10 Horror Movie Scenes That Genuinely Terrified Actors

No acting needed.

Blair Witch Project
Artisan Entertainment

The horror genre is designed, not just to entertain moviegoers, but to leave our hearts pounding, our nerves shot, and our bladders emptied. (Apologies for the mental image.) After watching a cast of characters being hunted by stalkers, eaten by monsters, possessed by demons, or mutilated by masked maniacs, you might want to sleep with the lights on.

However, the content in a horror film shouldn't be frightening for the performer involved. After all, they're just doing their job and know it's all make-believe.

But sometimes, actors have difficulty separating reality from fantasy. They can get so invested in a scene, they might momentarily believe they are in real danger. When a performer gets into character too much, it can leave them or their co-stars genuinely anxious.

When moments like this are caught on camera, it's often regarded as a happy accident, and is left in the final cut. Other times, filmmakers don't inform the cast what's going to happen during shooting, to ensure their reactions are authentic.

If any of these horror scenes left your palms sweating, you weren't the only one. Not only were the actors involved scared out of their wits, many of them more terrified than the viewers!

10. Meeting Pennywise - IT

Blair Witch Project

By today's standards, Tim Curry's depiction of Pennywise in the IT mini-series seems hammier than a pig farm. (That goes double if you compare his work to Bill Skarsgard's tour-de-force performance in the IT remake.)

As hard as it is to believe for some, Curry's Pennywise is responsible for making an entire generation of kids pissing themselves anytime they see a storm drain.

But it wasn't just viewers who were creeped out by the child-eating clown, but the main cast. In-between takes, Curry scared the younger actors at any opportunity, (either to help them to stay in character or because he thought it was funny). Sometimes, he wore his fanged prosthetics, and bared his teeth to anyone who dared approach him.

Even though Curry's methods made the children's reactions more legitimate, it created some problems. While performing the iconic opening scene, Tony Dakota, who played Georgie, completely broke character. When Curry said his infamous line, "They'll all float," Dakota yelled, "Tim, you're scaring me!" Curry tried to reassure Dakota, reminding him that he was being paid to scare the hell out of kids.


James Egan has written 80 books including 1000 Facts about Superheroes Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about Horror Movies Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about The Greatest Films Ever Made Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about Video Games Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about TV Shows Vol. 1-3 Twitter - @jameswzegan85