Greatest Scariest
Movie Moments and Scenes

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

The Devil's Rejects (2005)

#7

This brutal, repellent, uncompromising and sick grindhouse film by writer/director Rob Zombie, a rampaging road film, was the sequel to his debut feature House of 1,000 Corpses (2003).

The abhorrent exploitation film told about a lunatic tribe of hillbilly serial killers (the Fireflys, with names borrowed from characters played by Groucho Marx) on the backroads. As the villains of the Dr. Satan murders from the previous film, they were fleeing from the law across the state, from vengeful Texas Sheriff Wydell (William Forsythe) whose brother George was murdered by the family.

It was filled with degraded, brutal scenes of murder and dismemberment, and mostly awful, distasteful and unpleasant sequences.

In an early scene, stringy, blonde-haired fugitive leader Otis P. Driftwood (Bill Moseley) cuddled with a decomposing female corpse (Jessica Helmer). Otis and his crazy sister Baby (Sheri Moon Zombie, the director's wife) (later joined by their demented father with evil clown makeup, Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig)) terrorized, tortured and tormented five members of a close-knit traveling country music band called "Banjo & Sullivan," found in their Khaki Palms motel room. Baby seductively enticed bandleader Roy Sullivan (Geoffrey Lewis) in order to gain access to the room.

Victim Wendy Banjo (Kate Norby) was dragged naked from a shower by long-haired Otis. When the band's roadie Jimmy Cracker (Brian Posehn) returned with some beef jerky from the nearby store, he was immediately killed by Otis with a shot to the forehead. Sickened, Wendy's husband Adam Banjo (Lew Temple) vomited all over Wendy and the bed.

Baby danced sexily in front of the hostages, specifically taunting Roy while singing: "Chinese, Japanese, dirty knees, look at these" (she indicated her breasts). Roy claimed to Otis that he wasn't turned on, because he was a married man. Roy wife's Gloria (Priscilla Barnes, from TV's Three's Company) was forced to strip down to her bra and panties, then sexually humiliated and violated with Otis' large pistol (stroked up and down her body). He thrust the gun down the frontside of Gloria's underwear and forced her to give him a blowjob.

Roy and Wendy's husband Adam Banjo (Lew Temple) were tortured and killed in a desert junkyard by Otis after a struggle. Roy was beaten in the head with a handgun and bludgeoned with a stick. Adam was knifed in leg, shot in the neck with a handgun, and had his face flayed with knife. Otis crudely mocked: "We regret to inform you that the show "Banjo and Sullivan" will be cancelled tonight."

While Wendy was in the motel room's bathroom attempting to escape, Gloria grabbed Baby's gun. Baby hurled a long knife into Gloria's heart. Gloria fell to her knees, pulled out the knife (with blood squirting from the wound), and attempted to shoot Baby (who dared her to shoot her in the ass with her pants pulled down), but the gun clicked empty. Baby laughed that the gun wasn't loaded. Gloria succumbed from the fatal wound. A motel maid discovered the bloody corpses of Jimmy and Gloria in the bathtub.

Gloria's Death - Baby Hurled Knife Into Her Heart

The sole surviving Wendy was forced to wear an organic mask made from husband Adam's skinned face. Wendy hysterically ran for help into the middle of the road and tried to wave down a car. A big semi-truck flattened her, and her body was left a bloody mess on the pavement. Sheriff Ken Dwyer (Steve Railsback) commented on the scene of explosive carnage:

"Jesus Christ, what a f--king mess. There must be 100 yards of bloody asphalt and corpse chunks."

In the final bloody scene (to the tune of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird"), badly-wounded Otis (driving), Baby and Spaulding (in the back seat) suicidally drove a 1972 Cadillac Eldorado convertible into a phalanx of police officers armed behind a barricade.


Otis with Corpse

Wendy Dragged Naked



Sexual Humiliation of Gloria



Masked Wendy's Death


Final Massacre

Les Diaboliques (1955, Fr.)

#49

Despicable and abusive schoolmaster Michel Delassalle (Paul Meurisse) badly mistreated his downtrodden, humiliated, frail and ailing wife/headmistress Christine (Véra Clouzot, director Georges Clouzot's real-life wife) and brassy schoolteacher-mistress Nicole Horner (Simone Signoret).

In the film's famous shocking twist ending after following a curving plotline, Michel was never killed by the two women. He had faked his own death - with collaborative help by Nicole - so he could murder long-suffering, invalid 'widow' Christine.

When she unexpectedly saw tyrant Michel's corpse in the bathtub, it caused her (and the audience) to have a fright-induced heart attack, when he rose zombie-like out of a bathtub with half-opened, all-white eyes. She thought he was dead from drowning.

She clutched her chest in the vicinity of her heart, fell back against the wall and slid to the floor where she collapsed. After rising, he removed fake white covers from each eyeball.





Dial M For Murder (1954)

Hitchcock's 3-D thriller masterpiece told about a charming, sophisticated yet villainous husband - an ex-tennis pro, who masterminded the murder of his unfaithful wealthy wife for having an affair with mystery writer Mark Halliday (Robert Cummings), so that he could inherit her fortune.

Tony Wendice (Ray Milland) blackmailed Captain Swann/Lesgate (Anthony Dawson), a former classmate with a criminal record, to commit the "perfect murder" for 1,000 pounds cash - the murder of Margo Wendice (Grace Kelly).

During the attempted strangulation scene, the tension was ratcheted up. Tony's plan was to have his wife leave her bedroom to answer the living room phone, to enable Lesgate to strangle her from behind the window curtains where he was hiding. Tony dialed the number (dialing M for murder), but because his watch had unexpectedly stopped, he was about eight minutes too late. The assassin was frazzled and about to leave because of the delay.

When the phone finally rang, the camera slowly panned to the left around Margot as she answered. The camera moved to view Lesgate's position behind the curtains. Reflections from the fireplace played upon the walls in the darkened room. Lesgate approached with a twisted stocking and wrapped it around her neck. But she foiled his strong attack by fighting back.

The 3-D Effect of Stabbing With a Pair of Scissors

There was the tremendous 3-D effect of Margo reaching back behind her - into the audience from the screen - searching for a weapon (a pair of scissors) to defend herself and kill the assassin by stabbing him in the back. When he theatrically fell to the floor onto his back, the blades of the scissors were pushed more deeply into his body.







Diary of the Dead (2007)

#8

The fifth, low-budget film in George A. Romero's Dead series was considered a modern-day, rebooted or updated, 21st century reimagining of the first Romero film. It postulated that political/social unrest - and the zombie infestation - was now a worldwide phenomenon. Romero designed it for the passive, detached YouTube and myspace.com media-saturated generations. One line captured the film's point of view about the ubiquitous nature of video cameras, people's compulsion to use them, the obsession to watch, and the necessity to record events in order to make them real -- "If it didn't happen on camera, it's like it didn't happen, right?"

The entire movie was a "film-within-a-film" titled The Death of Death - a documentary of the unexplainable zombie phenomenon (mostly with long takes and jerky hand-held digital video camera shots). It was shot by film students after they discovered a real zombie uprising. Composed of first-person video footage (from security surveillance cameras, news footage, digital camcorders, YouTube, cell-phone cameras, etc.), it was edited together by Debra Moynahan (Michelle Morgan), the girlfriend of a posthumously-dead film-making boyfriend Jason Creed (Josh Close) - and then uploaded to the Web with 'scary music' added. The students believed the government was lying about the causes of the zombie resurrection, and vowed to show the world the truth of what had really happened.

It began with conflicting and dubious news reports that told that there were no clear reason for the chaos in the world, although there was speculation about some kind of germ or epidemic, or natural calamity, or even that everything was a massive hoax. Student film-makers were interrupted while making a Blair Witch Project-like horror film, and they determinedly took their video cameras and other gadget-techno devices on the road to tell the real truth of the zombie attacks with their own first-person footage.

The film opened at a crime scene in the town of Homestead, where an unidentified husband shot his wife and 16 year-old son and then blew his own brains out. The dead family was a suspected immigrant couple with no ID papers. In the news footage, as the corpses were wheeled out of the apartment building and into the back of an ambulance, suddenly, the body of the female woke up and began to move on the gurney, and she bit the neck of an medical services member providing aid. And then the son became reanimated as well and attacked another EMS crew member. Officers opened fire on the two zombies, and news-reporter Bree was bitten in the face before both could be stopped, by shooting them in the head.

And then it became clear what was happening - Debra described the student film-making project and its relation to the late-breaking news over a three day period, and the young filmmakers' desire to tell the real truth of the zombie attacks with their own first-person footage. Jason, always behind the camera and filming, recorded their journey with student Mary Dexter (Tatiana Maslany) driving a run-down Winnebago to Debra's home in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The official television news version of the zombie attacks was that they were only isolated, unrelated incidents and terrorism was not involved. It was speculated that a virus strain may have caused a "mass psychosis." Jason forced each individual in the RV to introduce themselves to the camera as part of the historical, documented record of events.

During their trip, they came upon zombies in the road after a horrific crash, and in the seemingly-abandoned Parkdale Hospital, they found a zombie surgeon eating the flesh of a hospital patient - he could only be stopped by Gordo (Chris Violetti) shooting him in the head. A zombified nurse also threatened them - Debra shocked both sides of her head with a defibrillator (causing her eyes to explode). Shortly later, Eliot (Joe Dinicol) grabbed an IV pole and stabbed a zombie four times in the body to show how the patient was really "dead" - but still alive as a zombie, and then finished the ghoul off with a jab to the forehead.



Opening Crime Scene




Hospital Scene

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

This classic horror story told about a fatally curious medical doctor named Dr. Henry Jekyll (Fredric March) who adventured into the unknown by self-testing an experimental serum formula that released the uninhibited, subconscious evil in his soul, and caused him to develop a monstrous split personality as Mr. Hyde.

The scariest scene was Jekyll's first transformation scene when he drank a potion in his laboratory and amazingly changed into the frightening Mr. Hyde.

He was transformed into a bullying, jagged-toothed, sexually libidinous, simian-like bedeviled creature. He delivered a grotesque exclamation in front of a mirror, as the camera spun around:

"Free - free at last."

The film was also horrifying for Hyde's sordid, sexually-decadent and sadistic sexual encounters in which he terrorized Cockney slut "Champagne Ivy" Pearson (Miriam Hopkins). Eventually, he murdered his lover-turned-tragic victim Ivy.



Don't Look Now (1973)

#22

Nicolas Roeg's supernatural thriller opened with the scary drowning death of a red raincoat-wearing young blonde daughter Christine (Sharon Williams) in an early scene set in England. Her father John Baxter (Donald Sutherland), an architectural restoration expert, sensed her impending death and raced out of the country estate to the pond. The anguished, grief-stricken father dragged her lifeless body to the muddy bank and delivered CPR, but he was too late and couldn't save her. He spent most of the rest of the film haunted by her death.

Later in the film, Baxter sighted an elusive small figure in a bright red hooded coat in a dark Venice alleyway. Thinking it was his daughter, he pursued what turned out to be his nemesis. He ascended a swirling staircase, assuredly telling the figure with its back to him: "I'm coming. It's okay. It's okay. I'm a friend. I won't hurt you. Come on." It wasn't his daughter - but a murderous dwarf (Adelina Poerio), who turned around, withdrew a long sharp knife from her right coat pocket, and deftly sliced his throat with one quick swing. He fell onto the stone floor and bled to death - punctuated by the peals of bells and quick images from earlier in the film.

The Murderous, Red-Coated Dwarf in Venice


Dracula (1931)

#79

This classic American horror film (the first sound horror film) from Carl Laemmle's Universal Pictures was an acclaimed masterpiece, directed by Tod Browning.

The first glimpse of Transylvanian Count Dracula (Bela Lugosi), a 500 year old vampire, was shocking. He was standing upright next to his coffin, wrapped tightly in an all-enveloping black cape. His ashen face, with a piercing, unmoving, cold fixed gaze, was illuminated with an unholy glow from the twilight and his black hair was slickly combed straight back. Rats scurried about and wolves howled.

Dracula was then seen sitting atop a carriage dispatched from the castle. He was a tall, silent figure, wrapped in a black cape and staring hypnotically straight ahead.

Dracula made an elegant, black tuxedo-garbed entrance on a long and massive staircase, while holding a single candle, in the massive entryway of the castle. Rats and armadillos scurried across the dirt-covered stone floor. A giant spider web hung from the ceiling above the staircase. Dracula walked through the large spider web without disturbing it. Dracula glided forward and memorably introduced himself in an immaculately delivered line (uttered with a Hungarian accent):

"I am...Drac-u-la...I bid you welcome."

He raised his eyes, and uttered with a lilting Hungarian accent after hearing the sound of wolves:

"Listen to them. Children of the night. What mu-u-u-sic they make."

Later, crazed lunatic Renfield (Dwight Frye) was discovered on the ship Vesta that bore the casket of Dracula to England.

Crazed Renfield

Renfield emerged in the hatchway from the hold of the death ship, stared up giggling and totally insane - obviously infected with Dracula's madness for the remainder of the film.







Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966, UK)

Director Terence Fisher's horror film sequel was another of the UK's effective Hammer Studios productions. In the previous film (Fisher's Horror of Dracula (1958, UK)), Dracula had been destroyed.

A group of vacationing English tourists (two couples), including Alan Kent (Charles Tingwell) and his red-haired wife Helen (Barbara Shelley), found themselves at Dracula's deserted castle at Karlsbad in the Carpathian Mountains.

They were surprised to be waited upon by Count Dracula's (Christopher Lee) creepy and strange manservant, Klove (Philip Latham), who startled them from the shadows. Klove had already placed their luggage cases in bedrooms, and the table was set for four people. He explained: "My master's hospitality is renowned...If you are ready, I will serve dinner now." He then told them about his deceased master: "My master is dead, but instructions were left that the castle should always be ready to receive guests. I am merely carrying out his wishes."

Alan didn't believe any of the superstitions or warnings: "You'll forget about all of this in the morning, you'll see," but his wife Helen was truly frightened and ominously predicted evil: "There'll be no morning for us."

In the middle of the night (during a thunderstorm), an awakened Alan followed after Klove (hauling a heavy trunk or chest down the corridor). Alan discovered a secret passageway leading down to a crypt (with lit candles) containing Dracula's sarcophagus. From behind, Klove approached and stabbed Alan.

During the ritualistic sacrificial-resurrection scene, Alan's fresh corpse was suspended by his legs (hooked up to a winch) over Dracula's opened tomb-sarcophagus during a Satanic ritual. After Dracula's urn of cremated ashes were sprinkled into the open sarcophagus, Klove slit the man's throat to let his gushing red blood mix with the ashes to awaken the legendary creature from the dead. Over a period of about a minute under smoke, Dracula's shape appeared, and his hand reached out over the edge of the sarcophagus, as lightning struck and thunder clapped.

Dracula's Resurrection

Then, Klove also convinced Helen to proceed into the cellar ("Madam, your husband, will you come quickly?"), where she was so shocked by the sight of her husband's body drained of his blood that she could barely let out a terrifying scream. Bloodsucking Dracula appeared above her with a smile revealing fanged teeth - he made her his first undead bride with a bite to her neck, the sight of which was obscured by his black cape.







Duel (1971)

#67

Director Steven Spielberg's feature-length film debut was this low-budget picture shot in less than two weeks (it was an ABC-TV "Movie of the Week" offering originally) - adapted from Richard Matheson's short story published in Playboy Magazine.

Mild-mannered, distressed traveling salesman David Mann (Dennis Weaver), an LA electronics vendor, was driving in his red 1970 Plymouth Valiant, when he was relentlessly pursued on a rural California highway road by a demonic, killer diesel-engine truck (a 1955 Peterbilt 281 towing a tanker trailer).

The greasy, grungy truck (with a FLAMMABLE warning) was driven by a hidden, faceless psychopathic driver (wearing cowboy boots) (stuntman and character actor Carey Loftin), although the truck itself personified a person (front window eyes, headlight pupils, front grill nose, front fender mouth, etc.). The driver exhibited stalking and many kinds of 'road rage' behaviors:

  • loud-honking
  • pursuit
  • blocking maneuvers during attempts to pass
  • tailgating and chasing at high speeds
  • car-bumping, in one instance to force the Plymouth into a moving freight train at a railroad crossing
  • attempted collisions

During Mann's last-stand confrontation with the monstrous homicidal truck, he gunned his overheated engine and proceeded to ram the truck - diving out at the last second. The explosive crash sent the truck (in slow-motion) over a cliff into rocks below. Mann stared at the burnt wreckage, as the credits rolled.







Dumbo (1941)

During the 'Pink Elephants on Parade' sequence of the film, both floppy-eared young Dumbo and companion Timothy Q. Mouse became intoxicated when they accidentally drank water from a bucket that had been spiked with champagne. Their psychedelic, nightmarish hallucinations - scary to them - included the sight of brightly-colored pink elephants singing, dancing, and playing trumpets.

Another of the animated film's more terrifying scenes was the capture and confinement of Dumbo's mother Mrs. Jumbo when she was thought to be a rogue wild elephant.

She had 'attacked' a bratty kid, in motherly defense, who was tormenting little Dumbo by pulling his large ears.



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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