Pretty Little Liars knows how to scare us better than most shows on TV. We blame the writers’ affinity for all things Hitchcock. After all, he was The Master of Suspense. Showrunner Marlene King recently shared her picks for the 10 scariest scenes in the history of Pretty Little Liars with Cosmopolitan. So here are our picks!
Ian chases Spencer up the clock tower. The climactic ending to Season 1 did not disappoint in the horror factor. With Melissa still in the hospital following a car accident, Spencer is confronted by an angry Ian in the local church. She knows he was involved in Ali’s “death.” He wants to kill her to keep that knowledge secret. A scuffle up the church’s bell tower ensues that almost ends in Spencer’s death at Ian’s hand. Instead, she is saved by a masked “friend,” who pushes Ian from the clock tower instead.
The dolls are alive. One of PLL’s favorite tools of creepiness is the doll, and no doll-related scene was as creepy as the time Hanna, Spencer, and Emily are trapped inside of the Brookhaven doll shop. While the girls are wandering through the seemingly empty shop, the lights go out and a doll starts chanting “Follow me, end up like me.” Then, the girls open a cupboard to find a bloody doll and shovel recreating the scene of Ali’s “murder.” Shiver.
Emily v. “A” in the greenhouse. Emily’s encounter with “A” as part of the Liars’ greenhouse trap was the first time we saw “A” engage in a physical encounter with the Liars. When “A” realizes the meeting is a trap, she freaks out, pushing Emily over and escaping by smashing a hole into the greenhouse. A desperate “A” is a scary “A,” and this encounter made that threat corporeal.
Hanna and the Psycho shower scene. Pretty Little Liars loves its Hitchcock references, and you better believe we were freaked out by the homage to Pyscho’s famous shower scene in Season 2. While staying at the Lost Woods Resort, Hanna takes some time to clean off, and “A” sneaks in while she’s in the shower. Knowing how the Psycho scene ended, we were pretty worried for Hanna, but even without any stabbing, this scene still scared the bejesus out of us.
Spencer discovers Mona is “A”. The only thing scarier than not knowing who “A” is is knowing who “A” is, and the moment when Spencer realized that Mona had been the mysterious villain all along was heart-stopping. It didn’t help that Spencer was trapped with Mona at the Lost Woods Resort, and that Mona had complete control of the situation. Cue the carpool from hell.
Emily realizes Nate isn’t who he claims to be. Emily’s realization that Nate is not who he claimed to be (Maya’s cousin) was reminiscent of the Mona reveal. Emily was away from civilization with Nate when she realized he was the one who killed Maya and that he planned to kill her and Paige, too. Talk about bad timing.
Aria almost dies on the Halloween train. We’re still afraid to get on a train — or go to a costume party. The Season 3 Halloween episode was a rough one for Aria, who gets trapped in a crate with Garrett’s corpse, which is then almost pushed off the moving train. Lucy Hale totally sold Aria’s fear in this scene, making this moment one of the scariest we’ve ever seen on Pretty Little Liars.
Emily heads for the table saw. Another almost-Liar death that had us gasping in horror was Emily’s almost demise-by-saw when the Liars visited Ravenswood in Season 4. After getting snatched from the magician’s show, Emily shows up trapped in a coffin. On a conveyer belt. Heading for an electric saw. She’s saved at the last minute by Red Coat, but not before we lost a few years off of our lives.
“A” chokes Mona. Most of moments on this show happen as part of some elaborate set-up. We know the Liars are in danger when they go investigating. But the scene in which Mona gets into her car only to be nearly choked to death by “A,” who was hiding in her backseat, while the Liars stand nearby came without much fanfare. The surprise in this moment — and the fact that Mona was the target — made us realize that “A” could strike anyone at anytime.
Spencer realizes she’s not alone in her cabin. Never underestimate the scare potential of a good Casper impersonator. Sure, now we know the person hiding under the sheet in Spencer’s cabin was Noel Kahn, but we knew no such thing when Spencer noticed that someone was sitting under a sheet on a nearby chair and watching her through an eye hole. How creepy is that? We wouldn’t have blamed Spencer for stabbing with her fire poker first and asking questions later.
What do you think is the scariest PLL moment of all time? Sound off in the comments below!
Catch the next episode of Pretty Little Liars on August 26, 2014 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.