6 Horror Movies With Amazing Beginnings!!!

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Last year I wrote a piece called 5 Horror Films With Amazing Endings. You guys wound up digging it so I did 5 MORE Horror Movies With Amazing Endings, along with 5 Horror Movies With Horrible Endings and 5 MORE Horror Movies With Horrible Endings!

So, having pretty much tapped out the ENDING thing for now, I figured I’d take a look at some BEGINNINGS. Some of these movies start strong and end strong but others, more often than not, never fully achieve on the promise of their initial 15 or so minutes.

Head below to check ‘em out!

DAWN OF THE DEAD (2004)


You knew this one was going to be on here didn’t you? While the James Gunn scripted/Zack Snyder (still his best) directed film is pretty damn good all the way through, most people would agree that it’s first 10 minutes or so are a true tour de force. From the economic, yet efficient, character introductions to Sarah Polley’s reactions to the chaos breaking out around her. This, and the opening credits, are a masterstroke.

FRIDAY THE 13TH (2009)


You guys know by now that I dig this whole movie, but the first 20 minutes especially shine. There’s just something great about the quick dispatch of teens who could potentially have been our protagonists, right up until that great shot of Jason charging towards the camera smashes us into the main story.

SCREAM


While Scream is pretty much a classic at this point, I’m not sure if it ever beats the opening Drew Barrymore sequence. It’s lighter on laughs than the rest of the film, but makes up for it with a sadistic level of suspense that the remaining 100 minutes have a hard time recapturing (those 100 minutes are still pretty great though).

RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD


It’s remarkable how efficiently Dan O’Bannon sets up his universe – just a hair to the left of the Romero films – and establishes the tine of his utterly unique piece. The humor, the horror, that body in the bag twitching in the freezer – it’s all there.

SINISTER


Not so much an opening sequence as an opening shot, whatever your opinion may be of Scott Derrickson’s Sinister – there’s no denying the power of this image.

GHOST SHIP


Our contributor Wolfman wrote at length about this, and he’s d*amn right. The scene that possibly BEST demonstrates this article, it’s all downhill from here. Enjoy!

 
  • horrorking95

    I might be on my own here but I really love the opening to The Cabin in the Woods. It feels completely out of place, and people who saw it in cinemas might’ve even thought that they were in the wrong screening because it defies horror convention. I also think the way in which the titles flew up was just a master stroke. You know that you’re in for something different.

    I also love the eerie opening to The Exorcist. Also, Martyrs has a great intriguing and disturbing opening. You think you know where it’s going, but it takes you some where new.

    Scream, however is probably my favourite opening.

    • ktn

      About Martyrs, yeah, that movie totally fooled me. I decided to watch the movie just for the fame of being one of the most brutal movies ever(and not too over the top, like cannibal holocaust). The first part it´s like a mix of home invasion and “asian grudge”, and i was disappointed. And then that girl was found, and i was “hell yeah, finally”. But i wasn’t expecting the “third” part of the movie to be so brutal, i almost threw up. If wasn’t for the “light” beginning, that movie would never caught me off guard like that.

    • EvanDickson

      @horrorking95 I totally almost included the CABIN IN THE WOODS ending! Only reason I didn’t was its’ brevity/subtlety. Maybe in the next one.

  • ktn

    Army of Darkness. I love every bit of this movie, but the best part is the beginning. From the epic intro song to “jack left town”, the “primitive screwhead” and “this is my boomstick” speech. Classic imagery too.

    Army of darkness fits in that list, because after that, the film gets a bit boring, and so many people hate the windmill scene, and think that the final battle drags out a little.

  • GerryButton

    I’ll agree with a bulk of this list. Minus Sinister. I just didn’t enjoy that film at all. I will agree with the opening shot being just shocking. Seeing it took me by surprise in theatre. Just wish the rest of the movie could have delivered.

    • ill_mindedd

      sinister was such a boring film throughout. i agree that this shouldnt be on the list.

  • WiKiT_CLoWN

    I would’ve added 28 weeks later…not the very beginning bu a few minutes later ^_^ One of the most amazing to me

    • mobstar67

      agreed..strong opening..the music was pure tension..the big camera shots amazing..

      • PedJun

        Yap, same here! I absolutely loved the opening sequence of 28 Weeks Later. I love the intensity and its fast pace, together with some great images of the (spoiler alert) guy running away from the house and leaving all the others behind. And then, the music. How good was that?
        Cheers!!

  • BabyJaneHudson

    The 2004 Dawn of the Dead was definitely the first film that sprung to mind for me. My husband is not a horror film fan at all and I remember telling him he just had to watch the opening few minutes because it just encapsulates so much of what makes horror films enjoyable.

  • jeffreyk

    while I was kinda so/so on the movie, the opening scene to high tension was hilariously awesome http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-eZwksJoMo

  • Krug09

    Oh… Dude, did you have to re open my Ghost Ship wound i have been trying to suppress since 02?

  • Skull-And-Crossbones

    scream immediately popped into my head when i saw this article. even the other 3 Scream movies. they’re opening kill sequences always had a memorable way of setting the tone for the rest of the movie. Lots of movies do opening kill scenes but another franchise that’s usually memorable is the Saw movies. House on Haunted Hill (remake) had a great opening scene when all the patients took over the asylum and slaughtered the staff. i’ve always loved John Carpenter’s Vampires opening scene.

    • Skull-And-Crossbones

      also, the second scene in The Faculty was really memorable for me. the one where there was lik 4 teachers and the principle discussing things at night inside the school and they were alone. i remember seeing that movie in the theater when i was 13 and that scene had me on the edge of my seat

  • Golic

    umm…Hellraiser anyone?

  • Incinerated

    I often specifically think of how the openings of Scream and Dawn of the Dead (’04) are two of the best in existence.

    Never really thought of RotLD’s opening that way, so thanks for bringing that out. Maybe because the pacing isn’t the same, or maybe because I think the whole entire film is essentially flawless and wouldn’t think of dividing it up into pieces like a beginning, middle, or end, because it’s just one whole entity of awesome.

    In contrast, the rest of Scream and Dawn actually kind of pale in comparison to their openings. Not so for RotLD :)

  • djblack1313

    i totally agree w/ F13!! i do like the entire movie but i like it a tad less once the F13 title card comes up. that shot of Jason (w/ machete in hand) running up on Whitney/the audience is easily one of the best horror movie visuals ever.

    and the GHOST SHIP massacre is 1000% pure awesomeness!

    DAWN i love from beginning to end. in fact the movie is in my top3 movies ever.

  • CaptainHowdee

    This wouldn’t be within my top six favorite horror movie openings, but I would just like to say that The Conjuring had a great beginning. As much as I didn’t like The Conjuring, I can’t deny that the opening sequence’s homage to classic horror didn’t make me incredibly happy.

  • m-m-m-MONSTER_KILL

    Rob Zombie’s “Halloween II” had an amazing opening as well. Even the terrible reviews of that movie (and there were so, so many), seemed to be in agreement that the first 15 minutes or so, right up to the end of the hospital dream, were brilliant. Lucky for me, I’m one of the few who also loved the rest of the movie, amd even I feel that the opening sequence is the best part.
    Another one would have to be, for me, the intro for “From Dusk Till Dawn”. It’s SOOOO fucking perfect, and sets up the characters and tone so damn well, and the dialogue is fantastic (of course, it’s Clooney, Michael parks, and Tarantino reading off a Tarantino-written script, so of course it is).

    • mobstar67

      im in agreement with H2..the opening sequence was top notch..as much as i liked the film i wasnt into the whole white horse thing..i thought that brought the whole thing down a notch or two..

    • ThunderDragoon

      Oh my gosh, yes! I really wish the whole movie took place in the hospital because Rob really had the whole atmosphere going and everything. I did enjoy the rest of the movie, but I kept wondering what could have been, you know?

  • Taboo

    Ghost Ship beginning was very traumatizing for me back when it first came out.

  • HMH

    Jisatsu sâkuru aka Suicide Club (2001)

    • m-m-m-MONSTER_KILL

      YES! A friend recommended that movie to me several years ago, and said I’d be hooked right from the get-go but refused to tell me what exactly happened, so I rented it and proceeded to have my freakin mind blown by the intro!

  • ThunderDragoon

    Here to show my love for Sinister. :D

  • WalkWithMeInDarkness

    Scream has one of the best openings of all time, in my opinion. I also like the openings to Scream 2 and Scream 4. I don’t love the Friday the 13th remake, but the opening is definitely my favorite part of the movie. I think Jeepers Creepers and the original Halloween have great openings, as well.

    • mobstar67

      Jeepers Creepers had a great first act..that whole scene going down into the pipe was some real strong stuff..very tense…i hope they can recapture that magic in the 3rd installment..

  • yourkiller

    I think Suspiria should be on this list.

    • SuperKilla

      Definitely.

  • Skull-And-Crossbones

    anything with nudity in the beginning is also a winner for me

  • joesey

    The Descent had one of the best beginnings. I was not expecting that brutal crash and the sadness so fast. Also Scream 2 just because I remember looking over my shoulder in the theater expecting to get stabbed as did some unfortunate people in several theaters across the nation.

  • joesey

    Also enjoyed the opening scenes to Copycat and Martyrs.

  • nofutureinthis

    The opening to Sinister really got into my head. It was such a great and foreboding scene. Good stuff.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Sick.and.Twisted.Art Dick Starr

    JAWS!!! Night of the Creeps(Comet)!! The Final Destination films have pretty solid intros as well…but yeah, I agree with every flick on this list.

  • jchano123

    the new Evil Dead movie.

  • DragonSlayer111

    Wow I forgot about Ghost Ship, such a bad movie….with such an awesome opening though!

  • motorep

    I tried looking all of these up on Netflix but only Scream was available. Since most of the local Blockbusters in my area have closed where’s the best place to find the older movies???