guest post by Vanessa S
Try not to look away. Try not to cover your eyes. Half the fun of watching these bloodfests is testing your own limits. Can you take it? The sight of blood and guts can set anyone on edge, to be sure. But, blood and guts is easy. Sometimes everything can come together so perfectly that a scene can live on well past the end credits. When the music is perfect, the acting superb and the tension palpable, it can evoke an almost visceral fear. You don’t shake that off easily. And it will live on … in you.
Here are 7 Horror movie scenes that stayed with me.
(WARNING: MAJOR SPOILER ALERT)
1. 28 DAYS LATER (2002) – The Church Scene
To be fair, there are about 20 scenes from Danny Boyle’s masterpiece that I could include here. But, this scene quite literally made me gasp and squirm in my seat. It still does. Let’s not forget that this is our hero, Jim’s, first contact with anthing alive since emerging from the hospital to find London in shambles. Those faces! Those awful faces full of the most evil intent that lock on him as he meakly says, “hello?” to a room full of seemingly dead parishoners. He really should have heeded the warning written on the wall “The end is really fu**ing nigh.” And now there’s a Priest moving toward him, too quickly, and he’s about to learn the awful truth.
2. ZODIAC (2007) – Lakeside Stabbing
Killings based on actual events are almost too much to take. It’s harder to remove yourself from a situation if you really stop and think about the fact that what you’re watching really happened. And that’s why this one makes the list. David Fincher’s unflinching account of the Zodiac killer takes us to Lake Berryessa, an idyllic spot in northern California. A sweet young couple lays casually by the water enjoying the day when the girl spies a man dressed head to toe in black, face covered, moving toward them with a gun. He then demands that the girl hogties her beau. What would you do? She unwittingly agrees. There’s a gun pointed at her. And then she is hogtied herself. As her beloved is trying to reassure her that everything will be fine, he is attacked. Stabbed in the back as she watches. What could you do?! Then she is as well as he watches in horror, helpless. *Shiver*
3. THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (1974) – Grandpa
Setting the bar for low-budget horror films, this one still stands the test of time. The first time I saw this, I didn’t sleep for a week. I mean, come on, there’s a guy named Leatherface who grabs unsuspecting people and hangs them on a hook! Yikes! It wasn’t until I was a bit older, however, that I was able to fully appreciate the intricacies of Tobe Hooper’s storytelling. When Sally is forced to sit down to “dinner” with the family we meet Grandpa, a nightmarish corpse of a man. After they slice her finger open and offer it up to the old man as an appetizer, Grandpa is then handed a hatchet to finish her off. There are many failed attempts as her head hangs over a bucket. We’ll just leave it there for now. Awful scene.
4. THE FLY (1986) – Brundle Fly Eats
I’ve only been able to stomach this one twice. The second time after many years and only a vague recollection of the gore. That said, it is a great movie. A remake of the 1958 classic, David Cronenberg took the original story, added some gasoline and set it ablaze for our viewing pleasure. Jeff Goldblum’s performance as Seth Brundle is astounding. This could have easily turned into a silly gross out. But he humanizes the monster, chronicling his transformation in a matter-of-fact, yet affecting way. As his metamorphosis nears completion, he documents how Brundlefly eats. At this point Seth is looking pretty rough; parts of him have begun to fall off, his teeth are gone and his face has deformed into what looks like the worst allergic reaction in history. We see a bit of the feast, enough, and then the shot switches to someone else watching his little home video is utter disbelief. (Probably what my face looks like through most of this movie) After that, we only hear noises…gurgling, wet. Ugh.
5. JAWS (1975) – Opening Scene
Da nuh. Da nuh. The movie that gave birth to the Summer Blockbuster and made everyone afraid of the ocean. You need only hear its haunting score to keep you on dry land for a while. Steven Spielberg gave us a suspense-filled ride about what lurks beneath. And apparently (according to IMDB) a temperamental mechanical shark forced him to get creative with a predator we don’t get to see until well into the movie. It begins on the beach with two carefree kids set to skinny dip in the dark waters of Amity. Our girl immediately jumps in while a a drunk and uncoordinated guy unwittingly passes out on the sand. She swims out…then she feels a tug. Then another. Panicking, she clings to a buoy. But to no avail. Quietly, she slips under the waves and is forgotten. The tone is immediately set. We won’t find out what’s become of her until later.
6. THE EXORCIST (1973) – The Crucifix Scene
Probably the only movie in my library for which I need to mentally prepare, Director William Peter Blatty definitely gives us a no holds barred depiction of William Friedkin’s novel. For me, this psychological horror at its best and the performances are sublime. You do realize Linda Blair was only 14 years old when she took on this monster of a role, right? (Pun intended) Reagan’s Atheist Mother watches helplessly as her daughter is decisively taken over by an evil entity. But she can’t ignore the implications of Reagan’s behavior any longer when she walks in on her doing awful things, masturbatory things, with a crucifix, all the while screaming profanities. If this was done for shock value, it worked. It is horrible to watch and most definitely crosses a line. It is said that strange things happened during the making of this film. It makes you wonder who was really watching.
7. SE7EN (1997) – Tie between Sloth and Lust
I love almost everything about David Fincher’s green-hued tour de force. A grisly story, masterfully told and realized by acting perfection. With each slaying, the tale grows richer and much more disturbing. I couldn’t decide which kill creeped me out more. So, I gave up and added them both.
Detectives Mills and Somerset follow clues to an apartment where they encounter Victor, an emaciated man strapped to a bed. We learn that Victor was a child molester and drug dealer before being punished by our bad guy and he has been chosen to represent “Sloth.” And we are made to think about his slow demise more than we’d like to as a series of photos is presented showing his steady decline. Still the most terrifying part though? After a year of torture, Victor is still alive.
Our detectives are also too late to save our victim of “Lust.” In a scene that makes my mind wander to places I’d rather not go, we meet a severely traumatized man who says that he was forced by our killer to wear a ginormous, bladed strap-on and rape (and obviously kill) a prostitute. His helpless account of the ordeal is almost unbearable to watch and a precursor to where horror will go in the near future. Saw anyone?
- The Shining (1980), A conversation with Grady in the bathroom
- A Clockwork Orange (1971), The rape scene
- The Omen (1976), “It’s all for you, Damien!”
- The Conjuring (2013), The exorcism