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The Screening Room's Top 10 horrific movie moments

  • Story Highlights
  • "The Screening Room's" favorite horrific moments
  • John Hurt comes to a grisly end during dinner in Ridley Scott's "Alien"
  • 'Harmless' seagulls are seen in a whole new light in Hitchcock's "The Birds"
  • But what are your favorites? Reply in the Sound/Off box at the bottom of the page
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(CNN) -- Demons, ghouls and buckets of blood: For decades, filmmakers have delighted in terrorizing their audiences -- and we love them for it.

"Alien": You could say this dinner party was a resounding failure -- a parasitic alien bursts out of John Hurt's chest killing him.

This month, we've picked our top 10 most spine-tingling moments. From Hitchcock to Cronenberg, our choices have left us sleepless and shivering with fear.

Don't agree? Think we've missed one? Leave your comments and suggestions in the "Sound Off" box below.

But remember: In the movies, no one can hear you scream...

1. "Ring"
(Hideo Nakata, 1998)

In the hideous Sadako -- all ragged, black fingernails and terrible eyes behind curtain of hair -- Nakata has created a unique horror creature. One that is scarier once revealed than anything the tension can build up in your imagination. We couldn't possibly give away the film's climax but it must qualify as one of the most spine-chilling moments in screen history. You will never look at your TV the same way again.

2. "The Thing"
(John Carpenter, 1982)

Horror-maestro John Carpenter ramps up the paranoia in a remote polar research station. When the scientists take in a cute lost dog, how could they possibly know it is a shape-shifting alien? The alien metamorphosis is disturbing enough -- its head splits open like a terrible flower revealing a huge bug-like creature whose spiny legs hatch out of the dog's soft fur in the most visceral fashion. But the really scary thing for the scientists now is, who is real and who is an alien?

3. "The Orphanage"
(Juan Antonio Bayona, 2007)

Sickly little Simón has made a very unsuitable imaginary friend in this chilling ghost story. Tomas is a disfigured boy who hides the lumps and bumps of his face behind a grubby scarecrow mask. When Simón disappears, director Bayona cranks up the jitters for mother Laura, who is stalked down a deserted corridor by Tomas, growling like a dog. When he slams her hand in the door it's almost a relief that he hasn't done something worse. Headache-inducingly creepy.

4. "Misery"
(Rob Reiner,1990)

Famous novelist Paul Sheldon has made the ultimate mistake as far as nurse Annie Wilkes is concerned when he tries to make a run for it from the remote farmhouse where she has been nursing him after his car crash. But Wilkes, Sheldon's self-appointed "number one fan," is not about to let his pesky escape plans thwart her. The solution: "hobbling" -- the bone-crunching close-up when her sledgehammer connects is stomach-turning and will stay with you long after the rest of the film has receded in your memory.

5. "Alien"
(Ridley Scott, 1979)

The crew of commercial mining ship Nostromo are enjoying some dinnertime banter about their tasteless space food when Kane (John Hurt) suddenly starts gagging and choking. In the ensuing palava, his chest starts bulging and an alien parasite bursts out of his chest in a spray of blood. Iconic.

6. "The Birds"
(Alfred Hitchcock,1963)

Mischievous socialite Melanie Daniels pursues a potential boyfriend Mitch to the rural Northern California port of Bodega Bay, where birds have started attacking the residents. The true horror of the animals' capabilities becomes clear when Mitch's mother visits a friend and finds he has been pecked to death by a swarm of the homicidal birds. Hitchcock edits a filmic triple take -- each time Lydia looks back, the camera zooms in closer on the man's pecked out eyes.

7. "The Fly"
(David Cronenberg,1986)

Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) begins a mysterious transformation after a fly infiltrates his experimental teleportation device and their DNA is merged. At first he is elated by his super strength and agility but things get sinister when his girlfriend comes to tell him that she's pregnant. Brundle has become more insect than human. He tells her to leave with chilling simplicity: "I'm saying that I'll hurt you if you stay." He may be losing his innate humanity but he is still human enough to realize it.

8. "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre"
(Tobe Hooper,1974)

This low budget shocker is the template for a million "college kids get into trouble in Hicksville" movies. This one features five hippie types who run into a family of sadistic Texan simpletons with a taste for human flesh. Oblivious to the gruesome deaths of their three friends, Sally and her disabled brother Franklin traipse through the undergrowth to their inevitable doom. it's tense but nothing prepares you for the chainsaw-wielding lunatic who jumps out of nowhere and chops Franklin into bite-sized chunks.

9. "Don't Look Now"
(Nicolas Roeg ,1973)

A young couple, Laura (Julie Christie) and John (Donald Sutherland) Baxter move to Venice after the drowning of their daughter. Things get supernatural when they meet a pair of sisters, one of whom is blind and psychic. John starts seeing a small figure in a bright red raincoat down the side streets of Venice -- the same raincoat his daughter was wearing when she died. He becomes obsessed and finally hunts down the figure who turns out to be a grotesque, murderous dwarf who stabs him to death with a huge knife. The film is quite poetic at times and -- like many great horror moments -- the ending is completely unexpected.

10. "Event Horizon"
(Paul W. S. Anderson, 1997)

In this high-concept sci-fi horror, the Event Horizon spaceship travels through a wormhole into another dimension -- hell -- and returns haunted. Dr Weir (Sam Neill), the ship's designer, who has been sent to find out what happened, is slowly driven mad. When the ship's engine core malfunctions, he climbs into electrical ducts to fix a short circuit. Then the ship really starts playing games. Weird optical effects and flashing lights dazzle the audience: then he comes face to face with his dead wife in a deliciously yelp-making close-up. She has no eyes. I defy you not to scream.


Don't agree? Think we've missed one? Leave your scariest, goriest and most spine-chilling moments in the Sound Off box below.

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