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The 20 Most-Paused Horror Movie Moments

The Exorcist (1973) – The Face of Pazuzu

The Exorcist (1973) – The Face of Pazuzu

When the Exorcist came out, people lined up around the block to see it in the theaters. When the movie was available for purchase, it gave everyone the chance to see something they may not have spotted in theaters—the face of Pazuzu. For a brief second, we’re given a shot of the main antagonist of the film, but if you blink, you could miss it.

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The Thing (1982) – The Chest Defibrillation

The Thing (1982) – The Chest Defibrillation

The Thing may not look like a cinematic masterpiece today, but nothing was scarier in 1982. The scene that’s most paused is when Dr. Copper tries to resuscitate Norris. The shock causes a hole to open in Norris’s chest, and teeth bite off Dr. Copper’s arms. Then, this creepy spider creature pops out with the image of Norris’s face. 

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IT (2017) – the Evil Librarian

IT (2017) – the Evil Librarian

IT is full of moments that you can miss if you’re not paying close attention. One of the most paused moments is the librarian scene. The woman looks so nice but stopping the movie at the right moment shows her for who she really is. The librarian has an evil grin, and she’s just waiting for the right moment to devour Ben. 

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Signs (2002) – The Brazilian Party Video

Signs (2002) – The Brazilian Party Video

Signs was kind of a letdown at the end, but it did have a few great moments that could keep you up at night. One of those was a scene where we get a brief glimpse of the aliens in a video at a Brazilian birthday party. The alien is pretty scary until you realize it can be defeated with a bottle of Dasani.

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The Conjuring (2013) – Bathsheba

The Conjuring (2013) – Bathsheba

The Conjuring is still one of the best scary movies out there. There are a lot of pause-worthy moments, but none are more paused than the wardrobe scene. Bathsheba is shown for a mere moment, ready to pounce from a wardrobe. It’s our first chance to see the monster that’s terrorizing the family.

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Scream (1996) – Freddy Craven

Scream (1996) – Freddy Craven

Scream is a homage to horror films that played on tropes we were all used to. That being said, the most paused moment may surprise you. There’s a scene where the principal is walking around the school and has a meeting with a janitor wearing a striped sweater and fedora, not unlike Freddy Kruger. Unless you pause the scene, you may not realize that this Kruger is actually Wes Craven. 

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Cloverfield (2008) – The Creatures Frames

Cloverfield (2008) – The Creatures Frames

Cloverfield is filled to the brim with little Easter eggs if you know where to look. The subliminal frames throughout the film can show you a lot of things, but none are more paused than the creature frames. If you look really closely during this section, you can see the ant monsters from Them!, the dinosaur from The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, and King Kong.

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The Ritual (2017) – The Jotunn

The Ritual (2017) – The Jotunn

One of the biggest frustrations of this film, at least for us, is that you can’t see the Jotunn. However, that’s not exactly true. For a moment, you can see the giant creature and get a good look when paused. We then see that it’s some sort of combination of animals like a deer, a goat, and maybe even a person? Who knows, but it’s super creepy.

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Don’t Look Now (1973) – That Scene

Don’t Look Now (1973) – That Scene

Two scenes are huge in this film. The first being the ending, but the scene we’re going to talk about is when Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie are going at it. At the time, this was a pretty graphic scene and was even cut when the film debuted in Ireland. The reason most people pause this scene is because rumors claim the two are doing it for real.

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Hereditary (2018) – The Cult

Hereditary (2018) – The Cult

This film wasn’t what most people expected, but it was nevertheless traumatizing. There’s one scene that people are particularly freaked out by. Near the end, the movie cuts to a wide shot of the house during the day. Then, suddenly, it turns to night. If you pause and look closely, you can see nude cult members surrounding the home.  

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Predator 2 (1990) – The Xenomorph Alien Skull

Predator 2 (1990) – The Xenomorph Alien Skull

Predator 2 is by no means the best movie in the franchise. We’re not going to claim that. However, there is a scene many fans paused to check out. Near the end, Danny Glover’s character discovers a trophy room where the predators have stored heads of their hunts. Briefly, we see a Xenomorph skull. This was the first connection between the two franchises and teased Alien vs. Predator.

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Insidious (2010) – The Boy

Insidious (2010) – The Boy

Many people think that the boy dancing to “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” is the first scene where the boy appears, but that’s not correct. Many people realized that if you pause a minute earlier when Renai is putting away her laundry, the boy is standing next to the ironing board. To make things even creepier, he’s facing the wall.

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Alien (1979) – The Chestbuster Scene

Alien (1979) – The Chestbuster Scene

Few scenes are more iconic than Alien’s chestbuster scene. When the baby Xenomorph pops out of Nostromo’s chest, everyone is shocked. Fun fact, even the actors had no clue what was going to happen. They knew something was going to happen, but the actors were in the dark about what was going down.

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The Shining (1980) – The Teddy

The Shining (1980) – The Teddy

The Shining has a ton of weird stuff. There are the creepy twins, the ghostly bartender, the moon landing conspiracies, and so much more. However, few points are more paused than the teddy bear scene in the bedroom. Audiences are forced to rewind, pause, and process. “Wait, what did I just see?”

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Scanners (1981) – The Head Scene

Scanners (1981) – The Head Scene

After this film came out, people were left wondering how in the heck they made the guys head blow up. This scene is paused because it’s so gruesome, but it also gives you the chance to see that it isn’t a real person. Obviously. They couldn’t do that for real. The magic was created by makeup master Dick Smith.

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Evil Dead II (1987) – Freddy Kruger’s Glove

Evil Dead II (1987) – Freddy Kruger’s Glove

You have to be quick to catch this one. When Ash goes down to the fruit cellar, pause just as it shows the door and Ash’s hand. If you look to the left of the door, you can see Freddy Kruger’s glove hanging on the left. It’s rumored that it was the actual glove worn by Robert Englund. All hail the relic!

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Gerald’s Game (2017) – The Degloving

Gerald’s Game (2017) – The Degloving

This Saw-inspired sequence is even terrifying for horror movie veterans. Jesse, in an attempt to escape, uses a shard of glass to put a gash in her skin. This causes her skin to slide off like a glove while pulling her hand from the handcuffs. It’s disgusting, and we’re guessing it’s paused to give people time to recover from the scene.

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Psycho (1960) – The Ghost Skull

Psycho (1960) – The Ghost Skull

Norman Bates was freaking scary, no doubt about it. Few scenes are more terrifying than when he’s staring at the camera, smiling creepily. Then, the ghost image of a skull superimposes over his face. It’s enough to send shivers down your spine, and it’s one of the most iconic shots of any horror movie ever.

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Cabin in the Woods (2011) – Horror History

Cabin in the Woods (2011) – Horror History

The Cabin in the Woods is a love letter to the horror industry. In the movie, there’s a whiteboard with a bunch of text on it. Even if you’re a speed reader, you have to pause it to catch everything in it. After pausing it, you can see that it’s a list of classic creatures like zombies, mummies, goblins, snowmen, and more.

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The Strangers (2008) – The Shadows

The Strangers (2008) – The Shadows

The Strangers is a chilling reminder of bad things that could happen in our homes. The paused moment in this film is when Kristen finds herself alone in her home. It almost feels as if someone is watching her. While we’re focused on her, some people saw a quick glimpse of something. Pausing the movie reveals a creepy mask hiding in the dark, just waiting.

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