Sunday, July 4, 2010
My Top Ten Willy Inducing Moments
Andre Dumas over at The Horror Digest recently posted a lovely little list of "Top Ten Willy Inducing Moments", in which she tells us just what moments in horror scare her. Furthermore, she's challenged other bloggers to do the same.
And although I haven't embedded video with mine (because I couldn't find many of them online, I'm not as savvy as Andre), I have picked out ten movie moments that freak me out and give me the willies!
So without further adieu, my list:
10) The Strangers - The first fright.
The moment that gets me most in this film is one of the first scares - when Kristen is in the kitchen, and unbeknownst to her, 'The Man in the Mask' is hovering near the doorway, biding his time. It is such an eerie moment in a relatively creepy movie. It gets under my skin and the first time I watched it, I saw that dude in every window and every time I closed my eyes. Effectively shuddersome.
9) Session 9 - The last scenes.
There are so many subtle moments of horror in this one - so many quietly terrifying flashes - that it was hard for me to choose. But I think the ending, where Simon is calling his wife and apologizing, and scenes of the empty asylum are shown...it is so disquieting, so haunting - that it had me thinking about it long after. Just those last words: "I live in the weak and the wounded...doc."
8) Halloween (1978) - Michael behind the hedge.
Walking home from school, Laurie, Annie and Lynda see Michael pop out from behind the bushes. Naturally, he isn't there when they look again. The when Laurie is up in her room, chatting and giggling nervously on the phone with Annie, she looks out the window. What does she see? The clothesline in her back yard. What else? Michael Myers staring at her from between the sheets. The first time I saw that it was a major startler for me, and each time I revisit the classic it gets me right here *punches chest*. There are a few more of these key moments in Halloween: when Michael is outside Laurie's school standing by Loomis's car, when Michael is carrying the dead girl around the house, and when Laurie thinks he's dead and he rises up and turns his head towards her.
This, my friends, is why Halloween will always be copied but never duplicated.
7) The Exorcist - Karras's mother.
I know, I know - the whole damn movie is willy-inducing. I'm well aware of that. But what gets me more than pea soup and demon faces is Karras's mother coming up the subway. Oh my god does that ever freak me out. "Why you do this to me, Dimi?" He's running towards her, intending to help in some way. And then we see the freaky devil face. But that doesn't get me like she does with her whiny cries and sad face. That darn Captain Howdy must be up to his old tricks...
6) Alien - Meeting the bitch.
Poor Harry Dean Stanton. Just imagine your surprise if you were just going about your business, doing a little walkabout on the Nostromo, checking things out and such - that's what engineers do, right? - then, to your ultimate dismay you get attacked by one of the god damned creepiest aliens ever put on the screen. The dread I got in my gut as that bitch of a monster reached out and... well, I think you can see where I'm coming from. And to see the ship's cat, Jones, just staring obliviously at the whole situation unfolding is the most terrifying moment of all.
5) Ghost Story - The snowy road.
This film has long been one of my favorites, and though there are several moments of absolute dread in this one, the picture above shows my favorite minute of terror. When Sears is traveling down that snowy road, trying to get back to town to being help for David and Ricky (back at Eva's dilapidated old mansion), Eva appears on the road in front of him, causing him to crash into a snowbank. Just standing there in her Sunday finest, looking every bit the ghoul she is, Eva/Alma induces a fear that sticks with you. She does it again and again in this film, and I could have picked at least four or five separate moments - but this one gets me most because you really don't expect it.
4) The Woman in Black - In the cemetery.
Speaking of terrifying women who can haunt dreams, my number four here is a film that was originally shown on television in the UK back in 1989. Based on the awesome book by Susan Hill, it tells of a solicitor who goes to a tiny village on the coast of England to see about closing an eccentric old woman's estate. What he gets is a pasty, horrifying specter determined to make him lose his freaking mind. He sees her a few times previous to this, but the moment above - when he sees her standing alone in the cemetery - sends waves of fear through me and my hair stands on end. And I mean that.
3) The Blair Witch Project - The last scene.
While I wanted to totally clean Heather Donahue's clock after about a half an hour into this one, I cannot deny that the last five minutes totally got to me in the worst way. After investing all my time into the story and processing the "legend", when it came down to the part where Mike and Heather found the abandoned house and started wandering through it, searching for Josh (who could be heard screaming in the background), I was like putty in their hands. Friends of mine bitched that they didn't understand the ending, or that it was stupid. Well, they certainly didn't pay any attention to the story, or they would know why the hell Mike was standing in that lonely corner.
I couldn't go to my basement for a week.
2) Jaws - The Indianapolis Speech. I'm not quite as afraid of sharks as Andre, but they still do a number on me. Jaws is my favorite horror movie and I could pick any number of scenes that freak me the hell out. Naturally the opening and first kill would be high on anyone's list, but I'm thinking outside the box here. When the three men are relaxing below deck, showing off their scars and drinking to their legs, Quint then quietly relays the story of the sinking of the Indianapolis during WWII. Combined with John Williams' stellar score, the tension just rises with each word. You become so involved in the speech you forget about the damn shark stalking them outside. "I'll never put on a life-jacket again..."
My absolute favorite moment in film.
1) Psycho - Norman's end speech as "Mother".
At the courthouse, once he's been apprehended and is awaiting his fate, he's all Mother.
And I quote: [voiceover in police custody, as Norman is thinking] "It's sad, when a mother has to speak the words that condemn her own son. But I couldn't allow them to believe that I would commit murder. They'll put him away now, as I should have years ago. He was always bad, and in the end he intended to tell them I killed those girls and that man... as if I could do anything but just sit and stare, like one of his stuffed birds. They know I can't move a finger, and I won't. I'll just sit here and be quiet, just in case they do... suspect me. They're probably watching me. Well, let them. Let them see what kind of a person I am. I'm not even going to swat that fly. I hope they are watching... they'll see. They'll see and they'll know, and they'll say, 'Why, she wouldn't even harm a fly...' "
My love for Norman supersedes my fear - but it still is the creepiest moment for me.
*And now, because I had such a rough time picking just ten moments, I give you an extra five. Why? Because I can....
*) The Serpent and the Rainbow- The Bride.
Wes Craven's ode to voodoo is an underrated gem in my opinion. Dennis Alan is hanging out in Haiti trying to discover more information about a drug that acts as a type of anesthesia. Instead he becomes embroiled a country's revolution and the possibility that the 'drug' is being used to make zombies. The scene above shows a veiled bride who reaches out to Dennis in the midst of a horrifyingly real dream, and the tension as she raises her veil...I can still feel it.
*) Carnival of souls- The ghoul.
What makes the scene above even more surreal is the fact that it is actually the director of the film (Herk Harvey) portraying this part. When Mary survives an over-the-bridge car accident that kills three of her friends, she stumbles out of the water disoriented and disillusioned. She takes a job out of town as an organist in a church and on the way there she sees an abandoned amusement park, and soon after - the ghoulish dude above. He haunts her every move and appears out of nowhere constantly. She even sees him in her own reflection. This is one of the spookiest old films I've ever seen, and the image of the ghoul still haunts me today.
*) The Devil's Backbone (El espinazo del diablo) - Santi.
Foreign films all seem to have their moments - seems not being able to understand the language most certainly doesn't prevent frightening moments from affecting me. In fact, sometimes not knowing is even more effective. The Devil's Backbone is quite frankly one of the best ghost stories I have ever seen. Set during the Spanish Civil War, it centers on the story of Carlos, a young boy who discovers a ghost in the orphanage he has been sent to. The first time he actually sees Santi, in all his floating, disembodied goodness, is a moment of pure exhilaration and fear. Good stuff.
*) The Ring - Samara coming out of the well.
Come on...can anyone really tell me that they weren't wigged out when she started crawling out of that damn hole in the ground? I don't believe you if you weren't. It's a startling epiphany. Oh shit, she's SO not dead. Or maybe she is. The long hair covering her face, that ghastly strut of hers, those eyes... Truly effective, and I will remember this scene as one that terrified me for days. Days.
*) The Abandoned - Doppelganger hell.
This film might not be everyone's cup of tea, as it has rather confusing, disjointed narratives and a meandering plot, but I found it eerie as hell. A woman, trying to settle an old family estate in a remote area of Russian back country, runs into a problem when she discovers how her parents actually died. Her fate is then shown to her, and she meets both a brother she never knew she had, as well as doppelgangers that warn them of their impending doom. The first time she runs into hers is just a damn disturbing piece of film - even more unpleasant for me because the ghostly apparition looks a lot like a girl from my high school that attempted to kill herself. So not cool.