Scariest Scene | 31 Nights of Horror Challenge

For this year’s 31 Nights of Horror Challenge, the Day 28 prompt was Scariest Scene. Horror movies are supposed to be scary, right? I can have just picked one scene from any movie that would fit this prompt, but I had to think about which scene has stuck with me for more than forty years of watching horror movies, and one sticks out: The shower scene in Psycho (1960).

#31nightsofhorrorchallenge Scariest Scene: Psycho (1960).


Phoenix office worker Marion Crane is fed up with the way life has treated her. She has to meet her lover Sam in lunch breaks, and they cannot get married because Sam has to give most of his money away in alimony. One Friday, Marion is trusted to bank forty thousand dollars by her employer. Seeing the opportunity to take the money and start a new life, Marion leaves town and heads towards Sam’s California store. Tired after the long drive and caught in a storm, she gets off the main highway and pulls into the Bates Motel. The motel is managed by a quiet young man called Norman who seems to be dominated by his mother

The scene: The shower kill
Hitchcock didn’t invent the slasher, but we’ll be damned if he didn’t perfect it with Psycho and its seminal scene: Marion Crane’s iconic shower death. Even after you analyze the hell out of it – the Hershey’s chocolate syrup in place of blood; the edits that never once show knife penetrating skin – the moment loses none of its ability to shock. The key is the build-up, that wonderful shadow of Norman behind the curtain, and then the brutality: those quick-cut thrusts matched by that iconic burst of Bernard Herrmann’s score.

Our Thoughts on Psycho

A masterpiece. The ultimate thriller, and the movie that created the template for slasher-horror movies.

Solid plot, but the genius behind this is Alfred Hitchcock’s direction. Hitchcock builds the tension and constantly keeps you on your toes. His use of camera angles is superb. This is all while keeping the movie moving along at a brisk pace. At no stage does it drift or get bogged down.

9 out of 10


The amount of cash Marion stole, $40,000 in 1960 would be equivalent to approximately $352,000 in 2020. The $700 difference she paid when trading in her car, and getting another one, would be equivalent to about $6,100.