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The Best Opening Scenes in Horror

Best Opening Scenes

Shocking Opening Scenes You Won't Soon Forget

An opening scene can make or break any movie. This is the first impression you get and sets the tone for the film. An intro scene has to do its best to pull the audience in with intrigue and make people want to keep watching. Here are a few of the best opening scenes from some impactful horror films. 

Saw (2004)

Saw was an important movie when it came out, going on to spawn nine sequels, and was a trailblazer essentially for an entire subgenre. Going back to the very beginning, we see a man who wakes up in a bathtub and realizes he is in a dark, dilapidated, industrial bathroom. The lights turn on and he is face to face with another man and they realize that they are both chained to pipes by their feet, which leads to a lot of intrigue. Who are these men? Why are they here? Do they know each other? Why are they in an old bathroom? Of course all these questions are answered, this moment matters even many movies later, and is an important part of the overall story. Saw is available for streaming on Amazon Prime and STARZ.

Saw II (2005) 

Since Saw was such a huge success, the film got its first sequel a year later. This movie set the precedent for opening traps. The movie opens with a young man named Michael who wakes up in a small room with a strange contraption around his neck and a television and mirror in front of him. Jigsaw calls the contraption the venus fly trap. We learn Michael is unworthy and a snitch. Jigsaw wants him to look inward and give up one thing he relies on as a police informant in order to be set free. He has only a few minutes to decide whether or not to cut out his eye. Unfortunately, Michael is too slow. This begs the question that comes up many times throughout the entire Saw series: What would you do? Saw II is available for streaming on Amazon Prime and STARZ. 

Scream (1996)

What’s your favorite scary movie? Scream has one of the most iconic openings in cinema history. It is so important that it has been parodied, revisited, and even paid homage to in Scream (2022). Top billed Drew Barrymore gives a fantastic performance as the innocent teen who answers a phone call while home alone. The popcorn on the stove is an excellent way for the audience to feel the tension rise in the scene. The phone rings and first appears to be just a wrong number but as they continue to converse, things escalate. The tone of the film is immediately set. There is humor, but unfortunately Casey does not have the best of luck. 

Trick ‘r Treat (2007)

A couple on Halloween night are home. The woman goes outside to blow out the jack-’o-lantern but her boyfriend stops her. She wants the decorations gone by the next day and he promises they will be cleaned up. As she starts to take down sheets from the display and is lunged at by someone in a white cloth. The figure surprised her and she was unlucky. Her body is dragged away. Later when the boyfriend comes back into the yard, he sees her head on a stake. All of this ties into the other four stories. Who attacked her? What did she do wrong? Trick ‘r Treat is available for streaming on Amazon Prime.    

Best Opening Scenes

Sinister (2012)

The opening scene of Sinister is extremely unsettling. For the first few minutes we’re shown, on what appears to be an old tape, a family with bags over their heads, in nooses tied to a tree, and hands tied down are slowly lifted off of the ground all together. There is no context, we do not know who these people are, or why or how their fate befalls them. This sets a very eerie, unsettling tone and the realism can make it hard to watch. Sinister is available for streaming on Amazon Prime, Tubi, and Pluto Tv. 

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

This film opens with a realistic public service announcement. It states that what you are about to see is a tragedy that befell a group of teenagers and was one of the most bizarre crimes in American history. On August 18th, 1973 the Texas Chainsaw Massacre occurred. We then see what appear to be camera flashes of random decomposed looking body parts and a radio report plays with exposition further framing the story. You can almost feel the heat permeating off the few flashes of body parts which were likely in the Texas heat for a while. Many people thought this was real when it came out all those years ago. It does such a convincing job of making audiences wonder if this is something that was a real recorded American history crime event. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is available for streaming on Tubi, Showtime, and IMDB TV. 

The Collector (2009)

The Collector opens with a couple coming home from a night out. The wife goes upstairs and the husband realizes the lights are not turning on. The wife calls for him upstairs and he is greeted by a big box in their bedroom that says “for the collector.” He opens it and a man jumps out. What was in the box? Why and how did it get to their bedroom? Who was the man that jumped out? What happened to them? Did the man get away? Available for streaming on Amazon Prime, Pluto Tv, and Tubi. 

Hostel (2005)

Hostel opens with a strange montage over the opening credits of a man cleaning up while whistling in an industrial room. He is cleaning a lot of blood out of the room and off of tools. The whole scene is expertly designed to create instant questions for the audience. Who is this man? What was he doing? Why was he cleaning? Hostel is available for streaming on Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Best Opening Scenes

Sinister (2012) Official Trailer

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