Movie Moments That Scared Us Forever

Published 3 years ago by , Updated January 20th, 2013 at 8:52 am,

Scary Movies Halloween Movie Moments That Scared Us Forever

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

Arachnophobia movie scene 1990 Movie Moments That Scared Us Forever

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. icon smile Movie Moments That Scared Us Forever


Kofi Outlaw – Terminator 2: Judgement Day

Terminator 2 T 1000 eye stab Movie Moments That Scared Us Forever

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

Gremlins Kitchen Scene Movie Moments That Scared Us Forever

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.


Monsters, ghosts and psychos…

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  1. The back-crawling scene from the exorcist was one of the briefest but yet scariest scene ever !

    If we can add tv shows spooky moment, I want to add The Walking Dead Season 2 premiere at the list : the scene where they’re on the highway and a herd of zombies passes by and they have to stay hidden beneath cars, and one of the zombies jumps in the van where andrea is, and she has to hide in the closet, but she’s discovered… OMG at that moment I really thought she was gonna die and when she began screaming I thought it would draw all the zombies to them … I’m sure many of you have watched this series ! Let’s hope it will still be as awesome as it has been :)

  2. My scariest moment was with Aliens, i was about 8-9 in a movie theater with my brother….
    that moment defined my entire “movie career”

  3. The original Night of the Demons(1988)
    When Angela was dancing to “stigmata martyr” by Bauhaus.
    and when Angela and Stooge kiss. :)

  4. ehmm.. Spiders are not actually insects.

    • You can call them Tax Attorneys for all I care; they’re creepy as heck! :-)

  5. scariest moment for me was in the Evil Dead when…okay the whole movie was one of the scariest movie moments of my life.

  6. This my be lame, but I saw Beetle Juice on HBO when I was 8 and when Gina Davis & Alic Baldwin tore their faces off in the closet. Messed me up! for weeks was afraid to open my closet!

    • not lame. the entire scene where Beetlejuice turns into a snake, especially the “peekaboo” under Delia’s legs had me covering my eyes as a kid. Still watched it every chance I got

  7. When I was 7 or 8 I watched The Birds with my parents. When the characters see the old farmer with his eyes gouged out. That scene along with the lady in the park made me a afraid of birds on a wire for at least 5 years.

  8. How about the ‘Trainspotting’ scene with the ceiling crawling baby that twists it’s head around.. quitting smack cold turkey, yay!

  9. I saw the Exorcist when I was 12 or 13. I’m now 41 and I still have nightmares about that damn movie. There’s a scene, if I remember it right, where she takes a cross and jams in her crotch, screaming some obscenity and that just totally did me in. Haven’t watched the movie since and never will.

    • I hated that scene. When I tried watching the movie again, I had to skip that scene because it was just too revolting for me.

      • Yah, it really upset me. I think I could have handled the movie better if that scene wasn’t in it. Who am I kidding, it wouldn’t matter, that movie has freaked me out forlife. If you check out Breitbart’s Big Hollywood several of their contributors really like that movie for it’s message on faith. I can’t get past the horror scenes to look at it in that way.

    • haha for that scene i saw in an interview with linda blair that at the time she had no idea what she was really doing there. The film makers just told her to stab a pillow or something that was down there. I guess that is what you would expect it’s not like your going to tell a little girl to act like she is jamming a cross in her vagina.

  10. Alien scared the hell out of me, and I saw in broad daylight (recorded from the night before). I think I was 12.
    Also, Poltergeist was really scary, basically all of it. Once again at the age of 12. I actually saw it again recently and it wasn’t particularly scary anymore..

  11. Exorcist III: the sheet-covered guy in the hospital attacking the nurse. screw that guy, I can never un-see that. the slow, quiet build-up of that scene and the quick zoom of the camera… an expertly crafted scene which still freaks me out

  12. The very first zombie scene in the remake of Dawn of the Dead where the little girl zombie shows up in the doorway of the couple’s bedroom. That bedroom setup was exactly like ours at the time. Same hallway to bedroom setup. Our bed was oriented to the door the same way. My husband and I even slept on the same sides of the bed. It was too eerily exact for my peace of mind, and as a result, even though it didn’t scare me in the theatre, I couldn’t sleep for cracking me eye expecting to see that stupid zombie girl in our bedroom doorway for at least the nexy six weeks after seeing that movie. In fact, I own a copy of the movie and haven’t watched it because I’m afraid of the same thing happening … and we’ve since moved to a new place!

    • I had the same experience. But it was my daughter standing in the shadows. Your own kids eating you! Something Fruedian there.

  13. The others always freaks me out especially the old woman housekeeper

  14. Scariest Movie Moments:

    1. ) “Arachnophobia”: Like Vic, I hate spiders, so the whole movie generally had me checking my clothes for insects, slapping myself, and scratching, but when the spiders starting crawling out of the old people…I’m almost 26 now and have somewhat gotten over it, but I still give those buggers a wide berth.

    2.) “Event Horizon”: This was the first scary movie I watched against my parents permission and to prove to myself that I wasn’t a wuss, I turned out every light in my house. At about 11:00 at night, it was pitch black. The scariest moments were when Sam Neill was having visions of his wife. Really, she wasn’t that scary, but…she had no eyes. They were completely gone. GONE. As in, no longer in their sockets. If you’ve seen this movie you’ll know why that’s so creepy. I literally had almost peed myself by the time this movie was over, BUT…I finished it! :)

    3.) “Paranormal Activity”: I’ve always been the sort that was more afraid of the things you can’t see than those you can. And in this movie, you virtually NEVER SEE THE FREAKIN’ MONSTER. Also note that i’m pretty susceptible to jump scares, even when I know they’re coming. By the time I’d gotten to the end of the film, my nerves had been totally shredded by the knocks and thumps and scratches and wiffling blankets and whatnot. So when Katie, who is in severe need of an exorcist, leaps at the camera after sniffing her dead boyfriend like some sort of rabid animal, I quite naturally almost went insane.

    Well that was fun (and a little nerve-wracking) to write! Great article, guys! (Vic…I feel your pain…)

  15. Most of your readers are probably too young to have seen the film containing the scene that frightened me the most. That scene occurs in the final minutes of John Frankenheimer’s “Seconds”. This low-key, black-and-white film ends with Rock Hudson, giving one of the best performances of his career, strapped to a gurney. He has been given a second chance at a new life and has failed. Now he’s being wheeled into a ghoulish operating theater where his body will be re-cycled to give someone else a second chance at a new life. The film fades to black as the sound of an electric drill, the last sound he hears above his screams, grows louder and louder and then abruptly stops.

  16. There are two for me. One, and I can’t belive nobody else wasn’t freaked by it; “Blair Witch” at the very end hen that one guy is just standing in the corner. Jeesh. Also, and this will date me, the often forgotten George C. Scott movie “The Changeling” when the ball comes down the stairs. I am mid 40′s now, and still sometimes channel that. Hate the stairs at work and apartment, the fire escape ones, that really gets to me. If you have not seen this, do so. Really.

  17. In the 70′s there was a TV show called The Nightstalker. The episode where Kolshak had to kill the zombie. Scary as hell. I won’t spoil it for you, watch it at night, alone, with the mindset of a ten year old.

    • Supernatural is very much like The Nightstalker. Like Kolshak, the protagonists are not physically imposing (Ok, Sam might be but certainly not Dean) yet figure out a way to dispense some really nasty creatures. I wonder if Supernatural was inspired by The Nightstalker.

  18. “Gremlins”? “Children of the Corn(y)”? “Terminator 2″?? “PHONE Booth”??!!! What the holy hell?? These are some incredibly bizarre choices.