10 Movies Scenes That Genuinely Terrified Actors

When the role gets too real...

The Departed
Warner Bros.

Some stars can stomach almost anything—just look at the lengths Daniel Day-Lewis is willing to go to for another statuette, or on a slightly less serious and more scary note, the sort of gravity-defying antics Tom Cruise traffics in for the Mission Impossible franchise. However, these actors have a distinct advantage over the unfortunate performers listed here—namely, the fact that they knew what they were getting themselves in for.

Yes, whether it’s a prank gone too far or an attempt at enforcing method acting on unsuspecting employees, plenty of directors feel compelled to ensure believability by choosing not to tell cast members what’s coming next until they’re in the thick of things. The result? Well, often times it’s a pretty undeniably impressive performance.

And other times, it’s an actor traumatised by their role, with the thespians left shook and unable to cope with what they’ve witnessed once the helmer has called cut and the cameras are no longer rolling.

Whether they were scarred for life or laughed it off afterwards, here are a handful of scenes which took a shortcut to producing terror from their stars.

10. The Chestburster - Alien

The Departed
20th Century Fox

It’s hard to find any fault in director Ridley Scott’s epic “haunted house in space” horror, Alien. The film was such an intense thrill ride that it went on to not only rocket its director straight to the A-list but also lead to a string of sequels, prequels, and reboots.

And that’s not even to mention the countless sci fi horror rip offs, both big and small budget, which the film inspired up to today (we see you, Underwater and Alien Outbreak). So, it’s no surprise to learn the cast of Alien were as scared as their audiences when they shot the film, thanks to the director’s, er, unconventional approach to shooting,

Scott opted not to warn the actors about John Hurt’s gruesome, iconic death scene wherein the titular xenomorph bursts free from his chest in a flood of gore. Instead he assembled the actors, shot a version in which little blood and viscera was displaced, and got them comfortable with encircling the doomed crew member for the next take.

Then Scott drenched the actors in gore without warning, resulting in the genuine horror playing across their faces in the finished scene.

Not to mention some resultant therapist bills …


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