8. The Omen (1976) – Death of Damien’s Nanny
The Omen is potentially one of the most famous horror tales of all time, with the narrative of ‘the demon child’ being re-used over and over again. The Omen was the catalyst for the cinematic popularity of this ongoing story, providing audiences with the first film portrayal of The Antichrist in child form. Richard Donner’s 1976 film grossed over $60million upon its release and is noted as an enduring, dreadful horror classic.
One of the film’s first scenes is recognised as one of the most horrific and memorable not only in the Omen franchise, but in horror in general. At the birthday party of 5-year-old Antichrist child, Damien, the boy’s nanny stands on a window ledge of the house with a noose around her neck, imploring Damien to watch her. All eyes on her, she jumps from the ledge, hanging herself and smashing into a lower window. The shocking moment looms over the rest of the film, setting a dark and eerie tone for this 70s classic.
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7. Suspiria (1977) – Pat’s Murder
Before Dakota Johnson donned her dancing shoes for the 2018 Luca Guadagnino remake, Suspiria was a creation of Dario Argento back in 1977. When Suzy (Jessica Harper) transfers to a prestigious dance academy in Germany, she realises, after a series of brutal murders, that the academy is a front for a supernatural conspiracy.
Perhaps the most shocking scene in Suspiria is the death of fellow student, Pat, who is ambushed by a shadowy figure and stabbed repeatedly, before being hung by the neck and thrown through the roof’s skylight. Sounds pretty brutal, right? It’s one of the most iconic horror scenes of all time, the concoction of visual cues being the stuff of legend.
6. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) – Dinner Table
At number six is Tobe Hooper’s unforgettably gruesome slasher masterpiece. Arguably one of the most famous horror films of all time, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre has received immeasurable critical acclaim and has since forged a lengthy franchise with various sequels, prequels and remakes spanning fifty years.
A particularly haunting scene in this 1974 film is the famous dinner scene, in which Sally (Marilyn Burns) is tied up and tormented by Leatherface and his family, her piercing screams almost like torture. At a dinner table decorated with human remains and in the company of a desiccated grandfather and three cannibal lunatics, this Tobe Hooper creation is pure, unadulterated nightmare fuel.