Halloween is upon us, which means that it's time to throw on your costume and binge on some candy. OK, a lot of candy. For the cinephiles out there, it's also time to start thinking about all of the best scares that Hollywood has to offer. Ever since the beginning of the genre, horror has managed to deliver consistent scares and terrify movie-going audiences in a variety of different ways.
That being said, not all of the best movie scares come from horror movies. Over the years, several non-horror films have managed to terrify us and force us to sleep with the lights on. We've once again compiled a list of some of the most terrifying moments in non-horror movies. (See the first list here!) Sure, these aren't traditional horror movies, but that doesn't make them any less scary.
Mola Ram's Sacrifice - Temple of Doom
For all of its lighthearted adventure, the Indiana Jones franchise has never shied away from some seriously creepy set pieces. One of the most terrifying moments in the entire series comes during Temple of Doom -- which is easily the darkest entry in the entire franchise. When Indy, Short Round, and Willie sneak into Mola Ram's temple, the titular archaeologist realizes that his theories about the underground cult are true as Mola Ram offers up human sacrifices to the Hindu god, Kali, by ripping out a victim's heart with his bare hands. The sequence proved so brutal and so terrifying that it eventually led to the creation of the PG-13 rating.
The Kitchen Scene - Jurassic Park
There have been four films set within the Jurassic Park universe since 1993, but none of the sequels have ever come close to recreating the sheer terror of the kitchen scene from Steven Spielberg's original outing. Taking a number of cues from the slasher genre, Spielberg locked the film's youngest protagonists in the confined space of an abandoned kitchen and used the entire landscape for a terrifying game of cat and mouse against a pair of hungry raptors. To this day, the velociraptor effects from the original film hold up incredibly well, and the sounds they make as they communicate with one another continue to haunt our nightmares.
The Lake Murder - Zodiac
David Fincher's Zodiac is a disturbing movie from start to finish, but none of the film's immaculately crafted scenes come close to matching the lakeside murder sequence. We've seen plenty of murders on the silver screen before, but this scene is particularly unnerving because of how meticulous and realistic it feels. The seclusion of the victims in broad daylight, coupled with the Zodiac's clear apathy for their lives, makes it one of the most brutally chilling moments in recent film memory. The fact that this grisly scene actually occurred in real life only makes it that much more terrifying.
Bilbo Goes Mad - The Fellowship Of The Ring
Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings franchise is known more for whimsical adventure than anything else, but the iconic filmmaker (who actually got his start in horror) still manages to deliver a number of scares throughout the trilogy. One of the best scares in the entire Lord of the Rings franchise comes when Bilbo bids Frodo farewell in his quest to destroy The One Ring. Despite his seemingly harmless appearance and demeanor, Bilbo harbors a deep lust and addiction for the power of the ring, and lashes out at his young cousin. In a franchise full of dragons, orcs, and other monsters, this quick sequence is an incredibly intimate scare that sells the real life terror of addiction and personal demons.
Donnie Meets Frank - Donnie Darko
28 days 6 hours 42 minutes 12 seconds. Those are the first mysterious words uttered by the rabbit suit-wearing, 4th dimension-bending being known as Frank in Donnie Darko. The 2001 sci-fi drama is truly unlike any other movie in existence, and the scene in which the film's protagonist meets Frank is one of the most terrifying scenes of all time. Aside from Frank's nightmarish appearance, and monotone voice, director Richard Kelly really conveys the isolation of the scene as these two characters stand opposite one another in the middle of the night. There's something inherently voyeuristic about Frank's presence out among the bushes, and it's still completely chilling almost 16 years later.
The Cannibal House - The Road
Cormac McCarthy's The Road is often credited as one of the most terrifying books of the modern age, and John Hillcoat's 2009 film adaptation does an impeccable job of capturing that spirit. Although the film maintains a consistent, hopeless tone throughout its run time, easily the scariest sequence in the entire movie comes when The Man and The Boy stumble into a house occupied by cannibals. Sneaking into the bottom floor of the building, they find a basement full of malnourished human cattle that have not seen the light of day in months. The horrifyingly grim sequence is punctuated by the return of the cannibals to the house, which leads to The Man almost using his single bullet to kill his son and protect him from the horrors that potentially await them if captured.
Is It Safe? - Marathon Man
If you have any preexisting apprehension about going to the dentist, then watching Marathon Man seems like an ill-advised decision. Captured by an ex-Nazi war criminal and strapped into a chair, Thomas "Babe" Levy (Dustin Hoffman) finds himself the victim of a brutally vicious dental exam as the Nazi simply repeats the question "is it safe?" over and over again. Thomas tries every trick in the book to escape and reason with his captor, only to receive "is it safe?" as his answer every time. Knives, machetes, and chainsaws have become tried an true instruments in the horror genre over the years, but the tiny, precise nature of the dental equipment in this scene really sells the pain and suffering inflicted on the poor, innocent victim.
The Eye Slice - Un Chien Andalou
It's hard to count the eye slice from Un Chien Andalou as an entire scene, as the film itself is only 21 minutes in length. However, it's simply so shocking and so unnerving that we have to include it. Luis Buñuel's 1929 collaboration with surrealist artist Salvador Dali is chock full of bizarre imagery, but the moment in which a woman has her eye sliced with a straight razor (actually the eye of a dead cow, don't worry) is truly disturbing. The lack of noise, or narrative context, as well as the woman's deadpan demeanor during the process lends an otherworldly creepiness to the scene, and it simply feels like something we shouldn't be watching.
Winkies - Mulholland Drive
Here at CinemaBlend we have a tendency to rail against jump scares, but that's only because most modern jump scares are not well constructed. However, the Winkies diner scene from David Lynch's Mulholland Drive represents the quintessential example of suspense filmmaking punctuated by an impeccable jump scare. The scene in question centers on two men talking in a diner, as one of the men recounts a dream in which there is a mysterious figure waiting for him behind the restaurant. His fear and paranoia begin to mount, and eventually he decides that he has to check behind the building. He slowly but surely creeps to the alleyway, at which point the nightmarish figure from his dream appears before him. Even when you know that it's coming, it's still one of the most effective jump scares in film history.
Originally from Connecticut, Conner grew up in San Diego and graduated from Chapman University in 2014. He now lives in Los Angeles working in and around the entertainment industry and can mostly be found binging horror movies and chugging coffee.
Your Daily Blend of Entertainment News
Thank you for signing up to CinemaBlend. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.