The 100 Scariest Movie Moments of All Time (50-41)

Horror is the most subjective thing there is. Something either frightens you or it doesn’t. Everyone has different fears, whether they be subtle or surreal, so deciding which type is the scariest is essentially a fools errand but luckily for you, I’m about as foolish as they come. This list will be dealing with the most iconic moments of these films so it goes without saying that every clip will be a massive spoiler. I tried to be as vague as possible in my description and write ups but there’s only so much I can do. From here on out, expect nothing but thrills, chills and tons of jumpscares. 

These are the 100 Scariest Movie Moments of All Time.

50. The Birth | The Fly (1986)

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.

49. The Pole | Hereditary (2018)

There’s no demon that jumps on the car, and there’s no serial killer chasing after them. All that happens in the scene is something extremely scary but very real: a teen boy driving his little sister to get help during an allergic reaction. As Charlie gasps for air after going into anaphylactic shock, she writhes in the backseat as Peter speeds down a rural road hoping desperately to make it to the hospital on time. It’s the kind of horrific, but realistic situation that could absolutely occur in real life.

Unfortunately, an animal jumps in front of the car right as Charlie has put her head out of the window to try to get more air into her lungs. When Peter veers the car quickly to avoid the animal, Charlie’s head hits a utility pole and she’s instantly decapitated. After the moment when you hear Charlie’s head break off (oh yeah, you hear it), the scene becomes instantly quiet. Peter drives home, and when he arrives he sits in the car for a minute, knowing that his sister’s headless body is in the backseat. The way that he stares ahead, totally in shock, feels so disturbingly real that it doesn’t even seem like something out of a movie, let alone a horror flick.

48. The Birthday Party | Signs (2002)

I feel like it’s time to reevaluate Signs. I think enough time has passed that we no longer have M. Night 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.

47. Behind You | It Follows (2014)

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. The Sunken Place | Get Out (2017)

Jordan Peele’s masterpiece is a perfect blend of horror and social commentary, and one of the best examples is “The Sunken Place.” When Chris is unwillingly hypnotized, he falls down into the sunken place. But it isn’t filled with jump scares or horrifying monsters. No, what makes it so scary is the symbolism behind it. Peele has described the Sunken Place as a metaphor for marginalized groups and the systems that suppress them. Pair the imagery of falling with Daniel Kaluuya’s harrowing performance, and you’ve got a horror film that’s too real for comfort.

45. The Spider | Enemy (2013)

Denis Villeneuve’s Enemy is the story of an unremarkable professor named Adam Bell (Jake Gyllenhaal) and his obsession-driven journey as he discovers his exact look-alike in a movie. The doppelganger is movie star Anthony Claire, also played by Jake Gyllenhaal, who, while being nearly identical physically, is vastly different from Adam in several ways that the film is keen to spotlight.

“Chaos is order yet undeciphered” opens Denis Villeneuve’s Enemy. The story of an unremarkable professor named Adam Bell (Jake Gyllenhaal) and his obsession-driven journey as he discovers his exact look-alike in a movie. The doppelganger is movie star Anthony Claire, also played by Jake Gyllenhaal, who, while being nearly identical physically, is vastly different from Adam in several ways that the film is keen to spotlight. The scariest scene from this film comes in the most bizarre penultimate shot of any movie in recent memory: Adam walks into his bedroom and discovers that his wife has transformed into a giant, cowering tarantula. Roll Credits.

Images of spiders recur throughout the film, providing just enough thematic breadcrumbs to be confident that this eight-legged metaphor has a perfectly good reason for being there. Of course, that doesn’t make it any less terrifying to find the massive arachnid curled up into the corner like it’s just been caught in a lie. For arachnophobes, this will probably be the most traumatizing thing they’ve seen on screen since “Arachnophobia” (and at least that movie was gracious enough to warn us with its title). But even those viewers who aren’t scared of spiders are likely to be jolted by Villeneuve’s cheeky kiss-off, which leverages a familiar fear in order to access a number of much deeper ones.

44. Dog With a Human Face | Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1976)

Whether it’s a metaphor for McCarthyism running wild, communism fears of the 60’s, 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 three times and ripped off numerous more. A bona fide masterpiece.

43. Final Jump Scare | Wait Until Dark (1967)

To add to the climactic finale and to simulate Audrey Hepburn’s character’s blindness, Theater owners would slowly dim the lights till it was pitch black. This was one of the last times film theaters used a gimmick to enhance the movie-going experience but at least they went out with a bang.

42. Winkie’s Diner | Mulholland Drive (2001)

There are other directors besides David 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.

41. The Lawnmower | Sinister (2012)

The first question audiences will ask when watching a film about a family that is 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 put that much effort into making the premise at least somewhat believable is worthy of some praise. I just wish more horror films put this much effort into their stories. I also wish more films had scenes as disturbing as the lawnmower scene in this.

60-51 | 40-31

What do you think of the selection so far? What movie scenes have scared you the most? Maybe they will show up further on the list!

Author: Sailor Monsoon

I stab.