Today’s topic is The Dirty Dozen, twelve of the most disturbing moments in horror. The selections in my countdown are based on two things: scares that made me jump or shift uncomfortably in my seat and scenes that stuck with me long after the credits had rolled. WARNING: IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN A TON OF HORROR MOVIES, THIS LIST MIGHT BE A *SPOILER OVERLOAD* FOR YOU. I can’t make this list without including some spoilers. You’ve been warned. Now onto the countdown….
#12: Candyman – chest full of bees
In this dark urban nightmare, main character Helen tries to uncover the truth behind the legend of Candyman. A hundred years ago, a young black man was tortured for his love of a white woman. His hand was hacked off with a rusty saw before he was covered in honey and thrown to the bees. Slowly and miserably, he died. Now, if you look into the mirror and say his name five times, you’re dead meat. Or so the story goes. But what’s really going on? Helen wants to find out. Soon she finds herself in a game of cat and mouse and discovers exactly what Candyman’s got beneath that wicked trench coat.
#11: The Amityville Horror – dead guy in the bathroom
Remakes are widely criticized (and often by myself!), but when it comes to tired, old movies I never cared for in the first place (i.e the original 1979 Amityville Horror), I’m all for a revamp. I thought this one was well done, and there was a particular scene that made me jump an inch from my couch cushion. The little boy needs to pee in the middle of the night, and… and… BAM! DEAD GUY IN THE BATHROOM!
#10: The Haunting – whose hand was I holding?
Certain classics hold a place in my heart, and this 1963 film is one of them, not to mention that it’s based on a novel by one of my favorite authors, Shirley Jackson. In this scene, Eleanor begins to hear frightening voices, wicked laughter, and crying children through the walls at night. She holds her friend’s hand for comfort as this goes on for a few minutes. When she can’t take it any longer, she screams, the lights come on, and she’s shocked with the realization that there is no one beside her holding her hand as she’d thought.
#9: Hostel – holy shit… her eye!
I’ve only watched this scene twice. That was enough. The Hostel movies are a bit much for me because I get so darn MAD at the bad guys. What a bunch of sickos, eh? The cherry on top was the scene in which a pretty young female loses her eye. Sure, it’s fake as hell and the puss (yellow slime?) wouldn’t really ooze from that wound, but this knowledge doesn’t stop the bile from rising as you watch it. Sometimes corny gore is still quite effective. It’s like a Dead Alive moment for me, and I love it. I’ve included a rather tame picture of the “after” wound here, as I don’t want anyone tossing their cookies.
#8: The Wicker Man – those bitches!
What else can be said about those evil bitches at the end of The Wicker Man? Yikes!
#7: The Sentinel – man in the bedroom
In this 1977 film, a young woman’s apartment is the gateway to Hell. That being said, I’ll be honest: the movie tends to drag on in parts and might not hold every horror fan’s attention, but some of the imagery, like the old, dead, mostly naked man power-walking across her dark bedroom, simply cannot be beat.
#6: Mirrors – that moment when a relaxing bath turns brutal
I think what makes this scene in Mirrors so creepy is the loss of self-control. The victim becomes a puppet to herself, or rather, to her evil reflection in the mirror. She is forced to grab her own jaw and yank and yank until…
#5: The Devil’s Rejects – I am the devil, and I’m here to do the devil’s work
Few modern horror movie scenes compare to the intensity in this one. Every time I view it, I am forced to picture myself on the other end of this murdering psycho’s wrath and wonder… what could I do to escape him? How does a person summon dignity and hope in the face of a killer as vicious and uncaring as Otis Driftwood?
#4: Night Of The Living Dead (1990) – opening scenes
Hey, looky there. Bill Moseley has back-to-back roles on my countdown, as he plays the annoying brother in the graveyard scene of this cult remake. But this time it’s not Mr. Moseley who brings the terror to life, but the freshly risen zombies who begin to shamble on scene, attacking him and running our heroine’s car into a tree. From there, all the fun begins.
#3: Insidious – the red demon appears
I don’t even want to spoil this one by saying where or when the demon pops up. Rest assured, it scared the crap out of me when it did!
#2: Juon – the ghost’s descent down the staircase
Listen to me, Americans… FORGET THE GRUDGE. The Grudge SUCKS compared to Takashi Shimizu’s original Japanese version, Juon. There are so many wonderful scares in this movie, but the piece de resistance is the bloody woman on the staircase. Her broken, sketchy movements and relentless eye contact seemed to go on FOREVER the first time I saw this scene. Brilliant.
#1: Pet Sematary – meet Zelda
Over the years, I have made jokes about forming a Zelda support group for all the people who were under 14 when they first saw Pet Sematary. I’m not sure if the imagery of Zelda has the same scarring effect on the fully developed adult brain as it does on the adolescent brain, but one thing is for sure (and I’m not exaggerating here), I’ve met at least twenty people who suffered from crippling Zelda fear during childhood. If you’re one of them *HUGS* you’re not alone. You’re not alone.
So there you have it. My Dirty Dozen Top Twelve Horror Movie Moments. Feel free to share yours in the comments below or contact me personally. I might do a reader-submitted version of this blog if I get enough feedback! Thanks for reading! Keep it ghastly!