The 10 best horror movie introductions of all time – Far Out Magazine

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The opening of any horror movie is one of the most critical moments of the feature-length presentation; after all, first impressions are everything. Whether a filmmaker is trying to envelop the viewer into the thematic world of their creation or attempting to give an early impression of the film’s complex characters, there are many different ways a horror director can welcome the viewer into the world of the film.
Wes Craven chose to hark back to the terror of Alfred Hitchcock with his introduction to Scream in 1996, killing off his marketable lead star to state that his subversive film would not be playing by the rules of the horror genre. Revolutionising the genre on two occasions, the late horror icon certainly knew how to toy with his audience, creating the unusual slasher star Freddy Krueger in 1984 and a shocking exploitation film in 1972 with The Last House on the Left. 
Alternatively, we love the introduction to John Carpenter’s The Thing, with the cult filmmaker using the magical score of Italian composer Ennio Morricone to steadily build tension. Carpenter’s opening is curious, disturbing, strange and stuffed full of intrigue, showing only a dog dashing over the Antarctic snow and a helicopter hovering overhead trying to shoot the animal to death. 
Despite this, our exclusive list of the top ten best horror intros of all time has no space for ‘good’ entries; we’re seeking out the cream of the crop. So, let’s take a look at those introductory scenes that kept you up at night time and time again.
Yeah, we know, horror remakes aren’t always so favourable with die-hard genre fans, but we’d like to voice the hot take that Zack Snyder’s 2004 version of Dawn of the Dead is actually better than George Romero’s dated 1978 original (sorry). Starring Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames and Ty Burrell, the film is known for its violent opening scene in which the main character wakes to her zombified daughter. 
If this wasn’t enough, Snyder then treats us to a fantastic opening montage set to the sound of the Johnny Cash song ‘The Man Comes Around’. Even Romero himself liked it, stating, “It was better than I expected. I thought it was a good action film. The first 15, 20 minutes were terrific”.
Currently celebrating its 20th anniversary, Steve Beck’s Ghost Ship may not hold the best critical or commercial reviews online. Still, it remains a beloved title for one scene and one scene only. The moment comes right at the very start, when the film, which tells the story of a salvage crew who discovers a long-lost 1962 passenger ship floating lifeless in a remote region of the Bering Sea, opens with a truly disturbing BANG.
Arriving with the same violence with the sudden snap of a Saw trap, the moment sees dozens of people being decapitated by a sharp metal wire. It’s shocking, surprising and deeply compelling stuff. 
Recognised as one of the most iconic horror movie introductions of all time, the drain scene of Tommy Lee Wallace’s 1990 movie It, adapted from the novel of the same name by Stephen King, is a thing of eerie terror. The moment sees a young boy Georgie Denbrough walking through the rainy streets of Derry, Maine, when he is caught off-guard by a clown hiding in the gutter. Tempting him over from the underground sewers, the clown manipulates and ultimately kills the young boy in one of the most disturbing intros of all time. 
The thing is, in the original, this classic scene doesn’t come until a good amount of time into the movie, whereas in the remake, it’s right at the start. It’s a deviation from the original film, but a very welcome one.
American filmmaker Ari Aster is considered one of the finest contemporary horror directors for good reason, creating Hereditary in 2018 and Midsommar just a year later. Whilst audiences may prefer Hereditary overall, Aster’s second feature includes several iconic moments, including the brutal introduction. Kicking off the movie’s drama, the moment depicts the suicide of the protagonist’s sister and parents. 
Aster uses the camera to float around the house like an ominous spectre, showing the brutal scenes of the suicide before taking the focus to the central character, played by Florence Pugh, whose grief is visceral beyond belief.
Navigating the back alleys and sheltered corners of the psyche, Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now is a psychological horror like no other, exploring the concept of grief with tormenting suspense. No scene better demonstrates this than the introduction, building tension with a slow pace that steadily cranks the viewer’s anxiety. 
Starring Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie, the scene builds uneasy suspense through particularly haunting, outlandish imagery as the child of the two central parents roams the grounds of their home before falling into the lake to her demise. Sutherland’s grief makes this moment truly unforgettable. 
Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s celebrated Japanese crime drama Cure isn’t a horror film on paper, but trust us, once you’ve watched it, it will infect your mind for many weeks. Telling the strange tale of a killer who hypnotises his victims to the extent that they are pushed to murder, Kurosawa’s astonishing story may be spiked with darkness. Still, its introduction is constructed with disturbing, upbeat optimism. 
Despite depicting a grizzly murder in which a man takes a rusty pole to the head of an unfortunate victim, the whole scene is scored to a spritely piece of music, wrong-footing the audience for the first time in a complex and disturbing movie.
Wes Craven doffs his cap to the very horror genre he helped to create with Scream, his final masterpiece, heralding in the reign of a brand new genre icon, Ghostface. Satirically twisting the horror genre conventions, Craven would kill off the film’s biggest name, Drew Barrymore, within the first sequence of the film, Hitchcock-style, letting the viewer know that they were in for 110 minutes of pure surprise.
The sequence is as iconic as they come, providing an introductory scene that has gone on to be ripped and copied time and time again. “Do you like scary movies?”. 
Introducing one of cinema’s first-ever slasher killers, Halloween is perhaps the genre’s most influential release, leading a whole sub-genre into the late 20th century kicking and screaming in fear. Helmed by the cult filmmaking legend John Carpenter, the film would start as it intended to go on, following a young Michael Myers in a POV shot as he stalked his first victims, ultimately stabbing his sister to death. 
It’s a great, disturbing moment preceded by an equally stellar credit sequence featuring merely a Jack-o’-lantern and Carpenter’s haunting score.
We absolutely adore the opening to Danny Boyle’s iconic horror movie 28 Days Later, but we’d like to honour the second instalment in the series for this list of best introductions. Though nowhere near as great as the first film in the series, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s 28 Weeks Later features one of the most intense and well-crafted horror movie sequences of all time. 
Depicting a frantic escape from hordes of hungry zombies, the scene shows Robert Carlyle’s Don savagely abandoning his family and newfound friends to find safety. But, honestly, can you blame him? Zombies are breaking through the wooden slats fruitlessly nailed on the doors and windows and are dashing through the rural house like a plague of death – what a scene.
Steven Spielberg’s shark-attack horror film Jaws is only rated ‘12’, despite having the cinematic power to scar a grown man for life. Though the whole film is a hot-bed for anxiety, its most brutal moment comes right at the very start when a teenage girl is rag-dolled around the water by the grasp of the titular shark who takes no prisoners during his rampage of the American seaside town, Amity.
Perfectly captured by Spielberg, the opening scene is something of utter beauty and pure terror, beautifully shot against the twilight sky. It will give you nightmares forever.
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