10 Scariest Movie Paintings

The creepiest landscapes and portraits to grace the silver screen in the history of horror...

GB2 Vigo
Columbia Pictures

Is there anything scarier than a painting?

Yes, yes there is. There are emphatically things scarier than paintings.


The medium of painting has since its inception on cave walls been used, much like cinema, to communicate fear and foreboding as much as any other emotional response that it may hope to prompt. Just look at Hieronymus Bosch's infamous vision of hell entitled, well, Hell, for proof of art's historical fascination with morbid and macabre subjects.

From Gustave Dore's illustrations of Dante's Divine Comedy through to Goya's infamous Saturn Devouring His Son, there's plenty of proof that the medium of painting has always held a special space in its dark heart for deeply creepy imaginings (as well as plenty of proof that some article authors took an art history class in high school).

But cinema has given creepy paintings a whole new lease of life, as the silver screen allows these unsettling creations the chance to change, move, and even come to life in the horror genre. Whether they're haunting our characters, hopping off the page and into reality, or just hiding some sinister secrets, these are ten of the creepiest portraits in silver screen history.

(And no, this list is not including any moving-eye paintings that turn out to have people behind them, so apologies to Scooby Doo writer's room).

10. Miss Cobb And Her Dolls - Tales From The Hood

GB2 Vigo
40 Acres and A Mule

An underrated horror anthology from the mid nineties, Tales from the Hood continues decades after its release to receive a little love from critics, which may be based more on its title than anything in the film proper.

Is it supposed to be a silly horror spoof or a serious horror movie, asked critics who somehow understood the idea of a campy horror comedy a few years earlier when it came in the form of HBO's mega hit Tales from the Crypt.

But whilst Spike Lee's producer credit wasn't enough to get this 1995 classic the credit it deserves amongst horror aficionados, the film does feature one of the genre's creepiest paintings.

Featured in the segment KKK Comeuppance, the painting is question is a very rare phenomenon in horror, that being a heroic haunted painting that the audience are rooting for.

An image of a hoodoo witch surrounded by her dolls, this one haunts an unapologetic white supremacist until his bitter and brutal end in this darkly comic and cathartic horror anthology segment. Deeply creepy as well as funny, the sequence mines serious scares from this seemingly innocuous painting and will leave you rooting for its witchy subject to get her vengeance.


Cathal Gunning hasn't written a bio just yet, but if they had... it would appear here.