Bathroom Nightmares: The Definitive Guide To Shower Scenes In Horror Movies


Imagine this. You just came home from a long hard day at work. You’ve spent all day arguing with your co-workers and wondering why your manger is such an idiot. You strip off your clothes so you can take a nice soothing shower to take your mind off of things. Next thing you know a mad man/women barges in with a butcher knife to slaughter you and ruin your soapy ambitions. Not a pleasant thought is it?

One constant that runs through countless horror films (especially in the slasher genre) is the oh-so-familiar shower scene (and its slight variant – the bathtub scene). Today, we’re looking at them both.

There’s something about being completely naked in a confined space with water beating down on you (so you can’t necessarily hear your surroundings) that just makes you feel inherently vulnerable. Alfred Hitchcock knew this very well when he filmed one of the most memorable movie death scenes in his much beloved Psycho. Since that time we’ve witnessed seemingly endless victims meet their cinematic demise while dazing in the shower and oblivious.

Do yourself a favor, if you ever find yourself in a horror movie, just be dirty for a few days. With that being said, this is The Definitive Guide To Shower/Bathtub Scenes In Horror Cinema.

Psycho (1960)

Janet Leigh Psycho Shower Scene

Nobody had ever seen a film quite like Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho when it first arrived in theaters. Nothing mainstream had ever been as perverse, as complicated and as terrifying.

At the start, we have clean cut Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) just running his motel as usual. One of his clients is Marion (Janet Leigh), an attractive blonde who has just stolen $40,000 from her employer. There is significant plot and character development around Marion and we are led to believe she may be the film’s heroine.

That is until she steps into that fateful shower. Whilst taking said shower, Marion is surprised when the curtain is pulled back to reveal a silhouetted assailant. For audiences to see a screaming naked woman at her most vulnerable be attacked by a knife wielding maniac – it must have been quite the horrifying experience at the time. You can practically hear the knife pierce Marion’s flesh. With that scene, Hitchcock dispelled all our expectations and offended our decency. All within 30 minutes of the opening of the film.

Night Of The Bloody Apes (1968)

Night Of The Bloody Apes Shower Scene

Night Of The Bloody Apes is easily one of the top ten Mexican-luchador-wrestling-ape-based monster movies, and rest assure, that’s a highly competitive list. In the film, Julio (Agustín Martínez Solares) has been turned into a humanoid gorilla that apparently can’t get enough of the young ladies.

In one scene, Gorilla-Julio scales a building, pulls a chick out of the shower (Gina Morett) and starts going to town on her, ultimately tearing her limb from limb. The scene is straight up shocking – not just because of its graphic nature, but because the rest of the movie (minus the surgery) could easily be rated G. It’s like watching an episode of Boy Meets World and suddenly Mr. Feeny starts murderously raping Topanga. It’s quite horrifying.

Carrie (1976)

Carrie Opening Scene

The opening scene of Brian De Palma’s brilliantly executed psychological tale cleverly tricks the audience as it shows its titular character (Sissy Spacek) showering. The scene is shot in soft focus, idolized by the lens as an image of pure teenage beauty (despite her rather gawky looks).

The accompanying tranquil soundtrack and Carrie’s apparent enjoyment of the warm water sets the scene as a voyeuristic pleasure for the audience. However, this is all ripped away as Carrie’s period begins and the poor naive girl thinks she’s dying (all while her classmates relentlessly taunt her). You can’t feel sorry for her for too long as she eventually gets her revenge and kills everyone in her school. Plus she still got a date for the prom.

Respect due to the unnecessary but nonetheless enjoyable 2013 remake; Chloë Grace Moretz did an admirable job recreating the supreme awkwardness of this iconic moment.

Squirm (1976)

Shower Worms

On September 29th, 1975, a sudden electrical storm on the rural coast of Georgia causes a lengthy power outage in the town of Fly Creek – as well as an incredibly bizarre phenomenon related to a local worm farm.

Squirm has the audacity to avoid the use of the popular phrase “based on a true story,” instead just scrolling text across the screen as if it were pure fact. Clearly, the truths are drastically skewed, especially when killer worms start to attack (and burrow into people’s faces). At least they’re biting blood worms (bristle worms), which are truthfully carnivorous.

One of the most memorable moments of the film features the redheaded Geraldine “Geri” (Patricia Pearcy) as she prepares to take a shower. And, as you could probably guess, some carnivorous worms decide to interrupt.

I Spit On Your Grave (1978)

I Spit On Your Grave Bathtub Scene

I Spit On Your Grave (aka Day Of The Women) is one of the most controversial cult classic rape and revenge films of all time. The film follows a New York City writer, Jennifer (Camille Keaton), who heads up to a secluded cabin in the woods to write her first novel. While there, she is heartlessly raped by four country boys and left for dead. Surviving the assault, she carefully plots and implements horrific, bloody revenge against her attackers.

Jennifer seduces one of the men who raped her in order to lead him to his death. She begins to pleasure him in the bath and just as he is about to climax, she seductively tells him that she’s already murdered his friend and that he’s next. She then takes the knife that she hid under the bath mat and cuts his genitals, locking the door and letting him bleed to death in the bath.

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