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.
80. The Sentinel–‘The Intruder’
There’s not many films that are like The Sentinel. Directed by one of the best genre directors who ever lived and with one of the best casts for a horror film, you would think The Sentinel would be somewhat mainstream. Somewhat audience friendly but no. It’s absolutely crazy. There’s a birthday scene for a cat, crazy lesbians, and whatever is standing in the corner of this room…
79. Cache–‘I Wanted You To Be Present’
The truly horrifying reality of evil is that it’s usually never explained. Sometimes terrible things just happen. Sometimes even the people who commit the terrible act have no idea why they did it. Evil sometimes just exists.
The Universal Monster Movies were broken down into two categories: 1. The supernatural and 2. The technological. Dracula, The Wolf-man and the Creature of the black lagoon were all supernatural. Frankenstein, the invisible man and Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde were technological. They dealt with man tampering with science with usually disastrous results. But out of all of them, Frankenstein’s Creature is an innocent. This happened to him. He’s literally a new born that doesn’t understand anything and that naivety turns deadly. Fun Fact: they originally cut this scene and it actually made people more terrified because they didn’t cut the aftermath.
77. Nosferatu–‘Orlok Arises’
The first adaptation of Dracula (Unofficially) is still arguably the best. Murnau had an amazing eye for talent because Max Schreck was so convincing in the role of Orlok, the rumors persisted for years that he was an actual vampire. They made a film about it called shadow of the vampire. I recommend it.
76. The Hitcher–‘The End’
I think what makes The Hitcher such an effective thriller is the fact that Rutger Hauer’s character is given no backstory, no motivation, real reason for doing what he’s doing. He just wants to fuck with C. Thomas Howell and it’s terrifying.
75. Cujo–‘Cujo Attacks’
One of the more neglected of the King adaptations, Cujo has an amazing premise: A mother and her son are stuck in her car and there’s a huge ass dog that’s rabid waiting just outside trying to get them. Oh and the kid is diabetic and they don’t have any food. It’s a brilliant take on the shark motif but this time it’s a dog instead.
74. Drag Me To Hell–‘Fly Nightmare’
Sam Raimi is without a doubt the most fun director working today. Almost everything he does from, his big budget superhero films to his horror films, has a sense of fun. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone that was actually scared of Drag me to hell but it’s got a couple of effective jump scares.
73. Paranormal Activity 3–‘The Sheet’
Unfortunately, the worst thing that can happen to a horror film is usually success. Because then it becomes a franchise and franchises only end when the audience doesn’t care anymore. There’s not many that get to end on a high note and Paranormal Activity is no exception. The cow had died long before they stopped milking it but i feel like if they ended it on this film, it could’ve been one of the great horror trilogies. And that’s due in large part to scenes like this.
72. Un Chien Andalou–‘The Eye’
I feel like this is the only clip i should issue a disclaimer for. It’s not pleasant. A man is sharpening a straight razor for what feels like an eternity and then proceeds to use the razor in a very unconventional way. This film was made almost 100 years ago and hasn’t lost any of it’s power to shock.
71. Les Diaboliques–‘The Bathtub’
Does anything truly frighten us anymore? Have we become too desensitized by the constant flood of information that we’ve become apathetic to fear? When this film premiered, people were literally having heart attacks. I want that level of fear to come back. Seeing something so shocking, You’re heart can’t take it.