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Films what has creeped me out

Welcome to Halloween week! Is this a great time of year of what? Well, unless you're in California, where it still hasn't rained and in fact is on fire; whereas Seattle broke rainfall records last week and is expected to dip into freezing temperatures by the end of this week - but hey, I'm not here to gloat.

bluesound dug up this article in which Channel 4 (British, I take it) ranks the 100 scariest moments on film, ranging from entire movies to opening credits of a TV show (good ol' Dr. Who...). I haven't seen many of them, but I was pleased that they included Salem's Lot, the Stephen King miniseries from 1979, and that they picked out the exact scene that I was describing to Steve the other day as Something Which Freaked Me Out Royally In My Childhood. This got me thinking about other scenes and other films, so I decided to do my own list of scariest moments in TV or cinema (going with far fewer than 100):

Things On Film That Have Scared The Wits Out of Me Or At Least Have Made It Really Difficult to Sleep Easy
(In no particular order.)

1. Salem's Lot: I don't ordinarily find vampires all that scary - they fall under "cool" more than anything else - but when a teenage undead boy is floating in the fog outside his brother's window and tapping on the glass, with those freaky white vampire eyes and that ghastly vampire smile, that is quite within the realm of "scary." Especially when you're, like, eight.

2. The Sixth Sense: This was a really well-acted and psychologically interesting movie, and was even tear-jerking at times, but did I mention it also scared me half to death? Hard to pick just one scene that was the worst: Haley Joel Osment screaming in terror while locked up with a clawing ghost in a tiny closet at the top of a staircase? The hanging people in the courthouse? Or, no, wait! I've got it! The ghost of the little girl, pursuing him all over the apartment and ending up right there with him in his tent sanctuary in the bedroom. Gah. Now I've got myself looking over my own shoulder.

3. It: Stephen King again, damn him. I saw this miniseries before I read the book, and though I didn't have anything against clowns before, I certainly did after that. Who'd have thought that the idea of having your ankle seized by a homocidal clown in a storm drain would be so chilling? "We all float down here..." *shudder*

4. The Changeling: Did anyone see this movie besides me and the other girls at that slumber party? It's a basic haunted-house formula, but done with effective creepiness. The ghost, as most truly disturbing ghosts are, is a child, and thus plays chillingly childish games with the solitary fellow who lives in the house. There's this little ball that keeps bouncing down the stairs, by itself. The fellow finally has had enough, and picks up the ball, drives to a bridge, and throws it in the river. When he gets home and closes the front door behind him, what does he see? The ball, innocently bouncing down the stairs toward him, out of the shadows above. Yeah. You know you're a good filmmaker when you can freak people out by bouncing a ball down some stairs.

5. The X-Files: I hesitate to admit this, because it was just a trendy, fun show. But back when I was watching it regularly (circa '98-99), it had a reliable way of giving me nightmares. Not the alien stuff, really - I don't have an alien phobia. But some of their freaky-religious-death episodes disturbed me in deep ways.

There were others that scared me as a kid but that wouldn't bother me now - moments in Raiders of the Lost Ark, say, or the alligator biting off the guy's hand in Romancing the Stone (yes, you can laugh). But the above list, I think, could still scare me.

As for The Blair Witch Project...eh...*shrug*. Saw it on TV. Wasn't impressed. Somehow, knowing it's a fake documentary and that the actors are just tortured students being filmed in a park somewhere kind of takes the supernatural thrill out of it.

Sleep tight...if you can! Mwuhahaha!


( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 28th, 2003 12:00 pm (UTC)
Yes, there's nothing like those middle-of-the-night thought processes to freak oneself out. :)

Cute icon. H.P.?
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 29th, 2003 08:47 pm (UTC)
Ooh, pretty! Wish I could draw like that. *sigh*
Oct. 27th, 2003 10:41 pm (UTC)
Hmm...I must admit that I've actually never seen any of the movies/TV shows on your list. Sorry. But maybe that's a good thing...

I've also only seen a few out of the 100 listed in the article: Snow White, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Star Wars, and The Wizard of Oz, all of which I first saw at about age 8 or below. The only one I find scary is The Wizard of Oz, which I have harbored a phobia of ever since I read Wicked, a slightly disturbing account of the story from the Wicked Witch of the West's point of view...*shivers*
Oct. 28th, 2003 12:02 pm (UTC)
I guess I did find The Wizard of Oz rather scary when I was a kid. The witch turning over that hourglass and telling Dorothy that's how long she has to live was somewhat traumatizing. Haven't heard of Wicked, though - sounds interesting!
Oct. 28th, 2003 04:41 am (UTC)
IT continues to freak me out - My sister read the book to me while I was, uh, six. I saw the film later on and it still has a hold on me. Clowns under the bed - clowns looking up at me from a sewer grate. Urgh. I hate clowns... hate them.

Kevon and I were in an elevator at a shopping center in Atlanta. I heard this voice yelling, "hold the door" and stupidly polite as always, I do just that. In comes two clowns. I stand in a corner while they try to make clowny chitchat with us all the while thinking that they have to be the most unnatural specimens of so-called entertainment that I'd ever witnessed. (Keep in mind this was my first up-close interaction with a clown or two since I was five - even then, I hated the circus because of them.)

Once the elevator stops, the clowns get out. I tell Kevon that in my version of Hell, I would have to ride in an elevator with two clowns for all eternity.

Damn clowns. I don’t trust anyone who works so hard at being artificially happy and peppy.

Oct. 28th, 2003 12:05 pm (UTC)
in my version of Hell, I would have to ride in an elevator with two clowns for all eternity.

Hehehe. Now there's a quote to put on one's stationery.

I don’t trust anyone who works so hard at being artificially happy and peppy.

Indeed, and not only that, but they do so while hiding their real faces behind a grotesque layer of makeup. Sinister!

As for It, I think the book actually scared me worse than the movie. But then, the whole point of the book is to find the thing that scares every kid the most, and he gives us a whole variety of kids and phobias to sample. Clever, Mr. King, very clever.
Oct. 28th, 2003 05:31 am (UTC)
When I was little, 'Alice in Wonderland' really freaked me out. I just didn't understand it, I guess. I love being scared though. It's just a shame that Hollywood hasn't come out with some really intense scary movies lately. They rely too much on special effects and gore.
Oct. 28th, 2003 12:08 pm (UTC)
Hmm, trying to remember if any cartoons scared me. Perhaps some animated version of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." Or, oh! Watership Down, when the sunset is creeping red across the fields, and Fiver starts hyperventilating and saying it's blood. Some rabbit-themed creepiness there.
Oct. 28th, 2003 06:26 am (UTC)
When I was younger I was disturbed by the physical, mashed up bloody carcass kind of thing, Nowadays it's something I find unpleasant rather than scary. Seeing Friday the 13th (part 7 of 37849732) when I was 10 wasn't a pleasant experience either. It used to make me rather wary that there was something hiding in the dark going to attack me.

I recall in my second year of high school, I was 12/13 at the time and it the teacher was off so he'd left us 'Salem's Lot' to watch. It found it more funny than scary.

Though I do have to say I'm rather partial to the Evil Dead movies, mixing silliness with horror is quite entertaining.
Oct. 28th, 2003 12:10 pm (UTC)
It used to make me rather wary that there was something hiding in the dark going to attack me.

I think that's what most spooky/horror flicks aim for. :)

As to mixing silliness with horror, I seem to remember Scream was better than I expected...
Oct. 28th, 2003 06:37 am (UTC)
Blair Witch
I couldn't sleep after watching the Blair Witch project but very little credit goes to the filmmakers for that. It's hard to take a movie seriously when you're watching it subtitled in Japanese and discover that someone translated "Oh fuck!!" as "Where is it?"(they don't really have that word over there). That might have ruined a little bit of the horror for me. Of course, then I sat down and thought about all the things they could have done in that movie to freak me out. Bye bye, sleepiness. Hellooo, terror!
Oct. 28th, 2003 12:11 pm (UTC)
Re: Blair Witch
LOL on the translation. Oh, I bet they do have that word; they just didn't want to be so uncouth in the subtitles. :)

Yeah, amazing what turning the lights out and letting your imagination run free can do for the terror levels, isn't it?
Oct. 28th, 2003 06:48 am (UTC)
*runs away screaming*

yeah, scary stuff. It caused me to have a still-abiding fear of clowns. Damn clowns!
Oct. 28th, 2003 12:12 pm (UTC)
Not to mention sewer systems. I don't think I could crawl into a storm-drain tunnel without thinking of that. Eeek.
Oct. 28th, 2003 12:16 pm (UTC)
eeep! ok, ok, good point

Oct. 28th, 2003 06:57 am (UTC)
Sometimes when I think about the scene of Mrs. Petrie rising off the table in the morgue I still get scared! But the book was scarier, and had a much, much cooler vampire.

Reports also have it that I had to be rushed from the movie theater at age 5 during a particular gruesome live-action adaption of "Kidnapped." And of course there's the last scene in "Deliverance."
Oct. 28th, 2003 12:14 pm (UTC)
Heheh. Well, yeah, things seem more dire when you're young. I remember being frightened by the idea of being on a plane that might crash when I saw Airplane the first time. Somehow I missed the humor point. (Naturally I noticed it later...)

I still have not seen Deliverance, somehow. Really must do that. Also I never read the book of Salem's Lot, though I did do a lot of Stephen King reading in high school. Maybe I should try that on for size.
Oct. 28th, 2003 08:52 am (UTC)
Try These On For Size...
- House By The Cemetary
- They
- Carnival of Souls
- Thirteen Ghosts (original/b+w)
- House of 1,000 Corpses
- The Serpent and the Rainbow
- "M"
- Texas Chainsaw Massacre (*only* the 1st one!!)
- Evil Dead 1,2 & Army of Darkness
- Night of the Living Dead (Romero's b+w version)
- Dawn of the Dead
- Day of the Dead
- 28 Days Later
- From Dusk Til Dawn
- The Day of the Triffids
- Dementia 13
- Salem's Lot
- Shockwave(s?)
- Nosferatu
- The Ring
- Ringu
- Hellraiser 1,2 & 3
- The Omen
- Rosemary's Baby
- Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things
- Devil's Rain
- Exorcist
- Spiderbaby
- [through a?] Reflecting Skin.....
Oct. 28th, 2003 12:15 pm (UTC)
Re: Try These On For Size...
I haven't seen most of those. But, ooh, Rosemary's Baby! Yes! Good choice.
Oct. 28th, 2003 11:03 am (UTC)
I never saw the mini-series of Salem's Lot, but that scene you described above was the single scariest thing I read when I was a kid. I was babysitting, and the kids were asleep, and I was upstairs reading. Right when the boy is tapping on the window, a tree started tapping on the window nearest where I was sitting. Scared the bejezus out of me!

Blair Witch Project was just about the un-scariest scary movie I've ever seen. As my friend Danny said "the scariest thing about that movie is that they managed to get lost next to running water in the woods in Maryland! They should have just picked a direction and walked in it!"

Also, I would add to your list of scary: the scene in Aliens where they are in the room with the beeping motion detector thing, just waiting for the aliens to come get them.
Oct. 28th, 2003 12:20 pm (UTC)
"the scariest thing about that movie is that they managed to get lost next to running water in the woods in Maryland! They should have just picked a direction and walked in it!"

Heheh. Exactly! Idiots crossed the stream but didn't, you know, follow it.

I considered adding Alien, though I think for me it was more disturbing than scary. Nauseating, even, what with that parasitic-alien factor. Yick.

Also for the claustrophobia effect, I was thinking of including The Abyss. Nobody wants to be trapped at the bottom of the ocean, after all.
Oct. 28th, 2003 01:05 pm (UTC)
Oh, lord, The Abyss!! I had to be taken out of the theater in that one. I was young but I blame it for my ongoing hydrophobia and fear of all bodies of water(And fish. And whales. And sharks. And...). And on a sad, related note, I think I was the only one scared during Finding Nemo. Ocean phobias... Damn The Abyss!!
Oct. 28th, 2003 11:12 pm (UTC)
My arrogant cousin worked on some of the special effects on Alien. It's a pity he's a tosser.
Oct. 29th, 2003 02:18 pm (UTC)
Scary Movies
I noticed no one mentioned the movie Poltergeist. The scene where the clown attacks the boy is the reason I'm scared of dolls now.

Sad to say, but I Know What You Did Last Summer still scares the pants off me, probably because I watched it when it was like, 8.

It sounds really scary... maybe I should see it anyway, despite my fear of clowns. And I didn't know there was a movie for Day of The Triffids!

( 24 comments — Leave a comment )