The real sign of a good horror movie is how long it sticks with you. Next time you’re walking to bed in the dark, what are you imagining lies underneath your bed or in the dark closet you can’t see into? As a lifelong horror fan there are certain scenes from movies I’ve imagined nearly every day for decades. I can’t swim without picturing scenes from Jaws. When I camp, I think about The Blair Witch Project and when I look up at my windows at night, I think about The Strangers. These are the horror movie scenes that stick with me:
The logging truck from ‘Final Destination 2’
Final Destination is a terrifying franchise. I remember standing outside of the theater with my friends after seeing the first installment. It had snowed while we were in the theater and none of us wanted to drive home, convinced that the snow meant it was our “time” and some insane series of events was about to lead to all of our deaths. In Final Destination 2 the movie is set in motion by a mass casualty highway accident that starts with a logging truck spilling gigantic logs all over the road.
This has actually happened in real life as a logging truck spilled it’s load and very nearly impaled the person driving behind them.
The library scene from the original ‘It’
The original It miniseries with Tim Curry terrorized me as a child. Not only is it actually just a super scary movie (especially for a child, who should not be watching adult horror movies, even if they are about a clown) but what really terrorized me is the idea that the loser’s club grows up to become adults and they are still preyed on by Pennywise. It really feels like there is no escape for them. The scene I remember scaring me the most was the library scene where the other adults are unable to see Pennywise and the balloons floating around. Poor Richie Tozier was terrorized and no one else could help him. This scene also reminds me how great the casting was in remakes of It because I could totally picture Bill Hader in this role!
The closet scene from ‘The Ring’
The Ring was unlike any movie I had ever seen. It was so horrifying I was scared to look at a TV screen for weeks. The part that I always flashback to is the image of the girl in the closet who died after seeing Samara. The movie starts with two teen girls in their high school uniforms. The girls are discussing the mythology of a video tape that makes you die 7 days after watching it. One of the girls saw the tape 7 days ago that night. She is killed and we see a grotesque look of horror frozen on her face when her friend discovers her body. That convinced me, I’m never watching the tape.
The opening scene:
And the reveal:
Old man in the chair from ‘The Conjuring 2’
I think The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2 are incredible horror movies. They are based on a true story (which I LOVE) and have that spooky historical element while being scary stories in their own right. I saw The Conjuring 2 in theaters and absolutely lost my shit screaming out loud at this scene:
Cutting veggies scene from ‘The Dark and The Wicked’
A recent contribution to the “movies that will scar me forever” list, The Dark and The Wicked only came out in 2020. It’s the latest from the writer/director of The Strangers (2008) and will give you that same sense of terror about pastoral life but it’s more about the occult than stranger danger. There’s a scene where the matriarch of the family is cutting vegetables and everyone who has seen a horror movie before can probably tell where this is going. It’s exactly that. And it’s absolutely excruciating.
If you’re going to watch this, good luck.
The last 22 minutes of ‘Megan is Missing’
There’s almost not even an explanation required for this one, the last five minutes of this film is legendary for how disturbing the images are. For most of Megan is Missing two girls are just Skyping about the banal woes of being a high school girl trying to date. It’s a bit creepy, but the last act really takes the concept of the movie into the stratosphere: