Horror movies are big business in Hollywood. Nearly 500 horror films were released in the US between 1995 and 2017, grossing a total of 9.2 billion dollars. In 2016 alone, movie theaters sold over 55 million tickets for horror films, and the top grossing scary movie of the year – The Conjuring 2 – took in an impressive $102 million.
However, this is pocket change compared to the top grossing horror film of all time, apocalyptic thriller, I Am Legend, which took an enormous $256 million at the box office. Even the classic horror movie, The Exorcist, has taken in over $200 million since its release all the way back in 1973 – and it is still scary today!
In the past, horror films tended to be slasher flicks, like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but in recent years, they have become less reliant on blood and guts, preferring instead to build up the suspense until the theater audience is jumping in their seats.
This appreciation for horror films has also made its way to the Internet, with fan sites devoted to horror franchises, directors and actors. Lots of amateur filmmakers have also tried their hand at making their own scary movie – and have used YouTube to try and reach a wider audience.
Fans of horror flicks can now find some weird, wonderful, and downright bizarre horror videos on YouTube. Some of those in the list below have become viral hits, simply because viewers weren’t really sure if what they were watching was a horror movie or real life. And for many fans, of course, that’s what made them really spine chilling. Here are 15 of them.
15. Edward Muscare’s Pretty Woman
Everyone loves the Roy Orbison classic song, Pretty Woman. In fact, everyone loved it even more, after the success of the 1980s rom-com of the same name, starring Julia Roberts. However, if you should stumble across Edward Muscare’s version of Pretty Woman on YouTube, then you may well find yourself unable to listen to the happy pop song ever again. Muscare, who it turns out was a registered sex offender who had been banned from using the internet, lip syncs along to Mr.Orbison, complete with creepy Dad-dancing, and an odd disconcerting glance at the camera. However, the fact that he posted his home movie online, meant that the local police were soon at Muscare’s door.
14. An Early Attempt At Multimedia Hacking
Hackers were responsible for the next entry on this list, a disturbing interruption of scheduled programs on TV channels across America in 1987. A version of this early attempt at multimedia hacking is available on YouTube under the title “The Wyoming Incident”. The hack featured black screens displaying weird messages such as. “What Hides In Your Mind?” and “You Can Lose Everything,” interspersed with creepy grey alien-like faces, all set to a backing track that would be more at home in an 1980s video game. No one is sure if the original hack really took place, or if the whole thing has been created for the YouTube generation.
13. The Creepy Baby Laugh A-lot Ad
The makers of horror movies have long been aware of the scare potential of dolls – just look at the success of the Chucky movie franchise! Perhaps their inspiration was a 1970s advert for Baby Laugh A-Lot– a children’s doll which giggles maniacally over and over again. The original TV ad has become something of a legend on YouTube, with millions of hits and probably just as many sleepless nights. While Baby Laughs-A-Lot may have inspired Chucky, it doesn’t seem to have been a big seller in the 1970s. If the original advert is anything to go by, both children and adults would have refused to spend the night under the same roof with such a creepy toy.
12. A Clip With The Devil’s Effect On Your Computer
Username666 is a YouTube classic among fans of scary movies and especially of the occult. In the clip, someone tries repeatedly to access a YouTube channel which bears the number of the devil: 666. Soon, things start to take a more sinister turn, with the weird and incongruous images from the mystery channel superimposing themselves over the original YouTube layout. The effect is quite disturbing, as it feels as though it is your own computer which is being taken over by these devilish pictures and sounds. It has taken on an additional meaning in recent years, as people began to question the benefits of unlimited internet access for children and young people, and the kind of content that they might inadvertently come across.
11. Bedfellows Will Make You Sleep With the Lights on
It’s hardly surprising that the scariest horror movies are set at night time. After all, this is where most of our deepest and darkest fears lurk in the gloom and in the shadows. Since childhood, many people have been scared of the monster in the cupboard or the creature under the bed – and the short film Bedfellows on YouTube, really taps into that fear. Check it out for yourself, but be warned- you may find yourself more nervous than usual when it comes to bedtime, and you’ll definitely want to make sure that you know who it is that’s sleeping in bed next to you!!
10. The Swedish Rhapsody
There are a number of videos on YouTube that feature number stations broadcasts. These are clips that consist basically of someone repeating a series of numbers or occasionally simple lists of words. To most people, it means nothing, but to others, these apparently random broadcasts, contain instructions on how to react and respond to certain situations – perhaps even ordering some unseen individual to kill another person. The Swedish Rhapsody is one of the creepiest of these YouTube videos, perhaps because of the sweet childlike voice reciting the numbers, possibly because of the strange discordant background music. Either way, your first viewing will give you goosebumps.
9. Don’t Move, A Sinister Spirit Is Around
Ouija boards have been the catalyst for some of the best (and worst) horror movies of all time, and even in the modern world, they exert a strange pull, and still have the ability to make us quake in our boots. The short YouTube film Don’t Move, sees a group of British twenty-somethings end a dinner party with an old Ouija board. They call up a sinister spirit that wants to play the childhood game, Red Light, Green Light – only with much more sinister (and bloody) consequences should you be caught moving! It is a great combination of the modern suspense-driven horror flicks, with the blood and guts that used to be all the rage in the 1970s slasher flicks.
8. Levitating Girl
This spine-chilling clip purports to be real footage, taken by a local man walking his dog in Russia. Whether you choose to believe what you see, or choose to believe in the laws of physics, is up to you. The video shows a young girl in a pink jacket levitating several feet off the ground for several seconds. It is quite convincing – no sign of any wires, and nothing other than a few bare trees that she could be suspended from. After a few seconds, and a convenient camera shake from side to side, the girl is back on the ground, and running off into the trees with her parent.
7. Her Mirror Reflection Doesn’t Move When She Moves
YouTube is full of weird little clips, often just a few seconds long, that are designed to give the viewer a short, sharp shock. You have probably been sent a few of them by your friends over the years. They usually seem like perfectly normal videos until the last few seconds, when a ghostly figure emerges or something happens which you don’t expect – and which often make you jump in your seat! One of the most widely viewed and shared is the short clip of a young girl looking in the mirror, only at the end does it take on a more sinister turn, when she moves her head to smile at the camera, but her now ghostly reflection keeps staring out of the mirror!
6. We’ll Always Have Paris
Supposedly found footage is a great source of material for scary YouTube clips, and even inspired Cloverfield director, Matt Reeves, to make his monster movie using the same methods. On YouTube, it is never clear if the found footage – video which has been left behind by someone who has died or disappeared while making the film – is real or a staged hoax, which only serves to make all the clips a little scarier. One of the creepiest and certainly the most atmospheric of all these YouTube found footage videos is the one supposedly made by a man lost in the Paris catacombs. Scary location and a very scary premise – what’s not to love?
5. There Is Nothing After Death
Another YouTube classic, Dining Room or There is Nothing, has amassed over 3 million views. It is a short film which is designed to be watched in an infinite loop, as a woman stares into the camera telling the viewer there is nothing after death, before she slumps face first, onto a grand dining table while flames roar outside the window. Many people have tried to explain what filmmaker David Earle was trying to say with his iconic internet piece, but whatever message you take away from the video clip, you will definitely find watching it for the first time a very spine-chilling experience.
4. A Nuclear Attack Against The U.S
It is often said that real life is far scarier than anything Hollywood can dream of, and that is certainly true of the next YouTube video on the list, If. Ostensibly a short musing about chaos theory and the fragility of life, at around 5:30, it contains some of the scariest video footage found anywhere on the internet. It is a genuine recreation of what Americans would see and hear on their TVs and radios, in the event of a nuclear attack against the US. Even though you know it’s a YouTube video, it is still chilling to hear those words, and see the real warning on your computer screen.
3. Possible Paranormal Activity?
One of the most spine-chilling videos on YouTube is a simple clip of a young woman entering a lift, in which she presses a few buttons and then waits for the doors to shut, sticking her head out of the door several times, as if to look and see if someone is following her. After a few moments, she exits the lift, and that is the last time she is seen on screen. It is also the last time she was seen alive, as a few moments after this footage was taken, the woman in the video, Elisa Lam, drowned in the water tank on the roof of the building. Lam’s death was eventually ruled an accident, but the strange video footage from the lift has led to speculation of paranormal involvement in her tragic drowning.
2. I Feel Fantastic- The Clip Of A Moving Mannequin
Back to the world of the weird and the bizarre, with this YouTube classic. With nearly 11 million views, I Feel Fantastic features a moving mannequin, singing and dancing along to a weird electronica song, which simply repeats the words “I feel fantastic” over and over again. It isn’t clear if the mannequin is a robot, or if there is a real person inside a mannequin suit, but the inexplicable video clip has led to lots of conspiracy theories regarding its meaning. One rumour states that the person behind the video was a serial killer, and that he was inside the mannequin suit, which is dressed in his victims clothes.
1. Freak Of Nature
The natural world can be just as creepy as the supernatural one, as the final video in our list shows. At first glance, it appears to be a still shot of some leaves or perhaps an unusual moss on a tree trunk, but when the person making the film uses a handy stick to disturb the “moss” the viewer discovers to their horror, that what they thought was an innocent plant is actually a mass of thousands of daddy long legs. And those daddy long legs have now been disturbed from their restful slumber, and find themselves tumbling in huge groups, right into the camera lens.
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