When you go and see a horror movie, you already know to expect scares galore. From jump-worth scenes of a monster/murderer suddenly appearing to terrifying and gruesome images, horror movies are designed to be scary. However, sometimes there are movies that are not designed to be (or marketed as) horror movies at all but manage to work in a scene that is shocking in just how scary it is for a non-horror flick. Here are the top 8 examples of scary scenes in movies that are NOT horror. Be aware, some of these scenes would count as spoilers, so if you have not seen the movies discussed be prepared to have certain things revealed.
8. Don't Look in the Ark!
In the Indiana Jones movie, “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” there is a scene towards the end where a bunch of Nazis open the Ark of the Covenant despite repeated warnings from Jones (Harrison Ford). He and his ex-girlfriend find themselves tied-up as the Nazis open the Ark and both make sure to close their eyes. Its a smart choice as everyone who does keep their eyes open dies horribly. This includes a man’s face melting off in the most gruesome way possible in what up until that point was a fun action movie that has suddenly taken a detour into disgusting body-horror. It’s pretty nasty, but the Nazis did have it coming, what with them being Nazis.
7. Basically All of, "The Brave Little Toaster"
I will admit we are only two entries in and I’m cheating a bit, but I tried to think of a single scene in, “The Brave Little Toaster,” that is scary and realized almost all of the movie is terrifying. Whether its the air conditioner blowing itself up, the man breaking-apart a device at the parts store, or the whole junkyard scene, “The Brave Little Toaster,” is one messed-up film for a movie supposedly made for kids. So yeah, I’m cheating with this one, but it is the only time I’ll do it.
6. The Joker's Video
Heath Ledger’s performance in, “The Dark Knight,” is incredible, with any scene he appears in being stellar. That said, the one that establishes just how dangerous the Joker arguably is would be when a vigiliate who dresses-up like Batman (but who isn’t Batman) has his dead body delivered to City Hall with a videotape that features handheld-footage of the Joker, “Interviewing,” the man in a voice that alternates between giggling and roaring with rage. When the Joker yells at the man, “Look at me,” in his guttural voice it simply sends shivers down a viewers spine.
5. The Alien Isn't Dead!
In the original, “Men in Black,” movie there is a moment where Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones celebrate how they think they stopped a space alien, only for it suddenly appear and swallow Tommy Lee Jones whole in a jump-scare worthy of the most terrifying horror movie. Thankfully Jones blasts his way out of its stomach in a scene as hilarious as it is gross, but for a split second anyone watching the movie for the first time most likely screamed in shock and threw-out a swear-word or two.
4. Thanos snaps his fingers
In every single Marvel Cinematic Universe movie before, “Avengers: Infinity War,” the heroes always ended-up winning (even in, “Civil War,” where the heroes fight the main villain, Zemo, is locked-away). That all changed when it looked like the team had stopped Thanos and his completed Infinity Gauntlet only for him to snap his fingers and literally destroy half the life in the Universe. Suddenly and without warning heroes who everyone would have thought were safe start turning into dust without warning. All everyone can do is stand there looking confused and terrified as their loved ones evaporate. Watching Tony Stark try to reassure Peter Parker has he stops existing and begs not to go is as horrifying as it is heartbreaking. Even if the heroes undo most of Thano’s damage in the sequel, “Avengers: Endgame,” that does not reduce the impact of just how scary it is to think that without warning 50% of the World could just cease to be.
3. Tell Em' Large Marge Sent Ya
Throughout, “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure,” the titular star played by Paul Ruebens has a variety of funny and quirky things happen to him and because of him. Then all of the sudden the movie has a brief moment that gave children everywhere nightmares. Pee-Wee gets picked-up by a trucker, and she proceeds to tell him about a terrible accident she witnessed 10 years ago on the night like the one they are driving the road on currently where the driver died and had a deformed face–which she then proceeds to make thanks to special effects. Upon dropping Pee-Wee off a bit later at a diner she instructs him, “Tell Em’ Large Marge Sent Ya!” and drives off laughing. He tells the diner this only to be informed that, “Marge,” has been dead for–you guessed it–the same amount of time she told Pee-Wee about. In other words, the gruesome accident Large Marge describes was her very own, and Pee-Wee was in the truck of a ghost. All of this occurs in what is supposedly a silly movie for little kids.
2. Bambi's Mom Gets Shot
“Bambi,” starts out seeming like a sweet little cartoon about a deer named Bambi and his loving mom having fun in the forest. Then hunters appear and you figure, “It’s a kids’ movie, they’ll escape, right?” You might even keep thinking that right up until the point you hear the loud, “Bang,” and realize, that yep, Bambi’s mom just got shot. Countless children expecting a fun and laid-back cartoon about forest critters suddenly were traumatized realizing that Bambi’s mom was murdered in cold-blood and a lot of parents dreaded how uncomfortable the car-drive home would be.
1. Willy Wonka's Boat Ride
“Willy Wonka and the Chocolate,” factory is an amazing movie (the Gene Wilder one, we don’t talk about that Johnny Depp abomination). It is full of clever commentary on commercialism, has a variety of clever jokes, and Gene Wilder steals as the show as Willy Wonka himself. The movie takes a strange and sudden dark turn (however brief) however when to start the tour everyone who won a trip to the factory boards a boat. The boat-ride is perfectly mellow until it enters a tunnel and a bunch of scary images start filling the tunnel’s walls whilst Gene Wilder begins singing a foreboding tune about the, “Gates of Hell.” It is incredibly scary and ends just as suddenly it beings when one of the tourists demands the terror stops and Wonka agrees, with the boat immediately lurching to its stop. The whole scene is just so random and suddenly scary in how it comes out of nowhere that it deserves the top spot, in my opinion.
David Bitterbaum is the longtime writer of The Newest Rant where he discusses how he loves all of popular culture, except for the stuff he hates. He often rambles about everything from movies, to music, television, and often comic-books. He lives in Saint Louis with his extremely patient wife and son.