Top 10 Scariest Horror Movie Moments You Didn't See Right Away

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Top 10 Scariest Horror Movie Moments You Didn't See Right Away

VOICE OVER: Peter DeGiglio WRITTEN BY: Jack Paisley
This horror films require multiple viewings! For this list, we'll be looking at moments from horror movies that are easy to miss, but once you notice, make these movies even more terrifying. Our countdown includes "Halloween", "Pet Sematary", "Hereditary", and more!
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Top 10 Scariest Horror Movie Moments You Didn’t See Right Away


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Scariest Horror Movie Moments You Didn't See Right Away.

For this list, we’ll be looking at moments from horror movies that are easy to miss, but once you notice, make these movies even more terrifying. In some cases, we will be talking about twists and endings, so spoilers ahead.

Did any of these moments keep you up at night? Let us know in the comments down below!


#10: Name Dropping

“The Conjuring 2” (2016)

The second entry to this series about real life ghost hunters Ed and Lorraine Warren is filled with both the bombastic, blood pumping scares one would expect from director James Wan, as well as some more understated moments. In this installment, the Warrens face off against the demon Valak, whose name is revealed late in the movie. Valak’s name, however, appears throughout the film, popping up all around the Warrens and the family that they're helping. The most chilling example of this is when Valak's name appears on the Warren family's bookshelf, spelled out in ornamental letters. Hidden in plain sight like this, from both the characters and the audience, it’s as though the film, like the house, is permeated with Valak’s presence.



#9: Big Saint Bernard

“Pet Sematary” (2019)

Stephen King’s works often make reference to characters and ideas from other of the author’s books. Their film adaptations similarly like to add easter eggs paying homage to the author’s extensive cannon. In the 2019 adaptation of “Pet Sematary,” during a scene at a birthday party, one of the characters can be heard in the background telling a story about a big Saint Bernard with rabies. This is a reference to the King novel, “Cujo,” about, you guessed it, a big dog that gets rabies and attacks everyone it encounters. King has confirmed that a number of his stories take place in the same universe, and it’s always eerie imagining the horrific events of one story happening just a few towns over from another.


#8: Grammar Lesson

“Goodnight Mommy” (2014)

If you didn’t have the stomach to make it through this underrated Austrian chiller, we don’t blame you. “Goodnight Mommy” is one of those horror movies that pulls no punches with its violence. However, unlike other movies that lean heavily into shock and gore, “Goodnight Mommy” is also quite subtle with its storytelling, making the twist ending, that one of the main characters is a figment of his twin brother’s imagination, incredibly effective. There are hints sprinkled throughout the movie however, like how the twins’ mother only uses the singular German word for "you" when referring to the twins. Viewers who don’t speak German wouldn’t pick up on this understandably, but rewatching the film with hints like this in mind makes it even creepier than the first viewing.

#7: Uninvited Guests

“Hereditary” (2018)
“Midsommar” director Ari Aster’s first feature, “Hereditary,” is filled to the brim with horrifically memorable moments, many of which are so over the top that it’s easy to forget and even miss some of the more low key scares. At the climax of the film, there’s an establishing shot of the main characters’ house as day suddenly changes to night. The night time shot is dark and obscured, but if you narrow your eyes, you can see dozens of naked figures standing around the house. Likely a group of the cult members who have been harassing the main family throughout the film, these figures aren’t exactly hidden, but they’re easy to miss upon first glance, and once you do notice, it’s utterly skin crawling.


#6: Drive-By

“Halloween” (1978)

Micheal Myers is probably the most inconspicuous of all of the great slasher villains, with his wraithlike subtlety being what makes him truly frightening. Throughout this entry in the series, there are a number of scenes in which Myers is lingering in the background of a shot, and the film draws no attention to him. Probably the eeriest example of this is when Dr. Loomis and the sheriff are talking outside of a storefront. It’s easy not to notice, since the focus is on their conversation, but in the background you can see Myers sitting in a car watching them, before driving right past Loomis. Once you notice this, you’ll find yourself scanning each subsequent shot to see if Myers is lurking somewhere you hadn’t noticed before.


#5: Real Boy

“Child’s Play” (1988)

Despite the more absurdist tone that the Child’s Play series would adopt with later installments, there’s no denying that the original is an honest to goodness scary movie. Serial killer Charles Lee Ray’s soul is stuck inside a Chucky doll, which is gradually becoming more human - and Ray wants to transfer his soul to a better vessel. As the film progresses, the Chucky doll slowly begins to resemble a human more and more, with hair that begins to recede and turn darker, eyes that look far more like a person’s, and skin that seems more organic. The crew actually built multiple dolls in order to achieve this subtle effect, and in terms of creepiness, they deserve an A+.


#4: John’s Sketchbook

“Saw” (2004)

The Saw franchise has never been known for its subtlety. However, there’s one clever Easter egg in the first installment that causes shudders in those that catch it. Before the reveal that John Kramer is Jigsaw, we see a flashback where he’s sitting in a hospital bed while Dr. Gordon talks to a number of doctors about his condition. Because the scene is mostly about Gordon, and there’s no reason to suspect Kramer at this point, you might not notice Kramer’s sketchbook laying open right in front of him. In the sketchbook, you can see drawings of one of his Jigsaw traps, and also scribblings of Xs which no doubt references the “x marks the spot” clue from Gordon’s trap.




#3: Family Photo

“Poltergeist” (1982)

Though it’s sometimes easy for all of the thought and effort that goes into set design to go unnoticed by audiences, moments like this one from “Poltergeist” remind us that going the extra mile is always worth it. The night before the Freeling family are set to move out of their extremely haunted house, they’re visited one last time by their spectral tormentors. While the mother of the family, Diane, is being attacked in her bedroom, pay close attention to the photos on her dresser. Before the ghost’s assault, the photos are of her family, but once the haunting starts, one of the photos changes to an image of a horrifying demon. As if this scene wasn’t traumatizing enough with that freaky clown doll...



#2: UFO: Unidentified Falling Object

“Cloverfield” (2008)

J.J. Abrams has talked about so-called “mystery boxes,” which might apply to questions posed by his stories that are never meant to be answered. In the Abrams produced found-footage monster movie “Cloverfield,” what exactly the invading monsters are and where they come from is never explicitly revealed. However, during a video camera flashback at the end of Cloverfield, while two of the characters are filming themselves on a ferris wheel, far off in the horizon an object can be seen falling into the sea. It’s likely that this object has something to do with the arrival of the Cloverfield monster, and while this moment clears up that the monster probably comes from space, that really only adds to the mystery of its origin. Well played, Abrams.


Before we unveil our top pic, here are a few honourable mentions:

Off His Medication, “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991)
Wine, Fava Beans, & Liver Are Foods That, Paired With Certain Medications, Can Be Fatal



The James Wan-iverse, “Dead Silence” (2007) / “Insidious” (2010)
In Both Films, the Puppet From Wan’s Saw Series Makes a Cameo. Could aAll 3 Be Connected?



Hide and Seek, “Insidious” (2010)
Early on in the Ghost Boy Scene, He Can Be Seen Hiding in the Corner Right in Plain Sight.


Gas Station Massacre, “Halloween” (2018)
Before the Carnage at the Gas Station, Michael Myers Can Be Seen Lurking in the Background.

#1: Full of Hot Air

“The Thing” (1982)

Few films capture the feelings of suspense and paranoia better than John Carpenter’s The Thing. By the end of the movie, we’re left unsure if one of our two remaining characters, MacReady and Childs, is actually the shapeshifting alien that they’ve been battling throughout. However, as the two men sit outside the wreckage of their Antarctic base, slowly freezing to death, MacReady’s breath is clearly visible in the cold, while the breath of Childs, who seems suspiciously unbothered by the cold, is faint, if present at all. This, along with the fact that the whiskey bottle that MacReady gives to Childs resembles the same bottle he filled with gasoline earlier in the film, has led many to believe that this scene confirms that Childs is in fact the alien.
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