We’ve all been there. Sitting in a dark cinema, possibly on a date with someone you’re trying to impress, or maybe enjoying a movie by yourself, munching away on snacks when suddenly…ahhhhrrr!! Something unexpected happens and you scream like a little girl, resulting in your popcorn ending up on the floor and your dignity nowhere to be found.
The best jump scares are the ones you don’t see coming, so this is a strictly non-horror list. After all, you watch a horror movie because you WANT to be scared shitless, so that’s a conversation for a future Top 5.
Now on to the countdown!
5. PEE-WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE – LARGE MARGE
We all know kids movies were darker in the 80s, and this moment in the twisted 1985 road movie is responsible for an entire generation of children’s nightmares. Pee-Wee Herman is weird enough in his own right, but its the character Large Marge who provides the film’s most frightening image, showing off her best impression of a corpse. Its a quick moment that’s over within seconds, but for a child under the age of ten, it’s more than enough time to leave lasting psychological damage.
4. THE DARK KNIGHT – THE MAYOR GETS A SHOCK
I saw Christopher Nolan’s brilliant Bat-sequel for the first time at IMAX (the world’s largest IMAX to be precise), so this scene where Mayor Garcia is interrupted mid speech to Harvey Dent was all the more frightening in the huge format. A big reason why the moment works so well is because actor Nestor Carbonell looks genuinely shocked by the sight of a corpse slamming against an office window two inches in front of his face. Go figure.
3. JURASSIC PARK – “BACK IN BUSINESS”
Choosing a favourite moment from Spielberg’s suspense filled thrill ride is not an easy task, but the one that everyone seems to agree on occurs towards the latter half of the film when we think the majority of the dino-scares have ended. In actuality the scene contains three separate scares: the initial appearance of the Velociraptor, and then Ellie’s slow realization that John Arnold’s hand is no longer attached to his body, which is quickly followed by the raptor returning once again. It’s enough stress to give audiences a heart attack, but just think about poor Ellie!
2. THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING – BILBO WANTS HIS RING BACK
You can almost hear Peter Jackson giggling with glee during this scene that occurs roughly halfway through the first of his Lord of the Rings trilogy. It’s a period of the film where the audience is given a chance to catch their breath in Rivendell after the thrilling events of the first half of the movie. It starts out as a quiet catch up between old friends, until Bilbo suddenly goes all Gollum and his a mini-freak out, scaring the shit out of Frodo and leaving the audience wishing they’d taken a toilet break when they had the chance. So a cruel joke on Jackson’s part, but also a brilliant one.
1. SE7EN – SLOTH WAKES UP
The reason this scene sits atop our list is because it still has the power to shock even to those who’ve seen the film countless times. The actor that played the role of Sloth had to sit in the makeup chair for fourteen hours to achieve his disgustingly gaunt look, and the scene is given further realism due to the fact that John C. McGinley, playing the SWAT team leader, wasn’t expecting the actor playing Sloth to lunge forward when he did. It all adds up to a classic scene of pants wetting proportions.
That’s all folks! Be sure to let us know what jump scare moments had you jumping out of your seat in the comments section below.