5 Incredibly Unsettling Horror Images

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One of Sinister‘s many strengths is its use of unsettling imagery. There are so many quick moments in the film that stick really with you. These moments are so deceptively simple that, on paper, they may not read as being incredibly striking. But their effect on the screen is undeniable. You’ll know what I’m talking about when you see the movie, some of the stuff in it is unshakeable!

In sponsored honor of these terrifying and unsettling moments, I’ve decided to comb through my internal horror library in search of some of horror’s most unsettling moments. By no means is this list comprehensive, but I wanted it to be a good starting point to get you guys to share your favorite moments!
Head inside to check it out!

THE SHINING
Danny Torrance traverses the Overlook’s floor plan on his big wheel – the hardwood vs. carpet sound effects building the suspense to an almost enraging level – until he happens upon The Twins. Such a simple image, yet it’s been creeping audiences out for almost 30 years.

THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE
Unsettling Moment? That metal door slamming shut after Leatherface smashes that guy over the head. His appearance is so sudden, the character’s fall so quick – and that slam is so final. It only takes a few seconds, but it completely rocks you.

HALLOWEEN
Michael Myers suddenly sitting upright behind an exhausted Jamie Lee Curtis can still take your breath away.

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3
One of the most genuinely suspenseful sequences go the found-footage era, we know what kind of shock we’re in for when Toby appears in the kitchen underneath that sheet.

THE THING
George Bennings, overtaken and replicated by The Thing, slowly trying to escape into the snowy night. The look he gives the crew when they finally catch up to him ready to burn him alive – that vacant evil roar with that raised crab-claw hand – well, it sticks with you.

Source: Bloody Disgusting
  • ChelseyB

    Some great examples there- and completely agree with you about the haunting imagery of Sinister.
    For Texas Chainsaw though I would say the creepiest image in that movie is the old frail grandpa trying to hit the girl with the hammer. That character scares me more than Leatherface.

    Another one that would be top of the list for me is Toshio doing his creepy little meow in the the original version of Ju-on: The Grudge

    Creepiest of all though is the dude from Black Xmas (the original of course) – the shot right near the end of the movie where you just see his eyeball peeking through a hole in the door. Gets me everytime.

  • Keegsta

    Baghead standing behind Liv Tyler in The Strangers. She has no idea he is there, but the audience does. It’s one of the most unsettling images I have ever experienced.

    • Aaron Emery

      Oh yea, that movie is filled with creepiness. Another part for me would be when the friend is walking down the hallway, the creepy music is so loud that he can’t hear Baghead following him.

      • kaylan

        Or the part where they’re justly calmly stabbing them both at the end…spooky

    • EvanDickson

      That is a great one.

    • zombie_lover

      My thouhts exactly…

  • 28DonutsLater

    Some horror moments that stuck with me.

    The ending of Sleepaway Camp.
    Basically any scene from The Hills Have Eyes remake.
    The creepy demonic girl from The House Of The Devil.
    The 28 Days Later zombie in the window with the Red Eyes.
    Drew Barrymore hanging from a tree in Scream.
    Patrick Bateman holding the nail gun to Jean’s head.
    Paul being devoured by The Blob. his face melting was intense.

  • jesuseatspaste

    What about Zelda in Pet Sematary?

  • Aaron Emery

    Another one that really got under my skin was the scene in Poughkeepsie Tapes with the girl tied up directly in front of the camera, the audience is watching Ed slowly approach her with that creepy mask on and she has no idea. Deeply unsettling, actually that entire movie is unsettling.

  • jesuseatspaste

    There are also a couple scenes in Cabin Fever that have stuck with me all these years. Namely the scene where you see that the dog (Dr. Mambo) has eaten the lips off the chick in the barn who is unfortunately still alive, only to be hacked apart by a shovel. The way she looks up at Ryder Strong, revealing what’s left of her face, still gets way under my skin.(no pun intended)

  • jesuseatspaste

    The fingernail being ripped off in Stir Of Echoes.

  • jesuseatspaste

    Any of the animal torture scenes in Cannibal Holocaust.

  • jesuseatspaste

    The eyeball slicing in Un Chien Andalou.

  • Aaron Emery

    How about the lipstick face demon in Insidious? Standing in the shadows pointing at Dalton, and also standing behind Josh at the table.

  • 28DonutsLater

    The Poughkeepsie Tapes was very unsettling. I wish it would get released already.

  • djblack1313

    this part from JAWS 2 scared the fuck out of me as a kid and still is terrifying…

    http://www.starwarstoybox.com/548-1281-thickbox/vintage-jaws-2-lobby-card-shark-attack-1978.jpg

  • divisionbell

    The shadow on the curtain in Psycho

  • ThunderDragoon

    I need to see Sinister NOW.

  • Taboo

    All those are great, but I’m one of those horror fans that just didn’t enjoy The Shinning, nor think it’s scary lol..

    • Boogie138

      the shining is one of my fav horror films, and i can understand it not being too scary for people now-a-days, but how could you not enjoy it? jack’s adventure into room 237 is still one of my favorite sequences in any horror flick. its like a terrible acid trip. brillant.

      you will probably won’t comment back but if you do, what did you not enjoy? i am curious

  • K-Dogg

    Halloween is my fave horror of all time, and there’s one scene that , since the shape in 1978′s Halloween, I found outstanding and reminds me of my beloved Halloween…That is in the awesome french flick A’Linterier (Inside) when our girl is falling asleep in her house on the chair in the living room, and we slowly start to see The Woman’s face in the kitchen in the background…LOVE IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Dr.murder

      Totally. Saw that in Iraq on a laptop and bout fell out of my chair.

  • K-Dogg

    Oh, and is it just me….I used to believe I had a double when it came to attractions to certain movies, Mr.Disgusting used to be just like me, movies I’d never heard of brought to my attention thanks to him, and now (and I am ok with being very different) it seems like his reviews have done a complete 180, and I have completely disagreed with most of his…He said Sinister kinda sucks, so now I look real forward to it. He LOVED Kill List, I thought it blew chunks. It seems like a change just for the sake of change, I don’t know. Just an honest opinion, maybe I am out to lunch. Thoughts??

  • porcupinetheater

    I personally always found the final shot of the statue in Carrie as the house burned down to be incredibly creepy in that haunting kind of way. Although that entire movie was just chock full of indelible images.

  • Skarrie

    Creepiest moment for me was in Halloween and you see “The Shape” in the bushes as the two girls are approaching. And the scene where Michael is watching her in the classroom from below. Like how in the hell did he know she would be looking at him too? So weird and creepy.

  • Zombie-Killa

    Great pics.

    Jamie standing at the top of the stairs with a bloody pair of scissors at the end of Halloween 4 is another one that creeped me out as a kid.

    Also, Jigsaw closing the door at the end of Saw is another memorable horror image.

  • MachetAY

    PA kind of lessens the list and I’m not even a PA hater.

    Black Christmas… eye behind door.
    Friday the 13th… Jason jumping out of the water
    Jeeper Creepers… When The Creeper turns to notice he’s being watched
    Salems Lot… The dude in the rocking chair
    Phantom of the Opera… Chaney has his mask taken off
    Dawn of the Dead… Elevator opens
    Phantasm… The Tall Man in mirror
    Hammers The Mummy… Mummy with quicksand mud all over him
    War of the Gargantuas… Gargantua looks up from the sea

    • Zombie-Killa

      MachetAY, totally agree with Jeepers Creepers. And who could forget the scene, where the old lady is murdered, and the Creeper walks her corpse to the door! Too bad the sequel had to be such a steaming pile of shit ):

  • Dr.murder

    Audition: at the end of the phone call when she’s alone in the room with only a phone and a bag. And the bag comes alive.

    • Miikesmama

      yes, that was a good one!! Also, the scene were the man and she are about to have sex, and she suddenly pulls him down abruptly…

  • Evan3

    I love that Halloween scare, but Anne lying dead under Myers’ sister’s headstone will, in my mind, always be the best.

    I also love the last shot of Blair Witch with Mike in the corner just before the camera falls camera falls. So simple and so memorable.

    How can any list be complete without King Kong atop the empire state building (or for pure horror, those slugs eating that man alive in the Jackson remake is a brutal image).

    • Aaron Emery

      That shot from Blair Witch terrified me when I first saw it, it was so subtle yet very disturbing. BWP was such a fantastic movie!

    • DisturbedPixie

      I hate it when people say Blair Witch project wasn’t scary. I don’t know what they are talking about. It felt so real. The children pawing at the tent and giggling, and of course Mike in the corner in the end. What’s terrifying is what you don’t see. And I hate how many of today’s horror movies take that imagination away from you. You end up seeing the monster in all it’s glory, and you just think… meh. Like in Pro-Life. Sure the demon looks like they worked hard on it, but it just showed too much for me to not laugh at how goofy it all seemed.

  • Taboo

    I forgot all about that scene in Blair Witch, definitely terrifying the first time I saw it.

  • DragonSlayer111

    The exorcist…father karass running to his mom in his dream and you see the first flash of the demon’s face…erie f*ckin image

  • Blackfalds

    For me, the scene in Exorcist III, the long hallway shot in the hospital, with nurse at her station. When she gets up and walks across the hall and seconds later the creepy figure walks across after her…the music is perfect and scene is perfect. Totally creepy.

    • sascha henschel

      Didn’t see your comment, ABSOLUTELY RIGHT !!!
      I say it again, sometimes still looking back after closing doors (just for making sure they are shut ;-) ).

  • Miikesmama

    One thing that did that for me what all of the 5 mentioned above couldn’t (not saying they are bad films though) was Orphan. Not creepy per se, but I just HATE seeing someone manipulating with a married couple, I could have smashed that “girl’s” head in!

  • Miikesmama

    Oh and what about The Descent??
    And has anyone here ever heard of My Little Eye? I thought that was such an intense film, and it pre-dates Hostel on the whole snuff topic…

  • Boogie138

    argento’s inferno: the body in the water rubbing against her feet. repeatedly, even as she tries to kick it away. good stuff.

    nightmare on elm street (1984): Nancy in the bathtub…

    Dracula (1931): when the nurse is left alone with renfield and she faints. he slowly crawls on the floor toward her. dwight frye will always have a special place in my heart for that alone.

    • Dark_Crowe

      You sir are the interwebs hero of the day. Frye is the unsung hero of the Universal Monsters. His Renfield is scarier than Legosi’s Dracula could ever be. Frye is the great unsung hero of horror.

    • Dark_Crowe

      There are many to say but the one image that got me the most was at the end of Prince of Darkness when Lisa Blunt(?) is pushed into the mirror world. The final shot of her floating in the darkness reaching, grasping for the faint light as the mirror shatters and she’s left in darkness forever gone from God’s gaze and into the arms of the most sinister force in the universe.

      That image ruined my 10th year on this Earth. Bring me the Bluray! So it can ruin my 28th.

      Shout out to Exorcist 3 and the nurse station scene one of the truly most underrated horror films ever made I hope Morgan Creek can their shit together and find the footage tha

      • Dark_Crowe

        That Blatty shot so we can see his original ending.

  • DisturbedPixie

    I had one night left on the tv and passed out, when I had woken up, the twins from the shining were right there in front of my face. It was extremely bad luck, and I had trouble getting back to sleep.

    I had to say the two most unsettling moments in horror movies for me are the ones from my childhood. The little girl coming at her mother with the trowel in Night Of The Living Dead, after obviously just killing her father. And the old woman in House on Haunted Hill coming out of frickin nowhere, looking rabid…. and than skateboarding across the floor. haha, cheezy, but scary as hell to me.

  • Mr.-Blackwell

    A couple that haven’t been mentioned that are downright creepy to me:

    -The clown/balloon head figure coming closer and closer to the camera in David Lynch’s, Inland Empire.
    -The reveal of Amy’s “vampire face/mouth” in the original Fright Night movie as she looks up at the camera after just looking away from Charlie’s cross in her normal guise.
    -Music Video: Soundgarden’s, Black Hole Sun video, where the ladies eyes and mouth get all super wide.
    -David Naughton’s character in An American Werewolf In London, when he’s having the nightmare in his hospital room and the nurse comes up on him, lying in the hospital bed in the middle of the woods, and he all of sudden turns into that pale’ish blue faced demon with fangs.
    -Lee Remick in The Omen trying to take her hospital gown off and looking through the thin material to see Damien’s nanny looking at her before being tossed out the hospital window.
    -

  • janeeyre

    The spiderwalk scene from the excorcist, gives me chills…. Also, my new favorite movie, Dead Silence, one of the creepiest ones I have seen in a while: the part when the the old man is in the crawl-space and the woman’s face comes out of the shadows. That movie had so many scary parts!

  • sascha henschel

    Nobody seen the Excorcist III, the floor scene with the giant scissor?
    Still looking back after closing doors ;-)

  • http://thefilmpolice.blogspot.com/ Armand DC

    The first kill in Se7en was unpredictably spooky shit. I would be happy if it was included in your list :) Great list by the way.