween – Walk Home
The infamous Michael Myers only makes two brief appearances in this clip, but the effect is felt throughout the entire scene. It only takes one glimpse to put us on edge, and we spend a lot of the clip filled with the feeling of being watched. After all, Michael Myers doesn’t lurk in the shadows. He lives right next door.
6. The Possession – Opening Scene
I went into this one blind, and the first scene absolutely sells this movie as terrifying. We’ve seen the setup before in the horror genre with the villain killing off some poor soul in a spectacular fashion at the movie’s beginning, but somehow The Possession takes the same direction without coming off as familiar. The rest of the movie’s scares are just as spooky, and as a bonus it’s on instant streaming on Netflix! What are you waiting for?
7. Jaws – A Bigger Boat
The classic “You’re gonna need a bigger boat” scene from the first summer blockbuster is a classic for two reasons. Firstly, it contains one of the most famous movie lines of all time, and secondly because of the brilliant way it handles the shark’s (visible) entrance to the film. What makes Jaws so scary is, much like The Blair Witch Project, what is not seen, but what we know is there. Spielberg tricks the audience into security with Captain Brody’s humorous line, making the audience chuckle one moment before we freak out as the shark bursts from the water. Genius.
8. Alien – Chestburster
The scene that’s been parodied a thousand times is still one of Alien‘s best. Here, we get a clue that the xenomorph isn’t any normal horror movie bad guy. It is first and foremost a predator, and a predator’s main goal is to hunt down its prey. Unfortunately for John Hurt, the alien is lethal even as a newborn. In one of the greatest movie monster reveals of all time, we meet the xenomorph as it eats its way out of Hurt’s chest and zips away, leaving the horrified crew speechless. It only goes downhill from here for the Nostromo.
So that’s it for now! Hope you had fun checking out or revisiting some of the best scary movie moments of all time. Let me know what gave you the chills in the comments!