10 Best Horror-Movie Openings

A Nightmare on Elm Street

Every great horror film needs an opening sequence that grabs the audience's attention. The best of these scenes usually provide some combination of a narrative prologue, interesting setting information and a spectacular first kill. Great opening scenes have become such a staple of the horror genre that choosing 10 best without leaving off a classic is almost impossible. We gave it a shot, nevertheless.

 

A Nightmare on Elm Street

Before we even know what Freddy Krueger looks like, we are treated to a series of creepy shots illustrating the assembly of his iconic knife-fingered glove. This opening is genuinely dark and terrifying, a million miles away from the comic tone the series would later develop.

 

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Talk about setting a tone. In its opening moments, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre combines a radio broadcast, two dead bodies and one of the most sickening sound effects in cinematic history to firmly illustrate how gross, unsavory and unpleasant the following experience will be, all in just a couple minutes.

 

Scream

Firmly setting up a world in which everyone has seen the same horror films we all know and love, and yet still can't manage to stay alive, Scream's opening scene is as iconic now as it was tense when it first came out. Each entry in the series would try to top this opening phone interview and murder of Drew Barrymore, but none even came close.

 

Dawn of the Dead

Dawn of the Dead's opening is not only the best scene in the film, it's probably still the best sequence in Zack Snyder's entire filmography. Snyder manages to perfectly capture the confusion, sadness and chaos of a zombie apocalypse in its infancy and sets a very high water mark for future zombie films to clear.

 

Halloween

Before Michael Myers was a hulking shape in a William Shatner mask, he was just a little boy. In Halloween's famous opening, we see through this innocent youngster's eyes as he brutally murders his sister on Halloween night. Audiences were shocked by how normal the knife-wielding boy looks when he's finally revealed, indicating a kind of familiarity to Myers' insanity. Evil truly had come home.

 

The Exorcist

At first, the opening to The Exorcist seems almost completely unrelated to the film that follows. But Father Merrin's creepy and unexpected encounter with a statue of the demon Pazuzu is actually the opening blast in a cosmic battle few walk away from. This opening reveals its richness upon repeat viewings and adds far more than you might expect to the film as a whole.

 

Jaws

It doesn't matter how many times you've seen this opening sequence. When the girl starts getting eaten by the shark, it remains shocking. Maybe it's the music. Maybe it's the noises she makes as she struggles. Maybe it's the way the shark drags her through the water before swallowing her down. Either way, it's one of the scariest horror openings ever.

 

The Ring

The Ring explains its high concept plot device by showing it in action. Two friends discuss an urban legend about a tape that kills you seven days after you watch it. Then one reveals that she's actually seen the tape. Then she dies. It doesn't get much simpler than that.

 

Night of the Living Dead

"They're coming to get you, Barbara." A brother and sister drive to a cemetery to visit their father's grave. Before they know it, the brother is dead and the sister is desperately trying to escape the zombie that murdered him. George A. Romero's zombie masterpiece opens with a chaotic bang that comes far earlier and rings much louder than you might expect.

 

It

Poor Georgie. He's so sweet and adorable and trusting. Unfortunately, he comes across Pennywise the clown, who seduces Georgie with promises of balloons only to eat him up when he falls for it. This introduction to It's clown antagonist is one of the greatest and most known scenes in the entire miniseries. It's scary enough that it probably set the clowning industry back a couple years financially.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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