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11.01.2012by: Alex Maidy

The Ten Spot: Scariest Non-Horror Movie Moments

Not all scary moments occur in horror movies. Plenty show up in comedies, family films, dramas, and documentaries. This list compiles ten movie scenes that scared me as a kid and as an adult from non-horror films. Go ahead and call be a punk ass bitch if you didn't think these were frightening and feel free to share your favorite non-horror scares in the talk back below. WARNING: Some of the movies discussed will contain spoilers.

#10 - Superman III

I have a distinct memory of watching SUPERMAN III when I was a kid. It was on TV and I was sitting there eating a snack and thinking how cool Superman was and not fully understanding why he had stubble and wasn't being a very good hero. But, when he had his showdown at the end and the supercomputer grabs Vera and turns her into a blank-eyed cyborg, I just about shit my pants. I hauled ass to my mom's room, fell on the floor, and split my lip. To this day, I get sensitivity in my lower jaw when I see that scene.

#9 - American History X

Bite the curb. Three little words that preceeded one of the most horrifying acts in a studio film. Sure, this may not be scary in the traditional sense, but I remember watching this scene much like the infamous wooden splinter to the eye from Lucio Fulci's ZOMBI 2. You know what is going to happen but you think they are going to cut away and they don't. Your jaw just drops. AMERICAN HISTORY X is one of those movies I have never been able to watch more than once. It has a lasting effect on the viewer thanks to Edward Norton's gut-wrenching performance. There is no way you get through this scene without cringing.

#8 - Toy Story 3

Yes, TOY STORY 3. Pixar has gotten a dark edge in recent years and I like it. But, it was in the ending of the final chapter in the TOY STORY trilogy that viewers were given one of the scariest moments in any animated film. As our heroes plunge into the core of the incinerator at the garbage dump, we watch them flail and scramble to escape as they slowly inch closer and closer to the pit of fire before them. As each of the toys realize that it is hopeless and accept their fate, you instantly question if Pixar is really about to kill off their iconic characters. In the end, Woody and the crew survive, but any children in attendance just had to grow up real quick. Gut-wrenching and one of the most human moments in animation history.

#7 - Se7en

SE7EN may be considered a horror movie by many, but I look at it as a dark police procedural. There are no supernatural elements unless you consider pure evil to be supernatural. John Doe is one of the most evil serial killers to ever grace the silver screen. I saw this movie in the theater on the last Cinemascope screen on the East Coast. The sound was deafening. While I admit that I jumped a few times during the movie, nothing freaked me out more than when the Sloth victim's emaciated body suddenly lurched to life. The writhing and choking skeleton was one of the most unanticipated movie moments I have experienced, despite the fact I should have seen it coming a mile away. I did not shit my pants, but I almost did.

#6 Raiders of the Lost Ark

As a kid, I attended Hebrew school to get my Judaism learn on. It was not the most fun place to be, but it was where I first watched RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. There have not been many positive movies to showcase Jewish history in an action-packed way. But, Indiana Jones became a surrogate Jewish hero for me. Now, even though RAIDERS is rated PG, it was definitely not appropriate for a 10-year-old to witness the faces melting off of Nazi soldiers. It was badass, but definitely not appropriate. I thank my lucky stars I did get to see it back then as I remember it as one of my fondest, if not most scarring, movie memories.

#5 Pee Wee's Big Adventure

Another movie that masquerades as a kiddie flick but is far from it. Large Marge scared the living hell out of me. The entire lead up about the sound of a garbage truck being dropped from the top of the Empire State Building had me on the edge of my seat. When she flashed her horrible face, I flipped the f*ck out. Now, watching it as an adult, it cracks me up, but I still remember seeing that monologue for the first time. Who would have though Pee Wee Herman could scar young children. Wait, don't answer that.

#4 Trainspotting

TRAINSPOTTING is a horror movie in a lot of ways. It deals with drug addiction in the same way that REQUIEM FOR A DREAM does. Both have a fantastical approach to showing the lowest dregs of what drugs can do to a person. But, from the moment Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) begins his withdrawal symptoms, the viewer experiences the fever dream of insanity that concludes with the dead baby crawling on the ceiling. Sure it doesn't look real at all, but in the context of the entire sequence, it truly punches you in the gut to remember that baby died earlier in the movie. Was it an accidental drug overdose? Was it parental neglect? Whatever it was it chilled me to my core. Now, as a parent, it scares me even more.

#3 Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Why are some movies marketed for children? Nothing about WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT? should be witnessed by anyone under the age of 10. But, being a Disney movie, my parents took me to see it in the theater. It is such a great movie and a lot of the humor went right over my head for years, but the horrific idea of cartoons dying stuck with me to this day. Add to that the reveal at the end that Judge Doom is truly the Toon that killed Eddie Valiant's brother. The eyes, the voice, everything screams nutjob and was scary as hell. To this day I won't want the ending of ROGER RABBIT late at night. What a freaky ass character.

#2 Mulholland Dr

MULHOLLAND DR is, for many, a nonsensical waste of time. I didn't love the movie, but there is one scene in the middle that caught me completely off guard. The scene appears abruptly with no apparent connection to the rest of the movie. A character recounts a nightmare to his therapist at a coffee shop that involves a grotesque monster hiding behind the restaurant. So, of course, the therapist wants his patient to confront his fears. What they don't expect is for the monster to actual be there. The reveal only lasts for a split second, but it is a lasting image that anyone cannot unsee. It is the way Lynch shoots the scene and edits it that gives it such power. Definitely re-watched the scene a half dozen times when I saw it. I recommend the movie to any first time viewers and don't mention the scene. It comes up so randomly it always freaks people out.

#1 Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

What the f*ck is wrong with family entertainment? So jacked up in so many ways. I am amazed most movie fans are not sociopaths. CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG is one of those movies that you think will be a nice SOUND OF MUSIC or MARY POPPINS type movie that suddenly f*cks your mind six ways to Sunday. When the Child Catcher appears, he is so f*cked up looking I didn't trust strangers for a long time. I hid my head under a blanket every time his nasty face showed up. Of course my mother loved the movie so we watched it constantly. Even Googling for this article gave me chills. F*ck you, Child Catcher! And f*ck you, Ian Fleming!

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+0
5:45AM on 12/07/2012

Only A Few Scenes of IAatRotLA Scared Me

I was going on 6 when I saw "Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark" in 1981, and there were a few scenes that freaked me out, such as, any of the scenes with snakes -- I eventually got over my fear of snakes -- any of the skeleton scenes, especially the one after the crypt, and of course the ending when all the Nazi's were getting killed and the guy's face started to melt.
I was going on 6 when I saw "Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark" in 1981, and there were a few scenes that freaked me out, such as, any of the scenes with snakes -- I eventually got over my fear of snakes -- any of the skeleton scenes, especially the one after the crypt, and of course the ending when all the Nazi's were getting killed and the guy's face started to melt.
Your Reply:



+1
11:53PM on 12/01/2012
The scene where he kills the innocent shoe cartoon in that vat of chemicals still bothers me.
The scene where he kills the innocent shoe cartoon in that vat of chemicals still bothers me.
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11:07AM on 11/04/2012
I don't know whether to scream or laugh out loud at this scene.
I don't know whether to scream or laugh out loud at this scene.
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11:06AM on 11/04/2012
I actually thought this would be number 1 spot.
I actually thought this would be number 1 spot.
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3:40PM on 11/03/2012
I don't think a movie has to have supernatural elements to be a horror movie. Look at "Jaws," "Silence of the Lambs," or "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer." They might not be considered straight up horror films, but they definitely are.
I don't think a movie has to have supernatural elements to be a horror movie. Look at "Jaws," "Silence of the Lambs," or "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer." They might not be considered straight up horror films, but they definitely are.
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3:40PM on 11/03/2012
I don't think a movie has to have supernatural elements to be a horror movie. Look at "Jaws," "Silence of the Lambs," or "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer." They might not be considered straight up horror films, but they definitely are.
I don't think a movie has to have supernatural elements to be a horror movie. Look at "Jaws," "Silence of the Lambs," or "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer." They might not be considered straight up horror films, but they definitely are.
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12:59PM on 11/03/2012

Totally agree

Oh I fuckin' hate that fuckin' child catcher bastard- Yep that is a good #1
Oh I fuckin' hate that fuckin' child catcher bastard- Yep that is a good #1
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12:57PM on 11/03/2012
Yep we all jumped and then laughed our asses off
Yep we all jumped and then laughed our asses off
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12:56PM on 11/03/2012
This would be #1 for me aside from the scene where they find the head underwater in Jaws
This would be #1 for me aside from the scene where they find the head underwater in Jaws
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12:55PM on 11/03/2012
Too gross- can't watch that fuckin' shit
Too gross- can't watch that fuckin' shit
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12:54PM on 11/03/2012

Yup.

Toy Story Fuckin' Rules.
Toy Story Fuckin' Rules.
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12:53PM on 11/03/2012
Underrated movie- this scene is wicked freaky and the scene in the junkyard is one of the best ever- when he opens his shirt and it's all bright and clean- gives me goosebumps.
Underrated movie- this scene is wicked freaky and the scene in the junkyard is one of the best ever- when he opens his shirt and it's all bright and clean- gives me goosebumps.
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+2
4:41PM on 11/02/2012
Honorable mentions:
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (boat scene, but also the blueberry scene really freaked me out as a kid too)
The Black Cauldron (that movie is really too dark for youngsters)
The Secret of NIMH
Honorable mentions:
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (boat scene, but also the blueberry scene really freaked me out as a kid too)
The Black Cauldron (that movie is really too dark for youngsters)
The Secret of NIMH
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+2
4:25PM on 11/02/2012
Love this movie. That scene really didn't have much of a terrifying effect on me but I can see how it would for others.
Love this movie. That scene really didn't have much of a terrifying effect on me but I can see how it would for others.
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+2
4:20PM on 11/02/2012
As a kid, I had to hide my head under a blanket when I knew this scene was coming up.
As a kid, I had to hide my head under a blanket when I knew this scene was coming up.
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+0
4:18PM on 11/02/2012
Agreed on all points.
Agreed on all points.
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-1
4:17PM on 11/02/2012
I'm right there with you on this one. Eff that scene, and eff that whole movie.
I'm right there with you on this one. Eff that scene, and eff that whole movie.
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6:24AM on 11/02/2012

Thank you !

Thank you for bringing back one of my childhood nightmares ! you bastard !
Thank you for bringing back one of my childhood nightmares ! you bastard !
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+1
2:12AM on 11/02/2012

I havent seen this for almost 15 years

but I can still vividly remember the steamroller scene..... scarred for life!
but I can still vividly remember the steamroller scene..... scarred for life!
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+3
12:34AM on 11/02/2012
Scariest Non-Horror Movie Moment - Those troll things in Willow, when it turns into that ball of ick and then sprouts heads, turning into that dragon…yeah that freaked out little 7 year old me.
Scariest Non-Horror Movie Moment - Those troll things in Willow, when it turns into that ball of ick and then sprouts heads, turning into that dragon…yeah that freaked out little 7 year old me.
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10:35PM on 11/01/2012
The villain deaths in the first three Indy films were all incredible pieces of effects work and genuinely frightening...but I'll say that Temple of Doom definitely left me more scarred overall than Raiders. The burning heart bit...still scary today.
The villain deaths in the first three Indy films were all incredible pieces of effects work and genuinely frightening...but I'll say that Temple of Doom definitely left me more scarred overall than Raiders. The burning heart bit...still scary today.
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8:22PM on 11/01/2012

knew it

i knew this scene would make the list
i knew this scene would make the list
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8:00PM on 11/01/2012
Judge Doom. I was horrified when I saw this. Was probably 8. Nice list, though.
Judge Doom. I was horrified when I saw this. Was probably 8. Nice list, though.
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7:34PM on 11/01/2012
The Spy Who Loved Me-Had to be taken out the film as a kid because every time Jaws appeared I would have Kittens and freak out.
The Spy Who Loved Me-Had to be taken out the film as a kid because every time Jaws appeared I would have Kittens and freak out.
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6:18PM on 11/01/2012
I was 6 when I saw this in the theaters. I remember watching the scene between my fingers. I still watched it though.
I was 6 when I saw this in the theaters. I remember watching the scene between my fingers. I still watched it though.
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6:12PM on 11/01/2012

Scariest Non-Horror movie of all time....

Sex In The City.... just because it even exists.
Sex In The City.... just because it even exists.
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6:05PM on 11/01/2012

You got me down for childhood trauma a 2nd time!

the scene where Doom dumps the cartoon shoe in the chemical vat had me crying like a baby in the cinema until my poor sisters had to drag my ass out, i was only five mind you.
the scene where Doom dumps the cartoon shoe in the chemical vat had me crying like a baby in the cinema until my poor sisters had to drag my ass out, i was only five mind you.
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5:56PM on 11/01/2012

Jesus, i thought i was the only one!

I shit my pants as a kid with this scene too, glad someone else shares the pain.
I shit my pants as a kid with this scene too, glad someone else shares the pain.
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5:40PM on 11/01/2012

Moonwalker

The scene where Jackson's shot turns into a robot and later a ship used to scare me to death as a kid.
Also, I second Judge Doom, that also freaked me out when I was young.
The scene where Jackson's shot turns into a robot and later a ship used to scare me to death as a kid.
Also, I second Judge Doom, that also freaked me out when I was young.
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+0
5:06PM on 11/01/2012

Akira

I know it's animated, but the final scene of Akira is one of the most horrifying I've ever seen. I somehow happened upon that scene one day when I was channel surfing in the days of my youth, and subsequently had nightmares about it for weeks. I decided to watch the whole movie to contextualize that scene a few years ago, and I will never watch it again.
I know it's animated, but the final scene of Akira is one of the most horrifying I've ever seen. I somehow happened upon that scene one day when I was channel surfing in the days of my youth, and subsequently had nightmares about it for weeks. I decided to watch the whole movie to contextualize that scene a few years ago, and I will never watch it again.
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6:13PM on 11/01/2012
The books are better.
The books are better.
4:42PM on 11/01/2012
Ditto Pee Wee. Shit messed me up as a little kid.

But I'd also add the boat ride in Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory. Still damn scary today and when I was a youngster I'd make any excuse to leave the room or fast forward when that scene came up.
Ditto Pee Wee. Shit messed me up as a little kid.

But I'd also add the boat ride in Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory. Still damn scary today and when I was a youngster I'd make any excuse to leave the room or fast forward when that scene came up.
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4:24PM on 11/01/2012
Judge Doom is the Gold Standard for me as far as childhood scares. First off I love how Christopher Lloyd hid pretty much every familiar trait he has but the chin and the voice. And everything from the steamroller on just fucks with my brain, because he's such an unsettling, unnatural spectacle and yet it all looks more of less real.
Judge Doom is the Gold Standard for me as far as childhood scares. First off I love how Christopher Lloyd hid pretty much every familiar trait he has but the chin and the voice. And everything from the steamroller on just fucks with my brain, because he's such an unsettling, unnatural spectacle and yet it all looks more of less real.
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4:16PM on 11/01/2012
That scene is one of the most grotesquely disturbing things I have seen in a fairly mainstream movie.
That scene is one of the most grotesquely disturbing things I have seen in a fairly mainstream movie.
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4:08PM on 11/01/2012
Powerful scene. . .
Powerful scene. . .
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3:42PM on 11/01/2012

Some good choices.

I wouldn't consider Jaws a horror film. The whole film scared me so much as a kid I was scared to get in the bath.
Ben Gardner's manky head popping out the boat would take the top spot for me.
Child Catcher gets 2nd spot.
Watership Down and The Dark Crystal should be in there too.
I wouldn't consider Jaws a horror film. The whole film scared me so much as a kid I was scared to get in the bath.
Ben Gardner's manky head popping out the boat would take the top spot for me.
Child Catcher gets 2nd spot.
Watership Down and The Dark Crystal should be in there too.
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+6
3:38PM on 11/01/2012

Only once?

That's too bad. This was the performance that cemented Norton as one of my all time fav actors. In the flash back scenes he conveys such an unreal level of personal evil (think to look on his face when he is getting handcuffed just after the above moment) that it was very creepy and i had to be convinced by other roles and interviews that he wasn't actually like that at all and it was in fact some crazy good acting!
That's too bad. This was the performance that cemented Norton as one of my all time fav actors. In the flash back scenes he conveys such an unreal level of personal evil (think to look on his face when he is getting handcuffed just after the above moment) that it was very creepy and i had to be convinced by other roles and interviews that he wasn't actually like that at all and it was in fact some crazy good acting!
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3:17PM on 11/01/2012
I won't lie... This scene is where the tears started for me. And then pretty much lasted the rest of the end of the film haha.
I won't lie... This scene is where the tears started for me. And then pretty much lasted the rest of the end of the film haha.
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3:16PM on 11/01/2012

Willy Wonka???

I honestly thought the scene when they get on the boat in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was gonna be number one.
I honestly thought the scene when they get on the boat in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was gonna be number one.
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3:13PM on 11/01/2012
Man those eyes still fuck with me to this day.
Man those eyes still fuck with me to this day.
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+19
3:12PM on 11/01/2012
This movie can't be truly be appreciated by a kid because: A) the nature of the plot (a murder mystery wrapped in a story of political and corporate corruption), being so steeped in film noir. B) The adult humor C) knowledge of classic cartoons. I dread the possibility of a sequel. I don't think WB and Disney would ever agree to such a ballsy movie today.

You forgot to mention the most frightening part of that last scene. Judge Doom being flattened by the steam roller. It looks so real.
This movie can't be truly be appreciated by a kid because: A) the nature of the plot (a murder mystery wrapped in a story of political and corporate corruption), being so steeped in film noir. B) The adult humor C) knowledge of classic cartoons. I dread the possibility of a sequel. I don't think WB and Disney would ever agree to such a ballsy movie today.

You forgot to mention the most frightening part of that last scene. Judge Doom being flattened by the steam roller. It looks so real.
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+4
3:02PM on 11/01/2012

"Tell 'em Large Marge sent ya!"

This scene still freaks me out.
This scene still freaks me out.
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