Superhero films are known for their over-the-top action, love interests, and comic book nods. But occasionally there are certain scenes which tend to catch audiences off-guard, sometimes feeling like they came from a different movie—or even a different genre altogether. Like horror.
For example, remember this guy from the first Hellboy movie?
These are the kind of characters and scenes I'm talking about here. I mean, this villain gave me nightmares for days. But this isn't the only superhero movie to incorporate elements of horror. In fact, some of them have been downright creepy-scary. Here are seven of the most memorable.
1. Oscorp Board Members Killed By Green Goblin - - 'Spider-Man' (2002)
What Happens? Director #SamRaimi kicks off the list with a scene involving the fate of the Oscorp board members. Norman Osborn, who started the company, was let go by the board. To exact his revenge, Norman rains down terror on the citizens of New York—and murders the board members while he's at it.
Why Is This Scene Terrifying? As the Green Goblin, Norman throws a couple of his pumpkin bombs, only this time they’re not actually bombs. Instead, these “bombs” incinerate people immediately; the board members die a quick yet grueseom death. Lesson learned; never fire the vengeful man who founded your company.
2. Doctor Octopus Hospital Scene - 'Spider-Man 2' (2004)
What Happens? Raimi may have had a brief but scary scene in his first Spider-Man movie, but it’s his follow-up that has in my opinion one of the most terrifying scenes in all superhero films. This scene seemingly came out of nowhere, but it should be pointed out that Sam Raimi got his start in horror, most notably with the Evil Dead series, and this scene is vintage early Raimi. One minute we see Spider-Man facing off against one of his most powerful villains, the next we see what certainly feels like a scene straight out of a horror movie. After all, horror is Raimi’s forte.
Why Is This Scene Terrifying? This scene is masterfully directed as Raimi injects some stand-out horror elements. While there is no blood, the scene is terrifying to watch as Dr. Otto Octavius’s mechanical arms become sentient and kill each and every one of people in the operating room, complete with gore.
3. Joker’s Handshake - 'Batman' (1989)
What Happens? The most comical live-action Joker we’ve ever had, Nicholson gives audiences one of the funniest death scenes in the film. As the meeting is coming to a close, the Joker gleefully shakes hands with one of the members in the room. Shortly after, the man begins to fry from the inside out as he’s electrocuted by one of the Joker’s devices.
Why Is This Scene Terrifying? The scene is pretty hilarious, yet all the more dark for the humor layered on top of what is essentially a gruesome murder. Only Nicholson could truly pull this off. Warning: The way the man appears after getting electrocuted may be a little jarring for some people watching.
4. Penguin’s Death - 'Batman Returns' (1992)
What Happens? Yet another Tim Burton Batman movie, Burton’s sequel has even more dark moments than the first. Here, Danny DeVito’s Penguin dies a horrible death after plummets down a fall of a few stories high. The Penguin is bleeding eternally as he slowly makes his way towards Batman in one last effort to kill him. Unfortunately, Oswald Cobblepot grabs the wrong umbrella and immediately falls to his death. His Penguin minions then take his body and place it in the disgusting sewers, where it floats away. So long, Penguin.
Why Is This Scene Terrifying? After utilizing his gun umbrella and biting someone's nose off, this scene takes the cake. The way the Penguin creeps out of the water and the black ichor pouring from his mouth (not to mention all the scars on his face) make it a chilling scene to watch.
5. Parallax Kills Green Lanterns - 'Green Lantern' (2011)
What Happens? After one of the Guardians of the Universe evolves into Parallax, the Green Lantern Corps. seek to stop his universal destruction before i's too late. Unfortunately, most of the Green Lanterns who fight Parallax don’t make it out alive as their bones are stripped right out of their bodies.
Why Is This scene Terrifying? It's never good to watch heroes die on the screen in a horrible way. But that's exactly what happens here as the Defenders of Oa and the entire universe are killed instantly by Parallax. It doesn't help that Parallax himself is incredibly creepy in design.
6. Senator Kelly’s Death - 'X-Men' (2000)
What Happens? While elements of the film are rather bleak, there is one scene in particular that turned some heads. Senator Kelly is one of Magneto’s test subjects as the villain attempts to use a field of radiation to create a mutant out of a human with normal, non-mutant genetics. But Kelly's body rejects the mutation and starts to break down, slowly dying in front of our eyes.
Why Is This Scene Terrifying? This scene is jarring to watch because of the way #BryanSinger directed it. The way the music builds up to his death and how it's shot is a testament to the horrifying spectacle of a man literally liquefying from the inside out. No one deserves that, not even a character who wanted to pass legislation against the X-Men.
7. Man-Bat Nightmare - 'Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice' (2016)
What Happens? Yet another Batman movie makes this list, only this time #BenAffleck is wearing the cape. As Bruce Wayne slowly walks toward his parents' graves, Bruce notices the graves begin to bleed. What follows is a giant terrifying bat that reaches out to attack Bruce.
Why Is This Scene Terrifying? Although this scene is only a dream sequence, it still has a nice quick jump scare to it. The jump scare is truly what makes this scene stand out.
Do you agree with my list? What scenes from certain superhero films had more horrific moments in your opinion? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!