Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Re: 100 Scariest Movie Scenes of All-Time
#10 THE SHINING (1980)
WHAT'S INSIDE ROOM #237?
"There ain't nothing in Room 237, but you ain't got no business going in there anyway, so stay out! You understand, stay out!"
We hear that warning from Scatman Crothers to young Danny Torrance early in The Shining, and it's not until later that we understand why.
Jack goes inside and sees a gorgeous beauty naked in the bathtub. She comes out and embraces him, and Jack really digs it.
Until he looks at the reflection in the mirror and notices that the woman is now a reanimated rotting old lady!
He breaks away as she chases him out of the room, and subsequently keeps him from ever getting an erection again.
#9 THE EXORCIST III (1990)
The Exorcist III had the unfortunate advantage of being made after the horrible Exorcist II: The Heretic. Written and directed by Exorcist author William Peter Blatty, it's got some incredibly chilling moments. I had heard a lot about the "nurse scene" from friends but had never seen it until recently. A testament to how scary it is lies in the fact that I was fast forwarding the DVD to find it, fully expected to see something scary, and was still scared (expletive deleted) once I found it.
It's a great setup. A nurse makes her nighttime rounds at the asylum. After a false "GOTCHA!" scare when a man pops up from his bed to talk with her, you see a long lingering shot down the hallway in which she fiddles around with stuff at her desk, interacts with a security guard, then walks back to the hall. She enters a patient's room to the left, and after about 4 seconds, comes out again, looking no worse for the wear. Only immediately behind her is some crazy dude wearing a strange white robe, carrying large shears. Right before he cuts her head off, the shot cuts to an image of a headless statue. It's a beatifully scary moment that doesn't fail to make your heart skip a beat.
#8 NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968)
NOT ENOUGH BULLETS IN THE WORLD
As the characters in Night of The Living Dead are stuck inside a barricaded house, Ben, played by the late great Duane Jones tries to keep his head while a zombie's arms reach between the boards covering up a window. He fires 2 shots into its chest, with no effect, so he empties the barrel right into the freak's head, finally stopping it. The camera shot goes outside and you see a horde of zombies appear from behind the trees. A naked lady, crazy looking old guys, and a woman who eats bugs off a tree are shown. At this moment, the situation turns hopeless. There's not enough bullets to take care of all of them.
It also sets up the zombie mythology for nearly every other undead film from that point forward. The feeling of hopelessness as the dead outnumber the living. Ultimately the odds are so stacked against the humans left in the world, that they can do little more than hide, and wait for the inevitable.
#7 JAWS (1975)
SEVERED HEAD FALLS OUT OF THE BOAT
Hooper, played by Richard Dreyfuss, is scuba diving, checking out the wreckage of a recently sunk boat. He finds a giant tooth from the notorious great white shark. There's a giant hole in the boat, showcasing the amazing damage the creature was able to inflict. As the audience marvels at the eeriness of it all...
...the head of the victim floats out, scaring the crap out of Hooper, and everyone watching the movie. This was one of the first good cheap body popping out scares that was copied by Friday The 13th and countless other horror films for years to come.
#6 UN CHIEN ANDALOU (1929)
EYEBALL SLICED WITH A STRAIGHT RAZOR
Nothing makes sense in this collaborative effort from Salvador Dali and Luis Bunuel. Un Chien Andalou (which in French means, "Totally Sick Movie About A Chick Who Gets Her Eyeball Sliced Open"), was conceived as a surrealist art project to essentially feature a montage of crazy stuff to shock the hell out of anyone that dared to watch it. It's said that Bunuel brought a bag of rocks to the film's premiere to throw at the audience in case they were too disgusted with it.
The movie features numerous scenes that would make David Lynch envious. A dead calf on top of a piano, ants crawling out of a hole in the hand, and creepy groping are par for the course. But its the opening shot of the film that establishes itself as possibly the earliest (and still most shocking) incident of gore ever captured on film.
A gruesome shot of a straight razor cutting a woman's eye open is interspersed with a narrow dark cloud floating across a full moon. A cow's eye was used in the scene, which was a pioneering example of a gruesome gore effect. Unless you've gone to film school, this is likely a film you've not had the "pleasure" of seeing, but Amazon has it on VHS if you'd like to buy a copy.
#5 POLTERGEIST (1982)
TOY CLOWN ATTACKS BOY UNDER BED
Clowns are scary enough, but when your toy clown strangles you and pulls you under the bed, it's enough to make you want to kill Ronald McDonald out of pure self preservation! This is a wonderfully scary moment near the end of Poltergeist. The lovely daughter of the family has been returned from "The Other Side", and the house apparently cleansed of all evil. Its bedtime, and little Robbie looks at his chair where his clown was sitting, only to see it missing. He looks about the room and with great hesitation, peeks under his bed. But nothing's there! When he gets up the clown is behind him with an evil grin and starts choking the poor kid. Parents, let this be a lesson to NEVER buy a clown doll for your kid (or build a house on top of a cemetery, for that matter).
#4 ALIEN (1979)
Poor Kane (played by John Hurt) really has a rough time of it in Ridley Scott's Alien. First, a creature jumps out of a space egg and attaches itself to his face so well that nobody can figure out how to remove it, then after a couple days, it just disappears. As he eats with the rest of the crew, everything seems all fine and dandy again, until his chest starts heaving as if he just ate a bag of White Castle hamburgers, and an aptly named Chestburster alien pops right out of his tummy. The horrific and gory scene shocked audiences in 1979, and is being re-released in a special director's cut version later this October as well.
#3 THE SHINING (1980)
DANNY RIDES HIS BIG WHEEL DOWN THE HALL
Of all the scenes on my list, this is my personal favorite. Danny is busy passing the time by riding his Big Wheel through the hallways of The Overlook hotel that his family is caretaking for the winter. The sound work is incredibly eerie, as the noise of the wheels alternate as quiet then noisy as he passes over the carpeted, then hard wood floor sections of the floor.
As he reaches the end of the hallway, he's confronted by two girls wearing pretty blue dresses.
The boy's "Shining" powers kick in, and he sees a brutal murder scene in the hallway, that's far beyond his comprehension.
The fact this scene works so well is a testament to the genius of the late Stanley Kubrick. Danny Lloyd, who played Danny, was protected by Kubrick throughout production of The Shining so that he wouldn't be exposed to the horrific images in the film, through clever editing. I recall reading somewhere that he got Danny to give such a fearful reaction for this scene by telling him he was going to spend the night at Michael Jackson's house.
#2 CARRIE (1976)
CARRIE'S HAND POPS OUT OF THE GRAVE
Many films have a great "GOTCHA!" surprise ending, but one of the earliest, and still the best is the end of Carrie. I'll let my good friend Sid Herberger, manager of California's coolest movie theater, The Crest (in Sacramento), take it from here.
"I saw the film for the first time with my mom. We were watching late night TV together and, as the director had intended, had been lulled into thinking that all of the really scary parts of the movie were over and that all was happiness and light. And then, that bloody hand shoots out of the ground and I tell you both my mother and I were out of our chairs and in the air it startled us so much.
Years later, during a Horror Festival at the Crest, CARRIE was on the bill along with a bunch of other films. During the final scene, my staff and I would sneak into the theatre to watch the audience jump in horror. Still a great movie and an awesome scene!"
#1 PSYCHO (1960)
THE SHOWER SCENE
Janet Leigh is taking the shower, relaxing, oblivious to the world when a shadow appears outside the curtain. That mind-bending shrieking violin music starts up and the knife goes in her naked back again, and again, and again. She falls down dead, ripping the shower curtain with her, while her blood swirls down the drain.
By today's jaded standards, the famous shower stabbing scene in Psycho isn't the most lurid thing ever captured on film, but the setup, execution, and sheer surprise value of it all was incredible. Just imagine things 40 years ago, in 1960, a slasher movie was virtually unheard of. Most killing scenes happened off camera, or with knives that seemed to kill with little or no blood. Not to mention that Leigh was the lead actress of the film, and to see her get killed halfway through the film was a tremendous surprise.
How many people have wondered if someone was outside the shower waiting to get them, after they saw this? And hats off to Bernard Hermann, who's eerie score ranks as one of the scariest to be in any movie. His career, which spanned decades, began with creating music for Orson Welles famous "War of the Worlds" broadcast, and continued with "Citizen Kane", "Cape Fear", "Vertigo", and even "Taxi Driver."
I'd like to close with this swell email I got from TV Producer David Kesterson, who's brought us great magic expose specials from "The Masked Magician".
The Movie "Psycho". Year: 1960, Place: Barbers Point, Hawaii. Naval base.
I was 4 years old, my sister was 7 years old, and my brother was 11.
My beloved mother was in the naval hospital having an operation to restore her hearing, after being stone deaf for 8 years. It was visiting hours when we got there, the nurse at the front desk informed my father that children were not allowed in the rooms. My brother pipes up "Dad it's OK. I will take Sue and Dave to the movie, on the base, it's Walt Disney's 'Snow White'. Well my crying stopped right away, it would be my first movie ! So off we went with my Dad's blessing and money for snacks, too.
I was excited beyond words, as we settled down in our seats I gazed all around me, up at the beautiful ceiling and just over all the "MAGIC" that would be my first movie experience. The room was a buzz with people talking (strange there were no other children in the theatre). All of a sudden the lights dimmed and the room fell silent, chills ran down my body as the screen lit up and the movie started. Please keep in mind I am 4 years old and can't read believing I was seeing Walt Disney. Well it wasn't. It was "Psycho"!
Long story short, 2 weeks later my father took us to the Hospital on the way he said he was so proud how we have been behaving, he was going to let us go back to the movie, this week it was Walt Disney's "Pinocchio."
I Flipped out ,Screaming and crying and begging him not to make me go. My dad looked up at my brother and asked him "What was going on". my brother fessed up and my dad explained what really was going on. Then he took me, and I saw a real Walt Disney movie, Not the one a woman gets hacked to death in.
This is the Cal Ripkin Jr. of typos.
If you ask me to join your fantasy baseball league and I select Legolas in the first round, don't be angry at me. It's not my fault I've read up on the players and you haven't.