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Jan 30, 2007

Comments

StephenGrahamJones

man -- I can't play here, can I? and these are my favorite kinds of games.

anyway, my first invalid entry would be that floating nun in EXORCIST III. absolutely stopped my heart. then Emily Rose all demon-twisted on her dorm room floor. don't even like to think about that, really. though kid-Jason in F13 had no small effect on me.

and, if you need kickstarting for this horror stuff, I've got more like this logged here, maybe: http://www.demontheory.net/?p=105

Brandon

I've been scared a few times by horror movies, but one scene that really sticks out comes from the "Dawn of the Dead" remake, when, after being bitten by a zombie, the pregnant woman is tied to the bed and about to give birth. It's a gory scene, and even though she's strapped down, the suspense is unbearable--she's snapping and growling at her husband, and throughout the whole scene, you want to know what the baby looks like. This movie wasn't as good as the original--remakes never are, right?--but this scene alone scared the crap out of me and made me swear never to have children. I just think the whole idea of something so innocent, like a baby, being so disgusting and evil disturbs me beyond belief. I feel the same way about "Rosemary's Baby." Forget vampires and all those monsters--babies are ten times more frightening.

StephenGrahamJones

"babies are ten times more frightening."

man, and isn't there supposed to be an IT'S ALIVE remake somewhere in the pipes?

[ http://imdb.com/title/tt0071675/ ]

but, as for reasons not to have kids, if you're looking for them, there's always this: http://youtube.com/watch?v=lMMY1kyZbVk

( to say nothing of http://youtube.com/watch?v=WeIQMcJ4e2s )

and of course I can't support links like this, really:
http://32fps.com/i2/reason-not-to-have-kids.avi. so don't click there.

Scott McKenzie

I'm not eligible for the contest, but I couldn't help but weigh in...

As a child, the film that scared the shit out of me wasn't even a movie really, but a cartoon. Disney's The Headless Horsemen drove me to tremors.

Consider that I grew up on a horse farm and my father would make me walk up to the barn at night to check on the mares, maybe throw out some hay, dump some water in their buckets, etc. It wasn't that bad going up the hill, but man, coming down was awful. I walked in the dark, trying not to run because breaking into a run was like acknowledging that you knew the monster was there and then he'd really get you, and keep my eyes focused on my house at the bottom of the hill.

Naturally, since we had about fifty horses on the property, I would hear the thunder of hooves at some point during my walk home. Which would send me racing down the hill, hysterical Ichabod Crane style.

There was a overhead utility light that threw some weird shadows because of a dead tree on the edge of our yard. That was my equivalent of Sleepy Hollow's covered bridge. If I could cross those shadows, then I would be in my yard and the Headless Horseman's power would end.

Suffice it to say that kids never like to do their chores. But haunted by that damn cartoon, I really hated to go up to the barn at night.

LK

I'm embarrassed to say, but the last scene in Carrie, with Amy Irving and, er, shall we say a protuberance, made me jump out of my seat the first time I saw it.

Will

Like Mr. McKenzie, My scariest moment comes from a Disney film: The Return To Oz. Dorothy can't shut-up about Oz and spends so much time thinking about it that she can't sleep. Aunt Em decides to take her to Dr. Worley, who's had luck treating mental disorders with this new-fangled electro-shock. At night, Dorothy hears the good doctor's former patients who can only wail.

So that's scary enough, but the big moment comes when Dorothy -- played by Fairuza Balk, who will go on to star as Nancy in the Craft -- has been taken prisoner by Princess Mombi. Mombi's stolen and bewitched a hallway full of beautiful heads, which she wears depending on the outfit and occasion, and wants to keep Dorothy in her tower until her head is ripe enough to harvest.

With the help of fellow prisoner, Jack Pumpkinhead, Dorothy plans their escape. Unfortunately, it’s contingent on stealing Mombi’s Powder of Life that she keeps locked in the case with her original head. Dorothy sneaks out and makes her to Mombi's bedroom. The princess sleeps with the key to all the cabinets tied to her wrist. There's a great deal of suspense with Mombi turning over and inexplicably snoring even though she sleeps without a head.

Anyway. Dorothy unlocks the cabinet with the original head, grabs the MacGuffin, but knocks another magical thing over. Mombi’s original head snaps awake and begins this low growl. “Doooroothyy Gaayle.” All the other heads snap awake. “Doooroothyy Gaayle.” They all lock onto Dorothy, and now they’re all moaning “Doooroothyy Gaayle.”

The movie cuts to Mombi’s room, and, with this gong crash for emphasis, Mombi sits bolt-upright. Because Dorothy locks the cabinet and takes the key with her, Mombi grabs a hatchet and breaks her way into the case, lifting her own head by the hair.

I don’t know why that creeped me out so much. I guess Mombi seems so unrelenting. Plus, she lacks a head. Whenever something that doesn’t have a head gives chase instead of having the decency to die, it’s going to be unsettling.

Corey Redekop

OK, many films scare me, but what's the most embarrassing moment?

In Mulholland Drive, there is a moment where the camera is panning over an expanse of concrete wall. It's the middle of the day, well-lit, and nothing overtly frightening. But David Lynch creates such an atmosphere of dread that when the homeless man walks out at the end of the wall (and that's all he does, walk out - no BOO! or anything), I screamed in the theatre. Luckily for me, I was not the only one.

Runner-up: JAWS. I mean, it's a fantastic film, but I've watched it over twenty times, and I STILL wince when the head pops up. EVERY TIME. How embarrassing is that?

StephenGrahamJones

man yeah, MULHOLLAND DRIVE. had forgot that one. that woman rotting on the bed, though, that and the closet girl from THE RING. don't even like to conjure them in memory.

Dan Wickett

If we're pulling Lynch into this, I have to go the television route with various aspects/scenes of Twin Peaks:

Top on my list would be the first time Bob's face appears - Laura in her room and looking at that painting. Suddenly glancing to the foot of her bed, and there's Frank Silva's face peering up at her as Bob?

And the scene where Bob totally messes with Leland by pulling out and allowing him to realize he's the one who (spoiler alert - realize it's been what, 12 or 13 years, but just in case, you've been warned) killed his own daughter - and Leland's reaction, bashing his head against the prison bars.

ghg

I rarely get scared by movies. Point blank, I'd be embarassed if I did. Too many days and nights and both at once spent in the darkened wombs of theaters. But, once, I was scared and shamed at the same time. Requiem for a Dream. There with a friend named Jerod in a crowded indie place and we almost got turned away because Mapquest didn't get the one-way streets in Denver quite right.

We got the last two seats together in the middle of everyone for the late night showing right when the movie first came out.

My only smidge of a defense is that Pi had been more cerebral, less visceral, and, because of the narrative distance, I might not have known quite what I was getting myself into.

And I couldn't stop snickering. Comedy is a tough sell for me but, when I wasn't cackling like a sadist on helium, I giggled like a schoolgirl at a Johnny Knoxville film.

I want to pretend that it was because it seemed, amidst all the grimness, like it was a fun movie to make. I want to pretend that -- like I usually do -- I was thinking about camera angles and special effects and if they were faking things just right, but that's not it.

I was laughing because I'm terrified that my dreams are going to get devoured just like their dreams were. The tubes going into Sara Goldfarb's nostrils will eventually go into my nostrils too, if I'm lucky -- but I wasn't ready for that yet so I laughed at her suffering. I have a melodramatic streak that's miles wide, but I'm usually able to keep it reined in.

And everyone in the audience heard me and figured I was unhinged. Maybe in a tiny way I was or am. They told me to stop laughing and I couldn't.

It spooked me enough that I haven't stopped making self-deprecating jokes about it yet. I tell people that Requiem for a Dream is my favorite romantic comedy.

Suspiria can still disorient me. Hellraiser can remind me that human motives are sicker than any monsters we can dream up, and Pan's Labyrinth gives a chilling reminder that fantasies aren't always real even when they should be, but Cubby Selby and Darren Aranofsky embarassed me by holding up the mirror and forcing uncontrollable nervous laughter out of me because, just like anyone, I can delight in imaginary human suffering, even though it makes me ashamed of that dark nook of who I am.

So I'm embarassed. And it's not the little kind like when I spill coffee on myself. And the shame's not because I happened to jump at a grabber of a cat in a closet or a puppet's head spinning round, but because the grumbles and hushings from the crowd, the quick glances when the lights came up, made me know a part of myself that I really didn't want to know. The knowledge is enough to scare the excrement out of me in a way that I don't really want anyone else to know about either, but the Gnostics and lots of others say Know Thyself, so I'm grateful, grudgingly, for the awareness.

marydell

I'm no stranger to embarrassing moments, so it's not difficult admitting to a fear that continues to plague me. As a child, my parents would absentmindedly set me in front of the television. It was their way of keeping me entertained and out of their hair. When mom and dad turned the dial to PBS, they thought their daughter would be exposed to quality educational programming. How wrong they were. PBS carried a program so horrifying that more than 30 years later, I still cannot banish the images from my head. That show, friends, is Sesame Street.

You may scoff. You may ask, "What could be so frightening about the letter 'D,' happily singing Muppets, and one thing not being like the other?" You may wonder why I haven't yet worked this out in therapy. Friends, despite your quizzical looks, I assure you; my enduring horror is real.

The defining moment that forever ruined Sesame Street occurred upon first seeing a particular stop-action cartoon. It was a filler, meant to take up space between Muppet segments. The characters were styled like decoupage cutouts from a Victorian nightmare. The eerie music had lyrics narrating the action. Action which included Dandelions with lion faces and human feet. Feet in a clear glass vase. Toes dangling in water.

Before this moment, I had delighted in picking Dandelions. Their bright yellow flower heads seemed to shine and dance against fields of green. After the petals dropped and the Dandelions turned into snowballs, I never could resist plucking a stem from the ground. A hearty exhalation of air through pursed lips would send the seeds adrift on a breeze. In my own way, with the force from my little lungs, I contributed to perpetuating the life cycle.

But no longer. Friends, I do not have words to describe the sheer terror that filled my body upon seeing this cartoon. Dandelions, which were once so delightful, had faces. And teeth. Sharp fangs that might shred an innocent into hamburger. If the abomination weren't enough, these fierce blooms could walk. Nay, run. The idea that a flower might suddenly leap from a vase to chase me down and eat me was simply too much. I ran shrieking from the room.

To this day, I wage war on Dandelions. When a menace attempts to punch through the lush carpet of my lawn, I vehemently rip it out. I tear its bulbs and leaves to shreds. And I make sure I get its entire tap root. Although I haven't yet found one with feet, I check anyway. You never know when an aberrant flower might try to escape.

erin

Since "embarrassing" is a judging criteria...

When I was little, I was terrified by those Dow Scrubbing Bubbles commercials -- especially the part when the bubbles went down the drain. I remember the fear, but I don't remember if I was afraid FOR the bubbles entering the unknown drain, or afraid OF them coming back up the drain when I was in the bathtub. Probably both.

Also, I walked into "Jacob's Ladder" thinking it was a heartfelt drama about post-traumatic stress disorder. And I suppose you could argue that it is, but I was definitely not prepared for, oh, 90% of the movie. Waiting on nearly empty subway platforms and using my peripheral vision, ten plus years later, are still not quite the same.

Dan Wickett

Congrats to Marydell and her scary dandelions - MacAdam/Cage has the address and a copy will get out tomorrow!

sir jorge

am i too late? oh man, i'm going to be more alert next time.

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