Scariest Movie Scenes

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Scariest Movie Scenes

Several movies have explored Scariest Movie Scenes. Here are 25 of our favorites.

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

The Silence of the Lambs
★★★★
★★★★
3.4 out of 4 stars

From Jonathan Demme, starring Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Lawrence A. Bonney, Kasi Lemmons
Rated R

The Silence of the Lambs is a psychological horror-thriller film that follows FBI trainee Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) as she attempts to apprehend the notorious serial killer Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins). With Lecter’s help, Clarice must outsmart a psychotic murderer known as “Buffalo Bill” in order to save the life of an abducted senator’s daughter. Along the way, the two form a strange bond as Lecter provides Clarice with insight into the criminal mind. As the investigation deepens, Clarice is forced to confront her own demons as well as the terrifying murderer. In the end, she must rely on her wits and courage to outsmart her adversaries and bring the killer to justice.

Se7en (1995)

Se7en
★★★★
★★★★
3.4 out of 4 stars

From David Fincher, starring Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey, Andrew Kevin Walker
Rated R

Se7en is a 1995 American crime thriller directed by David Fincher and starring Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, and Gwyneth Paltrow. The film follows two detectives, William Somerset (Freeman) and David Mills (Pitt), as they investigate a series of bizarre and increasingly disturbing murders relating to the seven deadly sins. The killer, John Doe (Kevin Spacey), has designs to punish those he feels have escaped justice for their sins. As the detectives unravel Doe's motives, the pursuit of justice leads to a shocking and unforgettable conclusion.

Alien (1979)

Alien
★★★★
★★★★
3.4 out of 4 stars

From Ridley Scott, starring Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt, Veronica Cartwright
Rated R

Alien is a science fiction horror film directed by Ridley Scott and released in 1979. The plot follows a group of crew members aboard the commercial space tug Nostromo, who are awakened prematurely from their cryosleep by a mysterious signal emanating from a nearby planetoid. After investigating the signal, one of the crew members is attacked by a creature that has boarded their ship. The crew soon discovers that the creature is an alien life form with acidic blood, and that it has implanted an alien organism inside one of the crew members. As they struggle to survive and escape the alien, they soon realize that the alien is far more intelligent and deadly than they ever imagined. The story is driven by horror, suspense and fear, and the characters are expertly portrayed by an all-star cast that includes Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, Harry Dean Stanton, and John Hurt. The film was well-received by critics, and is now considered a classic of sci-fi horror.

Psycho (1960)

Psycho
★★★★
★★★★
3.4 out of 4 stars

From Alfred Hitchcock, starring Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, John Gavin
Rated R

Psycho is a classic horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and based on the novel of the same name by Robert Bloch. The film follows the story of Marion Crane, a secretary who steals $40,000 from her employer in order to start a new life with her boyfriend. After checking into a remote motel, Marion is murdered by the motel's owner, Norman Bates, who is a deeply disturbed individual with a split-personality disorder. As his horrific past is slowly revealed, Norman's mental state continues to deteriorate, ultimately leading to his own destruction. Psycho is considered to be one of Hitchcock's best films and is widely responsible for popularizing the slasher genre in film.

The Shining (1980)

The Shining
★★★★
★★★★
3.4 out of 4 stars

From Stanley Kubrick, starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers
Rated R

The Shining is a classic horror film directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Jack Nicholson. The film follows Jack Torrance, an aspiring writer and recovering alcoholic, who takes a job as the winter caretaker at the isolated Overlook Hotel in the Colorado Rockies. Accompanied by his wife, Wendy, and son, Danny, Jack settles into the ominous and foreboding hotel, but soon finds himself haunted by the ghosts of its past. As Jack slowly succumbs to the hotel's evil influence, he begins to lose his sanity and turns on his family in a violent rage. In the end, Wendy and Danny must escape his murderous rampage in order to survive. The Shining is a psychological horror masterpiece that remains an iconic classic to this day.

Aliens (1986)

Aliens
★★★★
★★★★
3.4 out of 4 stars

From James Cameron, starring Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Carrie Henn, Paul Reiser
Rated R

Aliens is an action-adventure science-fiction film directed by James Cameron in 1986. It is the sequel to the 1979 film Alien and stars Sigourney Weaver, reprising her role as Ellen Ripley. The film follows the story of Ripley and a team of Colonial Marines sent to investigate the disappearance of a colony on a remote planet. Upon arrival, they find that the colonists have been wiped out by a hostile race of aliens known as the Xenomorphs. It is up to Ripley and the Marines to save the survivors and ultimately defeat the aliens before they can spread to the rest of the galaxy. Along the way, they face many challenges, including a face-off with a powerful android and a violent showdown with the alien queen. The film was an enormous critical and commercial success, receiving numerous awards, including Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects and Best Sound Effects Editing. It established Weaver as an action star and cemented Cameron's reputation as an acclaimed director.

The Thing (1982)

The Thing
★★★★
★★★★
3.3 out of 4 stars

From John Carpenter, starring Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David, Richard Masur
Rated R

The Thing is a 1982 science-fiction horror film directed by John Carpenter, based on the 1938 novella Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell. The film follows a group of American researchers in Antarctica who encounter a deadly and mysterious extraterrestrial life form that has the ability to assimilate other organisms and, as a result, mimic them. As the researchers struggle to stay alive, they are soon unable to distinguish the human members of their group from the creature itself, forcing them to battle both the elements and an enemy that can take on any form. The Thing is a tense and suspenseful thriller that is considered one of the best horror films of all time.

The Sixth Sense (1999)

The Sixth Sense
★★★★
★★★★
3.3 out of 4 stars

From M. Night Shyamalan, starring Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette, Olivia Williams
Rated PG-13

The Sixth Sense is a supernatural psychological thriller film written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan and starring Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment. Willis plays a child psychologist, Dr. Malcolm Crowe, who is targeted by an unseen assailant on the anniversary of his most successful case. Osment plays Cole Sear, a lonely, disturbed young boy who Crowe tries to help uncover the truth of his mysterious ability to see and talk to the dead. As Crowe attempts to uncover the truth and help Cole, he discovers an eerie world in which the line between the living and the dead is blurred. With the help of a mysterious young girl and her mother, Crowe is able to uncover the identity of the assailant and help Cole confront his fears. The Sixth Sense is known for its twist ending, which has become a classic in modern cinema.

Jurassic Park (1993)

Jurassic Park
★★★★
★★★★
3.3 out of 4 stars

From Steven Spielberg, starring Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough
Rated PG-13

Jurassic Park is a 1993 science fiction adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg. It is based on the novel of the same name by Michael Crichton, with a screenplay written by Crichton and David Koepp. In the film, a billionaire philanthropist and a small team of genetic scientists hatch a plan to create a theme park of cloned dinosaurs. After an accident, the dinosaurs escape their containment and wreak havoc on the island. It is up to the team of experts to restore order and save the park’s visitors from an extended prehistoric adventure. The film stars Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, Ariana Richards, and Joseph Mazzello in the lead roles. Jurassic Park was a massive commercial success and became the highest-grossing film of all time at the time of its release.

Jaws (1975)

Jaws
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Steven Spielberg, starring Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary
Rated PG

Jaws is a 1975 American horror-thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg and based on Peter Benchley's 1974 novel of the same name. In the film, a giant man-eating great white shark attacks beachgoers on Amity Island, a fictional New England summer resort town, prompting the local police chief to hunt it with the help of a marine biologist and a professional shark hunter. The film stars Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary, and Murray Hamilton. The film's success was a phenomenon, grossing $470 million worldwide in box office receipts and becoming the highest-grossing film of all time until the release of Star Wars in 1977. It also won three Academy Awards for Best Original Score, Best Sound and Best Film Editing. The film was followed by three sequels of diminishing critical success, Jaws 2 (1978), Jaws 3-D (1983) and Jaws: The Revenge (1987).

The Exorcist (1973)

The Exorcist
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From William Friedkin, starring Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Linda Blair, Lee J. Cobb
Rated R

The Exorcist is a classic horror film directed by William Friedkin and released in 1973. It tells the story of Regan MacNeil, a 12-year-old girl who is possessed by the devil. Two priests, Father Damien Karras and Father Lankester Merrin, are brought in to try to help Regan. As they battle the demon, they must confront their own inner demons as well as their faith. With special effects, intense cinematography, and iconic imagery, The Exorcist is a classic horror film that still resonates with audiences today.

The Terminator (1984)

The Terminator
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From James Cameron, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn, Paul Winfield
Rated R

The Terminator is a classic science fiction film from 1984 directed by James Cameron. It follows the story of a robot assassin from the future, sent back in time to hunt down and kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), the mother of the future leader of the human resistance against the machines. Sarah is protected by Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn), a soldier from the future sent to protect her. As the Terminator relentlessly pursues Sarah, Reese and Sarah become allies as they fight against the Terminator's deadly mission. With exciting action sequences and a gripping story, The Terminator is a classic and timeless movie.

The Wizard of Oz (1939)

The Wizard of Oz
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Directors: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Mervyn LeRoy, Norman Taurog, Richard Thorpe, King Vidor, starring Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr
Rated PG

The Wizard of Oz (1939) is a classic American fantasy film directed by Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Mervyn LeRoy, Norman Taurog, Richard Thorpe, and King Vidor. The movie follows young Dorothy Gale, played by Judy Garland, as she is transported to the magical Land of Oz. While in Oz, Dorothy embarks on a journey to find the Wizard of Oz so he can help her return home to Kansas. On her journey she meets a Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion who join her in search of the great Wizard. Along the way, they must contend with the Wicked Witch of the West and her evil minions. Ultimately, Dorothy discovers that she has had the power to go home all along, and with her newfound friends, she defeats the Wicked Witch and returns to Kansas. The Wizard of Oz remains one of the most beloved films of all time and continues to be a source of inspiration for movie lovers and dreamers everywhere.

Rosemary's Baby (1968)

Rosemary's Baby
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Roman Polanski, starring Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon, Sidney Blackmer
Rated Approved

Rosemary's Baby is a psychological horror film directed by Roman Polanski and starring Mia Farrow. The film follows a young couple, Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse, who move into an old apartment building in Manhattan. After settling in, Rosemary becomes increasingly paranoid about the eccentric neighbors and strange events that transpire. As Rosemary's suspicions grow, she discovers that the building is home to a coven of Satanic worshippers who plan to use her as part of a ritual to bring about the birth of the Antichrist. With the help of her friend Hutch, Rosemary discovers the conspiracy against her and, in the end, she is forced to accept the dark fate that awaits her.

The Night of the Hunter (1955)

The Night of the Hunter
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Charles Laughton, starring Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, Lillian Gish, James Gleason
Rated Not Rated

The Night of the Hunter is a 1955 American film noir directed by Charles Laughton and starring Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, and Lillian Gish. Set in the Depression-era Midwest, the film follows a menacing preacher (Mitchum) who marries and then murders an unsuspecting widow in search of her late husband's hidden fortune. After murdering her, the preacher begins a hunt for the widow's two children who have escaped with the money. With the help of a kindly caretaker, the children evade the preacher and try to make their way to safety. The Night of the Hunter is considered a classic of film noir and is noted for its striking visual style and vivid, evocative use of imagery.

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Night of the Living Dead
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From George A. Romero, starring Duane Jones, Judith O'Dea, Karl Hardman, Marilyn Eastman
Rated Not Rated

Night of the Living Dead is a classic horror/zombie film directed by George A. Romero in 1968. The film follows a group of people, who are trapped in a rural farmhouse and surrounded by hordes of reanimated corpses, known as "ghouls", who are out to consume the living. The group must defend themselves against the relentless onslaught of the undead while struggling to figure out a way to survive. As tensions mount and time runs out, they must find a way to survive the night of the living dead.

Misery (1990)

Misery
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Rob Reiner, starring James Caan, Kathy Bates, Richard Farnsworth, Frances Sternhagen
Rated R

Misery is a psychological thriller directed by Rob Reiner and starring James Caan and Kathy Bates. The film follows novelist Paul Sheldon, who is rescued from a car crash in a remote part of Colorado by his number one fan, Annie Wilkes. As Paul recovers in her home, Annie's increasingly unstable behaviour leads him to realize that he must do whatever it takes to escape his captor and survive. The film is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Stephen King, and is a tense, thrilling ride that explores the dark depths of obsession, delusion and the extremes people will go to in order to possess something they love.

Freaks (1932)

Freaks
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Tod Browning, starring Wallace Ford, Leila Hyams, Olga Baclanova, Roscoe Ates
Rated Not Rated

"Freaks" (1932) is a horror-drama film directed by Tod Browning. It tells the story of a group of carnival performers – all of whom have physical deformities due to their conditions – who are exploited by a beautiful trapeze artist and her strongman lover. After suffering mistreatment and ridicule, the "freaks" band together to exact revenge on the pair. The film was met with controversy due to its subject matter and was banned in many countries. Despite this, it has become a cult classic and is widely recognized as one of the first horror films. It's dark atmosphere and exploitation of the outcasts in society make it a powerful and enduring classic.

Frankenstein (1931)

Frankenstein
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From James Whale, starring Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, Boris Karloff, John Boles
Rated Passed

Frankenstein is a 1931 horror classic based on the novel by Mary Shelley. It tells the story of Dr. Frankenstein, a scientist who discovers how to create life from dead tissue. With the help of his assistant, Fritz, he builds a creature from body parts of the dead. After the creature is brought to life, it quickly escapes and goes on a rampage, killing many people. Dr. Frankenstein must then try to find a way to stop the creature before it destroys even more lives. The film is widely praised for its special effects and has become a classic in the horror genre.

Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Dawn of the Dead
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From George A. Romero, starring David Emge, Ken Foree, Scott H. Reiniger, Gaylen Ross
Rated Unrated

Dawn of the Dead is a 1978 horror film directed by George A. Romero. It follows four survivors in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse, as they take refuge in a shopping mall. As the zombie population grows, the survivors must fight for their lives against the undead hordes. The film is both a comment on modern consumer culture and a critique of zombie movies. It has become a cult classic and is widely considered to be one of the best horror films of all time.

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Mel Stuart, starring Gene Wilder, Jack Albertson, Peter Ostrum, Roy Kinnear
Rated G

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is a 1971 musical fantasy film directed by Mel Stuart. The film follows young Charlie Bucket as he wins a golden ticket to tour the mysterious and magical chocolate factory of Willy Wonka. When he and four other children arrive at the factory, they discover its owner, the eccentric chocolatier Willy Wonka, who has a nefarious plan of his own. Along the way, Charlie and his companions learn priceless lessons about life and friendship through the bizarre characters and temptations of Wonka’s world. The film features classic songs such as "Pure Imagination", "The Candy Man", and "I've Got a Golden Ticket". At the end of the film, Charlie bests Wonka's test and is rewarded with ownership of the factory.

Wait Until Dark (1967)

Wait Until Dark
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Terence Young, starring Audrey Hepburn, Alan Arkin, Richard Crenna, Efrem Zimbalist Jr.
Rated Not Rated

Wait Until Dark is a suspenseful thriller set in Greenwich Village, New York City. Three criminals, led by the ruthless Roat (Alan Arkin), plot to steal a valuable doll from a blind woman named Susy Hendrix (Audrey Hepburn). Susy is unaware of their scheme, until her husband Sam (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.) and a mysterious photographer, Mike Talman (Richard Crenna), become involved in the drama. As the criminals' plan unravels, Susy must rely on her wits and intuition to survive the night. With the help of her supportive neighbor Gloria (Julie Herrod), Susy eventually outwits the criminals, thwarting their plans and saving herself.

Halloween (1978)

Halloween
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From John Carpenter, starring Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tony Moran, Nancy Kyes
Rated R

Halloween is a 1978 horror film directed by John Carpenter. Set in the fictional town of Haddonfield, Illinois, the film follows a disturbed killer named Michael Myers, who escapes from a mental hospital and returns home to terrorize the town on Halloween night. Michael, who is pursued by his psychiatrist Dr. Loomis, targets a group of teenage friends, including Laurie Strode, played by Jamie Lee Curtis. Over the course of the night, Michael stalks and kills many of the teenagers in a terrifying killing spree. Through her resourcefulness and courage, Laurie is finally able to confront Michael and fight back against her stalker. As dawn approaches, Dr. Loomis is able to shoot and wound Michael, who then disappears into the night. The film ends with Dr. Loomis vowing to find Michael and bring him to justice.

Cape Fear (1962)

Cape Fear
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From J. Lee Thompson, starring Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum, Polly Bergen, Lori Martin
Rated Passed

Cape Fear is a classic suspense thriller directed by J. Lee Thompson. The film follows lawyer Sam Bowden (Gregory Peck) and his family, who are being terrorized by an ex-convict, Max Cady (Robert Mitchum). Cady had been in prison for eight years following a rape conviction, and he blames Bowden for his imprisonment. Cady begins stalking and tormenting the Bowden family, culminating in a terrifying confrontation on the desolate Cape Fear river. As Cady's revenge intensifies, Bowden must find some way to protect his family from this dangerous, relentless enemy. With its cleverly constructed story, iconic performances, and masterful direction, Cape Fear is truly a classic of its genre.

The Game (1997)

The Game
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From David Fincher, starring Michael Douglas, Deborah Kara Unger, Sean Penn, James Rebhorn
Rated R

The Game is a 1997 psychological thriller directed by David Fincher and starring Michael Douglas as Nicholas Van Orton, a wealthy investment banker who is given a mysterious gift by his brother Conrad (Sean Penn). The gift is a "game" that plunges Nicholas into a surreal, dangerous and ultimately life-altering experience. As Nicholas plays the game, his life quickly spirals out of control and he is forced to confront his inner demons. As the game progresses, Nicholas begins to uncover a vast conspiracy involving his family and a powerful, shadowy organization. He must ultimately face his fears and make a choice that will either save him or destroy him.

 



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