Paranormal Activity (2007)
The Moment: After nights of listening to demonic noises occurring at Katie’s (Katie Featherston) bedside, the unseen demon makes its move, dragging her out of bed.
When Micah (Micah Sloat) attempts to help, the bedroom door’s slammed in his face…
Why It's Great: We’ve spent a good hour being twisted into funny shapes by Paranormal Activity, and this is the big blow-out we’ve been expecting (and fearing).
We still have to sleep with the lights on.
Lake Mungo (2008)
The Moment: “I feel like something bad is going to happen to me,” says Alice (Talia Zucker) in voiceover, as we finally get to see the footage that was recorded on her phone – shaky, blurry footage that shows a bloated, drowned version of Alice herself stumbling towards us…
Why It's Great: It neatly ties up the film’s central mystery while also scaring the bejesus out of us.
The Moment: In this horror anthology’s first (and some might argue best) short, ‘Amateur Night’, we follow a group of men who take two girls back to a motel in order to make an amateur porn video.
Except when Lily and Shane start getting it on, she goes through a disturbing transformation…
Why It's Great: It’s a clever twist in a short that initially seems to be about victimising women – only for the tables to be spectacularly turned.
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
The Moment: That horrific moment at the very end of the film, when Heather (Heather Donahue) stumbles into the basement of a derelict house.
There, she finds Michael (Michael C. Williams) stood facing the wall…
Why It's Great: We know this is it, as the sight of Michael echoes the rituals carried out by child murderer Rustin Parr.
Game over, man, game over.
The Moment: At the end of this tense Spanish horror, a journalist and her cameraman are trapped in a room as a gaunt, stringy-limbed woman drags a hammer around searching for them.
When they decide to run, the woman gives chase…
Why It's Great: Shot in night vision, the mounting terror is fuelled by the fact that we can barely see what’s going on, reliant only on the tiny circular light for clues.
The Moment: A shaky snippet of footage shot at a kid’s birthday party is aired on the news.
Merrill (Joaquin Phoenix) pushes his chair right up the TV just as the camera catches sight of an alien striding down the street. Cue screams and wails of horror.
Why It's Great: In a film that’s been disarmingly restrained, it’s a horror movie shock that’s brilliantly orchestrated.
The Moment: Confident in their newfound super-abilities, Andrew (Dane DeHaan), Matt (Alex Russell) and Steve (Michael B. Jordan) toss a football around while hovering a few thousand feet up in the air.
Only to almost get side-swiped by a plane after getting too close to its flight path.
Why It's Great: It comes out of nowhere and is one of those jump scares that sticks with you.
It’s also a hint at this small movie’s big ambitions.
Man Bites Dog (1992)
The Moment: Ben (Benoît Poelvoorde) opens a birthday present that turns out to be a gun holster. Which he loves.
Trying it on, he whips his gun around and, without blinking, shoots a party guest who’s been laughing like a maniac for the entire scene.
Why It's Great: Shocking. Brutal. Funny in a really dark way. We’ve all been there, right?
The Moment: You know the one. Ryji Takayama (Hiroyuki Sanada) is home alone when his TV turns itself on and starts playing the cursed Ringu tape.
As the vengeful spirit Sadako approaches the foreground, she keeps on coming, clambering right out of the TV screen…
Why It's Great : It’s the last thing you’re expecting, and brilliantly threatens to break the fourth wall – who hasn’t been afraid at one time or another that movie monsters are coming to get them?
In Ringu , it’s true.
Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
The Moment: In perhaps the film’s most shocking moment (which is saying something), Jack (Perry Pirkanen) is shot by Alan (Gabriel Yorke) after he’s hit by a spear.
The ravenous Yanomamö then descend on Jack’s corpse and mutilate his body, beginning with slicing off his genitals…
Why It's Great: It’s horrific, exploitative, in-your-face, but you just can’t not watch.