50 Scariest Moments In Non-Horror Movies

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.

Trainspotting (1996)

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…

Jaws (1975)

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.

George Wales

George was once GamesRadar's resident movie news person, based out of London. He understands that all men must die, but he'd rather not think about it. But now he's working at Stylist Magazine.