Horror is the most subjective thing there is, something either frightens you or it doesn’t. There’s subtle horror, surreal horror, and the good ol’ fashioned jump scare. Deciding which type is the scariest is essentially a fools errand but lucky for you, I’m about as foolish as they come. Since this list will be dealing with either the endings of these films or the biggest “Gotcha Moment”, all the links will obviously be filled with spoilers. I will be as vague as possible in my description but spoilers are still in effect. Oh and this goes without saying but these scenes are out of context, so to really get the full benefit from each scene you really should watch the entire film. I will try my hardest to include the scene in question for every entry and if i can’t, I’ll at least include the trailer. I present to you what i believe are the scariest movie moments of all time.
Massive Spoilers In The Links Below.
50. The Appointment-‘The Beginning’
The Appointment is a made for television movie starring Edward Woodward that’s about a father who is called away on business and can’t go to his daughters violin recital. That’s literally the entirety of the plot. Why is a film you’ve never heard of so high on the list? Click the link and find out.
49. The Fly-‘The Delivery’
I don’t think there’s many horror films I’d consider perfect. Even the ones I’d put in the top ten of all time all have a flaw but i can’t think of a single issue i have with The Fly. The acting is incredible, the special effects are some of the greatest caught on film and the plot is air right. Not a single bit of fat anywhere. Every scene is either building a connection between the characters or advancing the story. There’s nothing frivolous here. It’s just the perfect package. Skip to 1:18:32
48. Signs-‘The Birthday Party’
I feel like it’s time to reevaluate signs. I think enough time has passed that we no longer have Shyamalan on this impossible pedestal with a sign that reads “The Next Spielberg” at the base anymore. The public loved the sixth sense so much, that we all just collectively knighted Shyamalan as the next genius. And the second he made something we didn’t like, we turned on him. I think it began with Signs and that’s a shame because this is one of the best thrillers of the decade. (The ending is still a bit wonky but who cares.)
47. It Follows-‘Here It Comes’
I believe It Follows is the best horror film in years. The premise is simple yet wholly original, the soundtrack sits alongside Carpenter’s best and it has some of the most effective jump scares in the genre. The most overused trope is somehow given new life in this film. I can’t recommend this film enough.
46. Sinister-‘The Lawnmower’
The first question the audience will ask when watching a film about a family that are just moving into their new home and weird, unexplainable shit starts happening is always “Why the fuck are they not leaving right now?” I believe Sinister offers the best answer to that question. They even go out of their way to answer why he doesn’t immediately call the cops when he finds creepy shit in his house. The fact that the makers of the film but that much effort into making the premise at least some what believable is worthy of some praise. I just wish more horror films put this much effort into their stories. Fun Fact: This scene actually made my wife cry it scared her so much.
45. The Conjuring 2-‘The Painting’
While the big studios like Marvel and DC are are trying to one up each other with their shared universes, James Wan is slowly creating the first connected horror universe in over 70 years. Universal might’ve tried to get their first but it seems as though they’re more concerned with making huge blockbusters instead of focusing on their characters. Wan doesn’t have any famous characters, so he just created his own. One of which is the Nun. Whether it’s a monster that will stand toe to toe with the best of Universal, only time will tell but I’ll wager it’ll definitely be as scary.
44. Mama-‘I Know What You Want’
Besides the disappointing CGI, (Which is unnecessary considering it was 90% man in a suit) I think the main reason this film didn’t click with audiences is the fact that it was billed as a horror film. Yes, it has some scary scenes but at its core, Mama is a fairy tale. I think it excels at telling an original story in an outdated medium. We haven’t had any new fairy tales since the Brothers Grimm and i think Mama does an admirable job trying to fill the void.
43. Invasion Of The Body Snatchers-‘The Dog’
Whether it’s a metaphor for McCarthyism running wild or The communism fears of the 60’s or Watergate or even AIDS, None of those theories would mean anything if The film wasn’t scary and The Invasion of the body snatchers is a scary fucking film. You go to sleep and a pod person replaces you. That’s the story and it’s such a good one, it’s been remade 3 times and ripped off numerous more. A bona fide masterpiece.
42. Wait Until Dark-‘The Climax’
To add to the climatic finale and to simulate Audrey Hepburn’s character’s blindness, Theatre owners would slowly dim the lights till it was pitch black. This was one of the last times film theatres used a gimmick to enhance the movie going experience but at least they went out with a bang.
41. Muholland Drive-‘Winkie’s Diner’
There’s other directors besides Lynch that create films based entirely around nightmare logic. The Italians use almost nothing but nightmare logic to construct their plots but i don’t have Italian nightmares, so those films don’t frighten me. I guess Lynch and i skinny dip in the waters of the connected self conscience together because I do have Lynch nightmares. They don’t make any sense but they’re terrifying.