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The Horrors of Moon Knight

For about the past year or so, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been venturing deeper and deeper into horror territory. While the MCU had dipped its toes into the genre before, 2021’s WandaVision was the first time it really embraced the more horrific side of its storytelling. From the first episode to the last, the show had a whole bunch of really cool horror scenes. Several Marvel properties, including its new series Moon Knight, have continued the trend.

Moon Knight is steeped in ancient Egyptian mythology, and it doesn’t shy away from showcasing just how scary that mythology can be. It features magic, monsters, and terrifying supernatural beings that look more like demons than gods. Even when there’s nothing particularly frightening happening on screen, the show is always just a stone’s throw away from full-on horror.

On top of that, the series also has a number of scenes that make the leap and feel like they’d be right at home in a James Wan or Mike Flanagan movie. They feature some of the creepiest entities we’ve seen in any Marvel film or TV show, and a few of them were even directed by legit horror filmmakers. They’re sure to please just about any horror fan who checks the show out. Let’s dive in and take a look at some of the best and scariest horror scenes in Marvel’s Moon Knight.

1) Khonshu and the Jackal in Episode 1

Khonshu standing in a hallway and Steven in an elevator

The first episode of Moon Knight predictably introduces us to the story and its major players, and it had me hooked from the very first frame. The main characters are all super likable (even if we love to hate them!), and the mysteries this episode sets up are really intriguing. In a word, it’s everything the beginning of a new show should be and gets the series started on just about the best note imaginable.

What’s more, the pilot also gives us our first taste of the horrors that are in store for us throughout the rest of Moon Knight. For example, there’s a scene with Steven Grant (one of Moon Knight’s multiple personalities) in an elevator. When it stops and the doors open, Steven sees a mysterious figure walking towards him. We don’t know who or what this thing is. It’s wrapped in mummy-like bandages, and its head looks like the skull of a giant bird (with beak and all!). It’s absolutely terrifying, and the fact that we don’t know what it is makes it even scarier. Then, when the creature finally reaches the elevator, we find out that it’s just an old lady, so Steven must have been having some sort of hallucination.

At this point in Moon Knight, we have no idea what just happened. Later in the series, we learn that Steven was actually having a vision of Khonshu, the Egyptian god whom Marc Spector (another one of Moon Knight’s personalities) serves. In my opinion, that makes this scene even better. It makes sense that the show would emphasize its horror elements when the villains are on screen, but we might not expect it to do that with its good guys too. However, if you think about it, this makes perfect sense.

The show is all about magic, mysticism, and ancient gods that normal people like Steven can barely fathom. It makes sense that his first meeting with Khonshu would be utterly terrifying. I’d be scared out of my mind too if I saw a supernatural being that looked like it came straight from the bowels of hell. I think the people behind Moon Knight made the right call by having Steven’s first encounter with Khonshu be a horror scene.

Steven hiding and scared

Later on, Steven is attacked by a supernatural jackal-like creature at the museum where he works. Once again, the scene is pure horror. First, all the lights slowly go out, and Steven can tell he’s being stalked by some sort of animal. Then, we get our first glimpse of the creature, and it’s pretty scary. When Steven realizes what it is, you can see the unmitigated horror on his face. He tries to run away from it, but the creature keeps pace with him every step of the way.

He eventually ends up in a bathroom and locks himself inside. During this brief respite, he lets Marc take control of the body and save them both from the monster by summoning the Moon Knight suit and the superpowers that come with it. Finally, right as the jackal breaks through the locked door and attacks, Marc beats it to death with his bare hands. The episode ends with him walking away from the creature’s broken corpse.

I found this scene super captivating from beginning to end, and I just about jumped up and cheered when I first saw it. Sure, it doesn’t do anything we haven’t seen a million times before, but it has two things going for it. First, it’s executed really well, so even though it’s not particularly original, I still enjoyed the hell out of it.

Second, and perhaps more importantly, this scene confirmed for me that Moon Knight was going to lean pretty heavily into horror territory. Before the pilot aired, I wasn’t sure how much the show would embrace the more horrific parts of its story. However, when this episode ended, all my doubts had been put to rest. Since we got several really cool horror scenes just in the first episode, I was pretty confident that this series was going to be everything I wanted it to be.

2) Khonshu in Episode 2

Khonshu looking creepy

The second episode of Moon Knight was directed by horror veterans Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead. Not surprisingly, it contains arguably the best horror scene in the entire series. About ten minutes into the episode, as Steven is exploring a storage locker where Marc keeps his belongings, the lights begin to flicker. When he steps out into the hallway, he sees Khonshu standing in the distance. He still doesn’t know who or what this creature is, and just like the first time Steven met him, Khonshu looks pretty menacing.

Then, the lights in the hallway begin to flicker too. Steven sees Khonshu close the gap between them in a way that’s very reminiscent of Diana from David Sandberg’s Lights Out. This scares the absolute crap out of him, so he runs away as Khonshu slowly follows him. The terrifying deity soon catches up to him, and when he does, all Steven can do is scream and leave the building.

Like the horror scenes in the first episode, this one shows once again that Moon Knight isn’t afraid to embrace its horror elements. However, in my opinion, that’s not the best thing about it. Rather, my favorite thing about this scene is how it lets us know that the series is willing to draw on a wide range of horror influences. As I said, the way Khonshu makes his way towards Steven reminds me a lot of Lights Out, and I really appreciated that. Lights Out isn’t exactly a super beloved classic, so it’s not the kind of movie you’d think a show on Disney Plus would imitate. You’d expect the series to draw from much better-known horror titles instead. Sometimes, the show does do that, but that’s not always the case. Other times, like in this scene, it gives hardcore horror fans a little treat by taking inspiration from some lesser-known genre films that other people probably wouldn’t recognize.

3) The Zombie Priest in Episode 4

Creepy hands holding a wooden board

Like the second episode of Moon Knight, the fourth one was also directed by Benson and Moorhead. Once again, it contains one of the best horror scenes in the entire series. This time, Steven and Marc’s wife Layla are looking for the tomb of Ammit, an Egyptian deity who was rejected and banished by the rest of the gods. In their search, they come across a zombie Egyptian priest.

At first, the creature doesn’t see them, so every second that passes is packed to the brim with tension. You know the monster is going to notice them eventually, so you’re just waiting with bated breath for the inevitable to come. And when it does, it’s awesome. This thing is super creepy even before it lashes out; when it finally does attack, it becomes even scarier. It’s like a terrifying mix between The Mummy and 28 Days Later, so if you’re a fan of classic movie monsters, I think you’re really going to like this one.

Once again, this scene shows that Moon Knight isn’t going to limit its horror influences to just one style or subgenre. Sure, previous episodes had really cool monsters, but they were all very different from this one. One of them was an almost werewolf-esque jackal, and the other was the demonic-looking Khonshu. Until this episode, we hadn’t seen anything like the zombie Egyptian priest. It adds a nice touch of variety, which helps keep the horror in Moon Knight fresh. When you watch the series, you really have no idea what cool new monster you’re going to meet next.

4) The Sitting Dead in Episode 5

Marc looking at some people he's killed

The fifth episode of Moon Knight contains the show’s most subtly creepy horror scene. As a huge fan of subtle horror, I ate up every second of it. In this episode, Steven and Marc are in the underworld, where they must go through their memories and come to terms with each other so they can return to the land of the living. In the course of this journey, they walk through a room that contains all the people Marc has killed throughout his life, and it’s pretty creepy.

The room is dark, so you don’t get a perfect look at these people, but you can clearly tell that they’re dead. They look like they came right out of a George Romero movie, but unlike Romero’s zombies, they don’t move. Instead, they sit perfectly still the entire time, and in a certain sense, that’s even scarier.

Their stillness is a bit unnerving, and up until the very end, the scene doesn’t do anything to distract you from that feeling. It doesn’t draw attention to how scary these corpses are, nor does it throw any intrusive jump scares at you. It just lets you stew in the room’s inherent creepiness the entire time. This gives the scene a unique eeriness that we don’t get nearly often enough in modern horror.

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Written by JP Nunez

JP Nunez is a lifelong horror fan. From a very early age, he learned to love monsters, ghosts, and all things spooky, and it's still his favorite genre today.

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