Halloween is that one time of the year in which most everyone loves to be scared. While the devil’s favorite holiday usually comes with the release of many terrifying (and some not so terrifying) movies (see: Paranormal Activity), the truth of the matter is that movies, in general, have the power to get our hearts pumping, our blood curdling, our skin laced with goosebumps and our breath suddenly missing from our lungs. Movies can scare or thrill us any time of year, but Halloween season is when we really seek out that thrill.
In fact, the fear inspired by a movie can reinforce some lifelong phobia we already had, or even give us new things to dread. And the effect is not always temporary: many moviegoers will confess that something scary they saw in a film years ago still terrifies them to this very day. For example, after watching Scarface I now always make sure to check every closet, nook and cranny for chainsaw-wielding gangsters before using a motel bathroom in Miami. Better to be safe…
In the spirit of the night of frights, we’ve had the Screen Rant crew recount movie moments that in ways large or small have scarred their souls for life. Some of those moments are ones you and your friends can probably relate to, while others may have you thinking that some of us on staff here are nothing more than yellow-bellied cowards. Either way, by the time you’re done reading, you’ll (at the very least) have yourself a handy to guide on how to get under our armor of bravery, should you ever want to use the following passages for Saw or Hostel-like purposes. You’re welcome.
Our Scariest Movie Moments
Vic Holtreman – Arachnophobia
One of my favorite scary moments in film time-warps me back to 1990 with the film Arachnophobia. Spiders creep me the hell out, especially when they reach a size where I think that technically they should no longer be classified as insects, but as mammals. The scene where the spiders start really coming into the house – specifically where they are crawling up out of the drain in the bathroom sink sent ME climbing up my theater seat. There’s nothing quite like taking a personal fear and facing it in the safety of a movie theater via what’s happening on screen.
Kofi Outlaw – Terminator 2: Judgement Day
While my parents were typically strict about what they allowed my young impressionable mind to absorb, whenever there was some big “event” in cinema, they liked the entire family to share in it. I was only nine when James Cameron brought Terminator 2 to the world, but the director’s groundbreaking use of CGI effects to create the shapeshifting T-1000 convinced my parents that this was a moment in cinema I needed to witness.
There’s nothing quite like a good villain, but for me, the T-1000 was nightmare incarnate. The idea that my own mother could suddenly turn around and skewer me, left me with trust issues I carry to this day. While the entire film had me crouched in my seat with my face in my hands, it’s the moment when the T-1000 rises up out of the floor and stabs a hospital guard through the eye that messed me up the most. Seeing a grown man wriggle and spasm like a hooked fish just does that to you, I guess.
Rob Keyes – Gremlins
As a little kid in the late ’80s, Gremlins was the movie that messed me up. I remember loving the film, begging to watch the sequel with my parents and even re-watching it, knowing full well it was the only film in my life to give me terrifying nightmares to the point where I’d wake up in the middle of the night in terror and run to my parents’ room. This happened 3 times before I avoided the franchise forever.