For MovieMaker‘s 2016 Guide to Making Horror Movies special edition, we set out to identify what makes some of the scariest scenes of all time quite so terrifying.

So we asked a few fright-meisters to share their personal picks for “scariest scene of all time,” and try to explain why those moments were so effective. We’ll post one response every Friday in the weeks leading up to Halloween. Today, Blumhouse king Jason Blum and Paranormal Activity‘s Oren Peli (who together co-produced the latest in the franchise, Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension), dredge up their deepest cinematic fears.

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension Producers Jason Blum (right) and Oren peli (right)

Jason Blum (right) and Oren Peli (left)

Jason Blum:The Birds final attack scene—it shows the importance of building up to something and creating a terrifying atmosphere.”

A still from The Birds

Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds (1963)

Oren Peli: “It would have to be Linda Blair’s head rotating in The Exorcist. I watched it when I was 11 and it freaked me out to the point that I had trouble sleeping for the next couple of weeks. For the rest of my childhood and teen years, I refused to watch anything related to hauntings, ghosts or demons. Not even Ghostbusters—I was that traumatized! Later on, I got over it, but remained fascinated with the concept of demons and possessions.” MM

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension opens in theaters October 23, 2015, courtesy of Paramount Pictures. 

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