Some horror scenes are scary when viewed for the first time and that is what makes it memorable!
Horror and thriller movies stay long in the mind, especially if the scenes are shocking or disturbing enough.
This is exactly the kind of thrill horrorphiles seek. These scenes are also something that helps set the horror movie apart from the other genres.
A successful horror film stays with you long after you exit the cinema hall or turn off your television.
That said, sometimes these horror scenes are shockingly traumatic at first but it seems juvenile when you watch the same scene again. The scene likely becomes less scary because you already know what to expect.
Anyway, here are some horror and thriller movie scenes that stayed in our minds for years until today. For the love of god, if you’re a scaredy cat or hate movie spoilers, please click away! You’ve been warned!
1. The Exorcist (1973)
The Exorcist is a supernatural horror film based on the 1971 novel of the same name by William Peter Blatty. The story about the demonic possession of a young girl and her mother’s desperation to seek help from exorcists to free her daughter has seen several adaptations and spanned a franchise.
Hailed as a top horror movie classic, the movie changed the horror industry when it was released.
The scene that’s seared into our minds: The Crucifix Scene
The Exorcist (1973) has a few controversial scenes and one of them included the Crucifix scene. In this scene, the character Regan masturbates with a crucifix. The repulsion is unsurprising as it crosses the boundaries of sex and religion in society. The sounds of stabbing in the scene didn’t help tame the terror either.
The scene only lasted 30 seconds but it was enough to terrify or horrify viewers then and now. The scene was also a cause of contention between director William Friedkin and screenwriter William Peter Blatty although it remained one of the film’s biggest draws.
2. Ju-On: The Grudge (2002)
Say the name Ju-On or The Grudge and people will immediately know what you mean. There are American adaptations titled The Ring, but the one that reigns supreme is always the original film. In this case, though, we refer to the third film in the Ju-On series.
The story revolves around a homecare worker Rika who is haunted by two revengeful spirits, Kayako, and her son Toshio. Both mother and son were brutally murdered by Kayako’s husband.
The scene that’s seared into our minds: When Kayako Climbs Down The Stairs
In this scene, Kayako slowly climbs down the stairs head-first towards Rika who stands in fear at the bottom of the stairs. The way her body is bent and moving down the flight of stairs is enough to send your fight-or-flight response on fire.
It doesn’t sound scary when it’s described in words so it’s probably best to watch the numerous edits on Youtube of this particular scene to fully experience it.
3. Dreamcatcher (2003)
Dreamcatcher is a sci-fi horror film based on Stephen King’s 2001 novel of the same name. The story is about four friends who encounter parasitic aliens, that look like large worms with teeth, on Earth.
The scene that’s seared into our minds: The Toilet Scene
In this scene, the character named Beaver sits atop a toilet lid to keep the alien worm from exiting the toilet bowl. The worm had already killed his friend Rick. However, the effort was futile as the worm broke free and… you fill in the blanks yourself.
Since that day, we never look at toilet bowls the same again whether it’s at home or in public toilets.
4. The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)
The Exorcism of Emily Rose was notorious when it was released as it was based on a true story about a German woman named Anneliese Michel that was well-publicised around 1976 onwards.
The case drew wide attention as the state accused the parish priest who performed exorcisms on Annaliese and her parents of negligent homicide. Annaliese allegedly underwent 67 Catholic exorcism rites and died of malnutrition on 1 July 1976.
The scene that’s seared into our minds: When Emily Rose Reveals All The Demons Possessing Her
In this scene, Emily Rose was made to reveal the names of all the demons in her. As she named each one under duress, her eyes turned glassy black or glowed at the right angle to make it believable enough. The shaky camera effect helps to convey the dark powerful energies in that room when it happened too.
5. The Conjuring (2015)
Based on real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren’s case files, The Conjuring tells the story of the Perron family who were haunted by spirits in their Rhode Island farmhouse in 1971.
The scene that’s seared into our minds: When Bathsheba Reveals Herself
This scene takes place in the final moments of the movie. The family with the Warrens tried to corner Carolyn/Bathsheba in the house’s underground cellar. Seeing the group run around in the small spaces and tight corners was claustrophobic enough. However, you have to admire Lorraine’s gumption to attempt to hold Bathsheba by holding possessed Carolyn’s head from the floor above.
6. Talk To Me (2022)
Talk To Me is an Australian supernatural horror story about a group of teenagers who discover they can talk to spirits using an embalmed hand. Of course, things got out of hand.
The scene that’s seared into our minds: When Riley Hurts Himself Under Possession
Riley’s body was taken over by spirits when it was his turn to touch the embalmed hand. In front of his friends, the spirits repeatedly smashed his face against the table and nearly made himself pluck out his eyeball. His friend could not do much but just watch. One of them tried to cushion his face from the table’s hard surface with her hands so just imagine the pain.
7. Evil Dead Rise (2023)
Evil Dead Rise is the fifth supernatural film instalment of the Evil Dead series. In this story, two estranged sisters have to survive and save their family from demonic entities known as Deadites.
The scene that’s seared into our minds: When The Possessed Mum Knocked On The Door
To be honest, the whole film was gruesome. A few of us had to mellow out and detach with calming music after watching the film. However, the scene that touched the nerve was when the mother Ellie knocked on the door.
Standing on the other side of the door, Ellie, all bloodied up, tries to convince her daughter to open up the door. Ellie went into an unhinged mode as she taunted and harassed her daughters all over the house.
Alyssa Sutherland’s portrayal of Ellie also gained praise for being one of the greatest horror villains in 2023.