What will come out on top?
The countdown to Halloween continues! My next horror ranking is my fifteen favorite scenes from horror movies. Keep in mind, this is not the top fifteen scariest horror movie scenes. If that were the case, the scene that I currently have at #10 would be at #1. No, this is a favorites list. I also did not include any movies that I haven't seen. Yes, I've watched the opening of A Nightmare on Elm Street. Yes, I've seen the shower scene from Psycho. But I have not seen those movies, so I couldn't include those scenes. I still have a pretty good list in my opinion. Check it out down below.
15. The Long Take (Halloween)
One of the coolest scenes in any modern horror movie, Halloween pays tribute to the original by doing a one take as Michael stalks around Haddonfield and murders a few people. He equips himself with a chef's knife and comes home in truly amazing fashion. The choice to do a long take by director David Gordon Green was absolute genius, and I love it, especially since it's backed by the iconic Halloween theme song.
14. Michael Attacks Laurie (Halloween)
Probably my favorite single shot in a horror movie is the shot in this picture. As Laurie discovers her friends' bodies, Michael Myers slowly emerges from the darkness to attack her. It is one of the scariest shots ever put on film. This singular shot caused me to have nightmares for a week. What follows is the first true great slasher chase scene as Laurie fends off Michael multiple times only for him to somehow survive the entire night. It's a great way to end the original Halloween. I love it.
13. The Overlook Ghosts Come Back (Doctor Sleep)
I like Doctor Sleep a lot more than The Shining, but I think that the use of fan service and payoff from The Shining in Doctor Sleep was really well done. This film manages to make Stephen King happy by making the ending of Doctor Sleep what the ending of The Shining should've been while also making Kubrick fans happy by paying tribute to all of his work in the previous film. I love the return of the ghosts from the Overlook and the way that they are used. First, they kill Rose. But they are still hungry after. So they go after Danny. And Danny becomes a body that represents all the evil and terror that is stored inside the Overlook. It's a great finale to Doctor Sleep that solidifies it as one of my favorite horror movies.
12. The Ending (Halloween Kills)
I loved Halloween Kills. And my favorite part of the film was probably the ending. The film is relatively recent, so I will not spoil what happens. But I think that it uses Michael Myers perfectly and nails the dark ending that it was going for. It's a shocking way to finish off the movie and leaves me very, very excited for Halloween Ends.
11. The Sunken Place (Get Out)
I want so bad to move this entry up. Because it is one of the most psychologically terrifying ideas in a horror film. The Sunken Place is essentially a place where you go when someone else has taken over your body. They have complete control over your body while you are falling forever and watching these events take place from the back of your mind. That might be a confusing explanation, but if you watch Get Out, you will understand. Jordan Peele directs the crap out of this scene. Combine that with a truly chilling performance from Daniel Kaluuya and you have one of the greatest scenes in modern cinema. I can't put it higher, because there are other amazing scenes on this list. But I really want to.
10. Baseball Boy (Doctor Sleep)
I had to put this scene on the list. This is the scariest scene in a horror movie ever. If you do not like long, horrifying sequences of death, avoid this scene like the plague. It is hard to watch. In this scene, the villains of Doctor Sleep kidnap, torture, and murder a 12-year-old boy while he cries and pleas for his life. The scene is just pure nightmare fuel. It pulls no punches and shows you this poor kid's death in graphic detail. It develops these villains into another level of evil and makes you hate them more than anything. I will only ever watch this scene when I watch Doctor Sleep, and even then, I might skip through it. It's extremely scary and disturbing.
9. All Work and No Play (The Shining)
This was the scene in The Shining when you realized that Jack was going absolutely bananas. Up to this point in the film, he had been writing a lot. It was making him go insane. He was being rude to his wife and ignorant towards his kid because he had been writing so much. And when Jack is gone from the main lobby, Wendy (his wife) walks up to his typewriter to discover pages upon pages upon pages of a singular sentence: All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. It's one of the creepiest discoveries in a horror film ever, and it begins the climax of The Shining in eerie fashion.
8. Here's Johnny! (The Shining)
I don't find this scene scary. I included it because it's so famous. Jack is hacking down the bathroom door as Wendy is trying to shove Danny out the window. He breaks through the door, puts his face in the hole, and shouts out this iconic line. Fun fact: Jack Nicholson improvised this line. He definitely elevated the scene with this weird, scary line that makes a very creepy reference to The Tonight Show with Jimmy Carson.
7. Georgie's Death (It)
Another child murder that is just horrifying, Georgie's death from It was one of the best parts of the new film. Georgie's fatal encounter with Pennywise has always been one of the most famous parts of Stephen King's horror story, and the creative team behind It absolutely hit the nail on the head with this scene. Pennywise is genuinely horrifying throughout the duration of the scene, and it culminates with that heart-stopping reach into the drain to grab the boat. This scene is a nail-biter from beginning to end, and will definitely cause Pennywise to haunt your dreams.
6. Get Out (Get Out)
Another psychological terror from Get Out, this scene sees Andre (played by Lakeith Stanfield) break out of the Sunken Place. After Chris accidentally takes a picture of Andre with his flash on, his expression changes from smiling and proper to horrified and confused. He goes crazy, yelling at Chris to "Get out!". This scene is scary upon first viewing, but it takes on a whole different meaning when you know the ending and what Andre actually means by "Get out!". It's really, really scary to think about and will be on repeat in your mind after watching Get Out.
5. The Twins (The Shining)
Another iconic scene from The Shining, this long take follows Danny Torrance through the Overlook Hotel on his tricycle. As he rides through the seemingly infinite halls of the hotel, he comes across the twins. He stops and stares at them as they utter their insanely creepy line: "Come play with us, Danny. Forever and ever.". Flashes of their dead bodies appear as a young Danny becomes horrified. This scene will traumatize you if you do not know it's coming. It is so, so creepy.
4. Chrissie's Last Swim (Jaws)
The opening of Jaws was unlike any scene in a movie ever. Sure, there had been the shower scene in Psycho. Yeah, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Exorcist had some scary moments. But the shock of watching a shark tear Chrissie Watkins to death as she screams for help even though she is totally helpless is horrifying. The establishing shots from the shark's POV as it approaches her while the haunting score plays is incredibly intense. Then the shock and horror are ramped up as the beast drags her across the water while she is screaming in terror. It's a great way to open Jaws and remains one of the best opening scenes ever.
3. The Screaming of the Lambs (The Silence of the Lambs)
The Silence of the Lambs is not super scary. Buffalo Bill is pretty creepy and Hannibal Lecter can make the audience uncomfortable. However, this scene will have you frozen in psychological fear. Jonathan Demme expertly uses closeups and extreme closeups to capture the facial expressions from Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling as Clarice talks about her childhood trauma. Lecter gets inside of her mind as well as the audience's by talking about the screaming of the lambs. If you have not watched this scene, watch it. There is no violence. No screaming. No jump scares. It is purely dialogue. And it is one of the scariest scenes of all time.
2. Chestburster (Alien)
Speaking of violence, screaming, and jump scares, this scene has all of that. The crew of the Nostromo are relieved to discover that Kane recovered from being attacked by the Facehugger. He seems perfectly fine as he eats dinner with the crew. However, a coughing fit soon turns into a screaming, convulsing experience as the Xenomorph bursts out of his chest in an explosion of blood. It is one of the most shocking scenes in cinematic history, and definitely one of the scariest.
1. Do You Like Scary Movies? (Scream)
However, my favorite horror movie scene of all time has to be the intro to Scream. A flirty phone call suddenly becomes a horrific thrill ride as Drew Barrymore desperately tries to escape Ghostface. The way that tension is built throughout this scene is incredible. The phone call is a little bit too intimate, but it goes from weird to creepy to all out scary very quickly. I watched this scene on YouTube, and it single-handedly convinced me to watch Scream. It is an absolutely perfect example of how to build tension and create unease throughout the duration of a scene. I love, love, love the opening to Scream. It will never be topped.