October 27, 2016

Watch: The Best Horror Reaction Shots in Cinema History

A face is worth a thousand monsters.

Here's a horror filmmaking truism: What you don't show—and leave up to the imagination—is scarier than what you do. Yes, jump scares are scary, gore is gross, and sound design is incredibly effective. But what distinguishes an entertaining genre film from a deeply unsettling horror experience that will follow you into your nightmares is the ability to empathize with your protagonist. And at the center of it all is the reaction shot. 

The history of horror movies is chock-full of evocative reaction shots, and a new video essay from Fandor compiles some of the best. From Nosferatu to Psycho to The Shining to It Follows, this supercut spans a century of bugged eyes, piercing screams, and gaping mouths. It's cinematic terror, personified.

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