10 Scariest Movie Paintings

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

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).


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