Sweet dreams are not made of these! Having a nightmare is by, definition terrifying, but usually comes with a huge wave of relief when we awaken safely in our beds. Characters in horror movies are rarely so lucky; while waking from sleep brings a momentary reprise from panic, horror movie nightmares are always harbingers of even more terrifying encounters to come.
Regular readers of Horror Freak News know we’re huge fans of the lists and video essays produced by WatchMojo, and a recent offering will definitely give you the willies: The Top 10 Disturbing Nightmare Scenes from Movies! Don’t expect to see any daydreams, fever dreams, or hallucinations (like the dead baby in Trainspotting), because those will be featured in future lists.
Related Article: Top 10 Movies That Will Make You Terrified of Outer Space
Have a watch and let us know what you think in the Comments section! Did your favorite nightmare scene from a horror movie make the list? What are some other horrifying dream sequences that deserve a shout out? Obviously, we could go on for years talking about A Nightmare on Elm Street, so try to think outside the box. Let’s discuss!
If you can’t stream, the dream and films they occur in are listed below the video. Enjoy!
Arthur Kid’s Nightmare in The Woman in Black (1989, Directed by Herbert Wise)
The Woman Appears!
Official Synopsis: When a friendless old widow dies in the seaside town of Crythin, a young solicitor is sent by his firm to settle the estate. The lawyer finds the townspeople reluctant to talk about or go near the woman’s dreary home and no one will explain or even acknowledge the menacing woman in black he keeps seeing. Ignoring the towns-people’s cryptic warnings, he goes to the house where he discovers its horrible history and becomes ensnared in its even more horrible legacy.
Rachel’s nightmare in Pet Sematary (1989, Directed by Mary Lambert)
Zelda Says: “Gage and I are Coming to Get You!”
Official Synopsis: Doctor Louis Creed (Dale Midkiff) moves his family to Maine, where he meets a friendly local named Jud Crandall (Fred Gwynne). After the Creeds’ cat is accidentally killed, Crandall advises Louis to bury it in the ground near the old pet cemetery. The cat returns to life, its personality changed for the worse. When Louis’ son, Gage (Miko Hughes), dies tragically, Louis decides to bury the boy’s body in the same ground despite the warnings of Crandall and Louis’ visions of a deceased patient.
Father Karras’ Nightmare in The Exorcist (1973, Directed by William Friedkin)
“Why Did You Leave Me, Damien?”
Official Synopsis: One of the most profitable horror movies ever made, this tale of an exorcism is based loosely on actual events. When young Regan (Linda Blair) starts acting odd — levitating, speaking in tongues — her worried mother (Ellen Burstyn) seeks medical help, only to hit a dead end. A local priest (Jason Miller), however, thinks the girl may be seized by the devil. The priest makes a request to perform an exorcism, and the church sends in an expert (Max von Sydow) to help with the difficult job.
Sue’s Nightmare in Carrie (1976, Directed by Brian De Palma)
Carrie White Does Not Rest in Peace!
Official Synopsis: In this chilling adaptation of Stephen King’s horror novel, withdrawn and sensitive teen Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) faces taunting from classmates at school and abuse from her fanatically pious mother (Piper Laurie) at home. When strange occurrences start happening around Carrie, she begins to suspect that she has supernatural powers. Invited to the prom by the empathetic Tommy Ross (William Katt), Carrie tries to let her guard down, but things eventually take a dark and violent turn.
Veronica’s Nightmare in The Fly (1986, Directed by David Cronenberg)
Congratulations! It’s a Maggot!
Official Synopsis: When scientist Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) completes his teleportation device, he decides to test its abilities on himself. Unbeknownst to him, a housefly slips in during the process, leading to a merger of man and insect. Initially, Brundle appears to have undergone a successful teleportation, but the fly’s cells begin to take over his body. As he becomes increasingly fly-like, Brundle’s girlfriend (Geena Davis) is horrified as the person she once loved deteriorates into a monster.
Beverley’s Nightmare in Dead Ringers (1988, Directed by David Cronenberg)
That Threesome Got Really Weird!
Official Synopsis: Elliot (Jeremy Irons), a successful gynecologist, works at the same practice as his identical twin, Beverly (also Irons). Elliot is attracted to many of his patients and has affairs with them. When he inevitably loses interest, he will give the woman over to Beverly, the meeker of the two, without the woman knowing the difference. Beverly falls hard for one of the patients, Claire (Geneviève Bujold), but when she inadvertently deceives him, he slips into a state of madness.
Ripley’s Nightmare in Aliens (1986, Directed by James Cameron)
Oh No! Not Again!!
Official Synopsis: After floating in space for 57 years, Lt. Ripley’s (Sigourney Weaver) shuttle is found by a deep space salvage team. Upon arriving at LV-426, the marines find only one survivor, a nine year old girl named Newt (Carrie Henn). But even these battle-hardened marines with all the latest weaponry are no match for the hundreds of aliens that have invaded the colony.
Christine’s Nightmare in Drag Me to Hell (2009, Directed by Sam Raimi)
Official Synopsis: Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) has a loving boyfriend (Justin Long) and a great job at a Los Angeles bank. But her heavenly life becomes hellish when, in an effort to impress her boss, she denies an old woman’s request for an extension on her home loan. In retaliation, the crone places a curse on Christine, threatening her soul with eternal damnation. Christine seeks a psychic’s help to break the curse, but the price to save her soul may be more than she can pay.
Loraine’s Nightmare in The Conjuring 2 (2016, Directed by James Wan)
“My Name is Valak!”
Official Synopsis: In 1977, paranormal investigators Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren come out of a self-imposed sabbatical to travel to Enfield, a borough in north London. There, they meet Peggy Hodgson, an overwhelmed single mother of four who tells the couple that something evil is in her home. Ed and Lorraine believe her story when the youngest daughter starts to show signs of demonic possession. As the Warrens try to help the besieged girl, they become the next targets of the malicious spirit.
Nancy’s Nightmare in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984, Directed by Wes Craven)
Fuck You and Your Hall Pass!
Official Synopsis: In Wes Craven’s classic slasher film, several Midwestern teenagers fall prey to Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund), a disfigured midnight mangler who preys on the teenagers in their dreams — which, in turn, kills them in reality. After investigating the phenomenon, Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) begins to suspect that a dark secret kept by her and her friends’ parents may be the key to unraveling the mystery, but can Nancy and her boyfriend Glen (Johnny Depp) solve the puzzle before it’s too late?