The Wages Of Fear (1953)
The Moment: The entirety of the painstaking truck journey across a seemingly endless stretch of pothole-riddled road, as our heroes attempt to transport a payload of nitroglycerine across South America. On a massive collective hangover. Bold.
Why So Scary: It's just relentlessly, brutally tense. By the end of this one you'll have lost a few pounds in sweat!
The Fellowship Of The Ring (2001)
The Moment: Kindly Uncle Bilbo asks Frodo if he might hold the ring just one last time. When Frodo refuses, something rather unpleasant manifests itself in the old man's face…
Why So Scary: Bilbo's brief transformation is a nifty way of stressing the power of the ring while also delivering a very effective scare. It still sets us on edge when we know this bit is coming up...
Snow White & The Seven Dwarves (1937)
The Moment: Snow White stumbles into the enchanted forest, where the various ghouls, ghosts and beasties within do their level best to scare her into an early grave.
Why So Scary: It's an extremely dark sequence that will have provoked more than a few nightmares for its young audience and their long suffering parents. Far, far scarier than the corresponding scene in Snow White And The Huntsman .
The Moment: Bill Sikes makes his grand entrance, shuffling out of a dimly lit alleyway in order to complete a deal with Fagin. Throughout the entirety of the transaction he utters not a single word, but the menace he exudes is impossible to ignore.
Why So Scary: Oliver Reed plays Sikes as the brooding thug originally laid out on paper by Charles Dickens. Scowling, dead-eyed and violent, he's an extremely intimidating figure.
The Moment: Tommy loses his sense of humour when Henry describes him as "funny". Cue much frenzied back-pedalling from the latter as Tommy contrives to take offence to everything he comes out with.
Why So Scary: If Joe Pesci has ever been more intimidating than he is here, we've yet to witness it. "Funny, how?"
Mickey And The Beanstalk (1947)
The Moment: Mickey, Donald and Goofy are living through a depression (average Disney storyline there), and have very little food left to eat. They're battling through it until Donald suddenly loses his shit, grabs an axe and proceeds to smash the place up! Settle down old boy. Things will pick up…
Why So Scary: There's a reason why this is the only Disney cartoon to feature a crazed Donald attempting to butcher his pet cow in a hunger-inspired freak-out. It's bloody scary.
The Moment: Mills and Somerset discover the corpse of the sloth victim, a desperately emaciated cadaver chained to a filthy bed. Except he isn't quite dead yet, is he? Yikes!
Why So Scary: The old "dead body that's not actually dead" trick is an old one, but in this example, the body's hideous appearance adds another dimension. He looks like a zombie, so no wonder he comes back from the dead!
Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (1985)
The Moment: Large Marge is busy telling Pee-Wee her tale of woe, when all of a sudden her eyes burst out of her head in a moment of unadulterated claymation terror. Horrible stuff!
Why So Scary: It comes right out of leftfield and scares the living shit out of us. As does Pee-Wee, but for different reasons.
Indiana Jones & The Temple Of Doom (1984)
The Moment: Mola Ram performs his party trick for the first time, wrenching the heart clean out of the chest of one of his victims as part of a grisly sacrificial rite in the depths of the Thuggee temple.
Why So Scary: For a family-friendly adventure romp, seeing a man have his heart ripped out is surprisingly visceral!
Night Of The Hunter (1955)
The Moment: Having made their escape via a bizarrely pastoral riverboat scene, our two runaway children bed down in a barn for the night, only to spot the demonic preacher silhouetted on the horizon, singing as lustily as ever.
Why So Scary: Robert Mitchum's hunter is every bit as indefatigable as the Terminator and twice as scary. As one of his young charges remarks, "don't he never sleep?"
Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011)
The Moment: Patrick and some of the younger members of his cult have been caught breaking and entering the house of an affluent stranger. A horribly tense standoff ensues, followed by what appears to be a peaceful retreat. However, appearances can be deceiving…
Why So Scary: We could have included much of the second half of this woozily creepy thriller, but the moment at which the homeowner meets his sudden demise delivers a shock of sizeable proportions.
The Dark Knight (2008)
The Moment: Gotham's TV news broadcasts a home video from The Joker, in which he taunts and teases a Batman impersonator. When he instructs the poor guy to, "LOOK AT ME", you know he isn't kidding around.
Why So Scary: Famously, this scene was the first time Michael Caine had witnessed Heath Ledger's performance as Joker. The look of discomfort on his face throughout, is entirely genuine.
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992)
The Moment: The camera homes in on the horrifying image of the murderous Bob crouched behind the dresser of poor Laura Palmer. Enough to make you jump clean out of your skin, just as he was in the TV series.
Why So Scary: Bob's sudden appearance is the point at which this one tips from psychological thriller into fully-blown nightmare.
King Kong (2005)
The Moment: Andy Serkis and some of the rest of the crew find themselves beleaguered by a plague of grotesquely outsized insects. If you've any kind of disliking for creepy crawlies, this scene is not for you…
Why So Scary: Probably the most skin-crawlingly disgusting scene on the list, it's all we can do not to fast-forward through this one. Particularly when Serkis meets his horrifying end.
Arlington Road (1999)
The Moment: Brooke makes a frantic phone call to Michael telling him she think's there's something in his suspicions about Oliver. Hanging up in a panic, she turns round only to find Cheryl standing right behind her. Surprise!
Why So Scary: A shameless jump scare of the most basic kind, but even so, it works like a charm. The fact that Brooke is the one obscuring Cheryl's presence is what makes it so unexpected. It's an unusual take on a very hoary old device.
A Room For Romeo Brass (1999)
The Moment: The simple-minded Morell is pushed just that little bit too far by the taunts of his ten-year-old pals, and loses control in spectacularly shocking style. Talk about a total meltdown…
Why So Scary: The fact that his violent outburst comes seemingly out of nowhere makes it all the more terrifying. And since the audience has spent the whole film chuckling along at Morell, they too are complicit in the horror.
The Wizard Of Oz (1939)
The Moment: The Wicked Witch decides she's had enough of Dorothy and her pals and dispatches an army of flying monkeys to capture them. That's right… flying monkeys. Gadzooks!
Why So Scary: Everybody loves a friendly chimp, but cover him in blue paint and slap a pair of wings on him and Coco doesn't seem quite so cuddly.
To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)
The Moment: As Jem and Scout walk home through the woods after their school play, they fancy they can hear footsteps behind them. Quickening their pace as the wind begins to howl, they become increasingly aware that they aren't alone…
Why So Scary: When the attack finally comes, it's made all the more disorientating thanks to Scout getting stuck in her costume. Thank goodness for Boo Radley, eh?
The Machinist (2004)
The Moment: Trevor takes little Nicholas on a ghost train named Route 666. However, the scares inside are of a more adult nature than one might expect, with hanged corpses, severed limbs and grieving women all present and correct.
Why So Scary: As the ride gets progressively more horrible, the audience becomes dimly aware that something more sinister is at play here. Unravelling just what that might be is one of the film's principle pleasures.
Body Double (1984)
The Moment: Jake Scully sits down at his window to enjoy a kinky striptease from a girl in the flat opposite. But hang on a minute, who's that sinister figure carrying a masonry drill? Hmm, this wasn't what you signed up for, was it Jake?
Why So Scary: The dawning realisation of what's about to happen here is every bit as scary as the actual murder itself. Although that's pretty nasty too.
No Country For Old Men (2007)
The Moment: Chigurh menaces the owner of a lonely gas station, demanding that he call the toss of his coin, gently mocking him throughout the exchange as the man's nerves begin to get the better of him. "You don't know what you're talking about," he sneers, cruelly.
Why So Scary: Javier Bardem is at his most intimidating here, towering over the wilting storeowner and creating a palpable sense of dread without making any explicit threats.
The Witches (1990)
The Moment: Luke is happily playing in a tree when a strange woman hails him from the street with the promise of chocolate and a look at her snake. Don't go down there Luke. She's a witch!
Why So Scary: The Grand High Witch's unveiling might be more gruesome, but for our money, the scariest moment is this early encounter. Poor Luke looks so vulnerable in that tree. This is what happens when you let Nicolas Roeg direct a kids' film.
Fight Club (1999)
The Moment: The narrator finds himself pinned down by a trio of policemen who intend to part him from his nether-parts, courtesy of a rusty set of bolt-cutters. Worse still, they claim to be following his own orders…
Why So Scary: As the full horror of the situation begins to unfold, expect every male viewer to slowly cross their legs in sympathy.
Barton Fink (1991)
The Moment: Charlie Meadows goes full-on nutso in the Hotel Earle, flames roaring around him as he discharges his shotgun into anyone who crosses his path. "I'll show you the life of the mind," he shouts with demented fervour.
Why So Scary: The fact that he's played by John Goodman at his folksiest makes his eventual transformation all the more terrible when it finally arrives.
The Moment: Bambi and his mother flee the fearful hunter, only for a lone gunshot to signal the end of the elder deer's life. Tissues at the ready, folks.
Why So Scary: Suddenly, the full weight of mortality comes crashing down upon the unsuspecting young audience. If that isn't scary,we don't know what is!
The Moment: Ned Beatty's wretched businessman finds the local hospitality isn't to his taste when he encounters a couple of gibbering hillbillies with a taste for sodomy in the back of beyond. Poor old Jon Voight can only look on in horror.
Why So Scary: As if the act itself wasn't horrible enough, the taunts ("I bet you squeal like a pig") and toothless grinning add insult to injury. Remind us never to go to the Deep South, ever.
The Godfather (1972)
The Moment: Studio boss Jack Woltz awakens to find a strange companion is sharing his bed. It's only the severed head of his prize racehorse! We've all been there…
Why So Scary: Not only does it demonstrate the terrifying reach of the Corleone family, there's also the gory immediacy of the head itself to be considered!
Jurassic Park (1993)
The Moment: As Lex and Tim peer out of their tour car into the murky night, part of a bloody goats carcass comes splattering onto the window. And here comes the T-Rex…
Why So Scary: We've now seen Jurassic Park more times than we can count, but first time around, the T-Rex attack was heart-stoppingly scary. Movie magic on the grandest possible scale.
The Moment: The serial killer approaches a picnicking couple in California's Napa Valley, calmly ties them up and proceeds to stab them. Over and over again.
Why So Scary: It's the ease with which the killer convinces the couple to accede to his instructions that really provides the chills here. That and the obvious pleasure he takes in going to town with the knife.
Return To Oz (1985)
The Moment: This second outing in Oz cranks up the terror to ludicrous levels as Dorothy encounters a room full of disembodied heads… and the still sprightly torsos to which they belong.
Why So Scary: Severed heads and shambling, headless torsos… and we thought the original was frightening!
Blue Velvet (1982)
The Moment: Dennis Hopper makes his bow as Frank Booth, terrorising Isabella Rossellini while Kyle MacLachlan watches on helplessly from his hiding place in the wardrobe.
Why So Scary: Frank is as frightening as any horror movie villain, and the film takes a turn for the macabre whenever he arrives on screen. Perverse in the extreme.
Watership Down (1978)
The Moment: Take your pick from any of the gore-spattered battle scenes with various bunnies being ripped to shreds in unflinching detail. Hazel's death is probably the most heart-rending, but it's all pretty harrowing.
Why So Scary: If you had expected this to be a cuddly animated caper about a bunch of fluffy rabbits, you'd have been watching the whole thing through your fingers!
Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
The Moment: Ophelia enters the chamber of the Pale Man, but neglects to stick to the rules and foolishly takes some food from his table. Sure enough, it isn't long before her pallid host has awakened from his slumber…
Why So Scary: Despite the very real horror of the Civil War setting, the Pale Man remains a fantastically scary monster. As Ophelia scrambles to escape his clutches, your heart will be doing its level best to crawl out of your mouth!
The Moment: Nicky Santoro meets arguably the worst end imaginable, as a squad of mob goons force him to watch them beat his brother to death, before burying him alive next to the corpse. Jesus!
Why So Scary: We know Nicky is a fairly sick puppy himself, but this is pretty extreme. The fear here isn't that the boys are going to die (that much is inevitable), but in just how horrible their end is going to be.
Toy Story 3 (2010)
The Moment: Thanks to Lotso's betrayal, the toys find themselves sliding on a wave of trash into the fiery core of a giant incinerator. When asked by Jessie what they should do, Buzz concedes defeat and simply takes her hand. Oh God, no!
Why So Scary: For one terrible moment it seems as though the toys are about to go up in smoke, only for the aliens to come to their rescue at the last minute. By this point however, there won't be a dry eye in the house.
The Moment: Sam Lowry meets with his old pal Jack Lint, who has just emerged from another "job" at the Department of Information Retrieval. Despite the blood that clings to his white scrubs, he proceeds to play with his daughter and answer Sam's questions as though it was the most natural thing in the world.
Why So Scary: The scene is weighed down by the implied violence that has happened off-screen, while Michael Palin's smiling demeanour only serves to make things feel more uncomfortable.
The Moment: The Pleasure Island sequence, in which all the naughty school-skipping children are transformed into braying donkeys and put to work by a terrifying slave-driver. Don't do drugs, kids!
Why So Scary: As cautionary tales go, this one is pretty graphic. Whatever happened to the poor boy wailing for his mummy?
The Adventures Of Mark Twain (1985)
The Moment: A truly bizarre interlude in which the young protagonists have an encounter with Satan, who demonstrates his take on the world via the medium of a claymation apocalypse. Erm, okay…
Why So Scary: Satan himself is a terrifying creation. Witness the way he crushes two citizens with the palm of his hand, their bodies instantly being replaced by little clay coffins. And this is aimed at kids?
The Moment: Scottie's sleep is disturbed by a horrible, guilt-driven nightmare, in which he finds himself inexorably drawn to the gaping grave of the deceased Madeleine Elster.
Why So Scary: Dream sequences are often quite unsettling, and this one is no different, the close up of the smirking portrait of Madeleine really cranking the creepiness up to fever pitch.
The Dark Crystal (1982)
The Moment: A Skeksis scientist attempts to drain a cuddly little Gelfling of his life-force, with horrifyingly efficient results. If you only know Jim Henson from The Muppets, you're in for a shock.
Why So Scary: The Skeksis aren't your usual cuddly critters, what with their skeletal appearance and penchant for cruelty. The Gelflings on the other hand are exactly the sort of cutesy creatures you don't expect to see chained to a chair and blasted with lasers!
American History X (1998)
The Moment: Neo-Nazi Derek Vineyard is woken by the noise of a couple of black youths attempting to steal his car. Bursting out of bed he shoots one of the thieves on sight, before forcing the other at gunpoint to "bite the curb"…
Why So Scary: Ed Norton's steely-eyed mania is pretty scary, but it's the gut-wrenching tension of the scene that really gets the nerves jangling. And then there's the noise of teeth meeting concrete...
Willy Wonka And the Chocolate Factory (1971)
The Moment: Wonka takes his guests for a nice, relaxing boat ride, only for the trip to take a turn for the terrifying as the attraction turns into some sort of psychedelic fever dream. Grandpa Joe has clearly just snaffled a tab on the sly, as he seems to be having a whale of a time.
Why So Scary: When Wonka starts banging on about "the grisly reaper" and "the fires of hell" you know something has gone slightly amiss…
The Vanishing (1988)
The Moment: Obsessed with the disappearance of his girlfriend, Rex confronts her kidnapper who offers him the opportunity to experience what happened to her. Foolishly, Rex goes along with the agreement, and wakes up in a coffin, buried deep beneath the ground.
Why So Scary: Not only is the hero buried alive, his final agony is compounded by the knowledge that his poor girlfriend suffered exactly the same fate. Horrible.
The Moment: Renton is locked in his childhood bedroom by his concerned parents as he attempts to kick his heroin habit. Cold turkey is a notoriously hideous experience, and Danny Boyle presents it as such, the nadir arriving when Sick Boy's dead baby son comes crawling across the ceiling towards him…
Why So Scary: Everything about this scene is off-kilter, but the bloated baby (complete with revolving head) is the icing on a particularly deranged cake.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)
The Moment: The Child Catcher rolls into town, rounding up the local kids with offers of lollipops, ice-cream and treacle tart. Wrong 'un!
Why So Scary: As if the Child Catcher's face wasn't frightening enough, the way he appears at the window is enough to give anyone a heart attack. Call the police!
Rear Window (1954)
The Moment: As L.B. helplessly watches Lisa being led away from Thorwald's apartment by the police, he pans across to Thorwald himself, just in time to see the big man lock eyes on him.
Why So Scary: Just as the tension of Lisa's home invasion begins to ebb away, Hitchcock hits the audience with a sudden scare. Thorwald's expression is one of pure murder…
The Moment: Perhaps you could argue that Jaws is a horror film, but what can provoke no debate is that the sudden appearance of Ben Gardner's severed head is guaranteed to produce a jump every time!
Why So Scary: It comes out of nowhere! With everybody expecting the shark to pop out of the darkness, the sudden appearance of a human head takes you completely by surprise.
Mulholland Dr. (2001)
The Moment: Two men meet for breakfast in a diner, with one confessing the choice of venue is an attempt to rid himself of the fear experienced in a dream about the same place. However, with nothing seeming quite as it should, his fears turn out to be anything but eased…
Why So Scary: No surprise to see David Lynch on this list, and this expertly-drawn examination of the logic of dreams is every bit as unnerving as you'd expect it to be.
Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981)
The Moment: The Ark Of The Covenant is finally cracked open, unleashing a host of face-melting evil from within its bowels. Fortunately, Indy and Marion have taken the sensible precaution of closing their eyes.
Why So Scary: The face-melting effects are surprisingly hideous for a family film. Mummy, why is that man's chin collapsing?
Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)
The Moment: Judge Doom reveals his true identity as a toon, his voice distorting hideously as his eyes bulge out of their sockets. "Remember me, Eddie?" he shrieks. "When I killed your brother I talked just like this!"
Why So Scary: First of all we get the fairly full-on image of Judge Doom being crushed by a steamroller, then he reveals himself as a terrifying toon (eyeballs popping out and all) and finally he gets reduced to mush by a vat of acid. Kids stuff, it ain't.