I love Friday the 13th. It’sa chance to pretend it’s October for a day and indulge in horror. For most people, that means a marathon of all the Friday the 13th movies. But I say there is no need to limit horror to this one franchise just because it shares the same name as the day.
In fact, this month I decided to celebrate Friday the 13th by enjoying the 13 possibly best moments in all of horror. Definitely my personal favorites.
13: Mrs. Voorhees Is Beheaded. Definitely one of the best Final Girl moments. And it’s only right to start off with an actual Friday the 13th moment. I certainly remember being shocked, the first time I saw this film, that such a moment was able to be in a movie back then. As a woman, it’s easy to be torn watching that scene. Torn between wanting such an awesome, psychotic female villain to survive,and wanting sweet Alice to show some strength and courage enough to get rid of Mrs. Voorhees.
12. The Call Is Coming From Inside The House. This one has been used in a few, but the one that seems to be the most memorable is in When A Stranger Calls. I’d go so far as to say it’s pretty much a perfect horror movie moment. I can’t even begin to imagine anything creepier than being told someone is stalking you and is inside the house you are in, where you’re supposed to be safe.
11. Mother Bites Off Penis. Okay, as a horror movie fanatic, sometimes it feels like I’ve seen it all. Like nothing can scare me. But then I sat down to finally watch The Last House On The Left. It is one of the few movies to truly scare me in my entire life, and the revenge scene where the mother of the victim bites a man’s penis off still haunts me to this day.
10. Arkin is Caught . If movies are supposed to make us relate to characters and take us on the protagonist’s journey, then what could be more torturous than going on said journey with a relatable “guy with a problem” like Arkin in The Collector and watching him go through hell and then some to to try to save the family he came to rob, watch him finally escape the house ,having successfully saved someone, finally get help and be on his way to the hospital, only to THEN be caught by the villain in an intense, panicky, draining, emotional scene that turns him from a hero into a victim.
9. The End of Psycho. Obviously there are scenes in this one that are much more popular. But this ending was just so subtle and simple, yet ominous and bone-chilling. The way the camera closes in on Norman’s face during the mother’s closing monologue, and that ending look on his face are unforgettable. So is that creepy voice saying “she wouldn’t even harm a fly.”
8. The End of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Truly a nightmare of an ending. The implication of Leatherrace standing there swinging his chainsaw in the air aimlessly is that the boogeyman, the things that are out to get us, the things that haunt us, will always be there, and when we escape, these things will still be lurking and haunting us.
7. What’s In The Box. Brad Pitt in Se7en going into that open field only to find his dead wife’s head. That whole scene is a lesson in how to do suspense right, and what a horror movie climax should look like. It’s one of those rides that takes you through every emotion.
6. Halloween Opening. Classic. The movie hits the ground running, and the reveal at the end of the opening scene that this is being done by a little boy eliminates the false sense that youth always equals innocence. A great classic opening to a great classic film.
5. Freddy’s Monologue In Freddy vs. Jason. Any writer or aspiring writer knows that one of the greatest struggles is handling exposition. This partiular horror film handles this well. Hearing Freddy talk about how he can’t go back to Elm Street to kill the children unless they’re afraid of him, and how he had to search the bounds of hell for Jason is a great and entertaining way to get information across cleverly, and it makes for a great opening to hear Freddy’s creepy voice in a refreshingly chilling and serious manner as opposed to his usual, typical wisecracks.
4. Aidan Tells His Mom The Mistake She Made. This one is from The Ring. This film gave us one of those “just when you think it’s over, it’s not” moments. Just when it seems like Rachel has saved the day by freeing Samara Morgan, and all is back to normal, Rachel’s son Aidan, who’s already been a totally creepy kid throughout the entire film, becomes way creepier as he reveals that she has actually made things much worse; she wasn’t supposed to free Samara, and all hell is about to break lose. I remember that I practically had goosebumps the first time I saw that scene, dying to know what would happen next.
3. Samara Comes Out Of The TV. Anyone who has seen this film will never forget this moment. There has never been another like it. We don’teven see much of Samara’s face in it, but that doesn’t even matter. She’s coming out of the television, for goodness sakes!! Very slowly. With a one track mind to kill. And she moves at an insanely unique speed and manner.
2. The First Two Ghostface Killers Are Revealed.The ups and downs with Billy being the killer and then not being the killer (rinse and repeat) finally came to a conclusion with him indeed being the killer, and the fantastic reveal that there were actually TWO killers. As I’f this weren’t enough, the entire final act has one twist/reveal after another, yet never manages to be ridiculous. That final act, and the reveal of the killers , incorporates the world of horror movies ( and horror movie fanaticism) in a very real way. There are so many movie references in that scene alone, but it never feels like watching a horror movie; it feels very much like watching two actual psychos.
1. The Ending of Saw. You didn’t really think I’d do an entire list about great horror movie moments without mentioning Saw at all, did you? This one is obvious. An assumed-dead person turns out to be quite alive, the presumed villain revealed to be just another victim, and the reactions of Adam as the whole thing is playing out are all part of the reason I say if it weren’t for this mind-blowing ending being what it was, there never would have been a Saw franchise.