Thursday, October 15, 2015
Octoberfest Five: 5 Superior Horror Film Openings
The first sequence in JAWS sets the tone for the entire rest of the movie. It's an amazingly well-shot, terrifyingly brutal attack - in which we never see the shark. But that makes no difference whatsoever, as we grip the sides of our seat and find ourselves holding our breath as the great white pulls young Chrissy Watkins under. Her dreadful screaming has us wanting to close our eyes as so not to witness the carnage that is surely imminent. But then....silence. The quiet lapping of waves onto the beach. Death has come to Amity.
The first ten minutes or so of this Wes Craven thriller is an inspired, tongue in cheek ode to many of the past horror films it emulates. Drew Barrymore was perfect in her short time on screen, and gave a little wink to Psycho by not only using the butcher knife but by killing off what we thought was the main star just moments into the film. Below is part one of the opening, but they follow in succession if you keep watching.
So what's YOUR favorite scary movie?
DAWN OF THE DEAD
In this super remake (wow, I don't say THAT too often!) from 2004, we find Ana and her hubby waking up to discover the neighbor girl has come over for a visit. However, she's not there to play Barbies. The first several minutes of this flick are heart-pounding, spectacular panic. It's not often that a film starts out so quickly and is so fast to shock the audience - but this one does, and it's bliss!
FINAL DESTINATION 2
While the first FD was really great - with all those crazy deaths - this opening sequence of the second film, to me, is by far the most impressive opener of the entire Final Destination series of movies. The complexity of this highway accident is amazing - it is such a ferocious start to the film. It almost has to be seen to be believed. Check it.
WHEN A STRANGER CALLS
This, to me, is the definitive horror film opening. It possesses a subtle yet uncanny ability to make one's hair stand up on end. It's every young girl's nightmare - babysitting in an unfamiliar house, and getting harassed by an unknown stranger to the point of extreme terror. It speaks volumes about how to actually scare an audience, and many a filmmaker should look to this for a lesson in enigmatic dread.
Honorable mentions: Jeepers Creepers, Ghost Ship, Halloween, The Stepfather