Shukti’s Top Scary Movie Scenes
2010 October 27
In the past I’ve listed my favorite scary flicks for this time of year, and this time I wanted to do something a bit different. I’m going to list my favorite scary or cool moments from various horror movies, with the movie in bold face type first so you don’t get any spoilers for any awesomeness you didn’t experience yet for yourself. As always, if I’m missing anything, send it my way via firstname.lastname@example.org — I’m always looking to add.
And here we go…
When Dallas is crawling along the pipes and the Alien jumps out at him, hands splayed. Had it human vocal cords it would have probably yelled “BOO!” before eating his face or cocooning him or whatever. Think about it: that thing was messing with him.
When Ripley and the marines are all inside the base, Hudson’s signal is going nuts as though the Aliens are in the room with them, and then…they all look up…at the ceiling…
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
I don’t care that it’s not a horror movie, or how benign or enlightened the things are. That spider alien gives me the roaring creeps.
The giant demon-head speaking the word to bring the Golem to life was creepy, and very bold for 1920.
Well, all of it, but I especially remember the random demon faces, and the beginning sequences in Iraq were always very creepy to me as well.
The Exorcist III (1990)
The scene with the nurse in the hospital corridor made me sleep with a light on for a week. I saw it in a crowded movie theater and I remember how the audience’s collective sigh of relief when it seemed she’d get away turned into a scream. Look it up on YouTube.
Laurie thinks the battle is over, and then — wrong! — Michael sits up behind her. If you catch the bit where Dr. Loomis is in the hospital room with Mike and he’s telling Michael that he knows what he is, the cold, flat look Mike gives him is pretty freaking disturbing too.
The House on Haunted Hill (1999)
I liked the bit with the woman recording the vivisectionist doctor: she can’t see him, but the camera shows him and his loony staff — and they all suddenly stop whatever sick thing they’re doing and look right at her. Also the end credits are creepy.
Jacqueline Bisset’s character makes a bargain with the devil and when he shows up, we don’t see him— but we see her face.
When Bar-bar-a is menaced in the graveyard by something that should be dead and didn’t get the memo, and is very determined to get her. The sequence when Helen Cooper is destroyed by what was once her daughter is upsetting too.
Orlok creeping up the stairs. Great visual.
Samara crawling through the TV. And it didn’t help when two days after I first saw it I fell asleep in front of our TV and woke up in a dark room with the cable out and a blue screen. Guess how fast I can run?
A whole apartment full of old satanists. You know, they look like they should be giving you Little Debbie® snack cakes and rolls of quarters and instead they’re into Black Masses. And poor Roe; they got away with it.
Besides the ending, with late-’70s Jack somehow in an Overlook portrait from the 1920s, the scene where he’s in the cooler and we here some thing unlock it always disturbs me. Honorable mention also goes to the freak in the dog or bear suit.
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
I think Anthony Hopkins cornered the market on the upsetting cultured and creepy hybrid here, but the scene that got to me was Starling on Buffalo Bill’s turf, finding the bathtub of…whatever Bill was trying to make…right before the lights went out.
The scene where Liv Tyler’s character is alone and the first stranger drifts into the house behind her, not making a sound.
I loved the skeletal image of the old woman in the girls’ dorm at night, and the bit with Susie walking down the corridor with the witches wearing anachronistic clothes and staring at her was pretty cool too.
Update: 2010 November 1
Longtime Colorado reader Ed added some classic bits that I missed. If anyone out there has more to add, let me know.Great start! Off the top of my head:
The Thing (1982)
When they investigate the “noises” in the dog kennel, and see what’s happening there. Later when they catch up with Bennings/Thing before it’s done assimilating him. That unearthly howl it makes is creepy coming from a “human” mouth.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
The end when Donald Sutherland screams like a pod person. You can’t help but think, “they’ve won.”
Quint’s story of what happened to the USS Indianapolis. No music, little lighting, no flashbacks, just a survivor telling the story. Cripes, with a story like that, who needs a monster?
The scene in the graveyard where Gregory Peck finds out what happened to his real son, and who Damien’s real parents were. Just creepy. And outrageous! I’d be looking for blood if it happened to me.*
(*I have to add that I’m surprised I forgot that. For one thing, a high school buddy of mine and I used to joke — how the heck do you fill out a government form for little Damien’s real parents anyway? It would make a bureaucrat’s head explode. — Shukti)
Oh come on! The whole movie! Specifically when they get Carol Ann to get away from the “it” the first time, and “it” gets angry enough for them all to sense it moving through the room. Creepy! When they hear Carol Ann’s voice from the TV. Very creepy! Near the end when Steven pulls the rope even though he was warned not to. S**t your pants scary!
Pretty much any time Pennywise is on the screen. Tim Curry is a severely underrated actor!
Near the end when the Predator figures out he’s being led into a trap and doesn’t fall for it.
Samara crawling through the screen was pretty scary, but we were anticipating it. I thought it was scarier earlier when the “fly on the recording” came out of the screen. WTF?! How?
But, I thought even scarier was after her encounter with Samara/ghost/dead body in the well…when we think she’s at peace and everything is okay and this story is winding down…Aidan announcing “you weren’t supposed to help her!” Wait! Why not?! This is supposed to be over now! Why didn’t that work?!