Halloween season is the best season. Fall in general is the best. The leaves change. We get to wear comfy sweaters. There is a chill in the air and we get to see many, many horror movies. Maybe you might need some spooky suggestions. An opening to a horror movie can easily make or break the film. You want something that is going to leave a mark. Something that gets you excited for the remainder of the movie. Here are the 10 Best Horror Movie Openings.
Some Spoilers Ahead!!!
The Scream franchise is more popular than ever these days with new movies being released in 2022 and earlier this year. It all started though in 1996 with a damn good opening scene. It’s classic at this point. Casey gets a phone call and is asked, “What’s your favorite scary movie?” Drew Barrymore was everywhere when it came to the promotion of this movie. Basically, everyone else in the cast was up-and-comers and Drew was already established. She did interviews and was even on the poster.
It was definitely a surprise to many when she got gutted in the first 15 minutes. This is a great opening for multiple reasons. For starters it’s great that director Wes Craven took a page out of Alfred Hitchcock’s book. Very similar to 1960’s Pyscho in which a famous actress dies early only for a new main character to be revealed.
The other reason this opening is great is due to how brutal it is. There are no punches pulled here. Casey tries to escape and reach her mom but it’s too late. Casey’s mom picks up the phone to call the police but only to hear her daughter’s groans and then see her strung up in a tree, guts hanging out. It is a graphic surprising opening and one that set up the entire franchise.
A Quiet Place
The opening to A Quiet Place is a strong one for sure. We are introduced to a world that we don’t understand the rules of yet. It seems that being quiet is a must because something is out there listening.
Evelyn and Lee are walking across a bridge with their children. Earlier in the scene the youngest child Beau grabs a space shuttle toy after his parents tell him to leave it. He switches it on and even though his father races to save him, he is almost immediately killed.
Children dying in horror films is never an easy thing to watch. A Quiet Place does a great job at creating suspense and this opening makes us aware of what we are getting ourselves into.
There are a couple of movies that people generally only remember for their opening scenes. Ghost Ship is definitely one of them.
There is a classy party on a ship with drinking, eating, and dancing. Everyone seems to be having a good time as young Katie is asked to dance by the ship’s captain. Someone pulls a lever releasing a wire that bisects every boat passenger besides Katie. It is a shocking opening when you see body parts falling apart all over the place. The rest of the movie is honestly pretty bad but if you just have the time to just search up the opening, you won’t be disappointed.
Stephen King has been a force to be reckoned with for decades. In 2017, It was released and became the top-grossing R-rated horror film of all time.
The movie is filled with a great ensemble cast and has some creative choices. One of the best choices made is to show the brutality in the opening scene. Little Georgie is out in the rain playing with his toy boat. Naturally, it goes down the drain and Pennywise the Clown manipulates and murders Georgie.
In the original television mini-series, a similar scene is shown but there is only so much you can show on T.V. We get to see Georgie’s arm completely torn off as he is pulled into the sewer. It is similar to the book, graphic, and a real holy s*it opening.
Urban Legend is an underrated 90’s slasher film that has a fun concept. People die in different ways that have to do with urban legend tales. One of the best parts of this movie is its opening.
A young woman runs out of gas during a thunderstorm and stops at a gas station. A creepy-looking attendant with a stutter (played fantastically by Brad Dourif) approaches her car and asks her to come inside to talk to the credit card company. The young woman comes inside and it is revealed there is no one on the phone. She escapes, assaults the attendant, and drives off. Nothing is as it seems though.
The attendant screams “SOMEONE’S IN THE BACK SEAT.” Our hearts automatically drop. Yes, the creepy attendant is trying to protect her, not attack her. The young woman drives off and is almost instantly killed by the villain.
This is a great setup. It is chilling to think about and it is filmed very well. Brad Dourif does a great job for such a small role. Definitely a great opening.
Jaws is a classic horror film that made people afraid to go to the beach as well as just take a shower. It has memorable characters and moments and a memorable opening.
Chrissie decides to go skinny dipping and ends up being killed by Bruce the shark. We don’t really get to see the shark as of yet but the tension is there for sure. Not showing your monster too early is crucial in these types of movies. The unknown is always more frightening. It is a great opening that seems very real and starts the movie off with a bang or a chomp. Whichever you prefer.
The character of Michael Myers is iconic. Stalking victims and killing them for decades for no reason at all other than being pure evil. The original movie does a good job of showing that Michael was pure evil for years.
In the beginning, we get a POV shot of someone stalking and murdering a young girl. It is a well-shot sequence that ends with this killer going outside and being revealed to be a young boy. It is a great scene showing us that Michael is ruthless, has always been ruthless, and there doesn’t need to be a reason why.
Friday the 13th (2009)
Remakes aren’t always the best. The Friday the 13th remake that came out in 2009 got a lot of flack for several reasons. It tries to combine multiple movies and has some pretty cheap CGI in some places. But it’s opening scene is pretty damn awesome.
We open up with a group of people going camping, looking for drugs, and looking to have a good time. We get some backstory on some of them but not much. By nightfall, they start getting picked off one by one in brutal ways. Some of these brutal ways include a bear trap and burning to death in a sleeping bag. Eventually, Jason goes in for his final kill, and the screen cuts to black and shows us the title.
This all takes over 23 minutes. That is 23 minutes until we get a title screen. We sit comfortably watching who we believe are our main characters only for them to be massacred and a new group comes in. It truly is a hell of an opening.
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead is a classic filled with tension, gore, and messages about consumerism. The remake is honestly pretty damn good as well.
The opening of this movie is great. We see our main character Ana come home from work, sleep with her husband, and wake up the next day. Next is a sequence that consists of a little girl attacking Ana in her home followed by Ana’s husband attacking her until she barely escapes to her car.
The next shot is her driving as the camera pans back and we see how destroyed the city is already. Ana ends up crashing into a tree and the credits appear. It is a just about perfectly shot intro to prepare audiences for what will come next.
Before Lost, Terry O’Quinn was The Stepfather. A man searching for the perfect family. When they turn out not to be so perfect, he murders them and moves on to the next.
This opening scene is well-paced and horrifying. We start off by seeing a man covered in blood looking at himself in the bathroom mirror. He has a full beard and glasses. He showers and shaves and right away looks completely different. We get a shot of him coming down the halls, eventually down the stairs, while all this time seeing blood-stained walls.
As he gets to the bottom of the steps, we finally see what has occurred. A family lying there brutally murdered in the living room and the man simply walks out of the house and continues his day. It is a realistic moment that shows what some people are capable of and sets us up to be scared of what this guy might do next.
What are some of your favorite horror openings? Are you looking forward to Halloween? Let us know in the comments below.