There are specific film moments that are recognised by even the most casual moviegoer. E.T. flying across the moon. Rocky Balboa running up the steps. Indiana Jones sprinting from an approaching boulder. These beautiful shots left such an impression, it's virtually impossible to forget them.
But there are some scenes which everyone remembers vividly, even if they don't want to. The horror genre has given birth to a myriad of haunting imagery that's sure to disturb the most hardcore fans. These sickening sequences may have only lasted a second, and yet compelled viewers to avert their gaze, audibly gag in disgust, and sleep with the lights on. Certain shots can look so painful, creepy, or gross, they're not just scary - they're genuinely unsettling.
What's worse is the human brain has a nasty habit of remembering these spine-tingling visuals forever. Whether it's The Shining, The Ring, or Hannibal, cinema- goers shudder upon thinking about them, even if they haven't seen the movie in question in years.
Although there have been many bone-chilling shots throughout cinematic history, this lot are considered to be among the most unnerving.
10. "I Saw Her Face" - The Ring
The Ring is among the few horror remakes that's on par with its predecessor. Like the original, Gore Verbinski's spookfest focuses on subdued atmosphere and uneasy tension to keep viewers on edge. But since this an American remake, it has a few added jump-scares.
Although this technique can be gimmicky, it's utilised flawlessly here from the very beginning. In the prologue, two teenagers, Katie and Becca, are discussing a cursed VHS cassette that supposedly causes the viewer to die seven days after watching it. Shortly after Katie admits she's watched this tape, she is killed off-screen by a mysterious entity.
At Katie's funeral, investigative journalist Rachel speaks to the mother, Ruth, hoping to learn more about the teen's death. Ruth begs Rachel to uncover the truth about her daughter, stating how she "saw her face". The scene then jump-cuts to Katie's dead body, her face etched in unspeakable agony and fear.
This heart-pounding sequence resonates because it comes out of the blue. All Ruth was doing up until this point was washing the dishes. As such, viewers let their guard down just before getting the fright of their life.