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Top 10 Scariest Horror Movie Deaths

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp

These terrifying horror movie deaths left us sleeping with the lights on! Our list includes some of the genre’s bloodiest kills, scariest villains, and most shocking jump scares, with death scenes from “It” (2017), “Scream” (1996), “The Blair Witch Project” (1999), “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” (1974), and more! What horror movie death most scared the bejesus out of YOU? Let us know in the comments!

Check out the voting page for this list and add your picks: https://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Scariest+Horror+Movie+Deaths Special thanks to our user c64audio for suggesting this idea!

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Transcript
Script written by NAME

Nathan Sharp


They don’t call them horror movies for nothing. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top ten scariest horror movie deaths.



For this list, we’ll be looking at what we consider to be the scariest deaths in horror movie history and ranking them based on their level of fear, their legacy, and the influence they had on the horror genre.



#10: Georgie Denbrough


“It” (2017)

Now THIS is how you open a horror movie. While this scene was one of the miniseries’ most famous, the 2017 film turned the horror up to 11. Pennywise is made much more animalistic, as he gleefully toys with Georgie, staring at him with violent hunger in his eyes and drool on his chin. It’s immediately clear that something isn’t right (you know, aside from there being a clown in the sewer). And then... he proceeds to bite Georgie’s arm off and drag him into the sewer as the young boy attempts to crawl away, crying for help, sans arm. It’s a terrific (and terrifying) establishment of the brutality of Pennywise.



#9: Jack Goodman


“An American Werewolf in London” (1981)

Who knew that John Landis of “Animal House” could direct one of the scariest movies of the ‘80s? “An American Werewolf in London” starts with Jack and David being hunted on the Yorkshire moors. After a false jump scare gets the audience on edge, Jack is attacked and brutally mauled by the werewolf. What makes this scene so horrifying is its realism. Jack’s blood-curdling screams are full of convincing pain and fear, and his body is completely torn to shreds, leaving his corpse a bloody mess. The scene plays on our primal fears of large and dangerous creatures, and it is arguably one of the scariest animal attack scenes, supernatural or otherwise, in movie history.



#8: Casey Becker


“Scream” (1996)

“Scream” helped revitalize the slasher, and this scene in particular was a major reason for the renewed interest. The opening of the movie famously sees Drew Barrymore’s Casey Becker taunted by a mysterious and creepy caller. The calls begin rather playfully before spiralling into depravity and horror as Casey’s boyfriend is murdered and Casey becomes the subject of malicious taunts. She is then stabbed to death and hung from a tree for her parents to see. The progression of the phone calls, the sense of isolation and hopelessness that the scene conveys, and the violence of the murder all combine to create one of the most memorable opening sequences in horror movie history.





#7: Kirk


“The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” (1974)

Casey’s death might have reinvigorated the slasher genre, but Kirk’s death arguably started it. After entering a creepy house, Kirk is suddenly taken out by Leatherface in one of the most surprising and scariest deaths in horror. Leatherface scares both Kirk and the audience by coming out of nowhere, and the sheer brutality of the hit and Kirk’s twitching body leaves you reeling. The scene ends with Leatherface slamming the door, serving as an ominous exclamation point to the horror we just witnessed. It’s both shocking and shockingly realistic, and it helped set the grim and violent tone for one of the most controversial movies ever made.



#6: Judith Meyers


“Halloween” (1978)

In this scene, we watch from the perspective of an unknown assailant as he stalks two teenagers from outside the house. We are then forced to witness the brutal murder of the woman through the eyes of her killer, making us feel complicit in her death, almost as if we are the ones carrying out this horrible display of violence. The movie then goes in a completely unexpected direction when the killer is revealed to be the 6-year-old brother of the victim. The shot of the emotionless Michael standing amidst his shocked and horrified parents is now an iconic piece of horror imagery. It showed us that psychopaths can be anywhere and be anyone.



#5: Keith Jennings


“The Omen” (1976)

It doesn’t get any better than ‘70s horror. Not only were these films constantly breaking new ground, but they also still hold up incredibly well to this day. While attempting to retrieve a pair of discarded daggers, Keith is decapitated by a pane of glass, and his head spirals in the air before landing by his feet. The suddenness of the death, the gore, and the eerie music combine to make this one of the most memorable death scenes in cinema. At the time, this was one of the most violent things ever seen in a mainstream Hollywood film, and it helped pave the way for a wider acceptance of violence and gore.



#4: Heather


“The Blair Witch Project” (1999)

Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that this film has one stunner of an ending. Heather and Mike are separated while investigating a creepy-as-all-hell house in the middle of the woods. Heather eventually finds Mike facing a wall before she is attacked from behind by an unseen force. The events leading up to the death are scary enough, like the abandoned house and Josh’s far-off cries, but it’s the images of Mike in the corner and Heather dropping the camera that really sticks in the mind. It’s a bleak ending, and its refusal to answer questions makes it all the more unsettling. It leaves you and your imagination to fill in the blanks.





#3: Chrissie Watkins


“Jaws” (1975)

Chrissie’s death is arguably the best opening scene in horror movie history. Susan Backlinie’s acting is simply superb, as she successfully sells every last scream, gasp, and plead. Spielberg also made a fantastic decision in never showing us the shark – we watch in sheer horror as this woman is dragged around by an unseen entity, again, allowing our imaginations to run wild. The scene also ends on a spectacular note, as the horrifying music abruptly ends as Chrissie is dragged under mid-scream, leaving us with the seemingly peaceful and calming sounds of the ocean. We knew better though, and it made us never want to go swimming again.



#2: Marion Crane


“Psycho” (1960)

Alfred Hitchcock certainly knew how to craft a scene. Marion’s death is perhaps the most famous death scene in movie history, and it helped to usher in a new era of violence in cinema. The violence was unlike anything seen in film at the time, and the piercing music and frantic editing maximize the effectiveness of the horror. It bombards the viewer from every sense and angle, and it makes us feel as if we are being attacked ourselves. While “Halloween” put us in the mind of a killer, “Psycho” puts us in the mind of the killed. And it’s one of the most horrifying things you could possibly imagine.





Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions



Glen Lantz

“A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984)



Annie Marshall

“It Follows” (2014)



Nurse Amy Keating

“The Exorcist III” (1990)



Charlie Graham

“Hereditary” (2018)







#1: Kane


“Alien” (1979)

And with this one scene, sci-fi horror was changed forever. In it, Kane “gives birth” to an alien, and it’s one of cinema’s most disgusting and scariest moments. The way the scene progresses from jovial dinner to unimaginable nightmare is genius, and the effects of the alien bursting out of John Hurt’s chest are still effectively revolting today. The fast-paced editing and genuine shock of the actors help place us in the surreal moment while the practical effects make it feel oh so very real. It is now rightfully regarded as one of the most memorable movie scenes of all time, and arguably the scariest.

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