From the two thousand people who took part in this survey they discovered that the spine-chilling 'head spin scene' from the 1973 William Friedkin classic, The Exorcist, was the most frightening moment in the history of horror. This was followed by other classics like Psycho, Carrie, and The Shining, all of which picked up a substantial share of the overall vote. Here, check this out for the full top 10 list:
- 17.95% : The head spin seen in The Exorcist (1973)
- 16.85% : The shower scene shown in Psycho (1960)
- 15.10% : The hand grabbing the arm at the end of Carrie (1976)
- 14.90% : Girl coming out of the TV from The Ring (2002)
- 14.10% : Chest burst scene from Alien (1979)
- 12.80% : Grady Twins in the corridor who pop up in The Shining (1980)
- 11.45% : The children being attacked in The Birds (1963)
- 10.05% : The night vision scene from Silence of the Lambs (1991)
- 9.95% : Man cutting off his own foot from Saw (2004)
- 9.10% : The rocking chair seen in the Woman in Black (2012)
Another fact Onepoll figured out was that the seventies was the scariest decade of them all. Yes, the same decade that brought us strikes, recession, and Maggie Thatcher, was deemed the scariest, with horror movie scenes from that period accounting for 27% of all votes across more than 50 different films included in the poll. Flicks from the noughties had the second-highest share of the vote at 18%, closely followed by eighties horror with 17%. Despite Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho and The Birds making the top 10 list, the sixties, famous for its hippy spirit and free love philosophy, emerged as the least creepy decade, with films from that era making up just 11% of all votes.
Richard Hand, Professor of Media Practice at the University of East Anglia, offered his thoughts on the inner-workings of great horror cinema, stating: “A masterpiece like Psycho may be (in)famous for its shower scene, but the genius of the film is established long before that scene happens, in the slow tightening of its suspense, gradually unnerving the viewer with a simple but compelling narrative, a genuine ‘composition’ of excellent performances, editing, design, and, perhaps, most importantly of all, the soundtrack. Indeed, it is often the sound of horror that can haunt us most thoroughly, worming its way deep beneath our skin and haunting our nightmares even when we turn away or cover our eyes”.
Funnily enough, this theme of lingering dread was reflected in the results of the survey. 51% of people said they feel “fearful” after watching a scary film or TV show, and out of those people 64% were women and 36% were men. All of which begs the question, what are the most popular ways to stop feeling scared?
- 45.94% : Switch all the lights on.
- 41.78% : Watch a comedy show on telly.
- 18.71% : Go to bed.
- 18.61% : Read a book.
- 17.13% : Watch another film.