Friday, October 26, 2012

Top 10 Favorite Scenes in Movies Part 2: The Horror...The Horror.

With Halloween just around the corner, I wanted to post some of my favorite scary moments in movies.  Not all the films listed will be from the horror genre, but they all have scenes that will be burned into my mind forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever .

* Note***  Some of the clips featured are NSFW so use caution.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre: 1974 Director Tobe Hopper.

Watching this for the first time back when I was 13, I thought this was filmed to be like a documentary.  It has a really grainy look to the cinematography and the use of sound without music really gives it a creepy atmosphere.

Jaws: 1975 Director Steven Spielberg.

Yes, I know the shark is fake looking, but when I was a kid this scene affected me heavily and gave me months of nightmares.  Now I can handle seeing slashers like Freddy Krugger and Jason Vorhees, because I know they are fake, but sharks are fucking real and the fact that one will eat you alive scares the living shit out of me.

Wolf Creek:  2005 Director Greg Mclean.

This is one of those movies where the scares don't come until the last half hour.  Most of the movie is spent with these three people as they travel around the outback and talk about their lives.  I liked that it took some time to establish who these people are, rather than just have them be stereotypes that simply get killed off.  It still could have been cut down a bit.  John Jarret as the main villain is very effective and super damn creepy. I would hate to be in this girl's shoes.

Wild at Heart: 1990 Director David Lynch

Damn, this is one messed up scene.  It belongs on this list because of the way it really disturbed me.  Both Laura Dern and William Dafoe are great in this because of the way your emotions change when watching the scene.  I still don't know if she actually was becoming aroused or not, but it's still an effective moment.

Poltergeist: 1982  Director Tobe Hooper

Even though Mr. Hooper was credited as the director, this was still a Steven Speilberg production.   Although the pacing of this scene reminds me of a bit of  "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre", I have seen this movie many times before and even I jumped.

Audition: 1999 Director Takashi Miike

One day I was at a pawn shop and found this movie sitting on a shelf.  The box art just showed a pretty woman holding a needle and a quote saying that this is what it must have been like to see the shower scene in "Psycho".  Thinking I have become pretty jaded by the whole horror genre, I gave it a look.  This is one of the most unsettling movies I have ever witnessed and it takes its time at bringing you all the fear.  This normally would bother the hell out of me, but none of it feels slow and the scares are all delivered at the right beats.  The critic that said that quote about "Psycho" was Mike D'Angleo from Time Out New York.

From Dusk Til Dawn: 1996 Director Robert Rodriguez

Here's another title that I'm sure many of you will argue about it's involvement in this list, but this moment changed the tone of this picture.  I knew that there were going to be vampires, and that it was written by Quentin Tarantino, but I had no idea that his character would be a rapist murderer.  Robert Rodriguez only shows the carnage in quick subliminal cuts which are effective, because it catches you off guard and you have no time to look away.

 What Ever Happened to Baby Jane: 1962 Director Robert Aldrich

If you have never seen this movie you need to stop whatever it is you're doing and see it right away, because this is a damn good thriller.  Joan Crawford is a famous actress and Bette Davis is her jealous sister who was once a child star.  One night, she crashes her car into her sister and damages her legs, causing her to become a cripple.  Years go by and the wheel-bound sister is being tormented by the older one.  Each time she tries to go for help, she gets stopped.  I highly recommend this movie.

The Thing: 1982  Director John Carpenter

This is a horror masterpiece, mainly for the idea of not knowing who is going to be doing the killing next.  The whole premise (for those who don't know) is about an alien species who invades a group of scientists in the arctic.  This creature can mimic anything it comes in contact with, so you have no idea who the killer will actually be.  The effects in this are still amazing, even if they look a little hokey.  The surprise element is still there, even if you have already seen it.

The Bad Seed: 1956 Director Mervyn Leroy

A little girl kills one of her classmates and tries to cover it up in this very creepy thriller.  Don't disparage these older movies because they don't have tons of gore.  Sometimes scenes can be scary just by the sheer tension of the dialogue itself.  I would love to see a modern remake of this, because the ending of the original one is a cop out and a new version would remove that aspect for sure.  I'm not going to tell you what it is, because it's a damn good movie that you should watch.  In fact, a double feature with this and "We Need To Talk About Kevin" would be a great creepy kid night.

Let me hear about some of your favorite scary moments in the comments below.  Thanks for reading.


  1. Great list, Vern. You've made me add a couple of flicks to my list of stuff I need to see sooner than later. Whenever a list does that, I call it successful. Good job!

  2. Thank you Nick. What movies haven't you seen?

  3. Terrific list! That scene in Wild at Heart was very disturbing indeed, Dafoe's character is so hideous and I felt so bad for Lula. Good call with From Dusk Till Dawn too, that's such an effective scene!

    1. Thanks Margaret. Im curious at what movies freaked you out the most.

  4. Excellent list, Vern! I haven't seen Wolf Creek yet, but it's on my Netflix queue. Guess I need to bump it up to the top.

    A couple movie scenes that really freaked me out were the bathroom scene in The Shining, and the scene in The Haunting where Nell discovers that someone (or something) is holding her hand in the dark.

    1. Nice choice with The Shining and the bathroom scene. That was scary. Never seen The Haunting. Are you refering to the original or the remake. Thanks for reading Barry.