What's The Horror Scene That Still Haunts You? Stars & Filmmakers Share Their Biggest Fears
Whether you can't stomach scary stuff or are the first in line for every gory new release, you can probably think of a scene or two that made a lasting impression on you. Maybe you evaded your parents and saw a horror movie you were way too young to really process. Maybe you were an adult and the moment in question hit too close to home. What we're afraid of reveals so much about us as people — so in that spirit, Bustle asked the stars and filmmakers behind some of the scariest flicks today to reveal the scenes from horror movies — old and new — that still haunt them. What we learned reveals a lot about the people who are responsible for scaring, thrilling, and delighting us today.
An interesting thing we noticed as we were reporting out this piece: Every person we posed this question to was able to provide an immediate answer. Because that's how these things work — you never really forget when something chills you to the bone, no matter how old you were when you first saw it. In the case of Midsommar and Hereditary director Ari Aster, his pick is reflected in his own filmmaking. In their roles as horror heroines, Ready or Not star Samara Weaving and Midsommar's Florence Pugh are facing their childhood fears. Jacob's Ladder star Michael Ealy looks at his moment as a masterclass in acting.
As fall horror movies and thrillers hit theaters, we'll update this article with new responses. To stay tuned to see if the creepy scene you're thinking about right now matches with your favorite star's.
Aubrey Plaza — Karen In 'Child's Play'
"I would say that image of that girl in, like, the dirt hole, or is she in a well? In Silence of the Lambs? That image of that woman in the hole will haunt me for the rest of my life. I don’t remember if she’s in a well or in a hole, [but] either way he was throwing lotion down at her, and I’ll never forget that."
Ari Aster — Writer/Director Of 'Midsommar'
"The scene in Carrie where Piper Laurie is kind of preparing to kill her daughter, and there are candles all over the house. That image really traumatized me as a kid. It really bothered me on a very deep level for a long, long time."
Florence Pugh — Dani In 'Midsommar'
"Honestly, and I know this is going to sound so pathetic, but you know Coraline, the kids’s film? When she’s like, 'I'm gonna sew buttons into your eyes,' and she has the box of buttons, I’m like, 'Oh my god.' It’s terrifying. I had to put chairs in front of the little door in my room. And I was a good 12, 13 years old. And even now as an adult, when I watch, I’m like, 'Ahhh.'"
Kaya Scodelario — Haley In 'Crawl'
"I watched The Exorcist when I was way too young. I was 8 years old and having a sleepover, and it came on the TV, and we all sat there watching it thinking it was going to be funny, not realizing what it was. And that was genuinely traumatizing for me and my friends. It's been years, but we haven't been able to watch it since."
Michael Ealy — Jacob In 'Jacob's Ladder'
"I would have to say Get Out ... that moment when [Georgina] looks him dead in his eyes and says, 'no' 30 times. That was so chilling to me. How she did not get nominated for that one scene, I do not understand. That is some of the most beautiful work I’ve seen in the last five years... It sticks with me. It really does. It was haunting. And as the movie unfolds, and you realize why it is that way? Oh my god. Oh my god.
That was a classic example of the actor being ahead of the audience. It’s the kind of thing where you go back a second time, and you know why [it happens], and it becomes even more epic."
Samara Weaving — Grace In 'Ready Or Not'
"I remember the first one I ever saw was 101 Dalmatians. I mean, I know it's not a horror movie. I was, like, 7 and I had to be taken out of the cinema because Cruella de Vil was too scary."
Joshua Conkel — Writer, 'Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina'
"From the original Black Christmas in the ‘70s, there's a moment where the final girl, played by Olivia Hussey, sees the killer hiding behind the door. But you just get a closeup of just his eye in the crack in the door, and it scares me any time I even think about it. Like, my hairs are standing up right now. [laughs]"
Kate Trefy — Writer, 'Stranger Things'
"The first opening scene of It the miniseries, which people think is Georgie letting his little boat go down the gutter, is actually not. The first scene, weirdly, is this little girl on a tricycle, and her mom is doing laundry, and the clown appears behind this sheet that's blowing in the wind, and he's smiling, and then the sheet blows again, and he's not smiling anymore. And then the mom comes out, and the girl is gone, the tricycle is knocked over, and the wheel is spinning. And I saw this scene that I'm describing to you when I was like, five or six years old. I remember it — like, I see it. It just plays on a loop in my head like, once a month or something. I’ll just be like, 'Remember this?!'"
Max Borenstein — Co-Creator Of 'The Terror: Infamy'
"Horror that actually scares me the most is like, Silence of the Lambs, things like that, which horror people probably don’t count as horror. But I find that that kind of stuff that’s plausible and set in the real world to be the stuff that really gets to me personally."
Jay Ryan — Ben In 'It Chapter Two'
“I am still haunted by the image of the twins in The Shining. Like, on a daily basis they pop into my head, in their little blue dresses on their tricycles."
Andy Muschietti — Director, 'It Chapter Two
“The ending of REC. It is a zombie movie, Spanish, directed by Jaume Balagueró. The ending is phenomenal and one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen, and it got me as an adult. It is so well-crafted and [shot on a] handheld camera."
The Young Cast Of 'It Chapter Two'
"I don't usually get that scared, but I was in a midnight showing of Hereditary ... and when she bangs her head, just the sound of it was really great." — Finn Wolfhard, Young Richie
“The scene in Hereditary where they find her head in the car." — Jeremy Ray Taylor, Young Ben
“The Shining, when [Wendy Torrance] is running down the spiral staircase, and she looks in her room, and there is a guy in a dog costume. That made me go cold." — Wyatt Oleff, Young Stan
“I always say Coraline, when she's climbing through the little escape and [Other Mother] is chasing her. That was so good." — Chosen Jacobs, Young Mike
“The scene from The Babadook, [when the mother is] watching that old movie and she looks over and sees her son's throat is slit, and there are flies and stuff.” — Jack Dylan Grazer, Young Eddie
“There is this one scene [in Annihilation] where you hear the [woman] that passed through the wall earlier, and then you see this bear merged into a human. It is a very scary scene." — Sophia Lillis, Young Beverly
Additional reporting by Angelica Florio, Jessica Lachenal, Mallory Carra, Jasmine Ting, and Ivana Rihter.