5. Jaws (1975) – Final Face-Off
Steven Spielberg’s Jaws is up there as one of the biggest films of all time, and 45 years on its merchandise is still highly sought after by pop culture fans. If you didn’t have a fear of open water before Jaws, you did afterwards and for a good reason. The visual and special effects in Spielberg’s classic movie had never been seen before; it was the first of its kind and still beats more recent films such as The Meg and 47 Meters Down.
The final face-off scene between Police Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) and the shark is fast-paced and terrifying for its time. After watching the shark devour fellow shark hunter, Quint (Robert Shaw), Brody attempts to blow up the shark by lodging a pressurised scuba tank into its mouth and shooting it. The shark is obliterated, much to the relief of audiences worldwide, most of whom have passed their Spielberg-induced fear of the blood-thirsty fish down to the several generations that have followed them.
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4. Halloween (1978) – Lynda and Bob’s Murder
John Carpenter’s most idolised work is undeniably Halloween (1978). Together with debuting film actress Jamie Lee Curtis, Carpenter and Halloween set the standard for the ‘final girl’ that horror audiences would continue to recognise as a trope in future horror works. Not only that, but Halloween jumpstarted the Golden Age of Slasher films. The things you can do with an old William Shatner mask!
It was inevitable this undeniable classic of the genre was to be included, yet despite containing a multitude of pulsating and scary scenes – not least the famous chase between Laurie Strode and Michael Myers – we’ve opted for perhaps the more shocking scene depicting the deaths of Lynda and Bob.
Here, the couple takes full advantage of being home alone before Bob is brutally stabbed by Michael Myers. With Michael dressed as a sheet ghost wearing Bob’s glasses, Lynda suspects nothing, making it all the easier for Michael to murder her too, his chosen method this time being to strangle her with the phone cord. The couple’s bodies are later put on show for Laurie to find, which creates for even more gruesome viewing.
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3. Carrie (1976) – Prom
Brian De Palma’s 1976 adaptation of Stephen King’s original novel tells the troubling tale of a young girl’s high school experience. Oh, and her telekinetic abilities. Carrie was a box office success in its time and has since been cited as a ‘landmark horror film’, not only as a successful adaptation but as a chaotic metaphor for teen angst.
After being bullied at school and raised by a strict and abusive mother, Carrie’s (Sissy Spacek) telekinetic powers show their full force at the high school prom. When she is announced Prom Queen, Carrie’s bullies pour pig’s blood on her, creating a ghastly and gory sight for each of us peering from between the cracks in our fingers. It is with this action that Carrie’s true powers are shown, the teenager launching her revenge on the school. Carrie’s prom scene is one of the most memorable and iconic horror scenes of all time, and a surefire contender for one of the best final act moments in cinema history.