Greatest Scariest
Movie Moments and Scenes


Greatest and Scariest Film Scenes
Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Brief Scene Description

Near Dark (1987)


This revisionist vampire-western-horror film hybrid (one of the best horror films of all-time) was directed by Kathryn Bigelow - her debut film. Its tagline was:

Blood is Our Life. Darkness, Our Feeding Ground. And Sunlight, Our Eternal Damnation

Now a major cult film, it told about a nomadic, tightly-knit band of vampires in the American Southwest. Wise-cracking, vicious desperado-like, outlaw vampire Severen (Bill Paxton) (dressed like rock singer Jim Morrison) was a sociopathic, undead vampire. He was part of a vampire clan-family, led by Jesse Hooker (Lance Henriksen), that traveled the countryside in a blacked-out Winnebago van.

Its famous setpiece was a long and drawn-out, blood-lusting roadhouse bar massacre that Severen instigated with hick customers. When the clan entered the redneck bar late one night, Severen called out:

Well, I'll be god-damned. S--t-kicker heaven!

He sat down at the bar, and taunted both a customer (Robert Winley) and the bartender (Thomas Wagner). And as a bar waitress (Jan King) served drinks to the family, she was terrorized by Jesse:

Jesse: You're shakin' all over. You nervous? I would be too if I were you. But then again, I'm not you. You know, your skin is as soft as a preacher's belly. You know that?
Waitress: Don't you want the beer?
Diamondback: No, honey. The drink's on me.

Her throat was promptly slit by Diamondback (Jenette Goldstein). Severen then insulted one of the long-haired hillbilly patrons:

"This is the best time I've had since I nailed your Mama in the back of your Daddy's truck. He was there watchin' too...To tell you the truth, I think he liked it. I know she did...You know what I said to your Mama? You know what I said to her? I said, 'Shh. This ain't gonna hurt.' I said...'Shh!'"

He broke the redneck's neck, then complained: "I hate 'em when they ain't been shaved," before biting into the man's hairy throat. Afterwards, his famous quote, as he licked his bloody fingers, was:

"It's finger-lickin' good!"

Severen threatened the bartender who was struggling to reload his shotgun: "Are you havin' a little trouble with your hog-leg there?"

Bar-Tender Struggling to Load Shotgun Before Being Killed

After striding down the length of the bar and crushing beverage glasses, he slit the bartender's throat with two swings of his boot's spurs.

Crazed Vampire Severen (Bill Paxton)

Jesse Terrorizing Bar Waitress

Long-Haired Patron's Neck Broken

"Finger-Lickin' Good!"

(Wes Craven's) New Nightmare (1994)

In this horror film-within-a-film, Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) was again assailing various Dream World victims in a series of tense scenes.

Freddy's clawed fingers acted like shark fins through Heather Langenkamp's (Herself) bedsheet, and she also received stalker phone calls.

Young Dylan Porter (Miko Hughes) climbed to the very top of the monkey bars under a trance.

Also, the film reprised a similar scene from A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), when babysitter Julie (Tracy Middendorf) received Freddy's bladed glove in the back, then was bloodily dragged onto the hospital ceiling where her neck was snapped and she fell to her death.

Freddy's Clawed Fingers

Monkey-Bar Scene

Julie Dragged Across Hospital Ceiling

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)


Wes Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) ushered in a series of films, mostly inferior to this classic first film. Most of the shocking murders in the long-running series were committed by red/green striped sweater and brown fedora-wearing dream demon Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund). Teenagers in the small town all dreamt of being pursued by a slasher-figure, with a burned face and metal clawed glove-hand. Usually, the murders (all set-pieces) by the sadistic child-murderer took place in a dreamworld setting.

15 year-old teen Tina Gray (Amanda Wyss), suffering from nightmares, was pursued into a dark back alley, where she saw the shadowy silhouette of Freddy, with a disfigured face, laughing at her. In his first startling silhouetted appearance, he unnaturally spread his arms wide to about 10 feet on both sides to scrape his right-hand fingernails -- razor-bladed -- on the alley wall, causing sparks.

In Tina's mother's bedroom, boyfriend Rod Lane (Nick Corn) watched as Tina flailed about against an invisible attacker under the bedcovers. He saw her bare torso bloodily slashed open with four long gashes - obviously the bladed glove. She was picked up into the air (levitated), thrown against the wall, and dragged up to the ceiling upside-down and feet-first - with blood smearing her path, as she was slashed further and blood splattered around the room. In the middle of the ceiling, her body was suddenly released, and she flopped onto the bloodied bed and floor below, dead.

Tina's friend and policeman's daughter Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) was the next one to be terrorized - she experienced a nightmarish confrontational appearance of Freddy, with a horribly burned-melted face, in her school's basement hot boiler room ("Come to Freddy").

In the film's most celebrated scene, Nancy was taking a luxurious hot bubble bath when she became drowsy and fell asleep - with her legs open. She was terrorized by the killer's clawed hand appearing and moving towards her crotch area. She was violently jerked, dragged and pulled under the water beneath the surface of the tub -- into a bottomless well or abyss below. In a panic, she flailed, gasped, choked and struggled back towards the surface, managing to break through with her hands by grasping the tub's edge. Nancy's mother Marge (Ronee Blakley) heard her screams and came to the rescue by picking the door lock, although Nancy claimed she had only slipped getting out of the tub.

Freddy's Attack on Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) in Bathtub

Also, Freddy made a terrifying appearance in Nancy's own bedroom during another nightmare, with pillow feathers flying as he slashed at her.

In the mini-dream scene, killer Freddy transformed Nancy's phone mouthpiece into his own mouth, with his long tongue darting out into the startled Nancy's mouth, as he triumphantly told her: "I'm your boyfriend, now!"- a premonition of her boyfriend's death.

In the liquifying death scene, at midnight after Nancy's boyfriend Glen Lantz (Johnny Depp) had drifted off to sleep sprawled back fully-clothed on his bed with a blaring TV on his lap, Freddy's clawed hand burst through a hole in the center of the bed under him, sucked, swallowed and pulled him through the bed cover down into the hole (along with the TV, stereo, bed covers, pillow, sheet, and headphones, etc.), and then reduced him to a bloody geyser or column of his shredded and drained remains that exploded (or was vomited) out of the hole and gushed toward the ceiling, drenching the room in his blood.

Freddy's Outstretched Arms

Boyfriend Rod Watching Tina's Demise During Dream

A Confrontation With Freddy Krueger in Boiler Room (To Nancy: "Come to Freddy")

Phone Mouthpiece = Freddy's Tongue (To Nancy: "I'm your boyfriend, now!")

Glen Swallowed Into Bed

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)

There were a number of frightening scare moments in this second sequel in the popular series:

In the stomach-turning "puppet-marionette" death scene, puppet-master Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) manipulated troubled teen dreamer Phillip Anderson (Bradley Gregg) like a human marionette. Freddy used the ripped out muscle tendons from the length of both of his hands and legs as the control chords.

During the nightmare, the adolescent was lifted from his bed with the sinews, and walked out of his room, apparently sleep-walking, into the hallway (the boy's nickname was "The Walker"). He was led to a window in the bell tower of the Westin Hills Psychiatric Hospital where he was a patient. Laughing maniacally as a giant puppet-master looming above the building, Freddy let Phillip teeter there on the edge of the window ledge. He then slashed through the bloody sinews, causing Phillip to frantically fall to his death from the tower, as the other teen patients witnessed his horrible demise.

Also in "The Dick Cavett Show" television sequence, Dick Cavett (Himself) was interviewing guest Zsa Zsa Gabor (Herself), while disturbed and institutionalized teen Jennifer Caulfield (Penelope Sudrow) was watching and nodded off to sleep. In her nightmarish dream, the show host was abruptly transformed into Freddy. Following his inquisitive request ("Can I ask you something?"), he slashed at Gabor with the exclamation: "Who gives a f--k what you think!?"

The picture turned to static and snow, and Jennifer walked toward the screen to adjust the static-rendered picture and change the channel, hearing "One, two, Freddy's coming for you..." Suddenly, two arms (composed of wires and TV parts) ripped through the sides of the wall-mounted TV, grabbed her by the shoulders, and picked her up. Freddy's plastic-shrouded head grew and stretched out of the top of the set, with a rabbit-ear antenna mounted on top. He taunted the screaming teen: "This is it, Jennifer. your big break in TV. Welcome to Prime Time, Bitch!" He then brutally and forcefully rammed her head face-first into the TV screen, causing an explosion of glass and sparks.

Freddy Krueger With Sleeping Victim

"Puppet-Marionette" Death Scene


The Night of the Hunter (1955)


Director Charles Laughton's sole film was a thriller featuring a corrupt Preacher character who terrorized a lonely widow and her two children in order to acquire a hidden forture, in a series of attempts.

The scariest part of the film was the main character himself - a terrifying and deranged killer-evangelist named Rev. Harry Powell (Robert Mitchum) with borderline sanity - a sinister, crazed, malevolent, black-cloaked, wide-brimmed and hatted 'Preacher.' He was a serial killer first seen driving in a stolen Model T Essex.

The Preacher in Stolen Model T

He delivered a chilling, perversely evil and memorable monologue to the Lord as he glanced heavenward and delivered an insane prayer, asking permission to kill another rich widow:

"Well now, what's it to be Lord? Another widow? How many has it been? Six? Twelve? I disremember. (He tipped his hat) You say the word, Lord, I'm on my way...You always send me money to go forth and preach your Word. The widow with a little wad of bills hid away in a sugar bowl. Lord, I am tired. Sometimes I wonder if you really understand. Not that You mind the killin's. Yore Book is full of killin's. But there are things you do hate Lord: perfume-smellin' things, lacy things, things with curly hair."

Then came the first sight of the Preacher's finger tattoos: LOVE and HATE emblazoned on the fingers of his right and left hands, seen as Rev. Powell attended a strip show - his left hand, tattooed with the letters "H-A-T-E" on his four fingers, clenched and then reached in his coat pocket to grab his concealed switchblade knife; as his libido was aroused, the flick-knife spontaneously opened - a sexual phallic symbol - violently and orgasmically ready to strike.

He was in malevolent pursuit of a $10,000 cache of money, believed to be in the possession of the Harper family in the depressed rural town of Cresap's Landing: widowed wife Willa Harper (Shelley Winters), and her two children: young 9 year-old John Harper (Billy Chapin), and young Pearl (Sally Jane Bruce).

During one frightening moment, Powell's shadow filled the window of the children's bedroom - it was the preacher dressed all in black standing by the streetlight in front of their house. He strolled away, seductively singing a modified version of his signature tune (and the film's ironic refrain), the hymn - "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms": "Leaning, leaning..."

The Preacher's Shadow - Standing Under Streetlight

In a tortuous wedding night scene between the Preacher and Willa Harper, she was dressed in a nightgown as she stood barefoot in front of a bathroom mirror before joining her virile husband in bed - she was vulnerable and ready to consummate her love, but he lectured her about not having any more children. Soon after, Willa was knifed to death in an A-frame bedroom - she was resigned to her death with her arms crossed over her chest; Powell delivered a benediction, and then raised his switchblade knife high above her (in his right hand - the one marked with LOVE) to carry out the ritualistic murder - on the altar-bed.

Afterwards came the creepy, nightmarish, hypnotically-eerie discovery of Willa's corpse sitting underwater in a Model T with her long blonde hair tangling, swaying, and mingling diaphanously in the current with the river's underwater reeds

The homicidal, Frankenstein-like Powell continued to pursue the two children in the basement fruit cellar after learning that the money was hidden in Pearl's doll. He chased them up the stairs with arms outstretched.

The children escaped and fled to their father's skiff, where Powell waded out and lunged toward them with a knife, but slipped waist-deep in the mudhole as the skiff slid into the current just out of his reach.

In a lyrical, fairy-tale-like nighttime sequence, the children floated down the river amidst God's benevolent creatures on the shoreline (a croaking frog, rabbits, an owl, tortoise, sheep, and a spider's web). They were continually pursued - the preacher was seen on horseback (a stolen horse) as a distant silhouette against the night-time sky as the children slept in a barn's hayloft. Powell repeatedly pursued after the children, calling out with a chilling, sing-song exclamation:

"Chillll-dren? Chillll-dren?"

Powell's Left Hand Tattoo

Willa's Torturous Wedding Night with The Preacher

Willa's Murder in A-Frame - Viewed Sitting in Submerged Car

Arms Outstretched to Chase Children Up Cellar Stairs

Pursuit of Children Escaping in Skiff

Shoreline Creatures - A Frog

The Children's Flight From the Preacher - Seen on Horseback

Night of the Living Dead (1968)


This influential, low-budget, black and white zombie classic, an unexpected sleeper hit, was one of the first independent films to gain worldwide popularity. George Romero's redefining flick combined German expressionism with a semi-documentary style to produce a new level of gore.

The major characters were under siege in a house, as they were assaulted by flesh-eating zombies. With some social commentary, sci-fi elements, and basic thriller components, this Vietnam-era film also featured a bleak, twist ending. According to news reports, a failed NASA experiment had caused dead bodies on Earth to come back to life.

In the film's opening scary scene - a cemetery attack, Johnny (uncredited Russell Streiner) saw a shambling zombie (thinking it was a drunk vagrant) in a cemetery while visiting his father's gravesite. He taunted his sister Barbra (Judith O'Dea) - "They're coming to get you, Barbra!" -- when Johnny was suddenly attacked and killed by the zombie when his head was knocked against a tombstone.

Johnny Teasing Barbra: "They're coming to get you, Barbra"
Attack of a Real Zombie Upon Barbra

Rattled female Barbra escaped to an abandoned farmhouse, where she discovered a half-eaten, partially-mutilated body of a female at the top of the stairs. There were horrific scenes of a horde of crazed, flesh-eating zombies ("an epidemic of mass murder being committed by a virtual army of unidentified assassins") surrounding the old farmhouse and terrorizing the catatonic Barbra and the resourceful Ben (black actor Duane Jones). Hands of the ghouls broke through an unguarded window.

Zombies Approaching Farmhouse

Zombie-bitten young daughter Karen (Kyra Schon), now reanimated as a "living dead" zombie (she had been bitten on the arm), consumed her father's corpse in the cellar. Frustrated wife Helen Cooper (Marilyn Eastman) was also attacked and gruesomely stabbed to death with a garden trowel and afterwards was eaten - by her own zombified, hungry daughter Karen.

Barbra was dragged away by her own zombified, 'undead' and reanimated brother Johnny and disappeared within the horde of 'flesh-eaters.'

In the film's conclusion on the day after the attack, ill-fated Ben was shockingly killed with a bullet to the head by white trash, redneck, trigger-happy zombie hunters assembled in a posse. He was mistaken for one of the "living dead." Afterwards, his body was burned on a pyre of corpses.

Downbeat Ending
Posse Sniper Murdered Ben -
His Body Was Added to Pyre of Other Zombie Bodies

Johnny Killed as He Tried to Defend Barbra in Cemetery

Graveyard Zombie

Half-Eaten Female in Farmhouse

Jump-Scare: Hands Reached In Window

Karen Consuming Father's Corpse

Zombie Karen's Brutal Matricide of Helen

Zombified Brother Johnny's Murder of Sister Barbra

Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984, UK)

A dystopian UK film from director Michael Radford - a grim adaptation of George Orwell's classic novel about Thought Police in the state of Oceania.

The main character was oppressed, low-ranking, 39 year-old middle-class drone-civil servant Winston Smith (John Hurt), who worked at the Ministry of Truth (ironically-titled). His job was to alter and rewrite the past and turn 'vaporized' people into non-existent "unpersons" by erasing the person's name in old newspapers and official records.

Winston experienced a nightmarish memory or recollection (in his secret journal) of a past visitation with a Whore (Shirley Stelfox) in the off-limits proletarian areas - her seemingly youthful beauty masked a middle-aged, homely, bruised and repulsive woman:

"If there is hope, it lies in the proles. If they could become conscious of their own strength, there would be no need to conspire. History does not matter to them. It was three years ago on a dark evening. Easy to slip the patrols, and I'd gone into the proletarian areas. There was no one else on the street, and no tele-screens. She said: 'Two dollars,' so I went with her. She had a young face, painted very thick. It was really the paint that appealed to me: the whiteness of it like a mask, and the bright red lips. (She hiked up her skirt) There were no preliminaries. Standing there with the scent of dead insects and cheap perfume, I went ahead and did it just the same."

Visitation with a Whore

Winston soon ran into trouble after a rendezvous with the rebellious, free-spirited and sensual Julia (Suzanna Hamilton), who worked in the Ministry of Truth's Fiction Department. Julia and Winston continued their romantic liaisons and sexual relationship in a rented room above a pawn shop in the proletarian area, where they lived together and acquired contraband food ("proper white bread and jam, a real tin of milk...real coffee") and clothing sold on the black market; she surprised him by wearing lipstick and a pretty dress when she asked "Do you like me?" - and they embraced.

When the couple was found out and apprehended (betrayed by Mr. Charrington (Cyril Cusack), the owner of the pawn shop and a member of the Thought Police), they were both naked. The two were separated at the Ministry, and forced to be rehabilitated and to repudiate their sexual relationship. Both were detained, questioned, and tortured by the totalitarian government.

Winston experienced severe brain-washing administered systematically by suave, high-ranking Inner Party member O'Brien (Richard Burton in his last film role); he was told:

"There is no loyalty except loyalty to the Party. There is no love except love of Big Brother. All competing pleasures, we will destroy. If you want a vision of the future, Winston, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- forever...If you're a man, you're the last man. Your kind is extinct. We are the inheritors. Do you understand that you're alone? You're outside history. You unexist...Look at you, you're rotting away. That is the last man. If you're human, that is humanity. It won't last forever. You can escape from it whenever you choose. Everything depends on you...don't give up hope. Everyone is cured sooner or later. And in the end we shall shoot you."

Winston was warned about Room 101 - with excruciating personalized torture as the last stage of punishment by the totalitarian government:

"The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world. It goes beyond fear of pain or death. It is unendurable and it varies from individual to individual. It may be burial alive or castration. Or many other things. In your case, it is rats."

Winston was subjected to a cage filled with wild rats that would tear into his face, in order to break down and "cure" his insanity, have him disavow his love for Julia, and to force him to express loyalty and affection towards the Party and its leader Big Brother.

In the bleak ending, Winston played chess with himself in the Chestnut Tree Cafe. He was briefly approached by an equally-changed Julia - both acted unromantically and passively to each other.

A Very Passive Julia In Cafe With Winston

Winston Listening to His Own Confession

After she departed, a large tele-screen behind him played a broadcast of himself admitting his numerous crimes:

"I accuse myself of the following crimes. I have seduced Party members of both sexes. I've been to the proletarian areas. I deliberately contracted syphilis in order to spread the disease to my wife and other Party members. Together with other agents, I have counterfeited banknotes, wrecked industrial machinery, polluted the water supply, and guided Eurasian rocket bombs to targets on Airstrip One by means of coded radio signals. I stand here, a victim of the influence of Emmanuel Goldstein, guilty on all counts. I'm glad I was caught. I was mentally deranged. Now I am cured. I ask only for you to accept my love of our leader. I ask only to be shot while my mind is still clean."

Winston turned to the image of Big Brother on the screen and whispered faintly (did he actually mouth the words or were they off-screen?) - the film's final words: "I love you."

Winston Smith (John Hurt)

Big Brother

Winston Apprehended With Julia

Torture by O'Brien: "You unexist...You're rotting away"

Rat-Cage Torture

Bleak Ending: "I Love You"

No Country for Old Men (2007)


The dark Best Picture-winning crime drama, and western thriller from the Coen Brothers was based upon Cormac McCarthy's 2005 novel about a bad drug-deal gone wrong in early 1980s West Texas.

It told of the relentless efforts of a brutal sociopathic hitman Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), who had escaped police custody and jail, to recover a satchel with $2 million dollars from the aftermath of the failed drug deal. The money was retrieved by Vietnam veteran and Texas resident Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin).

The film opened with the strangulation murder of a young deputy (Zach Hopkins) in an office by the handcuffed amoral, thrill-killer Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), using his handcuffs as a garrote from behind. After the killing, he reacted with a grinning, satisfied exhalation, and then walked away from the bloody, scuffed-up linoleum floor from the flailing boots of the struggling man, to escape custody.

In another early scene, Chigurh confronted an elderly gas station proprietor (Gene Jones) with an unexpected coin toss - for his life. Chigurh kept demanding: "Call it" - he then explained:

You've been putting it up your whole life - you just didn't know it. You know what date is on this coin?... 1958. It's been traveling twenty-two years to get here. And now it's here. And it's either heads or tails. And you have to say. Call it....You stand to win everything, call it.

The man luckily called the correct toss option - 'heads' - and was spared execution.

Throughout the film, the enigmatic Chigurh (one of the scariest villains ever created) killed other victims with a compressed-air cattlegun as he pursued the satchel with the money, held by Moss. When he was able to confront Moss by phone, Chigurh promised that his young and innocent wife Carla Jean wouldn't be hurt if Moss gave up the money, but he defiantly refused:

Chigurh: You know how this is gonna turn out, don't you?
Moss: Nope.
Chigurh: I think you do. So this is what I'll offer. You bring me the money and I'll let her go. Otherwise, she's accountable, the same as you. That's the best deal you're gonna get. I won't tell you you can save yourself, because you can't.
Moss: Yeah, I'm gonna bring you somethin', all right. Decided to make you a special project of mine. You ain't gonna have to come look for me at all. (Moss hung up the pay phone)

Moss' theft of the funds led to an exciting chase and cat-and-mouse pursuit game. He waited in his border town hotel room for the arrival of Chigurh to collect the money - Moss had the funds in a satchel (not knowing it had signaled his exact location with a hidden radio transponder to hired killer Chigurh). In the tense scene, Moss discovered the transponder and knew Chigurh would arrive momentarily for a showdown there. He sat readied with his shotgun after turning out the light and peering under the door. The two engaged in a vicious and bloody struggle that ended on the street and left Moss severely wounded (with a gunshot wound on his right side), and Chigurh shot in the leg.

The film ended with the brutal and senseless deaths of Llewelyn Moss (by Mexicans) and his innocent wife Carla Jean (Kelly Macdonald) by psycho-killer Anton Chigurh. The evil and remorseless killer confronted Carla Jean in her bedroom - preceded by a mournful dialogue between the two. She spoke first:

"I knew this wasn't done with. I ain't got the money. What little I had is long gone and there's bills a-plenty to pay yet. I buried my mother today. Ain't paid for that neither....I need to sit down. You got no cause to hurt me."

Anton explained how he had earlier pledged to Llewelyn that he would kill her if he didn't bring him the $2 million in stolen drug money: "No, but I gave my your husband." This was despite the fact that Llewelyn was murdered by Mexican drug lords, not Anton, and was unable to deliver the money. She responded: "That don't make sense. You gave your word to my husband to kill me?" Chigurh tried to explain: "Your husband had the opportunity to save you. Instead, he used you to try to save himself." When she told him: "Not like that. Not like you say. You don't have to do this," he responded:

"People always say the same thing...They say, 'You don't have to do this'."

Chigurh then offered her his usual 50/50 chance of survival by flipping a coin ("OK. This is the best I can do. Call it"), but she refused:

"I knowed you was crazy when I saw you sitting there. I knowed exactly what was in store for me... I ain't gonna call it...The coin don't have no say - it's just you."

He replied: "I got here the same way the coin did." She was then predictably murdered (off-screen), signified by his leaving the house alone.

Opening Strangulation Murder of Deputy

Infamous Coin-Toss Sequence: "Call it!"

The Cat and Mouse Game for the Money

The Fateful Death of Carla Jean (Kelly Macdonald)

North by Northwest (1959)

In Alfred Hitchcock's Technicolored thriller-spy film, advertising executive Roger O. Thornhill (Cary Grant) found himself to be the victim of mistaken identity - he was thought to be the enigmatic (and non-existent) George Kaplan. Throughout the entire film, he was abducted, interrogated, and then evaded his captors (smugglers of microfilm top-secrets), but couldn't convince anyone of his innocence. He found himself on the run as a murder suspect (for killing a diplomat at the United Nations), on a train bound for the west.

In the murder sequence in United Nations building in New York, Roger was speaking to the real Lester Townsend (Philip Ober) - not the phony Townsend at the estate. After pulling a knife out of Townsend's back, Roger was photographed holding the knife in mid-air ("He's got a knife, look out!"). Roger blurted out: "Listen to me. I had nothing to do with this"- but it was assumed by the crowd that Roger had killed the UN diplomat. In a panic after dropping the knife, he rushed out of the hall, ran outside onto a long sidewalk and got into an awaiting cab (filmed from high above the UN, making him look like a tiny object being examined under a microscope).

At Country Crossroads: The Famous Crop-Duster Plane Attack

One of the most famous and beloved set pieces ever filmed began with Thornhill's arrival by bus at a deserted Highway 41 crossroads (in neighboring Indiana) in the flat countryside where he had been lured by enemy spies on the pretext of meeting and connecting with the fabled Kaplan - his non-existent double. A stranger stood across the road from him (in widescreen) and strangely wondered about a nearby crop-dusting plane:

"That's funny. That plane's dustin' crops where there ain't no crops."

In a famous seven-minute pursuit-attack sequence by the deadly crop-dusting bi-plane in the open, flat and desolate Midwest field, Thornhill sought protection in a cornfield. The airplane released pesticides, forcing Thornhill out into the open. Desperate, Thornhill stepped in front of a speeding tanker truck, which stopped just before hitting him. The dramatic editing heightened suspense, as the strafing airplane, having initiated another dive on Thornhill, was blinded by its own pesticide cloud and crashed into the Magnum Oil tanker.

Another harrowing sequence came at the end of the film - the cliff-dangling episode at Mount Rushmore near Rapid City, South Dakota when secret government agent Eve (Eva Marie Saint) and Thornhill (now recruited to help the government and continue pretending he was Kaplan for 24 hours, to prevent villain Vandamm (James Mason) from taking microfilmed government secrets out of the country) were clinging for their lives from the edge of the famous mountain sculpture.

UN Murder Scene - the Real Lester Townsend

Thornhill's Panic and Flight From UN (aerial view)

The Chase Across Mt. Rushmore, Including Cliff-Dangling

Nosferatu (1922, Ger.), (aka Eine Symphonie Des Grauens or A Symphony of Terror/Horror)


Director F.W. Murnau's atmospheric variation on Bram Stoker's novel Dracula was the start of many iconic horror films about the non-human figure of Dracula. It introduced the character of vampirish, semi-demonic Nosferatu to cinema audiences:

Count Graf Orlok (Max Schreck) was an emaciated, balding, undead vampire with a devil-rat face, pointy ears, elongated fingers on claw-like hands, sunken cheeks, and long fangs.

  • Bremen real estate agent Johannes Hutter (Gustav von Wangenheim) in Transylvania at Castle Orlok in the Carpathian Mountains, was shocked to see the blood-lusting Orlok - first at a distance, but then the figure approached quickly (through dissolves) toward the horrified man until he was completely in the curved, pointed doorway with a Gothic arch, revealing his ugly, scary figure.

  • also, there was the striking sight of Count Orlok on the ship Empusa, rising straight up from his dirt-filled coffin, causing the crazed first mate (who was hacking into the coffin) to run on-deck and hurl himself into the water. Later, Orlok was seen on deck - imposing when shot from a low-angle.

  • in another scary scene, the shadowy and hideous Orlok ascended a staircase with his elongated, bony hand reaching out to a door and toward his female victim - an awaiting and possessed Ellen Hutter (Greta Schroeder), Hutter's wife, who clutched at her left breast in fear, knowing that "Deliverance is possible by no other means but that an innocent maiden maketh the vampire heed not the first crowing of the cock - this done by the sacrifice of her own bloode."
Count Orlok's Death Scene with Hutter's Wife

When Orlok entered her room, the shadow of his hand covered her heart, and he began to suck blood from her neck. She sacrificed herself to destroy Nosferatu. He was tricked by her into being preoccupied - and overstaying his welcome when a rooster crowed, signaling dawn and the beginning of daylight.

He was exposed to the sun and died in front of her window, grasping his chest, and disappearing in a small wisp of smoke.

Count Orlok - In Curved Pointed Doorway

Count Orlok in Cargo Hold and On Deck On Double-Masted "Death Ship" Empusa

Count Orlok's Approach Up Stairs to Victim, Ellen Hutter

Oldboy (2003, S. Korea)


This was a mysterious and visceral (double) revenge thriller - a South Korean horror-mystery about dark secrets by director Chan-wook Park. It followed the circumstances of a womanizing businessman in the late 1980s who was kidnapped from a phone booth and imprisoned for many years in a hotel-like room - and then after being inexplicably freed and released, suffered many setbacks and punishments as he went about seeking answers, finding vengeance against his captor(s), and locating his young daughter.

Imprisoned Dae-su Oh (Choi Min-sik) was released after 15 years as a captive in a dingy, shabby windowless cell -- without knowing the charges, although he learned by TV during his long imprisonment that he had been framed for his wife's murder, and that his young four year-old daughter was sent to live with Swedish foster parents.

Recently-freed Dae-su stumbled into a sushi restaurant where he became acquainted with helpful and young sushi chef Mi-do (Kang Hye-jeong). After consuming a wriggling, live octopus (eaten headfirst!) and receiving an enigmatic phone call from his captor Woo-jin (Yu Ji-tae), his former classmate, Dae-su fainted. Mi-do took pity on him and took him in. She assisted him in following clues in order to unravel the mystery.

Dae-su sought revenge for his many unexplained years of being captive, although he had only a few days to find the enigmatic answers. He learned that his villainous, millionaire, sadistic and insane captor-tormentor Woo-jin Lee, a former schoolmate at Evergreen, had blamed Dae-su for spreading a vicious rumor about an incestuous pregnancy in his family (between young Woo-Jin and his sister Lee Soo-ah (Yoon Jin-seo) who were having sexual relations) that allegedly led to the humiliated sister's suicide.

Vengeful Woo-jin's plan all along was to imprison Dae-su for 15 years (to allow Dae-su's young daughter to grow up), and then conspire to have Dae-su and Mi-do, Dae-su's own long-lost daughter, incestuously fall in love - before killing her. Woo-Jin had raised Mi-do in secret, and had both Mi-do and Dae-su hypnotized to fall in love when she grew older - a punishment suited to fit the crime.

In a major plot twist revelation set in an elevator, however, Woo-jin experienced a guilt-ridden, distorted memory of his sister's death. In a startling flashback scene, Woo-jin remembered that he had murdered his own sister (by letting go of her over the side of Habchun Dam) - she had not committed suicide. As the guilty memory from years earlier came over him, he shot himself in the side of the head inside an elevator as the door opened, leaving a bloodstain on the wall.

There were a few excessively vulgar, devastating and scary scenes of extreme pain and self-torture:

  • a vengeful forcible tooth extraction in the control room of the prison where Dae-su forcibly extracted (with the claw of a hammer) 15 of the teeth of the prison manager Park Cheol-woong (Dal-su Oh); Dae-su explained: "I am going to avenge myself for all 15 years. Each tooth I extract will age you by one year"
  • the sequence of Dae-su's extremely-painful tongue self-excisement with a rusty pair of scissors - to find atonement and to prevent any further rumors or talk after realizing he had taken the virginity of his own long-lost daughter Mi-do (an act of unintended incest!)

Dae-su Imprisoned for 15 Years

Live-Octopus Eaten Headfirst

Prison Manager Mr. Park's Tooth Extractions

Woo-jin's Suicide in Elevator

Dae-su's Tongue Self-Excisement

The Omen (1976)


Director Richard Donner's classic supernatural horror film of possession (remade in 2006), with a script by David Seltzer, cleverly used the Biblical book of Revelation to create a mostly-believable story about Satanic conspiracy. It contained a number of cleverly-constructed set-pieces of suspense, revolving around a conspiracy that was being investigated by a well-intentioned, victimized father.

It was the first part of a trilogy, followed by:

  • Damien: Omen II (1978)
  • The Final Conflict (1981) (aka Omen III)

There were further films in the series after the 70s and early 80s: the TV movie Omen IV: The Awakening (1991), and the remake The Omen (2006).

A local priest in Italy offered an infant child (whose mother had died) to US Ambassador to Italy Robert Thorn (Gregory Peck), after his distraught wife Katherine Thorn (Lee Remick) gave birth to a stillborn child in a Rome hospital. The child was named Damien (Harvey Stephens) - he was later thought to be the Devil's own son, or the Anti-Christ with the 666 birthmark sign on his scalp.

Soon, a number of bizarrely-violent and murderous incidents occurred, involving hanging, impalement, falls, and decapitation:

  • During Damien's 5th birthday party outdoors, when his Nanny (Holly Palance) spotted a black Rottweiler dog, she went into the mansion's attic, tied a noose around her neck, stood out on the ledge of the window, and suicidally jumped to hang herself (and shattered the second floor glass window with her swinging body). She had called out her final words: "Damien, look at me. I'm over here. Damien, I love you. Look at me, Damien. It's all for you." Damien's view was shielded by his mother Katherine Thorn, - but he seemed pleased - he waved at the Rottweiler (a protective Hellhound) on the premises.
  • Baboons from the UK's Windsor Safari Park instinctively recognized Damien's devilish-nature and attacked the car carrying Damien and his mother.
Windsor Safari Park Baboons Attacked Car
  • During a freak storm outside a church after providing severe warnings to Robert Thorn in Bishop's Park about his endangered family, and instructions to kill their child Damien, Father Brennan (Patrick G. Troughton) died in a "bizarre tragedy" - he was impaled by a heavy steel rod that was struck by lightning, broke off, sailed through the air (like a javelin throw) and skewered him into the ground.
  • Pregnant Katherine was having ominous fantasies described by a therapist ("She fantasizes that your child is alien and that your child is evil") and her fears appeared justified; Damien maniacally pedaled his red and white tricycle and knocked his pregnant mother over the second-floor stairway railing to the menacing sound of ''Ave Satani", causing her to fall, miscarry, and suffer "a concussion and a broken humerus, and, well, some internal bleeding"; recuperating, she was able to tell her husband: "Don't let him kill me."
Tricycle Accident?
  • While in an ancient Italian cemetery investigating Damien's origins, Robert Thorn and photographer Keith Jennings (David Warner) were attacked by a pack of vicious Rottweiler dogs and barely escaped.
  • In the UK, heavily-sedated and recovering Katherine died when her mysterious nanny replacement, Mrs. Baylock (Billie Whitelaw), shoved her out of a high-floor hospital window, and she plunged through the roof of a parked ambulance far below
  • Hapless Jennings had just vowed to the reluctant Thorn that he would stab his evil son Damien with one of seven daggers if Thorn couldn't do it ("If you don't do it, I will"); then, he met a scary demise by decapitation in a freakish accident - a truck lost its brakes parked on a slight incline, and gathered speed as it went out of control. A sheet of plate glass flew off the open flat-bed of the truck and sliced cleanly through his neck. It sent his spinning body-less head flying through the air. The disembodied head ended up resting on the ground where it could view itself in reflected glass.
Head Decapitation of Keith Jennings
  • In the film's conclusion, Thorn cut off some of Damien's hair to locate the "666" marking on his scalp. He then fought off the protective Mrs. Baylock ("an apostate of Hell") and stabbed her with both a carving fork and screwdriver in the neck. Bloodied himself, he dragged his screaming son away to a nearby church altar to sacrifice him with the seven mystical daggers from Megiddo (a derivative of the word "Armageddon" and the site of an archaeological dig outside Jerusalem). Thorn was shot to death by police as he raised his hand with the first dagger - while his son survived.

The Suicidal Death of Damien's Young Nanny

Father Brennan Skewered by a Steel Rod

Attack by Vicious Rottweiler Dogs in Ancient Etruscan Cemetery in Italy

Murder of Katherine Thorn by Mrs. Baylock

Thorn's Murder of Damien's Protective Mrs. Baylock

Open Water (2003)


A dramatic, nail-biting, psychological horror-thriller from independent film-maker Chris Kentis told about the fear of being left behind in open water. The low-budget film was shot with digital video to enhance its authenticity. It was based upon a true story of two divers stranded on the Great Barrier Reef in 1998.

The main protagonists, a hard-working married couple, Daniel and Susan Watkins (Daniel Travis and Blanchard Ryan), were in need of a vacation. They decided upon a scuba-diving trip. The night before their excursion, the two lay naked in bed, and although Daniel was ready for sex, Susan explained that she was tired and not in the mood: "I might not be in the mood...Yeah, I'm not in the mood."

Stranded Scuba Divers
  • In terrifying extended scenes, vacationing married couple in the Caribbean were on a scuba-diving vessel named the Reef Explorer - the duo were accidentally left behind, stranded about 15 miles from shore when an improper count was taken. When they surfaced, they saw the boat in the extreme distance - Susan asked: "Daniel, where's the boat?...You've got to be kidding me"
  • They suffered an excruciating tense ordeal in the open, frightening, shark-infested ocean - which began with stings from jellyfish
  • As they floated and were drifting, sharks began to circle below them; when Susan asked, "What kind are they?", Daniel responded: "Big ones"; Susan pondered: "I don't know what is worse? Seeing them or not seeing them?"
  • Susan was the first to experience a small shark bite on her left leg's calf - she was unaware that smaller feeder fish were eating the exposed flesh of the wound; Daniel only told her it was only "a little cut"
  • Daniel was next painfully bitten more seriously by one of the underwater predators, and momentarily dragged under the surface - and Susan tried to reassure him: "It's not that bad"
  • Quickly running out of options and at the mercy of the elements and the underwater creatures, they struggled in pitch-darkness during a thunderstorm, only intermittently lit by lightning, when Daniel's leg was again attacked; he was killed and eaten in a feeding frenzy; Susan's final words to Daniel: "Stay still. Stay where you are. It's gonna be ok. You hold on. You hold on, Daniel. You don't leave me out here, by myself. You promise me you'll hold on."
  • Resigned to her own fate, Susan quietly joined Daniel by drowning herself, after removing her scuba gear and submerging herself under the water

Daniel and Susan Watkins (Daniel Travis and Blanchard Ryan)


Inspecting Susan's Bite

"Big Ones"

Daniel's Bloody Bite

A Circling Feeding Frenzy

The Orphanage (2007, Mex./Sp.) (aka El Orfanato)

This chilling gothic thriller, by first-time director Juan Antonio Bayona, centered around an abandoned Spanish seaside orphanage that was restored and set up as an institution for "special children."

Red-headed wife Laura (Belen Rueda) had been raised at the institution when it was called The Good Shepherd, before it was abandoned. She had persuaded her husband Carlos Sanchez (Fernando Cayo) to reopen the orphanage, and use the facility's space to help disabled children. They moved in with their child:

  • Simón (Roger Príncep), a lonely, 7 year-old adopted son who was diagnosed as ill and HIV positive

Simon began to exhibit strange behavior. He had an active imagination, and would often communicate and play hide-and-seek with six imaginary "invisible friends" (or 'ghosts'). One of his imaginary "ghost" friends was named Tomas. In the game, they would hide a person's "treasure," and search for it by following clues, in order to be granted a wish.

Shortly after the arrival of a strange older woman named Benigna Escobedo (Montserrat Carulla) - claiming to be a social worker - Simon learned that he had been lied to by his parents regarding his adoption. Feeling unloved, he prophetically told his mother something he claimed was told to him by Tomas. He knew that he was adopted and that he was going to soon die:

"I have no mother and father. And I'm going to die. You're not my mother, you're a liar!"

At the start of a children's welcoming party at the orphanage (during which some of the children wore masks), Simon was stubbornly disobedient, refusing to come down to participate, and Laura slapped him for his misbehavior.

Later when Laura looked for him, she was confronted by a sack-masked boy in the hallway. It was presumed that the boy was Tomas (his name was sewn on his shirt). He pushed her backwards into the bathroom and locked her there when she tried to remove his mask. [Note - Spoiiler: She didn't know it at the time, but the sack-faced boy was Simon, not Tomas!]

Afterwards, Simon disappeared and Laura searched frantically for him (she looked for him in a closeted door under the stairs - inadvertently rearranging some yellow steel construction posts that fell). She hysterically imagined seeing him in an ocean cave, trapped by the rising tide, but he couldn't be found. That night, Laura heard unexplainable banging noises in the orphanage.

During a subsequent investigation into Simon's mysterious disappearance, police psychologist Pilar (Mabel Rivera) conjectured that Benigna might have kidnapped Simon. Six months after he went missing, Laura unsuccessfully sought support from a bereavement group, and was then dismayed when she saw elderly Benigna struck and killed by a speeding ambulance, while she was pushing a baby carriage with a mask-headed doll in it.

It was revealed through Benigna's Super 8 films and photographs that Benigna had worked at the orphanage when Laura was there as a orphaned child. She had a son who was born deformed named Tomas, who was hidden away and masked ("No one knew about him"). Tomas disappeared while playing one day -- the same thing that happened to Simon. Shortly after Laura's adoption, Tomas was found dead on the beach after some of the other orphans had played a trick on him. They had taken off his sack mask in the cave - where he hid out "but he never emerged. He drowned" in the high tide.

Nine months after Simon's disappearance, Laura sought out psychic medium Aurora (Geraldine Chaplin) for clues to Simon's whereabouts and evidence of anything else in the orphanage. While in a trance, she heard five, very sick children crying from the past, and when she opened a door, exclaimed: "What have they done to you?" - and then learned that the orphans had been poisoned.

During a scavenger treasure hunt as Laura followed the clues, she was led to discover sacks of human ashes and partial skeletal remains in the orphanage's coal shed.

[Note: Laura deduced that Benigna vengefully poisoned and cremated the bodies of the five children responsible for Tomas' death: Martin, Rita, Alicia, Guillermo, and Victor, all friends of Laura's, who then became 'ghosts.' Their ashes and bones were placed in sacks in the coal shed.].

Not wanting to stay at the orphanage any longer, Laura's husband Carlos packed up and left. For the next two days, a crazed Laura, wearing an orphanage uniform, converted the orphanage to its former state, and then took sedatives to approach even closer to death - to help her find her son. She summoned the 'ghost' children (symbolized by dolls) to the dinner table by ringing a bell, and then by playing a hide-and-seek game ("One, Two, Three, Knock on The Wall") from her childhood with the apparitions that appeared.

Eventually, the ghosts led her to discover Simon's corpse in the secret cellar/basement room accessible through a closet door under the stairs. She imagined that she found him alive and carried him in his arms (as the camera circled them), but he was really dead on the floor after being trapped there many months earlier (she screamed in horror: "Nooooo!").

Laura now realized that the sack-headed 'ghost' boy in the hallway during the party was her own son Simon, who had put a sack-bag on his head after she punished his misbehavior, and then hid in the secret room. When she tried to find him, she accidentally blocked the passageway to the room within the closet, and he perished there.

In the end, Laura took an overdose of pills to be close to her dead son ("I want Simon back"), who came to life in her arms, as did all the other deceased children ("It's Laura"). When her husband Carlos returned, he walked up to the gravestone marker of his wife and son and the other children, to lay roses there.

The film ended with Carlos finding Laura's medallion on a bedroom floor in the orphanage - he looked up and smiled as doors opened in front of him.

Simon's Drawing of Imaginary Playmate Tomas Wearing a Sack Mask

Laura Confronted by Sack-Faced Boy in Hallway (Spoiler: It Wasn't Tomas - But Laura's Son Simon!)

Ocean Cave Where Benigna's Son Tomas Was Drowned

"And this is me."

Benigna's Deformed Son Tomas

Laura's Search for Simon

Discovery of the Closet Under Stairs

"This is a fantasy, my darling."

Laura's Fantasy After Her Overdose Death

Carlos Smiling

The Others (2001)


Director Alejandro Amenábar's spooky, haunted house horror-thriller (his first English-language production) was set at the end of WWII, and was similar in plot to Henry James' 1898 Gothic ghost story The Turn of the Screw.

It told about a family in the mid-1940s who moved into a spooky gothic English mansion - the family included:

  • Grace Stewart (Nicole Kidman), an overprotective, overly-religious, migraine-suffering Roman Catholic governess - the high-strung single mother of two light-sensitive children (both with "a very serious allergy to light")
  • Anne (Alakina Mann)
  • Nicholas (James Bentley)

Grace began to suspect that their rambling, remote country house was haunted when they heard odd sounds and thought there were intruders.

Grace was awaiting the return of her husband Charles (Christopher Eccleston) from the war in France, a year and a half earlier. The arrival of three new servants occurred after the previous ones vanished into thin air a week earlier (without collecting their wages):

  • Mrs. Bertha Mills (Fionnula Flanagan), housekeeper
  • Mr. Edmund Tuttle (Eric Sykes), an old gardener
  • Lydia (Elaine Cassidy), a young mute girl

She stressed to the new hires that the curtains had to remain closed (to protect her "photosensitive" children from reacting by breaking out in sores, suffocating, and dying!), and she was concerned about doors: "No door must be opened without the previous one being closed first." She also stated: "Silence is something that we prize very highly in this house. So we have no telephone, radio or anything that makes a racket. We don't have electricity either." Another strange comment made was that the servants said that they used to work there, a few years earlier.

The two young children discovered that the graves outside were of the three servants that were now newly employed (who arrived for the job even without a want ad, since Grace's letter to be mailed to the newspaper, a want-ad request, was still in the mailbox). Anne screamed for her brother Nicholas to flee: "They're dead!"

The eerieness was intensified when their death (or mourning) portrait daguerreotype dated 1891 was discovered by Grace.

During another scary moment, Grace confronted a decrepit old woman with a veil over her head, who had the voice of a little girl:

Grace: "What have you done with my daughter?"
The voice: "Are you mad? I am your daughter."

Grace attacked the figure and attempted to strangle it, while screaming out: "You're not my daughter" - although the figure when unveiled was her daughter!

The film's title - "The Others" - referred to the Marlish family (the parents, a boy named Victor, and an older woman) who had moved into the mansion. They were considered "intruders" by Grace.

The film's double-twist was revealed during a seance conducted by "The Others":

  • Governess Grace and her two children were dead, but were haunting the house.
  • In a murder/suicide, Grace had gone mad after her husband Charles (Christopher Eccleston) left her for the war, and smothered her children with pillows before suicidally shooting herself in the head with a shotgun.
  • The "ghosts" Grace kept seeing in the house were actually the new tenants who had moved into the house, and were attempting to exorcise them. [Note: When their efforts failed, they vacated the house and put it up for sale.]
  • In addition, the three servants were actually 'ghosts' of servants who were long dead from tuberculosis (for more than 50 years), and whose gravestones were hidden under leaves in the yard.

Graves of Three Servants Now Employed

An 1891 Daguerreotype of The Three "Ghostly" Servants

Old Woman With Veil: "I Am Your Daughter"

Woman Unveiled Was Her Daughter!

Greatest Scariest Movie Moments and Scenes
(alphabetical by film title, illustrated)
Intro | #s-A | B | C-1 | C-2 | D-1 | D-2 | E | F | G | H
I-J | K-L | M | N-O | P | Q-R | S-1 | S-2 | S-3 | T | U-Z

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