To help celebrate the release of the new documentary on Shudder titled 'The 101 Scariest Horror Movie Moments of All Time' which hit the horror streaming channel last week, we decided to make our own versions of a Top 10 list. Each one of our team will release their own 'Top 10 Scariest Moments' list and will publish it on a day that the new documentary airs.
We've discussed the rules as a team and decided that our Scariest Moments may not necessarily just appear in horror films but across all genres. We thought this might open it up a bit and make our lists distinct, although we do expect there to be some cross-overs.
Once we have completed our individual lists we hope to collate them and TRY to make a collaborative list that we will reveal in a special video on our Youtube channel, which you can subscribe to HERE.
Next up we have writer Gavin Logan. You can check out his previous work HERE.
10. Under the Skin - Beach Baby
Jonathan Glazer's deeply upsetting 2013 sci-fi horror 'Under the Skin' is one of those films that is truly unshakeable. Who would've thunk it that a simple scene involving a baby screaming blue murder on an isolated beach in the highlands of Scotland would be so traumatising. Yet here we are. Sometimes horror doesn't have to be complicated to be effective.
9. Kill List - The Hunchback
If you're looking for a film that begins going down one path then suddenly jolts you in another direction then look no further than 'Kill List'. It starts off as a hitman film but after some teases surrounding the occult we are then drawn into the folk horror space and the finale delivers one of the most shocking scenes in recent memory when Jay (Neil Maskell) is forced to fight a "hunchback" character, who he eventually kills but is then revealed to be his wife and child. It's horrifying.
8. Return to Oz - Screaming Heads
Yes a Disney produced, spiritual sequel to one of Hollywood's most beloved films of all time IS a horror film and I won't have anyone say otherwise. Seriously though, go back and watch it even just for this scene where Dorothy (Fairuza Balk) steals the Powder of Life but awakens Mombi, whose haunting voice evokes screaming in unison from her other severed heads and then her headless body rises to give chase to Dorothy. My God how was this ever considered to be a children's film!
7. It Follows - The Tall Man
One of my favourite horror films in the last ten years, 'It Follows' was written and directed by David Robert Mitchell but feels like it could've been directed by one of my favourite filmmakers ever, John Carpenter. It's clearly an homage to 'Halloween' but brings something very new to the slasher genre. Almost all the scenes involving anyone following Maika Monroe's character are super creepy but the two that stand out is the elderly woman at the school and the even scarier tall man scene at the bedroom door.
6. The Thing - Blood Test
John Carpenter's iconic 1982 sci-fi horror is best remembered for it's breathtaking make-up special effects created by the amazing Rob Bottin. The film is full of classic body horror scenes but maybe the most impactful scene in the entire film isn't actually one specifically involving the creature. Kurt Russell's MacReady has gathered the team together to take blood tests in an attempt to find out which one of them has been compromised. We do eventually see the creature again at the end of this scene when it's revealed that Palmer is the "Thing" but it's the drawn out paranoia driven set-up to the reveal that really hits hard and then the unexpected jump scare when Palmer's blood is tested as MacReady is arguing with Garry, who has been cleverly positioned as a red herring. Just brilliant filmmaking.
5. Audition - Sack Man
I started watching Japanese films in my early 20s and when I came across 'Audition' I became obsessed with Takashi Miike. Similar to 'Kill List', Miike's 1999 film begins completely opposite to how it ends. It guides the viewer into a false sense of security only to reveal a brutal and insanely disturbing finale. Eihi Shiina's performance as Asami is blisteringly sinister and one of the most distressing scenes is when we see an ominous large sack shake for the first time. Asami sits in the foreground, her face almost entirely covered with her long black hair. In the background is the yellow sack and a black phone. As the phone rings the sack rolls over and we get just a little insight into the dark world of Asami and what might be coming. Although I'm not quite sure any of us were truly prepared for how dark the film would really go.
4. The Blair Witch Project - The Finale
I will never EVER forget watching this film for the first time. I saw it on my very first visit to the US back in 1999. It was late October and I'm not sure if it had even been released in the UK yet but it just landed on VHS and me and my brother went straight to Blockbuster to rent it. We watched it with the lights on (we weren't THAT brave) and it absolutely terrified us to our core. Found footage wasn't even a proper sub-genre yet and the whole viral marketing behind the film had never been done like this before. Back in 1999 there was still a small part of a lot of us who really weren't 100% sure what was real and what was just a movie. It was lightning in a bottle that I genuinely don't think will ever be replicated again. The final chase scene in the old house is one of the most iconic sequences in horror history and helped spawned a plethora of copycats. The shakey camerawork. The heavy breathing. The muted screams in the distance. And then THAT final shot of Mike just staring into the corner with Heather screaming uncontrollably. It always gets me. ALWAYS!
3. Fire Walk with Me - Bob
Admittedly I only managed to watch 'Fire Walk With Me' from start to finish in it's entirety quite recently (and also admittedly this may be a sort of hangover from the 'Twin Peaks' television series) but Bob is genuinely just one of the most terrifying characters ever put on screen. There is something so perverse and evil about Frank Silva's face and the way he expresses himself that makes me want to crawl into my bed and sleep for days. He has haunted my nightmares ever since I first saw him all those years ago at the end of Laura's bed and that scene where he menacingly crawls over the back of the sofa towards the camera makes me want to piss my pants. The moment I'm specifically referring to in 'Fire Walk With Me' for this list is when Laura arrives at the house and suspects something isn't right. She slowly creeps up the stairs, gently pushes the bedroom door open to reveal Bob "hiding" behind a tiny lamp at the edge of a set of drawers. The long greasy grey hair and the denim jacket are a vibe!
2. The Exorcist - Your Cunting Daughter
How can I make a scary list without including THEE scariest film ever made. I actually tried hard not to include 'The Exorcist' because I knew it would be an obvious choice but then I realised that I just couldn't leave it off the list. Growing up as a wee Irish catholic meant being scared of The Devil so anything religious-based was always something that terrified me. I first saw 'The Exorcist' in my early teens but I never fully appreciated the genius of the film until a second watching a few years later. Initially the cursing and special effects seemed funny to me but the next few viewings had me struggling to get to sleep at night. It's full of gorgeous but horrific imagery that will undoubtedly stand the test of time and is STILL shocking to this day. It was hard to pick just one scene but I've gone with the infamous head spinning moment coupled with one of the greatest lines of dialogue ever, "You know what she did your cunting daughter?"
1. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre - Say Hello to Leatherface
This may also be a bit of an obvious choice but it's an obvious choice for a very good reason. I had only seen images and clips from various documentaries of Tobe Hooper's incredibly visceral and brutally realistic slasher from 1974 but when I finally got a hold of it on VHS I devoured every single frame of it. When the Uncut version arrived on DVD I rewatched it regularly with equal measures of glee and disgust and somehow a grimy, low budget horror film set in an old farmhouse in the arsehole of Texas was fast becoming one of the main reasons I wanted to make my own films. Much of the horror stems from the sound design and of course the hulking presence of Gunnar Hansen's cutely named Leatherface. When we first see the massive butcher at the end of that hallway on the other side of the steel door, it really is one of the most intensely scary shots in all of horror. The slow, sickening thud of that first hammer strike lived rent free in my head for a very long time and the spasm-twitching of Kirk did not do anything to help make the scene any easier to watch. An unforgettably barbaric introduction to one of horror cinemas most enduring figures.
Honourable mentions go to the home invaders emerging from the shadows in'The Strangers'. THAT Mrs. Slydes scene from 'House on Haunted Hill' (1959). Crawling out of the well and THEN THE FUCKING TV SCREEN from 'Ringu'. Donald Sutherland revealing his true self in 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers' (1978), 90% of 'Tetsuo: The Iron Man'. The night vision creature reveal in 'The Descent'. The deep dark ocean in 'Jaws' and Black Philip being a creepy devil goat in 'The Witch'.
Thanks for reading. Be sure to check back next Wednesday for another list of 'Top 10 Scariest Moments' from one of our writers.