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this is halloween(2): more movie talk and another survey

Stephen says:

Claws down, Halloween is the best holiday there ever could be, except those involving lots of presents. And in my mind, presents are the only reason birthdays and Christmas get billing over the Big Scary.

As long time readers here already know, I love Halloween. It is far and away my favorite holiday, ranking above even Christmas.

Why Halloween? It's all about the atmosphere of October. The cool, crisp weather, the parade of colors taking over the trees, the anticipation of the coming holiday season and, yes, the witches and goblins and ghosties. So I do a lot of Halloween posting each October. This year shall be no different.

I started yesterday with my survey of movies suitable for my kids' party. Now, some of you don't quite understand just how close to the tree these apples fall. When my kids think of horror movies, they don't conjure up images of Jumanji or Addams Family. Like me, they like their movies scary, bloody and freaky.

DJ, at age eleven, has amassed a collection of both zombie movies and zombie knowledge. If we are ever under attack by zombies, you would do well to make your way to my end of the globe and take orders from DJ. He likes physical horror; gore, guts, severed limbs and half eaten brains.

Natalie, on the other hand, likes creepiness. Her collection of horror movies includes titles like The Ring and Godsend. She prefers her scares to of the mental variety.

Between them, they have done both me and their grandmother proud. After all, it was my mother who introduced me to horror movies at a very early age. I grew up on a steady diet of Vincent Price films. One of my earliest movie memories is listening in stunned silence to the "Help me!" cry from The Fly. When I was ten, my mother took me to see Asylum, a trilogy of terror repleat with crawling, severed limbs. My love of gore was born.

I had already formed a love affair with giant monster/animal/insect movies (Mothra was always my favorite), but a 1976 viewing of Food of the Gods solidified my infatuation with that genre.

A year earlier, at the tender age of 13, I saw a Halloween double feature of Last House on the Left and Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

So my roots were set down early. Movies that dealt with monsters, creepy crawly things, the supernatural and all other forms of fright were considered family entertainment. Together, mom and I (and sometimes my sisters) would watch Chiller Theater together, waiting in anticipation as the six fingered hand waved to us from the grave. We spent many hours as a family watching The Twilight Zone and Rod Serling's Night Gallery.

Today, I boast my own vast collection of horror movies, from the Sleepaway Camp box set to Dead Alive, possibly the goriest and best horror movie ever made. We have every version of all of the Evil Dead trilogy that hit the market (not to mention the posters, lunchboxes and action figures).

While we do watch horror movies all year long, Halloween is when we go into full viewing mode. Zombies, werewolves, severed heads and alien mind control are a constant background to the days and nights of October.

I've taken all your movie suggestions from yesterday and printed them out to go over with the kids and their friends. The bloodier, the better, was what DJ said. Natalie just wants frights. So we'll find a good mix of those two things and settle in that night to the sights and sounds of another Halloween season.

And what would a Halloween post be without a survey? I did this one last year, but it was so much fun to read your answers, we'll do it again.

Today's Survey: Scariest Screen Moment. That is, the specific scene from a movie (tv movies count) that scared you the most. I mean running from the room scared. Nightmares for three days scared. Visions of the scene still haunt you today; that kind of scared. Difficulty: No Sound of Music. You know who you are.

[I think I went over this list last year, or started to. I might have a go at it later.]


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This probably doesn't count, but just seeing the trailers (multiple) for Saw gave me two sleepless nights.

Scream, the first one, gave me one night of 'mares.

And also not a movie, but close enough: the scene in Buffy the Vampire Slayer's "Hush" where a guy has his heart taken out while he's being held down brings up one of the worst phobias I have. I couldn't tell you if there's any gore in that scene or not because I still can't watch it without covering my eyes.

If trailers count, the Saw ranks right up there for me. Creepy.

Mr. X's speech in JFK was pretty scary to me.

I know, I know. Breaking the rules.

Michele, that's a tough one. Not because I didn't see many scary movies - like you, I grew up on Vincent Price. (Hell, I even got kicked out of his high school, and got the chance to shake his hand once.) I watched all the old movies, from the '30s Classics to '80s slasher flicks. Loved them all.

Problem is, none of them actually scared me. Most of them disappointed me - I was always on the side of the monsters.

So I guess I was 12 or 13 when Poltergeist came out. And it scared me. Like, leave-the-closet-on-that-night scared me. And it all started with the scene in the kids' bedroom, when every toy took on a sinister cast.

Saw it three times on the big screen that summer.

To this day, that's my scariest movie moment.

Sure you have a vast collection, but do you have that most scary of all horror flicks, "Manos, the Hands of Fate"?

BTW, Scariest scene for me: Friday the 13th (the original) where the guy is lying on the bottom bunk, notices that blood is dripping on him from the top bunk, but too late, a hand grabs his head from below and an arrow is shoved through his chest... Slept on the floor for three days after that and I was frinkin' 18 years old at the time!

Precisely why I went with scary moments as opposed to scary movies. Very often, one small scene in a movie will be scarier than the sum of the movie's parts. Very few really scary movies out there.

approaching the bedroom door in Exorcist

A vastly underrated scary movie was Ghost Story. There is a scene when a group of men is pushing a car into a lake to conceal the body of a girl who has died accidentally. As the car is about to go under the water the girl pops up in the rear window and presses on the glass. I saw it when I was nine years old and it still scares me to think about it.

When the Alien exploded from Kane's chest during the meal scene, that one GOT me.

Hands down scariest moment? No question for me it was the Plague of Locusts scene in The Abominable Dr. Phibes. To this day I have the occasional nightmare of being deskeletonized by a horde of hungry insects.

Alien damaged my limbic system. I've never really been the same.

The part that really freaked me out the most was when Veronica Cartwright is making weird noises offscreen, as she is being chewed up by nasty teeth.

There's only been one occasion where I was so disturbed by a movie that I walked out of the theater for a few minutes.

Oddly enough it was just a trailer for "The Shining". A room was filling with blood and for some reason I found the music and sound effects (combined with that image) THAT disturbing. Now I can't remember what it sounded like.

Wait Until Dark.

The only movie that's ever made me shreik.

Bambi, I'm told, gave me nightmares, but since I was only six or seven when I saw it, I don't really remember it.

One of the all time greats was a tv movie called "Trilogy of Terror" staring Karen Black. The first two "episodes" are well done, but not particularly memorable. The third, however, is pure genius television: Karen plays a woman with a controlling mother. She purchases an ancient Zulu figurine. The figurine, of course, is cursed and comes with instructions which are promptly forgotten, etc. When that freaky thing comes to life and starts chasing her around her apartment, whoa!! And it has a brilliant last scene.

You people need to click on the links.

Hands down, it's where Violent turns into a Blueberry in Willy Wonka.

It still scares the crap out of me. Even more than the chicken getting its head cut off.

Scariest movie ever... Shirley Jackson's The Haunting (1963).

Scariest scene... when the invisible something was stalking them through the house, made the massive wooden library doors bow in as if made from rubber. Getting covered with chill bumps and peeking behind me just typing this... shudder

The "booming sound in the hallway" scene of the original "The Haunting." Overall the scariest movie I've ever seen.
Who'da thought that one of Robert Wise's next movies would be The Sound of Music.

Second scariest scene...when Theodora thought she was holding Eleanor's hand for comfort during an incident late at night...and their beds were across the room from each other. YAEAHHSHDHDGG#G!!!!!

Creep out scenes:

I mentioned in the first survey the last scene from Sleepaway camp. I get the willies just thinking about it.

In one of the Friday the 13th series(the final chapter I think), a very young Corey Feldman shaves his head in an attempt to look like Jason. They end with his eyes just all black.

In Poltergiest when the kid is attacked by the clown doll. This is what gave me an understanding of why clowns are scary to kids.

The scene in the Ring after they thought they had ended the curse.

Am I the only one who remembers The Legend of Hell House? That one, caught on TV years and years ago, seriously creeped me out.

Does the entirety of Omen I and II count?

As for one scene:

"We've traced the calls...they're coming from inside your house!" -- When a Stranger Calls

Carrie at the very end when her hand pops out of the grave. whoa...for a 13 yr old, that scared the shit out of me.

Another scene which freaked me out, not necessarily scary, was in the Exorcist when the Priest was walking thru the insane asylum.

14, on my first date (my mom drove us) & we saw Halloween 3. I completely freaked when the laser hit the toy store buyer in the face in her motel room. I came unglued. For years the dippy music from the movie would start my skin crawling & my stomach flipping.
We had to leave & call my mom to pick us up early. The crowd waiting on line for the next show loved it- freaked out teen means good times.

By far, the most deeply disturbing scene I've ever seen was in Polanski's The Tenant, where the disturbed visions of the psychotic tentant were shown. I still can't bring myself to watch it.

The Shining...when the young-looking woman gets out of the tub to embrace Jack Nicholson and then, when he sees the reflection in the mirror, finds out he's embracing an old corpse.

2nd, Misery...when Kathy Bates cripples James Caan...that just hurts (although the book was even worse!).

3rd, Phantasm...the ball with the spikes coming out of it that flew through the halls after folks...still gives me chills.

There's a very quick shot in "Aliens," when Ripley and Newt are trapped in a hospital room after Burke has turned a couple of facehuggers loose. One of the critters leaps out from behind a cabinet, and I dare anybody to not jump in their seat when it does.

My high school buddies and I must have gone to that movie half a dozen times in the summer of '86. Every time, somebody would go, "Here it comes. You gonna jump this time?" "Hell, no!"

And then we'd all jump. Every single time.

The point in "The Exorcist" when Regan's being examined by doctors and she's screaming and twisting and the creepy demon-head flashes on the screen for like two frames. That was such a great "what the hell did I just see, or did I even see it?" moment.

Also, the scene in "Fire in the Sky" when Travis Walton wakes up covered in goo in the hold of some bizarre alien spacecraft made me feel all weird inside.

And to be honest... several scenes from "The Blair Witch Project" were very effectively scary. That movie's caught a lot of shit from people who resent its popularity and the media blitz that Artisan provided once they bought it, but I really think it's a quality independent horror film.

The very first episode of Night Gallery, where Roddy McDowell kills his old uncle for the inheritance and then notices the painting changing to show the old man getting out of his grave and starting towards the house.

I second The Haunting, but remember a different scene where a woman is stuck on a spiral staircase that seems about to collapse when suddenly a secret panel on the wall opens and a haggard-looking old woman looks out. I had a broken collarbone at the time and instinctively put my hands up in front of my face--ouch!

I have to go with The Shining too, but the creepiest for me has always been Danny riding the Big Wheel around the hotel and finding the twins. All that build up with the silence as he rides on carpet, then the booming when he rides over the hardwood, then finally coming across those damn creepy kids.

I agree with Dave. I just watched the "hush" episode last night, and I cringed as always. There's something about not being able to scream that does it for me.

The shower scene in Psycho also.

Both freak me out because they take advantage of common phobias... not being able to speak and the utter defenselessness of being attacked in the shower.

"I want to know who I'm looking at."
Classic, simple.

The old truck gaining on the car in the back window in the first scene of Jeepers Creepers. The movie then proceeds to turn up the suck for the next 90 minutes.

There's a few moments in Blair Witch that gave me the willies.

Pet Semetary, when the old man tells the story of the kid they buried in the pet semetary way back in the day... Sometimes... Dead is Bettah.

"Seven Days" from the Ring. It's not that the scary creepy moment is during the movie... it's when you're finished watching the movie your phone WILL ring about 2 minutes after the closing credits.

The end of Silence of the Lambs with the lights out in the basement.... Gotta love Thomas Harris. The same scene is in Red Dragon, only it's a blind girl in a mansion fire. Helpless as a kitten.

PeeWee's big adventure when Big Bertha's face goes all scary. That freaked me out when I was a kid.

First Alien movie. When Skerritt is in the heating ducts, and turns around, and the Alien is RIGHT THERE. I nearly had a heart attack. Driving home that night, in the dark, in rural South Dakota, a tumbleweed blew in front of the car. I nearly went in the ditch.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. When they're in the tunnel on the Wonka-tania, and the image of a centipede crawling across a face flashes. I had a minor freak-out.

And not so much scary as hilarious. The Fly, remake. When the doctor showed the giant maggot to Gena Davis, I saw this really cool heads-snapping-back wave pass over the theater audience. I nearly laughed out loud because the sight was so funny. And Cronenberg has the ability to touch the squicky parts of your soul.

Sara Thomas,

Exactly, while I thought Halloween III was pretty cheesy, it was the way they used the insects that really got me.
The scene with the lasered lady and the kid wearing the mask/hearing the music, its the way that the insects come out from their mangeled heads thats just...horrible. Whoever did the special effects really knew what they were doing for those scenes.

Trilogy of Terror is a very good one.

I am immune to horror films. (Yes, yes, I know, a terrible flaw, like not being able to enjoy the taste of wine or beer.)

Except for The Changeling, with that Master of Horror, George C. Scott.

No gore. The supernatural effects are among the most restrained ever filmed. And yet somehow the makers imbued it with the very essence of creepiness.

Creepiest scene: discovering the wheel chair.

Second creepiest: discovering the locket.

Oooh, I love Halloween. Every couple of years, my family will go to Knott's Scary Farm. You have to carefully balance it, make sure that the park's not too empty or not to crowded. The mazes are amazing and ghouls and demons abound. We went thru one nuclear waste demon infested tunnel of terror where a wolfman with red eyes and freddy crugar claws chased me. As I started to run, my cousin grabbed my jacket and I slipped out of it and RAN! Screaming the entire way, I shoved aside my nieces and nephews blocking the doorway (you teens are on your own). The wolfman chased me out of the tunnel and about a 100 yards past the haunted maze. When my nieces and nephews finally caught up with me, they were all laughing "oh aunty toodles, you're always joking? Joking???? Uh right, I was joking. Next time we spot a werewolf, KEEP UP!

My favorite all time movie moments:
Carrie- the final scene at the gravesite when the hand reaches thru the ground and grabs the girl.

The Omen- when the nanny jumps out of the window and hangs herself in front of all of the kids at Damien's party. (Note to self- never name your child Damien).

The Thing 1982- lots to choose from here but I'm going with two scenes. 1) when they kill one man/thing and his head grows legs and crawls away and 2)when they were testing people to see who was the thing. They had two men left tied together, then one goes into a fit, burst apart into the thing and tries to crawl away. they shoot it and burn it and after all of that, the guy is still tied to the thing. After a moment of silence, he yells "cut me **** loose!"

Last but not least. I don't know if sound counts but the one thing guaranteed to freak me out is the SOUND OF A CHAINSAW. I went to one haunted house and a guy would sneak up behind people and start the chainsaw, revving it up for good effect. People scattered every time. No matter how many times you had already heard it, people reacted to it every time.

There was a film in the late '70's called "The Legacy". I think I saw it late one night on HBO when I was eleven or twelve years old. A bunch of people are summoned to this old mansion deep in the English countryside for the reading of the will of some dead rich guy. Whoever is the last person alive of the group will inherit the old man's estate.

Pretty dorky movie, you almost don't even notice that Roger Daltrey is in it. He plays a rock star (imagine that!) who chokes to death at dinner. And yeah, there's an improvised tracheotomy with a big sharp knife in an attempt to save his life, and while that's bad, it's not the scene that got to me.

The one that bothered me here is a scene where a character dives into an indoor pool alone in the bowels of the mansion. As she goes to break the sufrace and breathe, she bounces off. The surface of the water has turned into glass and she can't get out, so she drowns just under the surface of the water.


I thought I was the only one who knew of that movie. Scared the hell out of me for years. Not bad for a 'made for TV'.

I think the dinner party scence may be the creepiest.

Oh, fuck! John Carpenter's "The Thing"! I saw that on the big screen and it was fuuuuuuucked up.

For me, it was the scene where they go to give somebody CPR and his chest opens up like a giant pair of jaws and bites the other guy's hands off.

That was fucked up. That was when I almost ran screaming from the theater.

Stephen: Hell House was great (and I have it on VHS, even), but it hasn't scared me in decades, if ever.

Poltergeist, on the other hand, gave me nightmares for weeks. I couldn't have been any older than 9 when I saw it, of course...

I'm new to this site, but there was a time in one of the Hellraiser movies that I thought was terribly chilling. A crazed psychiatrist had this patient who believed that he was covered in insects, and would claw at his arms in an effort to get them off. However, the doctor took him out of his cell, took off his straitjacket and proceeded to hand him a straight razor...

It still makes me feel ill.

Not neccessarily under the category of "horror", but What Lies Beneath had me and my friends jumping out of our seats.

I still can't deal with waking up in the night with the tv fuzzy, because of "Poltergeist" or those creatures from "Don't be afraid of the dark" dragging me away in the night.

Most of "In the Mouth of Madness" freaked me out. It's a slow start, but once it gets moving it's just plain creepy. Gore and surprise aren't what really get me. It's all the things "out of true", just slightly off kilter that weird me out. After watching that movie, I had to move from light to light to get to my bed.

While it was over-hyped, the final sequence in the house for the Blair Witch project also got me. The character (Michael) sitting in the corner with all handprints everywhere was great. Just enough time for you to take it in, your mind to spin for a second connecting the dots, then WHAM! The only other bonus to that movie was it freaked out my room mates girlfriend. So I spent the next month leaving stacks for her (stones outside her tent when we went camping, tapes outside the bedroom door, etc.), hours of fun.

Also Steven King's "It". Tim Curry played a great clown. Pity the story was weak and the ending was crap.

The end of the first "Halloween." Donald Plesance looks over the railing...Michael is GONE. Don't ask me why, gives me the willies just thinking about it.

Toodles: Behold the human creatures. The sound of a throttling chainsaw frightens them. "Eek! Eek!" say the attendees. :)

"Hush" was definitely full of scary stuff, from the permanently-smiling bad guys to that one scene in the cafeteria where someone drops a book that is VERY LOUD when it slams to the ground.

Alien - the original. When the astronauts are in the cave with the Alien pods, seeds, whatever, and one of them... well never mind. I still don't like to think about it. I first saw that movie as a Saturday afternoon matinee. Afterwards I had to go grocery shopping. In the grocery store somebody bumped into me from behind with their shopping cart. They had to pry my fingers out of the cieling tiles 'cause I wasn't coming down. That flick still gives me the creeps.

The opening sequence of jaws when the woman is pulled through the water and screaming her legs are gone. That seen is seared - seared in my mind. Also, from the original Twilight Zone, an episode staring William Shatner as a passenger on a plane who sees a gremlin on the wing pulling out rivets. There is one scene where Shatner pulls up the curtin on the window and the gremlin's face is pressed up agaist the glass - scared the bejesus out of me.

Wait Until Dark was a theater movie, not a made-for-tv. Ms Hepburn got an Oscar nomination for it, IIRC.

The shriek moment is very near the end, when the killer emerges from the closet. I don't know if that is the first time in cinema that such a dead-to-living transfer happens, but it was the first I remember.

I'm from another generation. The final display of the hideous painting in The Portrait of Dorian Gray kept me sleeping with the lights on for months. I was 11 years old at the time. The portrait for the movie was painted by one of the Albright brothers, whose other creepy looking works hang in the Art Institute in Chicago.

The ending of the Blair Witch Project where they are running through the house trying to find their friend. One of them goes to the cellar and finds him standing in the corner just like the kids had in the legend was a jolt up the spine. Then when the person gets whacked, it is like the frosting on the cake.

one of my alltime best scary movies, THE CAR
when it blew it's horn as it made a kill !!!
best scene at the start when the car is just tapping the rear wheel of the guy on the bike
just before it punts him off the bridge.

Watching "Tales of the Crypt" (cable tv) way back in mid 80's, can't remember the name of the episode. However, it completely creeped me out. The way it started was the old grandfather died and was buried; the family comes home from the funeral and Granddad is sitting on the porch. He does not believe he is dead, see.. As time goes on his physical body begins to decay but his mind is as clear as ever. The family begins to despair of ever getting him to rest; the young grandson then goes to a local wise woman & tells her the situation. She gives him a black fabric napkin with instructions to place it by his plate at dinner.
Mom fixes dinner & grandpa comes to eat as usual; a good bit of time has passed & grandpa is starting to get really funky. There is pepper in the dish that night, grandpa sneezes. He then looks in the napkin, and says,"Well, I guess you all were right that I'm dead. I'm going to go upstairs and rest now." As he wearily climbs the stairs to his eternal rest, the grandson opens up the napkin and finds grandpa's nose that he had sneezed off.
Go ahead & laugh, reading this it sounds really dumb. However, this episode creeped me out so badly that i could not sleep at all; was about 13 or 14 yrs old..

1. The kid with the big wheel in The Shining. Hotel corridors still weird me out from time to time.

2. The flashed green face in The Exorcist. From reading the survey, I guess I'm not the only one that saw it.

3. Bob from Twin Peaks. That facial expression still sends chills. The fact that the actor died somewhat prematurely doesn't help. Pure evil.

1) Samara comes out of the TV in The Ring. Kept expecting her to come out of my TV a week after seeing the movie.

2) The voices in the wall scene in the 1963 version of The Haunting... whenever I would go to bed after seeing that every noise in the house would freak me out.

3) In the previews of The Grudge there is a pale woman's head sliding down an opening. Seeing that gave me a nightmare.

4) I have no idea what the name of the movie is. I was 6 at the time. All I know is that the scene was in a mansion with a huge outdoor plaza. There was a man looking for a woman in the plaza, when he notices medusa approaching from a balcony upstairs. He quickly turns around so she does not turn him to stone, but you can see her gliding sporadically down the staircase behind him. This scene spawned many many nightmares of my being chased by medusa and people being turned to stone around me.


I measure the scene by the lasting impact it has on me. As a child, there were two:

1) Poltergeist - when the son turned around and the clown was right behind him and wrapped his arm around his neck. I was terrified of clowns for the rest of my childhood, and still am not completely comfortable with them. (Stephen King's book "It" also didn't help)

2) I can't remember the name of this movie...it was a B movie that was shown on cable when I was a kid, perhaps somebody on here can help me. There was a scene where a woman was in the shower and while her eyes were closed, the water coming out of the showerhead turned into blood. Once she noticed this, the door to the shower locked and she couldn't get out. Needless to say, she died (drowned? I don't remember). I saw this when I was under 10, and it was YEARS before I could take a shower and keep my eyes closed for more than one second. That scene caused me more angst growing up than anything else.

Victor Da Salva's Clownhouse scared the hell out of me. It made me hate clowns. They ARE scary. Ugh.

Honorable mentions for scary moments to Jeepers Creepers (although a lame let-down ending IMHO), Pumpkinhead, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Omen, Seven, Amityville Horror (that music is CREEPY and there is the Margot Kidder kitsch factor) and The Hills Have Eyes.

Sekimori - we had this discussion on another forum and I described that exact hand-holding scene (from the original black-and-white movie). That entire scene, coupled with when she says, "Then.....whose hand was I holding??!?" has stayed with me into adulthood. Nothing I've seen in the movies has disturbed me more (not even seeing the "Kerryfication" of the Star Wars movies as the scenes change with each release....)

Speaking of scenes that never fail to make me jump: In The Sixth Sense, there is a fleeting shot of a ghost passing by a doorway in the kid's apartment....the appearance of the ghost coincides with a sudden and loud music chord, and that gets me every single damn time.

The only time I've left during a movie to avoid seeing a scene I knew was coming up was when I saw Jaws for the second time. During the opening scene when the shark music starts, right before the girl is attacked....I just couldn't watch and I couldn't even sit there with my eyes closed. I had to wait in the lobby area until I could tell the scene was over.

I forgot to add Silent Night - Deadly Night. Because it was controversial we HAD to see it. I've never been able to look at Santa's at malls at Christmas the same way since.

I'll second Hen's vote, for the hand coming out of the grave and grabbing the character's left arm in Carrie, but only because I had a personalized, William-Castle-like version of the film. The moment that happened onscreen, my girlfriend was so frightened that she grabbed my left arm! Thankfully I didn't have a large soda during the movie, or there would have been some extra cleaning work for the theater crew.

I totally forgot about the very end of the remake of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" where Donand Sutherland turns to the camera and opens his mouth and makes that CREEPY-ASS sound that only pod people make.

(That one, as well as the Exorcist demon-head moment, is among the 100 Scariest Movie Moments you mentioned, I think.)

Indy - I believe that was a "Tales from the Darkside" not a "Tales from the Crypt", but I could be wrong.

Also, how could I forget the Creepshow movies? The short with the guy covered in that alien moss ALWAYS creeps me out, as does the short where the guy who hates bugs ends up having his ENTIRE BODY filled with them.


I have not been able to finish 28 Days..., so I'd have to say the scene where the courier wakes up the zombies on the body pile in the church did it for me.

The long stationary-camera scene in Exorcist III (yeah, I know) shot down the hospital hallway, where the nurse goes from room to room checking on the patients, then finally a shrouded figure follows her calmly out of the last room with those spring-loaded boneshears trained on her neck. I'm getting goosebumps just thinking about that one...

When I was a little kid about six or seven, I walked in on my father watching "Creepshow". I sat mesmerized through the first few shorts, then we got to the one about the monster in a shipping crate under the stairs in an Anthropology building. When it reached out and grabbed somebody I fled shrieking from the room and developed a fear of the dark spaces under stairs that lasted years.

The decompression scene in "Event Horizon" makes me writhe miserably in my seat, without fail, mostly because I'm a claustrophobe and all my most visceral fears are related to pressure.

On that note, there is a scene in a book called "Riptide" by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child where a character is slowly crushed under a massive slab of stone that I was almost unable to read.

Stephen doesn't get presents on Halloween? Man - what kind of depraved family is he from? ;]p~

I'm going to have to beg to differ on the Scariest Moments in Film thing. Movies don't generally do that to me... I think my little "It's only a Movie!" voice in the back of my mind is a bit too effective. There've been more than a few that have made me jump - like Alien - but not lasting fear or nightmare's scared. The worst were scenes like the end of Night of the Living Dead that creeped me out badly.

What does and has done that to me is always novels.

Best spooks on that scale: Theodore Sturgeon's "It". The robbing the graveyard scene from Pet Sematary - there was something about the gallow's humour aspect of King's writing in that that scard hell out of me even while he had me rolling out of my chair laughing. Most of Stephen King's "It". An old short story from a Hitchcock collection called "Back there in the grass"...

Books always freak me a bit more effectively than movies. My imagination does a better job of spooking me in a darkened room while reading than any director ever has.


Tv movie "Don't be afraid of the Dark"

A housewife is terrorized by gremlins that were sealed in her basement.

Telecast in 1973, it had me afraid to go to sleep for quite a while.

I'll agree with Greg on Alien--when the facehugger leaps onto Kane's helmet scare(s) the poo outta me.

For a non-horror flick, I had the creeps going to the dentist after watching Sir Laurence Olivier use a dental drill on Dustin Hoffman's teeth in the torture scene.

Dr. Steve ... that scene from the "Exorcist III" really freaked me out too. I did the full-body electro jump the first time I saw that.

A memory refresher ... scroll down.

Pycho-nun-like-being with autopsy bone shears approaching rapidly from behind. Not good. Not good at all.

Shower scene from Psycho.

Internet movie called Cats with Hands.

My vote would be for the scene in "The Prophecy" where Thomas is given a vision of Heaven: a vast plain where hundreds of angels writhe on impaling spears. Brr!

I hate to debase the discussion, but the scariest scene I ever saw was in Robocop 2. The bad guy had just had his brain inserted into the new robocop, and went to a warehouse to basically kill a bunch of people. It's dark inside, when all of a sudden the warehouse door is pulled up by the bad guy and you see this massive robotic figure step inside, and then the door slams down, and the place goes dark again. Hell ensues.

Also, in the Blair Witch Project. They're inside their tent at night, and they hear a bunch of childrens' voices in the distance calling to them. Then in the midst of this you hear one of the freakiest sounds I've ever heard. It was a voice, a grunt maybe, but I don't know how to describe it beyond that. The people inside the tent freaked out.

And The Shining in its entirety.

Harry and the Hendersons. The scene where the Hendersons have just strapped the "body" of the Sasquatch to the roof of the car and are driving off with it, the father is saying "These things just happen"-- and the Yeti's screaming face flops down over the windshield.
My family was watching the movie the first time on videotape and every last one of us rose a foot straight up in the air when that happened.

1. Big Wheel + Twins = Surefire Goosebumps
2. Roman Polanski's "Repulsion"
3. Hell yeah, the final scene of Blair Witch
4. Some movie I saw on TV circa 1975 about demonic doings in the Bermuda Triangle. Guy impaled on swordfish in the ship's freezer...other guy crucified on ship's mast...ring a bell, anybody?

Session 9? Kid, I know scary, and you're not scary.

The Serpent and The Rainbow - when Pullman wakes and finds himself in the coffin with the spiders and can't move.

Creepiest: Gotta go with the bugs from the skull scene from Halloween 3

Scariest: Blair Witch ending or Jaws beginning.

Honorable Mention to the scene Donald Hamilton mentioned with William Shatner and the gremlins on the plane.

The little girl crawling out of the TV towards the end of The Ring (English vers) has to be the creepiest/scariest thing I have seen in ages.

There's just something about that sequence that drives me out of the room...

First Alternate: In the movie Poltergeist the guy who rips off his face while in the bathroom.

I have to second the twins in The Shining (along with everything else in that movie really).
For me, it was Serpent and the Rainbow, where the tarantulas come out of the guy's mouth. (You could also consider every scene in Arachnophobia too.. I don't like spiders much, hence the theme here.)
Definitely the beginning of Jaws and the end of Blair Witch.
But for me, a moment from a relatively crappy movie that still creeps me out is in Raising Cain. A woman is walking into a dark room and when she goes to turn on the light switch, something reaches out and slashes her wrist with a razor blade. It's lightning fast and still makes me double-check when I reach for a light switch - every time.

Phantasm: that ball does it every time. OTOH, it had the best lecture on gun safety I ever remember.

And the final scene from Deliverance, where Burt Reynolds character is dreaming about the body rising from under the lake water, and they cut to the "live scene" of the lake with just one little bubble in the center of the screen.....

I'm going to second the Plague of Locusts scene in The Abominable Dr. Phibes. I was 9 when I first saw it and it gave me my love of Vincent Price horror films. A couple of weeks later, there was a locust swarm. Freaked me out COMPLETELY. Oddly enough, I also saw "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes" the same year, which cemented my love of bad movies.

Not sure why, but “Picnic at Hanging Rock” still gives me the the willies. Partly it’s the music, but the story manages to be both ordinary and horrifying. I don’t know what happened, but I do know it was real bad. Early Peter Weir.

The dwarf at the end of Don't Look Now.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers, color remake (mid 80's), late in the movie when their showing scenes from the city and a pod-error comes on screen (terrier looking dog body with a human head)

The latter half on In the Mouth of Madness

The very last scene of Event Horizon, where they finally show what the ship went through. The rest of the movie blows, but that one scene of orgiastic violence (quite literally) still creeps me out when I think about it.

Jaws. When I first realized that ... the boat was sinking.


Aliens. Opening weekend, 1986. The Marines have landed and they're exploring the space station and they finally get to the medical wing and find the two facehuggers in the stasis tubes. Burke is examining them, and one of the Marines warns him not to get too close to it.

And the damn thing, which until that very moment had been quite lifeless, jumps at his face and lands against the side of the tube.

There's only been a single moment in my life where I've seen an entire movie audience -- and the theater was packed to the gills -- jump as a collective group, and that was it. Everyone moved! It was amazing and tremendously effective.

Re: Alex Knapp

Yes, you are right.. thought about it after posting and realized it WAS
"Tales from the Darkside". That was about 20 yrs ago...dang I'm getting old...

Other stuff that makes me jump: the noted scenes from "The Abominable Dr. Phibes".. "Psycho".. "Alien".. etc.

I know I'm late, but...

The Ring, where you see the first dead teen girl's face all distorted

Blair Witch where they are in the tent and suddenly it looks like people are beating the tent from the outside.

And from Stephen King's book version of 'The Running Man' where the running man escapes through a sewer pipe just before an explosion, but before he gets away there is a time he is trapped under ground in the pipe trying to get around this 90 degree corner.... books can be worse than movies.


When I turned 7, we were living in Philadelphia. My mother let me go (unaccompanied) to the nearest theater for a double bill of "Gorgo" (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0054938/)and "Caltiki" (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0052667/).

No problems with Gorgo, but one scene in Caltiki gave me screaming nightmares for weeks: the skeleton in the wetsuit. My mother swore she'd never let me see a movie again.

In John Carpenter's version of The Thing, the scene where one of the people at the station suddenly collapses, and the other people think he had a heart attack, so one of the guys tries to use a defibrillator on him. He shocks him once and nothing happens. Then he shocks him again, and the person's stomach opens up into huge jaws that bite his hands off. Then heads on stalks start to grow off of the stomach and after a person uses a flamethrower on the Thing, the original head falls off onto the ground and grows disgusting yellow slimy spider legs and runs into a corner. The guy with the flamethrower looks at it in disbelief, then torches it with the flamethrower, and it screams an inhumanly high-pitched moan.

That is the scariest movie scene I have ever seen. Anything in the Alien films are only second to it.

for me it was a brief scene in 'Wolfen' when Albert Finney and that lady were in the abandoned church and she thought she could hear a 'baby' crying upstairs.

She's halfway up the stairs when Finney realizes that something's not right, and rushes up to grab her, they fall down the stairs and book it out of the church.

That was pretty tense, but the terrifying moment comes when the camera lingers at the top of the darkened stairwell and for just a moment you see the slightest glint of light off a pair of eyes before they disappear into the darkness.

I watched this when I was about 10, in the dark, with an appropriately darkened staircase just to my left. I still hate looking up the stairs when the upstairs lights are out.

Another late comment...

There's a scene in The Black Cat (classic terror film, as opposed to horror) where Karloff flays Lugosi alive. All you see is the play of shadows on a dungeon wall. Very creepy. That scene still crops up occasionally in my dreams...

One of the Tales of the Crypt when a medical examiner ends up dying and his brain still records pain (part of a study he's been doing). The scene closes with the camera from his point of view and the saw to cut open his skull is approaching.

The scene in 2001: Space Odyssey when Dave has left the ship and there is about 5 minutes of his blinking eye with breathing. I was 10 at the time and woke up with screaming nightmares for about a week afterwards. Still can't watch that without getting chills.

The Exorcist and its true sequel, Exorcist III (ignore Exorcist II; it is trash) are good creepy/psychological horror, in my mind. Both have their gross moments, but not too much.

AS for action-horror, I'm a big fan of the Blade duology. It is a bit graphic in a sexual sense, but the two films are rollicking high action and Wesley Snipes portrays Blade very well. If Buffy had guns, this is what she would be.

"In John Carpenter's version of The Thing, the scene where one of the people at the station suddenly collapses, and the other people think he had a heart attack, so one of the guys tries to use a defibrillator on him. He shocks him once and nothing happens. Then he shocks him again, and the person's stomach opens up into huge jaws that bite his hands off. Then heads on stalks start to grow off of the stomach and after a person uses a flamethrower on the Thing, the original head falls off onto the ground and grows disgusting yellow slimy spider legs and runs into a corner. The guy with the flamethrower looks at it in disbelief, then torches it with the flamethrower, and it screams an inhumanly high-pitched moan."

I saw this for the first time on cable years ago. What was also gross was when they are doing the blood tests to figure out who is the Thing and one of the guys, if I'm not mistaken, splits apart.

Carpenter did a hell of a job on his rendition of the Thing. Sheesh, ignore the original's warning of keep looking to the skies. Look at the dude next to you!

I don't remember the name of the movie, it was an old b/w I think. There was an old house that had these tiny grey evil people/things/spirits running around killing the regular people, and they were only seen in the shadows or briefly running off screen. I believe they tripped up one person on a set of stairs, and I think there was something with a set of scissors too. For years I thought I seen glimpses of those little buggers out of the corner of my eye. If someone recognizes it, I would love to know the title. lol

1) I have to third Dr. Steve and the scene from Exorcist III. The scene is set up so well. Long shot with nothing happening for minutes! Minutes of nothing. It just lulls you into a stupor. Then the figure glides in with the bone shears. Unbelievably well done.

2) The Exorcist re-release - the girl's spider walk up the stairs.

3) Akira - a flashback scene with the telekinetic uberkind Akira before he blows up Tokyo. The kid is wandering down the hallway of the genetic research lab, two guards spot him and confront him. Blam! The fluorescent lights go out, and return flashing on and off to reveal sheets of blood dripping down the walls above the bodies of the guards. The kid, nonchalant, walks on. That's the first time a cartoon scared the hell out of me.

When the chicken woman is revealed at the end of FREAKS...

Shatterglass -
I think I remember that movie from the mid-70's, which was the height of the Bermuda Triangle craze. Did it star Dyan Cannon, who was picked up after the boat wreck and you could tell that she'd been invaded by the evil whatever that was plaguing them?
Scariest ever? The original Twilight Zone's "Eye of the Beholder", when we see the pig-faced beings that inhabit the planet. That made me sleepless, afraid to open cabinets or stay alone in a room for weeks. I don't watch horror movies, too susceptible.

I was waiting for someone to mention "Freaks" - not that I'll ever see it or anything.