Scariest Horror Movie Opening Credits, Ranked From Terrifying To Deeply Disturbing

Scariest Horror Movie Opening Credits, Ranked From Terrifying To Deeply Disturbing
Image credit: Warner Bros.

The art of getting under your skin in the first few seconds.

The opening scene of a horror movie carries immense significance, being a pivotal moment that can make or break the overall impact of the movie. Here are some of the most terrifying horror movie opening credits, ranked from just creepy to mind-blowing.

7. Halloween (1978)

John Carpenter's opening sequence, shot from the perspective of an unidentified killer as the camera moves through a suburban home, creates a chilling atmosphere as viewers witness the brutal murder of a teenage girl.

Accompanied by Carpenter's haunting piano score, this sequence introduces the film's iconic villain, six-year-old Michael Myers, and perfectly captures the mood of suspense and dread that permeates the film.

6. Scream ( 1996)

Wes Craven's Scream revolutionized the horror genre in the 1990s and introduced one of the most iconic opening scenes of all time. The film's opening credits plunge viewers headfirst into a nerve-wracking phone call between a young woman named Casey, played by Drew Barrymore, and a mysterious caller.

This scene introduces the iconic Ghostface costume as the masked villain terrorizes Casey, who only misses a split second to escape her brutal death.

5. Final Destination 2 (2003)

In the Final Destination franchise, each movie begins with a premonition of disaster and a group of people narrowly escaping death, but the opening scene of the second installment of the series still haunts us more than any other.

Usually these opening scenes are known for their gore and mayhem, but none can match the intensity of Final Destination 2's multi-car pile-up, complete with slow-motion shots of impending doom, which expertly builds tension by showing unsuspecting drivers before the inevitable disaster.

4. It Follows (2004)

David Robert Mitchell's It Follows offers a more subtle, but still deeply disturbing and unique opening in the horror genre. In a mere three minutes, we follow a terrified young woman as she flees to the beach, with something sinister in pursuit.

While the nature of the creature remains unknown, her intense fear is palpable, making for an unnerving start to the movie that's unlike anything you’ve seen before.

3. It (2017)

Beginning with the gruesome death of Georgie Denbrough at the hands of Pennywise the Dancing Clown, the 2017 adaptation of Stephen King 's iconic novel captivated audiences with its blend of supernatural terror. The opening credits show a rain-drenched young boy in a yellow raincoat chasing his paper boat into a storm drain.

This seemingly innocent scene quickly takes a dark turn as the malevolent Pennywise makes his terrifying debut, taking the Denbrough family and Derryunder down a path of pain and terror.

2. Ghost Ship (2002)

Ghost Ship, maybe not that famous in its genre, features one of the most gruesome and unforgettable opening sequences that showcases the movie's maritime horror. Set on a luxury ocean liner in the '60s during a lavish ball, the scene exudes elegance and class, but it takes a horrific turn when an unseen assailant releases a steel cable, causing chaos and carnage.

Ending with the hanging of a little girl, this stark scene contrasts elegance and brutality, marking it as an outstanding opening in the horror genre.

1. Midsommar (2019)

The opening scene of Ari Aster's horror film is the most unsettling and tragic. It follows a young woman, Dani, portrayed by Florence Pugh, who receives devastating news while away from home.

The emotionally powerful sequence of Dani's sister with a car exhaust pipe in her mouth and their suffocated parents in the bedroom, accompanied by a chilling score and Dani's heartbreaking scream — while not a conventional horror scare, this opening scene sets a high standard for the film and the entire horror genre.