scary movies The Scariest Movie Deaths, Ranked  

Ann Casano
4.4k votes 782 voters 145.1k views 22 items

List Rules Vote up the scariest deaths that gave you the worst nightmares.

Which movie death left you feeling like you were going to be sick? First, you feel it in the pit of your stomach. Then it moves up to your heart, radiates through every pore of your body, and leaves you shaking in a cold sweat. It is fear in its most primal form. You’re so scared you can barely lift a finger. You want to cover your eyes, but there exists this dark place inside you that forces you to watch. Something really bad is about to happen. These are the scariest movie deaths in film history.

It’s a mystery to many why anyone would want to feel so petrified. However, horror as a film genre has been around since the late 1800s. Filmmakers used ghosts, zombies, vampires - whatever kind of scary monster that they could dream up - to give audiences nightmares and make them scream.

If you think about it, the horror genre hasn’t really changed that much. Monsters like Jason Voorhees, Freddie Krueger, Leatherface, Pinhead, Candyman, Ghostface, and Jigsaw are out to slash and kill. The main difference between the horror films today and ones from even a few decades ago is that modern filmmakers are always looking for more creative ways to murder innocent people.

Horror movie deaths have only grown more elaborate; just look at Jigsaw from Saw. He designs complicated games that are basically agonizing death traps for people who he thinks deserve to be punished, playing moral executioner. Where Jason Voorhees kills at will, Jigsaw plays judge and jury.

Horror films aren’t for everybody, but the fans of the genre are rabid and filled with emotion. They take their blood and gore very seriously. This list of scary movie deaths should satisfy both the casual horror fan and the fanatic.

Be sure vote up the most terrifying movie death scenes below!

Ranker Video
Video: YouTube
Dr. Hannibal Lecter cannot possibly be dangerous while locked up and handcuffed in a jail cell. Turns out that the cannibalistic hyper-intelligent serial killer can sneak out of his cuffs with a simple clip from a ball point pen. While being served his second dinner of the evening, Lecter bites the face of one guard then maces and beats down another guard with the man's own nightstick. The doctor then guts and hangs the guards from his isolated cell, but not before he borrows one of the guard's faces to mask his own. The juxtaposition of the sweet piano music and the violent imagery only adds to the scene's emotional impact.

Actors: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Chris Isaak, George A. Romero, Roger Corman, + more

Initial Release: 1991

Directed by: Jonathan Demme

Screenplay by: Ted Tally

Tagline: The only way to stop a killer is by going in to the mind of a madman., Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Brilliant. Cunning. Psychotic. In his mind lies the clue to a ruthless killer. Clarice Starling, FBI. Brilliant. Vulnerable. Alone. She must trust him to stop the killer., Prepare yourself for the most exciting, mesmerising and terrifying two hours of your life!, + more

Rated: R (USA)

Sequel: Hannibal

Prequel: Red Dragon

Netflix Format: DVD, Blu-ray and streaming

Also Ranked

#32 on The Most Rewatchable Movies

#1 on The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time

#16 on The Best Movies of All Time

#11 on The Greatest Horror Films of All Time

265 71
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2 328 VOTES

Alien


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Video: YouTube
Imagine having an alien living inside you. Kane (John Hurt) is enjoying breakfast with his crew when he suddenly starts to choke and writhe in pain. A small but very deadly alien emerges from his chest, blood spews every where, and the little bugger gets away before anyone can snatch it.

Actors: Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt, Ian Holm, Yaphet Kotto, Harry Dean Stanton, + more

Initial Release: 1979

Directed by: Ridley Scott

Screenplay by: Dan O'Bannon

Tagline: In space no one can hear you scream., It's Alien, the 8th passenger.

Rated: R (USA)

Sequel: Aliens

Netflix Format: DVD and Blu-ray

Also Ranked

#10 on The Best '70s Movies

#50 on The Best Movies of All Time

#6 on The Greatest Horror Films of All Time

#67 on The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

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see more on Alien
3 371 VOTES

American History X


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Video: YouTube
Obviously, this drama about racial tension in Venice Beach is not anything like the other films on this list. However, the curb stomping scene in which Derek (Ed Norton), in slow motion black and white, tells the black man who just tried to break into his car to bite the curb, is terrifying and beyond disturbing.

Actors: Edward Norton, Edward Furlong, Beverly DAngelo, Elliott Gould, Fairuza Balk, + more

Initial Release: 1998

Directed by: Tony Kaye

Screenplay by: David McKenna

Tagline: Some legacies must end., Violence as a way of life.

Rated: R (USA)

Netflix Format: DVD and Blu-ray

Also Ranked

#68 on The Best Movies of All Time

#2 on The Best Movies of 1998

#94 on The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

#5 on The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Again

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Ranker Video
Video: YouTube
Johnny Depp may be one of the most successful actors in cinema history, but many people forget that he made his acting debut in the original A Nightmare on Elm Street. And boy, did his bloody, liquified murder make a lasting impression. Glen falls asleep in his bed, and Freddie turns him into nothing but exploding insides.

Actors: Johnny Depp, Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp, John Saxon, Lin Shaye, + more

Initial Release: 1984

Directed by: Wes Craven

Screenplay by: Wes Craven

Tagline: If Nancy doesn't wake up screaming she won't wake up at all., Sleep Kills [UK release poster], She is the only one who can stop it... if she fails, no one survives., If Nancy Doesn't Wake Up Screaming, + more

Rated: R (USA)

Sequel: A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge

Netflix Format: DVD and Blu-ray

Also Ranked

#51 on The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked

#21 on "Old" Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime

#9 on The Best Movies of 1984

#4 on The Greatest Horror Films of All Time

195 62
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see more on A Nightmare on Elm Street