They are some of the most frighting moments in movie history - but just how terrifying are they.

A new poll has revealed the screeching music from the shower scene in Psycho is cinema’s scariest ever sound.

The shrieking strings which accompany actress Janet Leigh’s screams as her character is stabbed to death by motel boss Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 horror movie beat John Williams' 1975 shark attack music from Jaws into second place.

The infamous ‘chestburster’ scene from the 1980 sci-film Alien in which the creature comes out of the stomach of John Hurt's character over dinner came third in the vote.

Hannibal Lecter’s slurp in The Silence of the Lambs and Jack Nicholson’s chilling “Here’s Johnny” line in The Shining also featured in the survey.

Darth Vader’s heavy breathing in Star Wars also claimed a place in the Top Ten, alongside Tubular Bells – better known as the theme tune from The Exorcist.


The survey of 2,000 people, conducted by hearing specialist, Amplifon was released to highlight how important good hearing is to the movie-going experience. ”

Psycho's shower scene soundtrack - entitled ''The Murder" - was composed by Bernard Herrmann and features cellos violins and violas. Hitchcock originally wanted the sequence to play without music but Herrmann insisted he try it.

Afterward, Hitchcock agreed that it vastly intensified the scene, and he nearly doubled Herrmann's salary. The score is well recognized as arguably one of the most famous scores in movie history.

Coverage of the poll went in the Mirror, Star and Metro after it was given exclusively to Cavendish Press by PR experts working for Amplifon.

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