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.
60. Last House On The Left-‘The Attack’
I want this list to be fun. A list discussing effective horror scenes that make you jump or your skin crawl but there’s another side of horror. The dark side that isn’t fun but still needs to be discussed and that’s sexual assault scenes. They’re always distasteful and horrendous but they’re as horrific as it gets. This slot covers: The Last House On The Left, The Hills Have Eyes, Irreversible and Deliverance. I won’t be provided links to them but you can find them all on YouTube.
Once in a great while, there comes a horror film with such a perfect premise, you’re shocked it took so long for someone to think of it. Whether it’s a killer that stalks you in your dreams, the dead coming back to life to feast on the living or in the case of seven, a killer that uses the 7 deadly sins as his modus operandi for murder. Such a perfect premise executed flawlessly by Fincher. One of the best thrillers of all time.
58. Jacob’s Ladder-‘The Hospital’
For some reason, it seems as if the best horror films are one-offs by directors who’ve never made a horror film before. Adrian Lyne is a director known for dramas that use sex as the motivating narrative device. Sex as a weapon, sex as passion, sex as taboo. The man loves sex. But then out of nowhere, he makes Jacob’s Ladder and it’s the least sexy film ever made. In fact, the only ‘Sex’ scene in the film is arguably the scariest thing in the movie. But i picked the hospital scene because it’s so iconic, it’s still being ripped off today.
57. Society-‘The Shunting’
Based on his working relationship with Stuart Gordon, Brian Yuzna was guaranteed the sequel to the Re-animator so he decided his first film was going to be as crazy as humanly possible because even if it failed, he was still guaranteed another film. Thank god he went that route because that’s not many films like society. You’ll never forget the first time you witness the Shunting.
56. Communion-‘The Visit’
It seems as though, out of all the film premises, alien abduction is the hardest for people to buy. People Will buy into fantastical ideas like werewolves and zombies and ghosts but when you tell them you were abducted by aliens, instant eye roll. I don’t believe aliens come to earth to abduct people but Whitley Strieber believes he was abducted and that’s good enough for me. And when you watch this film, you might just believe.
55. The Omen-‘All For You’
I once babysat my cousin who was about 2-ish, and it was late at night when she should’ve been asleep for hours and all of a sudden i hear coming from the baby monitor “No. No. I don’t wanna go with you. Not yet.” i quickly run to her room and ask her who she was talking to and she said “The man in the closet.” My heart literally stopped. Because the closet was behind me. I opened it up and of course nothing was there. That story really has nothing to do with the film other than the fact that kids are creepy and there’s no better creepy kid than Damian.
54. Kill List-‘The Revelation’
The first time i watched Kill List, i was baffled by all the praise it was getting. It was well acted and well directed but i wasn’t seeing anything to warrant it’s glowing reviews. And then the movie becomes something different. There’s a change in the narrative that leads to an unbelievable climax. It’s one of the only films i watched again immediately after it was over.
James Wan essentially made the better Poltergeist remake years before they decided to remake it. I always wanted to see what was on the other side of the portal, where Carol Anne was, in Poltergeist. It fascinated me when i was younger and Wan kinda answers that question in Insidious. It’s nothing like i imagined but it’s still pretty spooky.
53. The Descent-‘Is Anybody out there?’
I’ve never suffered from claustrophobia but there’s scenes in this film that made me tense up. I could feel myself starting to get anxious watching the girls crawl through those incredibly tight spaces. I was already on edge and that’s before they showed up…
51. The Exorcist-‘Spider Walk’
Originally a deleted scene, this scene was too Damn good to be left on the cutting room floor. Yes, it messes with the rhythm of the film narratively but when a scene is this effective, who cares?