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Top 10 Horror Movie Opening Scenes

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Matthew Thomas. These movie openings will send chills down your spine. In this video, WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for the top 10 opening scenes in horror movies. For this list, we’re looking at the most scary and memorable scenes that take place at the beginning of horror movies. Whether it’s a family matter, a shark tale or a game with dire consequences, as long as it opens a horror flick, it’s up for consideration. Special thanks to our users Matthew Thomas, Wade Brown Jr., Dangkhoa Nguyenhuynh, 7AMart1 and Henry Patterson for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Transcript
Script written by Matthew Thomas.

Top 10 Horror Movie Opening Scenes


These movie openings will send chills down your spine. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 opening scenes in horror movies.

For this list, we’re looking at the most scary and memorable scenes that take place at the beginning of horror movies.

#10: Above the Line
“Ghost Ship” (2002)

We can all remember how boring and inescapable it felt to be the only child in a gathering of adults. So in this American-Australian horror flick, when we see a kid sitting solo at the side of a dance floor while ballroom music plays and everyone else dances, we all feel her pain. When she quickly goes from being the sole child to the sole survivor however, we can’t help but also feel her horror after she becomes surrounded by people who have all just literally been cut in half.

#9: First Person, First Victims
“Friday the 13th” (1980)

The violent end these two camp counselors meet in the first “Friday the 13th” is all the more visceral because it’s juxtaposed with an innocent and inspirational song. As the first of many people who pay the price for an old debt, the fact that they did absolutely nothing wrong makes this opening all the more powerful. Taking a first-person point of view, director Sean S. Cunningham allowed us to see the action through the eyes of the killer, and have us recoil at the unraveling murders while empathizing with the victims in a brilliant twist.

#8: Peace No More
“Dawn of the Dead” (2004)

There is nothing more relaxing and comforting than lying in bed with a loved one. In the 2004 remake of George A. Romero’s 1978 classic, an unsuspecting couple’s peace is disturbed while they’re in the comfort of their own home; and we’re sure they never would have foreseen that one of them would soon be dead and the other would be plunged into a nightmarish and shocking world. Updating and slightly improving on the original “Dawn of the Dead”‘s opening, which showed chaos in a news station, Zack Snyder’s version instead lets us get a bit personal with one of the main characters and then takes us to the action in the streets.

#7: Industry Kills
“A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984)

At first, we’re not quite sure what’s happening at the beginning of this supernatural slasher horror. There’s heavy breathing and we see blades attached to a glove, and at that point, we know we’ve been plunged into a world of death and hatred. We’re not alone. There is a woman clad in a nightgown running down a corridor, and… a sheep?! What she’s running from, we don’t know. What we do know for sure is there’s a sense of foreboding - and those strange noises followed by those blades is unlike anything we’ve seen or heard before it.

#6: Fuzz Out
“The Ring” (2002)

Serving the dual purpose of setting up the concept of the film you are about to see, while also revealing that the curse is all too real, “The Ring”‘s opening moments also don’t fail to bring the scares. Never expressly showing anything really, the flashes of a face drained of life are more than enough to alarm viewers into having to see what is about to unfold in front of them.

#5: Man No More
“28 Weeks Later” (2007)

Most of us would like to think that when our family is in peril, we’d stand up for them and put our own lives at risk to ensure their safety. However, most of us have never had to face that moment of truth. A man who never even appears to consider looking out for anyone but himself serves as our window into the action in the opening moments of this post-apocalyptic sci-fi flick. Suffice it to say, this scene leaves our hearts pounding and our emotions raw. In short, it’s got everything that horror fans watch scary movies for.

#4: Coming of Age
“Carrie” (1976)

This one combines two of the elements that have come to be most associated with the horror genre, nudity and fear, in a completely different way. Seeing a scared and completely vulnerable young woman mocked and ostracized during such a universal moment her life is atypical of a genre that’s usually male-dominated. Startling and unforgettable, there are few scenes in film history that stick with horror fans more than the first few minutes of “Carrie.”

#3: Family Matters
“Halloween” (1978)

Making his way through the house and stopping only in the kitchen to arm himself with a butcher knife, Michael seems to know just where to go to find his way to his ultimate prey. Stopping along the way to grab a toy with an arm that seems all too small, he attacks a woman who seems to know him. To the surprise of moviegoers, he’s ultimately revealed to be the kid brother of the newly dead victim. This shocking revelation of the killer’s identity sets us up to realize that anything is possible in this horror classic.

#2: Let’s Play a Game
“Scream” (1996)

An opener based around a game of horror-related trivia questions, “Scream”’s first few minutes are definitely for horror fans – and were brought to us by one of the biggest horror fans and filmmakers in modern cinema: Wes Craven. Early on in the scene, the deadly repercussions of an incorrect answer are shown when a poolside victim pays the ultimate price for a mistake. And at the scene’s end, most of us can’t refrain from putting ourselves in the shoes of her parents listening on the phone to their daughter being ruthlessly killed and incapable of doing anything about it.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
- Doll Reincarnated
“Child’s Play” (1988)
- Possession
“Evil Dead” (2013)
- Robbery Gone Wrong
“House of 1000 Corpses” (2003)
- The Unknown
“Hatchet” (2006)
- Ghost Hunting
“Thirteen Ghosts” (2001)

#1: Skinny Dip, Skinny Dead
“Jaws” (1975)

As going to the beach is a pilgrimage made by millions every summer, there seems to be a tenuous agreement that if we stay close to land then the ocean’s predators won’t bother us. But thanks to “Jaws,” which show us a helpless woman going from laughing to utter terror in a matter of seconds, a generation of movie fans were terrified of going in the water. If that isn’t the calling card of the most effective horror movie opening of all time, we don’t know what is.

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite horror movie opening? For more entertaining Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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