Today’s Major Spoilers Question of the Day is brought to you once more by Fangoria Presents – a new film series selected by Fangoria for Horror Fans!  Use the comment section below to share your thoughts, with the best comment winning a DVD of one of the films in the series as seen on their website!  (Sorry, this contest is open to U.S. residents only!)

Fear, like beauty, is wonderful in that it is always in the eye of the beholder.  One of the most terrifying events of my childhood came during a viewing of the Muppet show, during which a man’s furniture all came to horrifying, carnivorous life and began chasing him about with malefic intent.  I never trusted my Gramma’s rust-orange corduroy couch again, let me tell you, though it was clearly up to no good before-hand.  Still, the accidental nightmare fuel of that moment was a mere shiver compared to the horrifying sight of Edward Woodward’s immolation as human sacrifice or the inexorable vengeance of the circus folk after Cleopatra’s betrayal.

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) still can’t figure out exactly what Prince Randian was going to do with that knife, though, asking: What’s the single most terrifying movie moment in pop-culture history?

Remember:  Once again, the best comment will win, thanks to Fangoria Presents!


About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. That moment about a third of the way through Star Wars Episode 2 when you realize that, no, Lucas did not learn from his mistakes in Episode 1, and yes, it did in fact get worse.

  2. To say what is the best of the best would take a bit of thinking, especially considering how infrequently I expose myself to scary things, but personal scariest moment comes from an episode of the ordinarily not scary show of Doctor Who. In the episode simply entitled “Midnight” (written by Russell T Davies) The Doctor and Donna find themselves on a resort planet for a bit of r&r. The Doctor decides to go on a tour that Donna deems to be boring, but that doesn’t stop him from going off on his own. Unsurprisingly, the tour is boring, at least initially. The Doctor people watches for a while, observing all the quirks of all the people, and notices a quiet woman just staring out the window. Then, there is a loud noise, the cabin of the tour vehicle shakes and the lights go out. The Doctor goes to the front and discovers that the pilot’s cabin is not there. Then things spiral downward into a horrific plot that involves extreme paranoia and fear. It is the scariest moment because the universe’s most unflappable man becomes consumed by sheer terror. I didn’t sleep well the night I saw that.

    • The fact that the whole story took place pretty much in that tiny little ship, relying more or less on good storytelling instead of effects, explosions and running around really made that one of my favorite episodes of the revived series.

      Not saying I dislike all those things (I love them), it was just nice to see a story that didn’t require all the extra fluff to keep us interested.

  3. I’d have to go with the ‘big reveal’ at the end of Who Framed Roger Rabbit when the guy turns into the high-pitched red-eyed villain who indeed framed the poor cartoon.

    I’m not sure how it holds up today, but it was truly terrifying in my youth.

  4. As someone who hates spiders, Arachnaphobia scared the crap out of me as a kid and had me checking my room for spiders before I went to bed for months. The worst scene is when they are trapped in the bathroom and the spiders are coming up from the sink drain……excuse me I have go to the bathroom now.

  5. The first shark attack in Jaws. The single most effective use of music to mask a complete failure in special effects, ever. If you’re old enough to have seen it in the theater, it was terrifying, notably without actually showing you anything remotely scary.

  6. There’s a scene in The Exorcism of Emily Rose where the boyfriend wakes up alone in bed, and when he looks for Emily the camera pans down and we see her contorted on the floor, with these big black eyes staring at the camera. Freaked me right out. That’s why one viewing of this movie was enough for me.

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