Great Opening Scenes in Horror Movies

Updated: Nov 12, 2019

Surely, one of the genres that has become increasingly popular in recent decades, horror flicks usually elicit extreme views.

You either love them or hate them.

But, in a sense, with the really good ones, you just can’t ignore them! Some of the greatest opening scenes in horror movies offer audiences experiences which range from shock and fear to a numbed sense of bewilderment.

Here are a few that stand out:

Final Destination (2000)

The first film in this franchise has a brilliant opening scene

that immediately clues readers in on the

horrific theme of the movies, and the movies to come.

It begins with a group of students boarding a plane to Paris,

till one of the students has a premonition of sudden death, and gets all of his friends to

abandon the trip. Just as they watch the plane take off from the airport, it suddenly explodes with

shattering force sending shock waves through the airport. This opening scene leads us into the

meandering and mysterious plot – death hounding this group of people one by one. Odd and predicable

though the script is, the opening scene truly shocks and disturbs viewers as well as any horror flick

prologue should.

Dawn of the Dead (2004)

Dawn of the Dead (the 2004 version) also opens with an unsuspecting set of characters. A couple

relaxing in the quiet of their own home. Out of nowhere a girl soaked in blood stains appears in the doorway. They run to her aid; the man holding her shoulders bewildered at her gruesome bloodied face.

Without warning, the girl lunges for the man’s neck, ripping it out with her teeth as he screams in terror and pain, and the woman watches in horror.

She manages to escape the “infected” girl’s attempt to quench her thirst for death and runs into the street. But the street is filled with chaos, and we are quickly drawn into the unfolding of this dramatic zombie thriller.

The Exorcist (1973)

The Exorcist

As far as horror movies go, there are few, if any, to equal this classic film (read why it made number 1 on out Top Ten Horror Movie list here). In fact, in many ways it goes even beyond the genre of horror. The rather long opening scene is often forgotten and misunderstood by audiences – but a masterpiece by itself. It begins with a key character Fr. Merrin at an excavation site

near a desert town. He’s exploring and uncovering artefacts.

The setting, the subtle visual clues, and the

understated artistic flavour make this a monumental piece of filmmaking. Then the very core of the entire film is literally “unearthed” when Fr. Merrin discovers a terrifying little statue. The statue which becomes the source of the demonic possession which the movie is all about. Fr. Merrin stares at it face-to-face and in a closing shot as he stands on one side of the frame against the setting sun, we see and hear wolves fighting it out in an open space nearby, and get a glimpse of the epic battle to follow.

What other great horror films had outstanding opening sequences? Tell us what you think!

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