A movie doesn't have to be a horror to scare your underpants off. Sometimes filmmakers just decide to shock or surprise audiences by including one or two scenes that come out of nowhere to spook everyone. With Halloween right around the corner, let's highlight some of the best of these instances.
1. 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit?': HOLY SMOKE HE'S A TOON!
The one and only crossover between Warner Bros. and Disney cartoons was a smash hit that combined great use of jokes for the whole family while injecting plenty of subtle adult content for the parents to snicker at. However, sometimes the more adult stuff was not so subtle, the best example being in the movie's climax when Christopher Lloyd's Judge Doom is revealed to be the same evil toon who murdered the main character's brother.
At first you would think a cartoon villain would allow for some great comedy, but it mostly just comes off as creepy when Doom reveals his pulsating red eyes and screams at our hero with that high squeaky voice. The reveal alone is enough to get someone to wish that they were wearing the brown pants — and it could have only been pulled off by the amazing Lloyd.
2. 'The Cable Guy': Jim Carrey's Home Break-In
Arguably one of Jim Carrey's more underrated films, it depicted a lonely cable guy becoming a bit too clingy with one of his installation clients. It has tons of hilarious scenes such as a duel in a Medieval Times restaurant, Jim Carrey singing Jefferson Airplane's "Somebody to Love," and a basketball scene with Jim Carrey going up against Jack Black.
However, the movie takes a turn in the last half, acting as a parody of the "obsession" sub-genre of horror movies like The Crush, Fatal Attraction and Fear. There is a scene where the Cable Guy tries his hardest to break into Matthew Broderick's apartment:
While the scene is played up for laughs, director Ben Stiller effectively used Jim Carrey's natural insanity combined with some creepy angles, lighting and editing to also make it genuinely scary. I wonder if Stiller will ever direct a horror film?
3. 'The Brave Little Toaster': Stephen King + Disney = WHAT THE?!?
Another underrated film to appear on this list is The Brave Little Toaster, which is one of my favorites. It's an adorable yet hilarious movie about a bunch of sentient home appliances, including a Toaster (duh), a wise-cracking Radio voiced by Jon Lovitz, a cuddly blanket, a not-so bright lamp and a grumpy vacuum going across the country in search of their owner. Before you accuse the movie of being a Toy Story ripoff, this movie came out eight years before that film!
On to the main point of this article, there is a scene where the titular Toaster falls asleep and dreams about spending time with his owner, and it is sweet and innocent — until suddenly it transforms into a nightmare featuring a firefighting clown who is trying to kill Toaster by putting him in water:
I can imagine there were reports in 1987 of children rushing out of theaters, and it wasn't because of Hellraiser!
4. 'The Mummy' (1999): FREAKY UNDEAD DUDE!
This reboot of the original horror classic definitely moved away from the horror and solidified itself as a swashbuckling action-adventure/thriller along the lines of Raiders of the Lost Ark. It was a huge hit and I love it — it's one of the first movies I ever loved as a kid, and I think it still holds up.
While it may be an adventure movie, it does have several scenes that can get the chills going up your spine, such as the resurrection of the undead creature where he roars at the camera like an animatronic from Five Nights At Freddy's. But the scene that always sticks in my mind is only a few minutes afterwards.
Mr. Burns here was accidentally trampled and his glasses were destroyed, so now he is stuck and alone with very blurry vision as he tries to find a way back to the group. One problem: there is a freshly resurrected mummy stalking him.
What makes this scene truly scary is that we don't really see the mummy, because half of the scene takes place from the character's point of view, so all we see is a shadowy figure at the end of the hall, which we know is a mummy but he doesn't. As a kid and as an adult, this scene will always get to me.
5. 'Se7en': Scary AND Disgusting!
David Fincher's Se7en is a brilliant crime thriller about a serial killer who murders his victims because they committed the "Seven Deadly Sins." Most of you probably know it for its ending, but the scene I am here to talk about is when our two main characters discover the victim who committed the sin of sloth:
The rest of the movie is just eerie and intriguing, but it's in this scene that the movie becomes terrifying. The main characters not only discover that this man was strapped to a bed for over a year, but he is in fact alive, which is done by a very effective scare when one guy is looking up close at the victim's face when the victim lets out a cough and begins shaking. Truly terrifying.
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6. 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory': Is This The Tunnel To Hell?
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory lures you in by saying it is a colorful and imaginative adventure for the whole family ... and that it is a big steaming pile of lies!
This movie is not for kids! Why? Well, because there is one scene that will give them night terrors for the rest of their lives — and that is when our quirky guide, Willy Wonka, brings the characters on a boat ride through a tunnel.
We went from colorful and fun to what I can only describe as the inner thoughts of Charles Manson: everything is red, animals are being slaughtered, Willy Wonka starts singing creepily before screaming at the top of his lungs. All you can really do is watch and ask, "WHAT THE HELL?!?"
7. 'The Dark Knight': Joker's Video
This movie was far more intense than any superhero movie up to that point, and one scene especially crosses the line from action to horror: when Joker's hostage video is played on the news.
It's a very well-done scene that manages to be a better found footage horror movie in a single minute than some theatrical releases in recent years.
8. 'Spider-Man 2': Welcome Back To Horror, Sam Raimi!
Personally I think Sam Raimi's talent was wasted on the original Spider-Man trilogy. If Spider-Man had been given scarier villains, I think Raimi could have been perfect and my point is best proven in one scene from Spider-Man 2.
Doctors are attempting to remove the cybernetic arms from Otto Octavius's back, but unfortunately for them, the arms fight back. The scene feels straight out of Raimi's Evil Dead movies. There is even a chainsaw!
This scene is genuinely terrifying thanks to the camera angles, lack of music, and the very brutal ways the arms kill those doctors.
9. 'Men In Black': Who Needs A Xenomorph To Scare Audiences?
This sci-fi action comedy definitely delivered on action and comedy, and just like the original Ghostbusters, it didn't hold back on the freaky creatures just because it was a comedy. The Bug was a big, nasty, scary monster — and even the harmless aliens that were featured in Men In Black had creepy designs.
However, I want to discuss a scene which I always had trouble getting through when I was young. Towards the beginning, Tommy Lee Jones's Agent Kay stops a literal illegal alien from trying to sneak over the border into America. At first this extraterrestrial, named Mikey, seems harmless — but this all changes when a civilian spots him and Mikey goes from derpy to terrifying in an instant.
Maybe I was just a dumb kid (and am now a dumb adult), but this scene always gets to me, even though the movie in general is a lot of fun.
What scene from a non-horror movie had you shaking underneath your sheets when you went to bed? Let us know in the comments below!