15. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors – Phillip’s Death
NSFW: Dream-like Gore and Forced Suicide
This one comes courtesy of my beautiful wife, Natalie, as it is her favorite horror scene of all time and I definitely agree that it is one of the most memorable of the Nightmare on Elm Street series. Easily the superior entry in this long-running franchise, Dream Warriors gets off to a quick start with Phillip’s death and it is done in such an elaborate way. Freddy Krueger’s kills got more and more complicated as the movies grew staler and staler, but the marionette suicide remains the most dramatic.
14. Psycho – Shower
You knew this one was going to be on here, right? A perfectly-paced scene, Hitchcock shed his thriller-only filmmaking style and invented modern slasher horror in a couple of minutes. The ramifications of the shower scene in Psycho are innumerable.
13. Se7en – Sloth
NSFW: Shocking Gore…you know what I mean
I’m not a huge fan of Se7en and it’s director David Fincher, but there is no denying how surprising this moment turned out to be. It actually elevates the film into horror, as the preceding events never really rose above the cat-and-mouse detective tropes done better in a dozen other films. Nevertheless, it made me jump and that has always been a hard thing to achieve. Good on you, Mr. Fincher.
12. 28 Days Later – Empty London
NSFW: Prolonged Shot of Man Meat…totally necessary
2002 is the year when zombies came back to life, and it was thanks to one of the most wonderful pieces of horror in the last twenty-five years, 28 Days Later. A film that could only be made by a non-horror filmmaker, Oscar-winner Danny Boyle, it was less about horrific makeup and more concerned with exploring the relationships that form between the survivors. This is all done against a barren, post-apocalyptic London, and Boyle paints that picture clearly and immediately. The opening of 28 Days Later is awe-inspiring and hauntingly beautiful. Just watch it ratchet up slowly on the back of Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s thundering melody.
11. Alien – Chestburster
Just watch it again. I know, I know – you’ve seen it before. Maybe you’ve seen it a couple of hundred times, but it is pure horror bliss.
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