Horror Movie Moments That Will Shatter Your Nerves

POSTED BY Heather Johnson, UPDATED ON June 6th, 2024
Horror Movie Moments That Will Shatter Your Nerves

One could argue that modern-day cinema, which relies more on CGI and jump scare tactics and less on script and story development, could be losing its edge. And, we as an audience are nowhere nearly as easily shocked as we used to be, even when we watch a horror movie with the utmost desire to get scared. Things, however, were quite different sometime back when dozens of classics were being released in the horror genre in a matter of years. If you love a good scare, here are some must-see classic horror movie moments that will shatter your nerves and will make you chew your fingernails down to the bone:


5. Martyrs: That Part with the Bathtub

This 2008 release sets the bar for horror films by adding in the element of a crazy group of egocentric extremists who justify the torture of women with psychoanalysis.

Two girls stumble upon the organization and in trying to free one of the women; protagonist Anna has to pry a metal helmet from the head of a poor soul that has had it stapled into her skull. The sterile feeling of the bathroom is all of a sudden shattered by the invasive use of a crowbar and some old-fashioned elbow grease in one of the most difficult-to-watch moments ever seen in Spanish cinema.

This film sort of leaves you with a moral to the whole story as well, which will leave you doubly as shattered as watching copious amounts of blood spattered all over bathroom floors and kitchen splashbacks.


4. The Shining: Jack Nicholson vs. Door

The Shining is a classic movie moment that probably wouldn’t have worked nearly as well with any other actor. Jack Nicholson has perfected that crazed-eye rigid-jaw combo that makes for an utterly compelling “I’ve gone absolutely mental” character turn.

This is the second Stephen King book based-film on the list and it’s easy to see how his literary pieces are so easily converted into the cinema. He examines the fragility of the human condition and exploits the character’s weaknesses; which keeps the story mesmerizing. Combined with Kubrick’s bizarre and disturbing visual imagery, this one is a steadfast classic.


3. Carrie: The Bit Where She Loses Her Mind

The part where she unleashes the wrath of her telekinetic smack-down on her tormenters is made slightly easier to watch knowing that they sort of had it coming.

She sets fire to the high school and kills off her teachers and fellow students as she just stands drenched in blood with eyeballs as big as saucers; before finally heading home to deal with her religious extremist mum.


2. The Fly: Geoff Goldblum’s Transformation into a Giant Insect

Andre’s scientific approach to madness makes the film all the more difficult to watch. It’s like the most horrific episode of Animorphs ever created, complete with a quick descent into insanity, bubbling human skin, and bug vomit.

The Fly won several awards, including Best Make-up from the British Academy Film Awards; quite understandable considering its innovative take on the whole ‘mutation’ concept.


1. The Exorcist: The Bit With the Backwards Stair Crab

That part where Linda Blair executes a perfect 10 gymnastic maneuver, by taking the stairs in what must have proved a distinctly uncomfortable manner. This scene was cut from the final edit, presumably because it is unfathomably terrifying by the standards of the year of its release.

The whole film is a sensory horror-fest but this part takes the cake for film moments guaranteed to have you nailing your bedroom door shut and sleeping with the lights on. Hideous.

Let us know your favorite scary movie moments by commenting below!


  1. gideon43 says:

    Great list! I just love horror movies because after my wife saw Blair Witch she no longer went near a wood and even a bundle of twigs now freak her out.

    Something to do with it all being suggestion rather than depiction, apparently.

  2. Lemming13 says:

    this is my favorite horror movie list I compiled recently:

    The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

    Nosferatu (1922)

    The Phantom of the Opera (1925)

    Frankenstein (1931)

    Dracula (1931)

    Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

    Freaks (1932)

    Vampyr (1932)

    The Mummy (1932)

    King Kong (1933)

    The Invisible Man (1933)

    Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

    Rebecca (1940)

    The Wolf Man (1941)

    Cat People (1942)

    I Walked with a Zombie (1943)

    Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

    Godzilla (1954)

    Rear Window (1954)

    Dial M for Murder (1954)

    The Thing from Another World (1951)

    The Night of the Hunter (1955)

    Les Diaboliques (1955)

    Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

    The Blob (1958)

    Vertigo (1958)

    On the Beach (1959)

    House on Haunted Hill (1959)

    Psycho (1960)

    Peeping Tom (1960)

    Eyes Without a Face (1960)

    The Innocents (1961)

    Cape Fear (1962)

    The Haunting (1963)

    The Birds (1963)

    The Masque of the Red Death (1964)

    Repulsion (1965)

    Island of Terror (1966)

    Wait Until Dark (1967)

    Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

    Night of the Living Dead (1968)

    Deliverance (1972)

    Frenzy (1972)

    Last House on the Left (1972)

    Don’t Look Now (1973)

    The Exorcist (1973)

    Sisters (1973)

    Soylent Green (1973)

    The Wicker Man (1973)

    The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

    Black Christmas (1974)

    Young Frankenstein (1974)

    Jaws (1975)

    The Omen (1976)

    Carrie (1976)

    Alice, Sweet Alice (1976)

    Marathon Man (1976)

    The Tenant (1976)

    The Sentinel (1977)

    Suspiria (1977)

    The Hills Have Eyes (1977)

    Halloween (1978)

    Dawn of the Dead (1978)

    Alien (1979)

    Salem’s Lot (1979)

    The Amityville Horror (1979)

    When a Stranger Calls (1979)

    Phantasm (1979)

    The Shining (1980)

    The Fog (1980)

    Friday the 13th (1980)

    The Evil Dead (1981)

    An American Werewolf in London (1981)

    Possession (1981)

    The Thing (1982)

    Poltergeist (1982)

    Videodrome (1983)

    Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)

    Cujo (1983)

    Ghostbusters (1984)

    Gremlins (1984)

    A Nightmare on Elm Street (1982)

    Children of the Corn (1984)

    Blue Velvet (1986)

    The Fly (1986)

    Fatal Attraction (1987)

    Hellraiser (1987)

    Evil Dead II (1987)

    Child’s Play (1988)

    Pet Sematary (1989)

    Misery (1990)

    Arachnophobia (1990)

    It (1990)

    Jacob’s Ladder (1990)

    Cape Fear (1991)

    The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

    Braindead / Dead Alive (1992)

    Candyman (1992)

    Jurassic Park (1993)

    Ed Wood (1994)

    Interview with the Vampire (1994)

    Se7en (1995)

    Scream (1996)

    I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)

    Ringu (1998)

    The Blair Witch Project (1999)

    The Sixth Sense (1999)

    Audition (1999)

    Sleepy Hollow (1999)

    American Psycho (2000)

    What Lies Beneath (2000)

    Scary Movie (2000)

    Final Destination (2000)

    Requiem for a Dream (2000)

    Suicide Club (2001)

    The Others (2001)

    Jeepers Creepers (2001)

    Pulse (2001)

    Ju-on: The Grudge (2002)

    The Ring (2002)

    Signs (2002)

    28 Days Later (2002)

    House of a Thousand Corpses (2003)

    A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)

    Shaun of the Dead (2004)

    Saw (2004)

    Hostel (2005)

    The Descent (2005)

    Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

    Paranormal Activity (2007)

    Let the Right One In (2008)

    Human Centipede (2009)

    Zombieland (2009)

    Black Swan (2010)

    The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

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