Horror aficionados debate who has the most genuine scream in the genre

Toni Collette in Hereditary
Image via A24

Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream, if you see a crocodile, don’t forget to scream. If you’ve ever had the misfortune of hearing someone scream in public, chances are that the hairs on the nape of your neck stood erect and your automatic fight-or-flight response kicked in. Well, that’s exactly what happens in horror movies, although severely exaggerated at times for dramatic effect. In over 12 decades of scare tactics, traced back to Georges Méliès’ The Devil’s Castle, the silent motion picture credited with originating the horror genre, there have been millions of hair-raising screams — some believable and others, well, not so much.

In fact, no self-respecting horror is complete without a good blood-curdling scream. That’s just a fact. In modern-day horror, screams have been used to arouse fear, transition from one scene to another, or convey the sheer terror felt by its originator. As they do, Reddit users have been discussing the minute of horror cinema, this time in order to try and reach a consensus on which scare fare features the best, most genuine shriek.

Right out the gate, we have David Lynch’s 1992 psychological horror Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, which served as a prequel to the mystery-drama series Twin Peaks, a Mark Frost and David Lynch vessel that ran between 1990 and 1991.

Stepping away from the serious responses, one comment recalls the most genuine scream belonging to a fellow moviegoer, who jumped “three feet in the air” during an Insidious showing.

Although Eden Lake doesn’t have the same name value as Hereditary, both are mentioned in the same comment.

Both Scream and Halloween (as expected) are also mentioned. Horror icon Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode has a memorable scream in the original Halloween (1978) from John Carpenter, which is particularly prominent during the final chase scene through the house where Laurie is cornered in the closet.

Last, but certainly not least, we have Ready or Not. Although classified as a horror comedy, Ready or Not has plenty of moments that get the adrenaline pumping, both for the audience and for Samara Weaving’s Grace, whom the Le Domas family are hunting down in a demented game of hide-and-seek. When Grace is captured and prepared for a ritual sacrifice, she escapes the clutches of her captors — though not without receiving a knife to the shoulder — and unleashes a barbaric scream that’s enough to make your blood run cold.

Obviously, these are just a handful of examples; there are endless instances where horror scream queens and scream kings have honored their respective titles, but these are Reddit’s choices, which many onlookers seem to be in agreement with. In the wise words of Tatum Riley, these screams are “starting to sound like some Wes Carpenter flick or something.”