Top 13 Best Horror Movie Jump Scares

According to Buzzfeed the 13 best horror movie jump scares of all time (so far). So let's not waste any more of the bosses time...

13. The Conjuring (2013) — The Wardrobe Witch

In 1970, paranormal investigators and demonologists Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) and Ed (Patrick Wilson) Warren are summoned to the home of Carolyn (Lili Taylor) and Roger (Ron Livingston) Perron. The Perrons and their five daughters have recently moved into a secluded farmhouse, where a supernatural presence has made itself known. Though the manifestations are relatively benign at first, events soon escalate in horrifying fashion, especially after the Warrens discover the house's macabre history.

Why It's Nightmare-Inducing: The best jump scares are like the best magic tricks: They require a little misdirection. In the scene, the kids believe they hear the noise coming from inside of the wardrobe, so — when she's on top of it — you're like you got me there, Witch! 

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12. Signs (2002) — The Birthday Party

Everything that farmer Graham Hess (Mel Gibson) assumed about the world is changed when he discovers a message - an intricate pattern of circles and lines - carved into his crops. As he investigates the unfolding mystery, what he finds will forever alter the lives of his brother (Joaquin Phoenix) and children (Rory Culkin), (Abigail Breslin). A unique story that explores the mysterious real-life phenomena of crop signs and the effects they have on one man and his family.

Why It's Nightmare-Inducing: By this point of the movie, we've been waiting A LONG TIME to see the aliens, so Joaquin Phoenix watching a TV alone in a closet inches away from the screen is a perfect, intimate reveal. Also, the line delivery of "Move children, vamonos!" will never NOT be an accidentally hilarious distraction. 

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11. Alien (1979) — Bye Bye, Captain Dallas  

Alien is a 1979 science fiction horror film directed by Ridley Scott and written by Dan O'Bannon. Based on a story by O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett, it follows the crew of the commercial space tug Nostromowho encounter the eponymous Alien, a deadly and aggressive extraterrestrial set loose on the ship.

Why It's Nightmare-Inducing: This moment really highlights the horror/haunted house/home invasion nature of the first film. It's terrifying. Also, hot take: That alien has too many teeth in its mouth.  

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10. Wait Until Dark (1967) — The Leap

Wait Until Dark is a 1967 American thriller film directed by Terence Young and produced by Mel Ferrer. It stars Audrey Hepburn as a young blind woman, Alan Arkin as a violent criminal searching for some drugs, and Richard Crenna as another criminal, supported by Jack Weston, Julie Herrod, and Efrem Zimbalist Jr.

Why It's Nightmare-Inducing: This one's a classic and, frankly, I think I'm legally obligated to include it on this list. Also, who jumps like that? The heck?! 

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9. The Thing (1982) — The Defibrillator

In remote Antarctica, a group of American research scientists are disturbed at their base camp by a helicopter shooting at a sled dog. When they take in the dog, it brutally attacks both human beings and canines in the camp and they discover that the beast can assume the shape of its victims. A resourceful helicopter pilot (Kurt Russell) and the camp doctor (Richard Dysart) lead the camp crew in a desperate, gory battle against the vicious creature before it picks them all off, one by one.

Why It's Nightmare-Inducing: EWWWWWWWWWWWW. That's all. 

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8. Jaws (1975) — The Head  

When a young woman is killed by a shark while skinny-dipping near the New England tourist town of Amity Island, police chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) wants to close the beaches, but mayor Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) overrules him, fearing that the loss of tourist revenue will cripple the town. Ichthyologist Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and grizzled ship captain Quint (Robert Shaw) offer to help Brody capture the killer beast, and the trio engage in an epic battle of man vs. nature.

Why It's Nightmare-Inducing: Similarly to Alien, people often forget that this was considered a serious horror movie when it came out, so it feels like that genre confusion is used to their advantage when a random, rotted head falls out of a boat to remind you, "Hey, you should probably be scared right about now." 

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7. The Descent (2005) — The Come-From-Behind Monster

A year after a severe emotional trauma, Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) goes to North Carolina to spend some time exploring caves with her friends; after descending underground, the women find strange cave paintings and evidence of an earlier expedition, then learn they are not alone: Underground predators inhabit the crevasses, and they have a taste for human flesh.

Why It's Nightmare-Inducing: The claustrophobia you get from the caves mixed with the build-up to this moment is enough to make you never want to leave your house again. Those monsters are dealing with some ITTY-BITTY LIVING SPACE. Watch it now 

6. It (2017) — Beverly's Bathroom Break  

A group of children are being terrorized by a shapeshifting monster who lives off their fear. Beverly — one of these children — has just finished beating her abusive father unconscious in the family bathroom, only to turn around and be IMMEDIATELY faced with the psycho clown prince of "Hey, no thanks," Pennywise.

Why It's Nightmare-Inducing: Oooh, I know what you're thinking, "Why would you say something so controversial, yet so brave?" with regards to putting a recent film this high on the list. WELL, if you saw this one in theaters, you'll remember how every single person jumped right out of their skin on this part. Also, you know, clowns.  

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5. Friday the 13th (1980) — JK, Jason Lives  

Crystal Lake's history of murder doesn't deter counselors from setting up a summer camp in the woodsy area. Superstitious locals warn against it, but the fresh-faced young people -- Jack (Kevin Bacon), Alice (Adrienne King), Bill (Harry Crosby), Marcie (Jeannine Taylor) and Ned (Mark Nelson) -- pay little heed to the old-timers. Then they find themselves stalked by a brutal killer. As they're slashed, shot and stabbed, the counselors struggle to stay alive against a merciless opponent.

Why It's Nightmare-Inducing: A classic in the slasher genre and the entire reason I never went to summer camp as a kid, you frankly just aren't anticipating a heart attack in that otherwise peaceful moment. Also it's pre-hockey mask baby Jason so, cute, I guess??? 

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4. Carrie (1976) — Carrie Lives

In this chilling adaptation of Stephen King's horror novel, withdrawn and sensitive teen Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) faces taunting from classmates at school and abuse from her fanatically pious mother (Piper Laurie) at home. When strange occurrences start happening around Carrie, she begins to suspect that she has supernatural powers. Invited to the prom by the empathetic Tommy Ross (William Katt), Carrie tries to let her guard down, but things eventually take a dark and violent turn.

Why It's Nightmare-Inducing:JUST. HEY. NO. THANKS. But then again, it's Stephen King, so what do you expect? Also, fun behind-the-scenes horror nerd fact: This scene was actually filmed in reverse so that, when it was played back forward, it would have a "dream-like" quality. Watch it now 

3. Psycho (1960) — The Staircase  

Phoenix secretary Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), on the lam after stealing $40,000 from her employer in order to run away with her boyfriend, Sam Loomis (John Gavin), is overcome by exhaustion during a heavy rainstorm. Traveling on the back roads to avoid the police, she stops for the night at the ramshackle Bates Motel and meets the polite but highly strung proprietor Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), a young man with an interest in taxidermy and a difficult relationship with his mother.

Why It's Nightmare-Inducing: I'm lazy as all heck and already don't like stairs, so, strike one. As with any great jump scare, you're just not anticipating anything at THAT moment. It's just a shot of a man slowly walking up some stairs, and then THAT MUSIC SLAPS. 

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2. Audition (1999) — The "No, Thank You" Sack

This disturbing Japanese thriller follows Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi), a widower who decides to start dating again. Aided by a film-producer friend (Jun Kunimura), Aoyama uses auditions for a fake production to function as a dating service. When Aoyama becomes intrigued by the withdrawn, gorgeous Asami (Eihi Shiina), they begin a relationship. However, he begins to realize that Asami isn't as reserved as she appears to be, leading to gradually increased tension and a harrowing climax.

Why It's Nightmare-Inducing:The scene is quiet and static on the lead female character, who is creepily waiting by her phone to be called about the (insert movie's title). You're so busy looking at her like, "oh god, no" that you don't even really notice the sack in the background until IT MOVES LIKE A HUMAN BEING IS INSIDE OF IT. 

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1. The Exorcist III (1990) — The Nurse And Her New Friend  

Police Lt. Kinderman (George C. Scott) notices similarities between his current murder investigation and the methods used by the "Gemini" killer (Brad Dourif) who was executed 15 years before. He soon discovers a hospitalized mental patient (Jason Miller) claiming to be the dead serial killer, but who looks uncannily like a priest Kinderman knew who died during an exorcism. As more bodies are found, Kinderman looks for connections between the two supposedly dead men.

Why It's Nightmare-Inducing: While the movie itself isn't widely-known for being awesome, this jump scare is —in my humble opinion — the best one ever. Also, it's made even BETTER by being in such a random movie. The zoom-in, the music, the fact that you don't SEE what happens and only get the's great. But pro-tip — turn your headphones down if you decide to torture yourself by watching this and thank me later. 

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Okay so...which ones did I miss? What's YOUR number one jump scare of all time? Sound off in the comments below and — in the meantime — happy haunting, my spooky friends.



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