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Eight of the Scariest Sci-Fi Movie Scenes

Daybreakers - Some of the scariest sci-fi movie scenes

These are the Eight Scariest Sci-Fi Movie Scenes That, Well, Scared the Crap Out of Me

I woke up today wanting to watch a scary movie.

Does that ever happen to you? I just all of a sudden got the urge to feel my heart pounding in my throat, and to watch a movie I know is going to give me nightmares through the spaces between my fingers.

However, I have a job that doesn’t include watching movies all day. Luckily for me though, I can write about them! (That’s like the next best thing, right?) So I decided to dig up all those unpleasant memories and childhood traumas and write a list of specific scenes from science fiction movies that scared me way more than they had a right to. I’m talking the scenes that stick with you, that flit behind your closed eyes right before you drift off to sleep. You know the ones; everyone has at least one. It turns out that I have 8 that come to mind, so here’s my list of the eight scariest sci-fi scenes.

Without further ado, I present to you (in no particular order) the eight scariest sci-fi movie scenes I’ve ever sat through:


Scariest Sci-Fi Movie Scenes – 1. Ash’s Malfunction: Alien (1979)

I can still remember watching this movie for the first time as a child, all alone in a dark house, my little brother already asleep, my mom working late in the emergency room. I was digging it, because even as a little kid I was all about sci-fi. I was digging it, being the key phrase, because as soon as the android Ash gets all creepy and chases down Ripley with milky robot sweat dripping from his face, I started shaking with fear. But I was paralyzed! I had to watch the whole scene because I was too afraid to get close enough to the TV to turn it off (the second-hand TV we got from Goodwill didn’t come with a remote- go figure!). It took me years to forget the primal terror I felt, and when I did eventually re-watch and finish Alien, I still had to close my eyes for that whole scene. I may or may not have been in high school. But that’s not important anyway moving on!

Scariest Sci-Fi Movie Scenes – 2. Subsider Home Invasion: Daybreakers (2010)

The scariest part about this scene is that I didn’t see it coming. I was caught up in the drama between the “Hoo-rah!” vampire brother and the sensitive “I feel bad about my nature” vampire brother, when all of a sudden, BAM! [email protected] wrinkly [email protected]*&%$#@3r comes out of the shadows with his gnarly fangs and half-formed demon wings to wreck s**t (sorry kiddos, there was a lot of censored cussing in that sentence). Anyone who says they didn’t jump when that dude came out of the darkness is a liar. Daybreakers is in my opinion, one of the all-around best sci-fi vampire movies of all time, and this scene gave me the unshakable heebie-jeebies. Since I can picture it vividly with my eyes closed, this one definitely deserves a spot on my eight scariest sci-fi scenes list. Also, it’s a great movie!

Scariest Sci-Fi Movie Scenes – 3. Underwater Chase Scene: Sphere (1998)

I was recently told that Sphere is a bad film adaptation of the Michael Crichton book, and was told shortly after that it’s a bad movie in general. Well, call me a Philistine, but I enjoyed it, and the scenes where the crew is diving to repair the ship or rescue their dead crewmates and the guy on the radar keeps warning them that something giant is coming up behind them (“You’re not alone out there!!!”), and the camera angles make it seem like it’s gaining, hoooo-eee, that gets my heart going. There’s something exhilaratingly scary about an unknown menace of unknown origins and unknown size coming to attack you in an… unknown way!! Especially given the state of the corpse they found. “He’s been completely pulverized!” Yeah, I’ll pass. You can keep your evil Sphere.

Scariest Sci-Fi Movie Scenes – 4. David 8: Prometheus (2012)

(I couldn’t find a good video of David 8 being scary, so here’s this unnerving teaser.) Okay, so this one is less of a specific scene, and more of a specific character, but man do the Alien movies know how to make terrifying androids. David 8’s blatant disregard for the sanctity of human life is chilling, to be sure, but he has that predatorial look about him that frightens and intrigues (in the best way possible). For a specific scene, when David and Holloway are alone in the temple, you can just TELL that David 8 is going to do something awful to him. The anticipation-building atmosphere is so thick in almost all of the temple scenes that if you’re anything like me, you watched the movie with a sickening brick of dread in your stomach. But the scariest part? David 8 seems to enjoy causing fear and destruction, whereas Ash and Bishop from the other Alien movies did it unintentionally or because of a malfunction. And that is really freaky. If you’re locked in a scary place with a scary android with devious motives and a fondness for inflicting pain, you’re in big trouble, and Prometheus definitely inflicts that fear on its viewers.

Scariest Sci-Fi Movie Scenes – 5. The Shower Scene: Arachnophobia (1990)

Alright, to be fair, the shower scenes in any horror movie are the most terrifying. I would bet money that there’s not a single human on this planet who hasn’t had that moment of paralyzing fear when rinsing the shampoo out of their hair, when they close their eyes, naked and vulnerable, and feel an ominous presence RIGHT BEHIND THEM!!!

From the mottled, undead hand grabbing Sarah Michelle Gellar in the shower scene of The Grudge to the famous shower scene from Psycho, there is something indisputably terrifying of being caught at your weakest moment. The shower scene in Arachnophobia is no different. The way the scene was shot (including the toilet scene- talk about catching you at your most vulnerable!) just builds and builds that primal terror of things that creep, unseen, along the jagged edges of your darkest dreams. All that stuff aside, spiders are of the Devil and so they’re inherently scary no matter what they’re doing.

Scariest Sci-Fi Movie Scenes – 6. Raptors in the Kitchen: Jurassic Park (1993)

I went back and forth between the scene where the kids are stuck in the upside-down Jeep and this scene, and after watching them, this one was the clear winner. The most frightening part of this scene is the juxtaposition of the wicked curved claws clicking on the linoleum with the intelligent glint in the raptors eyes.

I mean, those things are freaky smart, and few scenes illustrate that as well as watching a pack of raptors using strategy to hunt down human beings.

I mean, jeez. They were so close to outsmarting the girl that it’s really, really disturbing. Thank god for meteors, am I right??

Scariest Sci-Fi Movie Scenes – 7. The Pantry and the Knife: Signs (2002)

I think a big part of the horror in this scene is due to the fact that we don’t get to see Mel Gibson really, genuinely scared in movies very often, and watching him stumble over his words and swallow the lump of fear in his throat really sticks with you. It’s like seeing your father cry. This big strong thing showing weakness? That’s how you know you’re in trouble. Another freaky part is that the film manages to maintain that sense of dread even after the big strong ex-police officer grabs a giant butcher knife. He moves so slowly and carefully, building that tension until he almost gives up, and then the alien tries to grab him!! And I don’t know about you, but I had a lingering bad feeling even after he cut the aliens fingers off.

Scariest Sci-Fi Movie Scenes – 8. Camera Flash: Apollo 18 (2011)

(I couldn’t find a video of this scene, so the video is another very creepy scene from Apollo 18.) This movie was 100% not what I expected going in. First of all, I didn’t expect it to be actually creepy, which it was, and second of all, rock monsters?! They’re like the evil alien twins of hermit crabs and I don’t like it one bit. The scene I had to cover my eyes for, the scene I don’t know if I’ve actually ever seen all the way through, is the crater scene. When the two astronauts split up, and the one guy goes down into the crater despite all his training and his friend’s warning, you know it’s gonna be bad. His narration as he descends into the darkness of the crater (“The ground it’s… it’s different. It feels… softer.” and the heavy breathing mixed with “It’s so cold..” Yikes!) mixed with the limited glimpses the viewer gets by way of the camera flash really is found footage horror done right. You just feel sick to your stomach knowing something is going to go horribly wrong, but when it does, it’s not what you expect. Stumbling across the desiccated remains of a cosmonaut who wasn’t even supposed to be there, seemingly attacking the astronaut as the camera continues to flash? I’m glad I didn’t follow through with that childhood dream of becoming an astronaut.

Give Us More!

What are your scariest sci-fi movie scenes, the ones that haunt your dreams? I’d love to hear them! As a human being, my memory isn’t perfect and I probably forgot some scenes that made me @#$% my pants when I first saw them, so I welcome you to relive that terror with me! It’ll be fun… muahaha. No, but seriously, let us know!

Featured image from Daybreakersproperty of Lionsgate Entertainment, Inc.

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