Given the long, storied history of horror, it's rare these days to find something that genuinely catches an audience off-guard.
With over a century to pull from, it's fair to say that horror hounds have seen pretty much anything and everything that filmmakers can throw at them - and thus, it becomes all the more impressive when somebody does serve up something that takes us by surprise.
When it comes to such surprises, it's easy to start thinking of those great, classic final act twists that swerved us all. That said, it's not always about dropping a bombshell in the third act of a horror picture. Instead, there's something equally as special about throwing in a major revelation or flipping a film on its head during the opening moments of said offering.
It's on those silver screen efforts that the focus in on here, with the spotlight on those times where horror movies left their audiences in shock, in surprise, in awe and often in sheer terror by producing a brilliant swerve during an opening act.
And regardless of what you say, these are surprises that nobody saw coming on a first watch of these ten pictures.
10. Friday The 13th Part 2
Killing main franchise characters in sequels is nothing new these days, yet back in 1981 it was completely fresh to see a follow-up kill off its predecessor's lead character - let alone kill them off after just a handful of minutes.
That was indeed the case for Steve Miner's Friday the 13th Part 2.
The opening scene of the second F13 picture isn't just memorable for the shock of offing Adrienne King's Alice Hardy, mind, for there was another revelation tied to this scene. While Alice getting an ice pick through the skull was brutally surprising, we also got the shocking shot of Pamela Voorhees' decaying, decapitated head lodged in Alice's fridge.
At that point in time, it had yet to be detailed how Pamela's believed-dead son Jason was actually alive and well - and with a thirst to unleash bloody murder on Alice and those poor fouls who found themselves passing by Camp Crystal Lake.
With this opening sequence, Friday the 13th Part 2 had given horror audiences something genuinely new and something that would be mimicked countless times throughout the subsequent decades.