What's the scariest film scene you've ever seen? Celebs choose their most terrifying moments 

From The Exorcist and Jaws to, ahem, The NeverEnding Story, a bunch of well-known people revisit the scenes that have scared them for life 
What's the scariest film scene you've ever seen? Celebs choose their most terrifying moments 

Haley Joel Osment in The Sixth Sense.

Rick O’Shea, broadcaster 

A Quiet Place 

 Rick O'Shea. Photograph Moya Nolan
Rick O'Shea. Photograph Moya Nolan

"I don’t scare easily really, or at all unless you count the 'quiet, quiet, BANG' jump scares that most horrors are so fond of these days. If you’re looking for an actual scare, they’re fairly few and far between.

I’m going to be very delicate about this as I don’t do spoilers, but early on in A Quiet Place there’s a scene after the family have left the supermarket and something happens on a bridge. You’ll know it if you’ve seen the film. My heart rate leapt by a factor of ten and it blew me away emotionally. Hard to do."

Rick O'Shea presents The Book Show on RTÉ Radio 1 and on RTÉ Gold

Sarah Breen, author 

The NeverEnding Story 

"Okay, while not technically a horror, I watched the kids fantasy film The NeverEnding Story far too young and was left traumatised by one particularly gut-wrenching scene. Our young hero Atreyu and his trusty steed Artax are on their way through the Swamp of Sadness when the gorgeous grey horse starts to be pulled under. Just thinking about it still leaves me shook. Poor Atreyu desperately tries to drag and coax Artax to safety but I think we all know what happens. It left me with a phobia of swamps and quicksand that I carry with me to this day."

Oh My God, What a Complete Diary 2021 by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen (Gill Books) is out now 

Muireann O’Connell, broadcaster

Nightmare on Elm Street 

Muireann O'Connell.
Muireann O'Connell.

"I remember vividly the first and only time I watched Nightmare in Elm Street and that’s because I was about five or six years old. My brother, Brian, is seven years older than me so I always wanted to hang out with him and watch what he was watching; on this night, he got his revenge.

Two minutes in I knew I didn’t want to be there anymore. That’s when my brother sauntered over from his chair and sat on me so as I couldn’t get up. My entire dinner almost made an appearance on the floor when I watched the death scene of Tina Gray. I had nightmares about his claws coming around my bedroom door for years after. To this day, if anyone sings “One, two, Freddy’s coming for you….’ I get shivers. 

 Cónal Creedon, author

Snow White  

Conal Creedon.
Conal Creedon.

"It was my 1st Holy Communion. I had reached the age of reason, and my big sister Eugenia brought me to see Snow White at the Savoy. There and then, that very afternoon I had my first crush. From the very first moment she swished her cape and swept across the silver screen larger than life, I fell head over heels in love with Snow White's beautiful stepmother. What a beauty, maybe a little heavy on the mascara - but those cheekbones, cat-like eyes, exuding power and confidence from the jagged points of her tiara to the tips of her talon-like nails.

Next thing, she drank her concoction and out from behind her hooded cloak was revealed the twisted and contorted horror of her true self – a horror that had been buried deep beneath the thin veneer of her beauty. Terror! The hair stood on the heads of 2,000 kids at the Saturday matinee, popcorn filled the air.  I made my excuses and left the cinema in tears, the screams like the souls at Dante's Inferno bouncing off every faux column and brass handrail, all the way down the lonely marble staircase and through the glass doors – out into reality and rain and the safety of a sea of Saturday afternoon shoppers on Patrick's Street. But I learned one thing that day – Beauty is only skin deep. And believe it or not, to this very day, I have never seen Snow White in its entirety – incidentally, neither have I ever eaten a red apple."

Ailbhe Reddy, musician

The Conjuring 

Ailbhe Reddy. 
Ailbhe Reddy. 

"I watch a lot of horror films, terrifying myself has become a regular Sunday evening activity. Perhaps it's the adrenalin I seek to pull me out of a hangover!  The scene that jumps to mind immediately is the hide and clap scene from The Conjuring.  You'd think something involving violence or an evil spirit would be what freaked me out, but no.  What I think of is a pair of hands appearing behind Lili Taylor and clapping, then her match going out.  Absolutely petrifying!"

Personal History by Ailbhe Reddy is out now

Claire Allen, author

Blair Witch Project  

Claire Allen
Claire Allen

"I am totally not a fan of horror movies because they terrify the life clean out of me, but I have watched a few. For me the one that still gives me the absolute fear is one of the final scenes in the Blair Witch Project, where the footage shows them in the basement - with one of the characters facing the wall awaiting his fate. There is no gore. No jump scare. No violence. But it is terrifying. Our imaginations can be scary places. Even thinking about it now gives me the creeps."

Lilian Smith, broadcaster

The Sixth Sense 

Lillian Smith
Lillian Smith

"I was on holidays one September in Boston and my cousin suggested I go to see a film called The Sixth Sense. He told me it was interesting and had a twist but that was it. I knew nothing about this movie. Not. A. Thing. This was pre-social media mass spoilers times. The scene in the house with the ghost in the hallway and kitchen? I thought my heart would stop. I am a total scaredy cat. I wouldn’t even go make a cup of tea in my own kitchen after watching 28 days later."

Lilian Smith presents Rising Time on RTÉ radio one Saturday and Sunday mornings from 6am to 8am

Eoin Quinn, actor

The Exorcist 

Eoin Quinn
Eoin Quinn

"I am a major fan of horror movies - I actually acted in a few of them and loved it. The scene that stays with me is one from The Exorcist and it’s the one with the crab crawl down the stairs. There are so many scary scenes in this film but this one for me wins hands down. It freaks me out because it’s so unexpected especially in that part of the movie and have never seen anything as freaky in my life.  It’s a such sudden shock moment and so unnatural that left a very unsettling impact on me. It sends shivers through me every time I see it, but still can’t get enough of it."

Máiread Ní Chuaig, presenter TG4 

Jaws 

Máiread Ní Chuaig
Máiread Ní Chuaig

"The scene that still scares the bejaysus out of me comes from my all-time favourite film; Spielberg’s masterpiece Jaws. Hooper dives to explore the vessel and recovers the enormous tooth of a great white from its hull. Suddenly the appearance of fisherman Ben Gardner’s dismembered head floats ominously out of a hole in the boat. Perhaps the most incredible aspect of this scene is that it never loses its power to shock. Even after numerous viewings. A monstrous undercurrent (pardon the pun) of fear and impending doom ripples through all of Jaws and John Williams' iconic theme music still gives me chills to this day."

Laura O’Mahony, comedian 

Mr. Boogedy 

Laura O’Mahony. Picture Dan Linehan
Laura O’Mahony. Picture Dan Linehan

"When I was about ten I watched a film called Mr. Boogedy and I have never known terror like it. He was a monster who used glow green and I was traumatised by him. He used also screech 'boogedy boogedy BOO'. For years after I used sit up in bed in the middle of the night and look in my mirror to make sure he wasn't in it because if he was in it, it meant he was behind me!"

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