Indelible: Horror’s Definitive Scenes

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CarrieFrom Hitchcock to Camp Crystal Lake to Jigsaw’s traps, every generation has made iconic contributions to the genre we all love. Though many scenes are notable, only a select few have seared themselves into our collective memory.

These are those scenes.

10. Still the king

There have been innumerable vampire pictures throughout cinematic history, but with apologies to the legendary Bela Lugosi, Max Schreck’s turn in 1922’s Nosferatu remains the standard by which all vampires are judged. The image of Count Orlok’s shadow scaling the staircase has yet to lose its effect more than nine decades on.

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9. Come play with us, Danny

All work and no play may have made Jack a dull boy, but when Danny’s Hot Wheel made its way around that hall corner at the Overlook, it was nothing short of chilling.

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8. Oh, just one more thing, senator

Jack Crawford told Clarice Starling that “You don’t want Hannibal Lecter in your head.” Much like Edgar Allan Poe’s pain was our gain, we can’t help but grin devilishly that Thomas Harris allowed Hannibal to reside in his. Of all the good doctor has to offer horror fans, being wheeled into the Memphis airplane hangar is the most lasting visual.

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7. They’re all going to laugh at you

Hell hath no fury like a faux prom queen scorned.

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6. Dancing on the Ceiling

Nine, ten…never sleep again.

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5. We were hooked

John Larroquette’s narration, Leatherface. The house of horrors. None have resonated like the sound Teri McMinn made when she was hung like butchered cattle.

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4. The Boogeyman

The Bowling Green Philharmonic created the most recognizable theme music horror has to offer and Michael Myers was memorable in scene after scene, but one in particular communicated that evil never dies.

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3. I think it was something I ate

Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, Yaphet Kotto, Harry Dean Stanton, Ian Holm and Veronica Cartwright knew something was going to happen to John Hurt’s Kane, they just didn’t know what. That reveal takes the bronze on our list.

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2. A real head-turner

There is only one horror film I will not watch alone, and it’s The Exorcist. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with silver!

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1. Showering has never been the same

Upon Psycho’s 1960 release, cardboard cutouts of director Alfred Hitchcock delivered a clear message: “The manager of this theatre has been instructed at the risk of his life, not to admit to the theatre any persons after the picture starts. Any spurious attempts to enter by side doors, fire escapes or ventilating shafts will be met by force. The entire objective of this extraordinary policy, of course, is to help you enjoy PSYCHO more.”

This scene was what made that declaration necessary, and grabs the gold as horror’s most monumental.

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