So, in honor of this Halloween, I have compiled a nice little list....of terror. Here are ten gloriously twisted, genuinely creepy movie moments that scared the living 'bejesus out of me....
....and they aren't all from horror films...
Hanging around- The Omen (1976)
I have always thought that the first real scare of a horror movie leaves a distinct impression. As such, in a movie chalked full of creepy moments, this blissful suicide definitely ranks among the most intense and certainly left a lasting impression on me. I think it is the nanny's look of glee and joyful demeanor as she willingly leaps to her death in Damien's name that truly sells the moment.
The Black Stereotypes- The Birth of a Nation
|Just look at this crap!|
What makes DW Griffith's "timeless" film The Birth of a Nation creepy is that, not only is it not supposed to be creepy, it is actually supposed to be a family-friendly adventure romp. Nonetheless, the maker's of this film were very, very racist and had embued their film with embarassingly dated notions of black subservience and the Great White Master ruling America. The scenes that take place in the "negro colonies" are particularly skin-crawl inducing.
The Face in the Painting- Ghostbusters 2
Okay, okay, so this entry is pretty specific to me. You see, I was about 6 years old when I first saw the Ivan Reitman and co's sequel to their smash hit Ghostbusters (I saw it before I saw the original). I was deeply disturbed by the visually striking image of badguyVigo's face emerging from his own painting, having a peek around, and then receeding into the portrait again.
The golden days of 1980s practical effects, eh?
Everything in the Climax of Requiem for a Dream (2000)
It's almost impossible to articulate the sheer, mind-numbing despair of the final half hour of Requiem for a Dream. Where to start, with the lonely old woman being rendered a vegetable by shock therapy? The severed, gangrenous arm? The horrifying addition of "ass-to-ass" to popular lexicon? Only Holocaust documentaries get this repulsive.
Castration- Hard Candy (2005)
It doesnt take Sigmund Freud to determine why men squel at the though of their genitals undergoing mutilation. What makes this drawn out castration scene interesting is that it results from a pedophile getting whats coming to him from a potential victim turned vigiilante (Ellen Page). The mixture of satisfaction and horror is an intriguing blend.
She's getting into the Tub! - About Schmidt (2002)
So, Warren Schmidt (Jack Nicholson) settles down for a long soak in the hot tub of his daughter's future mother-in-law Roberta (Kathy Bates). Things are upbeat and neighbourly...and then Roberta strips naked and attempts to make advances on Warren. It's a comic scene, but I have always found the moment when you realise that Kathy Bates and a hot tub are about to conspire always gives me a chill...
A routine stop- Bad Lieutenant (1992)
Abel Ferrara's 1992 masterpiece is full of complex imagery and themes...oh, and there's also the bit where Harvey Keitel masterbates on screen for about three straight minutes while forcing two young girls to perform for him. Evidently, the censor only allowed the scene to remain in the final cut because it was "too grotesque for anybody to find erotic."
Yup, I think "Let me see your ass" and "show me how you'd suck it" is pretty much a 10.0 on my weird shit-o-meter.
Seriously, just watch...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJADAMaf7_E
The Lady in the Bathtub-The Shining (1980)
Do you really need more explanation than the image?
Little Red Riding...What? Don't Look Now (1973)
If you have yet to see Dont Look Now, I will not say anything that might spoil the surprise. All that needs to be said is that, in the film, John Baxter (Donald Sutherland) is persued/haunted around Venice by a mysterious figure wearing the same bright red coat as his daughter, who tragically drowned. The revelation as to what lies behind the red coat is as chilling a reveal as I can think of within the horror genre.
And, the award for most chilling movie scene of my life goes to....
Shhhh! Saving Private Ryan (1998)
You may not have expected this scene to win; but, honestly, this is the only scene in a film I find genuinely hard to watch.
The scenario is this: out of bullets in the middle of a Nazi siege, Private Mellish (played by the amazing Adam Goldberg) is forced to engage in hand to hand combat with a German soldier. Mellish draws a knife but, in time, the German is too strong for him. With his cowardly friend unwilling to come to his aid, Mellish gets stabbed...to death...really slowly...and it plays out in one agonisng long take.
You can watch the scene here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1I4P3umnzk
I don't know what it is that disturbs me so about this scene. The emasculated helplessness of Mellish? That it breaks the age-old trope that the good guy always wins the fight? That Mellish begs for his life, only to have the German coo and "shh" at him? Either way, I have actually stopped watching Saving Private Ryan as a result of the scene. Go figure.
On the plus side, Adam Goldberg was also Chandler Bing's crazy roomate...
Do you like to hear me blather on prophetically?? Then be sure to keep tuned in for more Kino Shout!
For now my fellow Shout-kateers, Happy Halloween!