The Five Scariest Movie Scenes Starring Jack Nicholson

One of the most versatile and talented actors of his generation is Jack Nicholson. The elusive actor may not often be seen walking the red carpet or giving interviews, but he certainly makes up for it with his memorable performances that have rocked us to this day. Nicholson doesn’t shy away from difficult characters. He immerses himself in each of them, and gives a performance of a lifetime. It’s a class act that only pops up once in a while. It’s not every day that we see an actor have such a wide repertoire of roles, which include comic book characters, romantic leads, anti-heroes, and villains. The options are limitless, and Nicholson really knows when to seize the day. Here are the five scariest movie scenes with Jack Nicholson, in no particular order:

5. Flight over the cuckoo’s nest

The psychological drama film explored life in a mental institution. Nicholson portrayed the role of Randle McMurphy, a new patient at the facility. Life inside the four walls of a mental institution can be interesting, there are always new problems to solve and something weird can happen at any time. Take the scene where one of the patients fidgeted, due to an intense craving for cigarettes, it was a great collaborative moment that showcased the power and understated cast of the film. Randle stepped in during the commotion and showed his other co-patients how it was done. The scene ended brutally and just showed how Randle wasn’t about to go down without a fight.

4. Little Shop of Horrors

We saw a young Nicholson play the role of a masochist named Wilbur Force in the dark horror musical. The film was an adaptation of an off-Broadway musical of the same name and served as Nicholson’s breakthrough big-screen role. The scene where Wilbur visited the dentist gave viewers a taste of his skills as an actor, which involved humor with a certain sense of madness. Wilbur introduced himself as a walk-in patient who insisted on having his teeth checked as soon as possible. It was a short but sweet appearance that turned out to be a standout performance that launched a colorful career in Hollywood.


Nicholson has thrown the door wide open for epic portrayals of Joker, one of the most iconic supervillains in superhero movie history. The 1989 film was the first installment in the first series of Batman films, with Michael Keaton playing the role of Batman. The scene where Joker introduces himself again to his former boss, Carl Grissom, played by Jack Palance, a powerful crime lord (city ​​dwellers) in Gotham City, was a scary moment. Joker was Grissom’s former henchman, Jack, who he believed was already dead. This made the confrontation even more priceless, as Grissom didn’t know who he was up against.

2. Shiny

Iconic scenes from the film have been turned into memes over the years, making it one of Nicholson’s most memorable works. The psychological horror film was based on Stephen King’s bestselling novel, which followed Nicholson as it portrayed the role of Jack Torrance, an aspiring writer and recovering alcoholic who accepted the job of caretaker out of season of the isolated Overlook hotel with his wife, Wendy, played by Shelley Duvall (Annie Hall), and their son, Danny, portrayed by Danny Lloyd (Doctor Sleep). Events escalate and Jack’s struggle with alcoholism and past trauma has turned him into a violent person. The scene where he chased Wendy and forced her into the bathroom was both chilling and heartbreaking. Wendy tried to escape, but found the bathroom window too small to squeeze through. Nicholson’s portrayal of Jack had us on the edge of our seats throughout the film and made us even more afraid to check into creepy hotels.

1. The Witches of Eastwick

The dark fantasy comedy’s all-star ensemble was reason enough to check out the film. The script followed three witches, Alexandra Medford, played by Cher (Dreamer), Jane Spofford, played by Susan Sarandon (Quarrel), and Sukie Ridgemont, played by Michelle Pfeiffer (French release), who are unaware of the extent of the power of their abilities until a man named Daryl Van Horne, played by Nicholson, enters their lives. The scene where Daryl suffered the wrath of the three witches was a confluence of punishment and revenge. Daryl started out as a character who looked like someone who could satisfy witches’ deepest desires until it was revealed that he had his own dark side. Daryl didn’t know who he was joking with and ended up being humiliated, in pain, and banished because of his selfish ways. As they say, hell hath no fury like a woman (or in this case, women) despised.

Andrea G. Henderson