Everyone knows that I love scrapbooking and that it’s my #1 hobby/ thing that sucks up my time.
I have other hobbies and likes though too, and plan to share them from time to time. I also feel like I have an eclectic gathering of likes: art, World of Warcraft, video games, blogging, board games and I used to be involved in Civil War reenacting!
Today, I want to talk about something else I thoroughly enjoy: horror movies! I know, sweet things like scrapping memories and creepy movies probably don’t usually go together, but they don’t have to! I just like them!
So I’m always looking for movies that are considered to be the “scariest”. Some come close and some, well, don’t.
Since I’m not sure what I consider to be the scariest movie I’ve ever seen (though one in particular could probably fill that title), I decided to make and share a list of my top 10 scariest movie moments. Nearly all the ones on my list are genuinely creepy and gave me the shivers and none really rely “jump” scares. They are scenes that just give you the heebee-geebees!
First, I’ll list the movies they are from, in no particular order, so if you see one that you want to see but don’t want to know anything about them, you can stop reading now! There will be spoilers!
Movies: Saw, Ring, Quarantine, Twilight Zone, Paranormal Activity, Fourth Kind, Signs, Silence of the Lamb, Reincarnation, and Sixth Sense.
Oh, and before I get any grief, no, I don’t have any “classics” on here like The Exorcist, Psycho, Halloween, Last House on the left, etc… Why? Because my parents did NOT want me to watch those kinds of movies (as any parent would) and I was a good girl and didn’t go out trying to find them. I didn’t watch a lot of classics (and I’m still working on some of them) until much later in life, mainly the past few years. And while I’m sure they are great for their time, the effects and such are almost laughable. Exorcist was painfully slow, Last House on the Left had the weirdest music that made me feel more like I was watching Benny Hill than a horror movie, and Halloween just frustrated me (why after “killing” Michael did Jamie Lee Curtis, just sit in the door of the bedroom with her back to him!?! Why wouldn’t you run out of the house with the kids?? UGH). Perhaps if I had seen these as a child, they would have more of an impact on me. It’s much harder to scare an adult than it is a child… so if these are the movies that freaked me out, then so be it!
Without further ado, my top 10 scariest movie moments:
10. Signs~scene: Alien in the TV~ a clever and very realistic alien movie. Graham Hess (Mel Gibson) is a former Reverend who has lost his faith after his wife dies in an accident. The movie centers around him, his two children and brother Merril (Joaquin Pheonix) and the strange things that are beginning to happen at their farm. There were several creepy moments: one where Graham is in their cornfield at night, thinking neighborhood pranksters made a crop circle and is continuing to taunt the family, and is looking to catch them. He hears noises around him but doesn’t see anything… then he drops his flashlight and it goes out. He picks it up, hits it to turn it on, and the moment it comes on, we see a green leg disappear into the cornfield. This scene made my friend Jamie (with whom I was watching it) scream and grab my leg, which made me scream louder and then made us laugh! Another is when Merril has moved the TV into the coat closet (he claims the kids were becoming obsessed with watching the news about aliens, while he seems to be the one mesmerized by it) and a news report shows “disturbing footage”. The footage shows children at a birthday party in South America and they all seemed to have run in the house and are scared by something… the camera looks out the window and in a few seconds, an alien comes out of a bush and disappears behind the house. (Merril’s reaction to this is actually quite funny!) Scariest scene for me is after the alien invasion seems to be over (which is also incredibly creepy!), and the Hess family emerges from their refuge in the basement. Graham’s son, Morgan has suffered an asthma attack, so he lays him on the couch and goes to find his medicine. His daughter, Bo says everyone on the TV is dancing in celebration of the aliens leaving, so Graham asks if Morgan wants to see too. Graham goes to the coat closet and wheels the TV into the room. As the TV is turned to face Morgan, we see the horrifying reflection of an alien! Worse yet, it has Morgan in its clutches and appears to be trying to poison him! I won’t tell you more about that moment because a lot of key information is given during the scene (yes, so close to the ending too!). Fantastic movie!
9. Fourth Kind~ scene: a terrifying recording~ Fourth Kind is another alien movie, but tries to be passed off as a “true” story. The movie tries to even intertwine movie footage with supposedly “real” footage, and some people will either think this is a stupid gimmick or that it’s a different spin on movie making. I sort of liked it though at times it is a bit dizzying. The movie overall was not all that great. Not terrible, but not great. However, one scene delivered a genuinely heebee geebee inducing moment. The psychologist, Dr. Tyler (Mila Jovovich), is investigating strange happenings in Nome, Alaska. She tends to record herself, usually her thoughts on something that’s happening to one of her patients. One night, she’s recording herself while lying in her bed, and begins to fall asleep. The next day, she’s headed to her office to meet with a patient. She hands her recorder to her assistant and asks her to transcribe it. She meets with the patient and after the meeting, as the doctor is leaving, her assistant says she wants nothing to do with the recorder, and practically throws it at Dr. Tyler before running out of the room. She plays it back and hears her mumblings that she remembers saying, and then it seems to be the sound of her breathing heavy, as if she’s fallen asleep. Suddenly, she hears the sound of her bedroom door opening, then a really creepy-ass voice speaking in a strange language, followed by the sounds of her screaming and nails on the floor as she’s being dragged out of her room! How scary to think that you don’t remember a thing happening but you have a recording of yourself screaming your head off at someone or something!? The rest of the movie was sort of a let down, but it had such potential. Still gives me the chills though.
8. Reincarnation~ scene: Who was I?~ one of HorrorFest 2005′s line up. A Japanese horror flick that was just a well told story. The movie is well, about a movie! An ambitious director wants to make a horror movie about a massacre that took place at a hotel. A professor, while studying reincarnation, went mad, and killed hotel guests, then his children, and finally himself, and supposedly filmed the whole thing. The movie director decides, what better place to film than at the actual hotel where the killings took place! As the actors and actresses reviews their scripts, the main star begins seeing a ghost of a little girl, the professor’s daughter… whom she will be playing in the movie. As the filming goes on, she believes she is the reincarnation of the professor’s daughter. Then, in the end chase scene of the movie being filmed, the actress is running from room to room where she sees the other actors dead in the places their real life characters were killed… the actress runs to the closet where the professor’s daughter was killed, and finds one of the other actors there… and that’s when the realization happens that she’s not the reincarnation of the daughter, but of the homicidal professor! Truthfully, the scene where all this happens is a bit confusing, but once it hits you, you realize how beautifully this scene was executed and it gives you chills when you realize what’s happening! If you don’t mind subtitles, it’s definitely worth checking out!
7. Quarantine (American remake of the Spanish movie [REC])~ scene: what the hell is in the attic!?~ I haven’t scene [REC] yet… some say it’s way better and some say that it’s the same movie, shot for shot (minus a few minor dialogue changes). I really liked Quarantine, which makes great use of the found-footage style of shooting. Some hate this effect and some love it. I personally, love it and think that, if it fits within the context of the movie, it can work well. This movies centers around a reporter (Jennifer Carpenter) and her camera man following two firemen to do a story on them. They receive a phone call to an apartment building where reports say a tenant has gone crazy. They come across an old woman who has grown violent and she looks like she’s half dead! Lots of bad stuff happens (the woman attacks one of the firefighters), and then as everyone tries to escape, they are greeted with firearms and officials who warn them that, if they come out of the building, the will be shot. Say, what? The horror builds as more people become “infected” and after an official from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention enters in a HazMat suit and eventually tells them that a sick dog was taken to a shelter, where it turned violent and killed the other dogs. The dog was traced back to that apartment building, where it seems the residents are now becoming rabid. The final scene follows our reporter and cameraman to the attic of the building, desperate for a way out. In the attic, they discover a slew of articles about a Doomsday virus that someone was creating. That someone was the owner of the building… and he’s still in the attic!! A dramatic night-vision scene ensues and it’s full of scares and a little bit of gore!
6. Silence of the Lambs~ scene: killer in the dark~ Fantastic movie! Anthony Hopkins is awesome, as is Jodie Foster. Their dynamics are perfect in this film and it really is a psychological thriller. Jodie Foster’s character, Clarice Starling is after serial killer Buffalo Bill (with the help of Hannibal Lecter’s insight) and ends up finding him unexpectedly and chases him to his maze of a basement. The lights are shut off and Clarice is left in the dark… but Buffalo Bill can see her! Wearing a pair of night vision goggles, he follows Clarice’s every move and at one point even reaches out his hand to brush her hair and come within an inch of stroking her panic-stricken face. However, he makes a mistake when he cocks his gun, in preparation to shoot her, and gives away his position. Hearing it, Clarice fires in his direction and kills him. The thought of someone being able to watch you when it’s pitch dark is a chilling one!
5. Sixth Sense~ scene: I’m dead?~ M. Night Shyamalan’s debut and probably his best (Though, Signs was REALLY good!). The whole movie is filled with thrills and chills, but for me, the biggest one was at the end. You think that things are calm and that Dr. Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) has helped Cole figure out how to deal with his little “seeing dead people” problem. Cole tells his secret to his mother in a touching scene and all is well. Malcolm goes home to his wife, who’s been acting cold to him lately. He finds her curled up on a chair, watching their wedding video but she’s falling asleep. He begins to talk to her and she says something like “why did you leave me?”. He says, “I didn’t leave you…” and then we hear a the sound of something falling on the floor. It’s a wedding band… his wedding band. He looks at his hand, and notices it’s not there. Then, he begins to unravel everything that’s been happening to him. He’s dead!? He recalls all of the things that Cole told him: that the ghosts only see what they want to see and that they don’t know they’re dead. It flashes back to the home invasion at the beginning of the movie, where a former patient (a gaunt Donnie Wahlberg) is in their bathroom, naked and saying why he’s gone crazy. He blames Malcolm for not helping him and not believing him when he was his patient, and he shoots Malcolm before shooting himself. I have to say, that I totally didn’t see the ending coming, and while I try to figure out mysteries and take a guess at the ending, I truly didn’t realize there was something to figure out! Shymalan did such a good job of tying in the opening scene (Malcolm goes back to one of the recordings of a session with Wahlberg and realizes he hears the voices of the ghosts… making him realize that his patient now, Cole, isn’t making up what he’s been telling him) that I didn’t even think for a second that Bruce Willis was actually dead! One of the best twist endings ever!
4. Saw~ scene: the end reveal~ speaking of twist endings… I feel like Saw (the original, mind you) had probably the best twist ending of any movie I’ve ever seen. The reason I rank it above Sixth Sense is mainly because Saw didn’t hint at the ending. I realize that Sixth Sense worked for me because, as much as it did hint at the ending, I didn’t catch it… but I could have. Saw managed to keep the ending a secret… until the last minute. I almost don’t want to talk about it because the ending is so good and so shocking, and it’s hard to not tell the whole story in order to talk about the ending, but I’ll try. The premise of the movie is that the Jigsaw Killer takes people who are society’s worst (drug abusers, murderers, etc…) and puts them into situations where they will have to sacrifice something in order to get out of them (typically a body part!). It opens with two men, Adam and Dr. Gordan (Cary Elwes) chained to pipes and locked in a large dark bathroom, and when the lights come on, they are greeted with a bloody dead body in the middle of the room. A tape recorder is found that gives them the ominous message, Dr. Gordan must kill the Adam before 6pm or his wife and daughter will be killed and tells them the dead guy in the room was already tested, and has failed (proof that Jigsaw is not kidding around)… lets see how these two fair. They find a saw in the room and try furiously to saw through the chain around their ankles or the pipes they’re attached to… only to make the realization that the saw wasn’t meant to cut through metal… it was meant to cut through their legs! Fast forward through some dialogue and key moments (sorry) to the ending. After believing his wife and daughter are being murdered (via a phone call), Dr. Gordan freaks and cuts through his leg in a gruesome scene. He crawls towards the door and tells Adam he will send for help, before exiting the room. Then, an orderly at the hospital where Dr. Gordan works (and who was the one who actually had his wife and daughter hostage), bursts through room saying he had to kill Adam because “those are the rules”. Adam ends up overtaking the orderly and smashing his face in with the lid of the back of a toilet, which was in the room. He then searches his body for a key or other way out… but finds a tape recorder… with a message for the orderly. His task was to take the wife and daughter hostage or else be killed by a poison in the blood stream. If he completed his task, he would get the antidote. That’s when it becomes clear that the orderly is NOT the Jigsaw Killer… just then we see the “dead” body stand up behind Adam! The Jigsaw Killer was in the room with them the whole time!! He tells Adam that key to his chains was in the tub Adam woke up in (but the key washed down the drain)… he then walks to the door, turns out the lights, turns to Adam and says “Game Over”, before shutting the door and sealing Adam inside. A twist I didn’t see coming in the least! This description doesn’t do it justice but it was the only way to explain the ending without telling the whole movie. It is a brilliant horror flick that I’ve recommended to many people, including my parents. They hate gory movies but they both thoroughly enjoyed this one! Too bad the sequels vastly pale in comparison!
3. Twilight Zone: The Movie~ scene: thing on the wing~ This is the oldest movie on here, by far. I haven’t watched it in a long time, so I’m not sure how well it stands up to the test of time, but I was in my early teens by the time I first saw this and maybe that’s why I now have an intense fear of flying!! This movie is made up of several stories: 4 1/2 actually, counting the opening bit with Dan Akroyd and his buddy driving on a road trip… which almost made this top 10 list… when he says to his friend “Wanna see something really scary?” and then turns into a monster, I almost peed my pants! However, it’s the last story in the movie that is the most terrifying~ “Nightmare at 20,000 feet”. John Lithgow is a nervous airline passenger. He even has to be coaxed from the bathroom at one point because he’s having a panic attack. He finally takes his seat and looks out on the wing. To his horror, he sees a creature out on the wing and it’s ripping the plane apart!! There isn’t one scene in particular that is frightening… the whole thing is (including the weird-o little girl and her puppet)!! From the vulnerability of being on a plane, to seeing a monster sabotaging your flight (and everyone just thinking you’re mentally unstable!), it is truly scary!
2. Ring~ scene: out of the well, out of the tv~ This was hands down the first movie in a long time (a couple of years before the one in my #1 slot) to give me literal nightmares! And for a few days! I have not ventured into the original version yet (Ringu) and I hear that it’s better (go figure, the original Japanese version is better than the American remake), but I am just going based off the movie I saw. The story is that there’s a video out there that, if you watch it, you’ll get a phone call saying you will die in 7 days… and you do! No one really knows how it happens, it just does. Enter our protagonist, Rachel (Naomi Watts) who’s niece (?) is a victim of the video. Rachel gets her hands on the tape and gets the ominous phone call. She gives it to her boyfriend to watch and she then makes copy for him… she later takes the copy home, only for her son to find and watch it as well! Which leaves her with just a few days to figure out how to stop the impending death. She does a little digging and traces the tape back to a family with an adopted daughter named Samara. The mystery unfolds and it comes out that she was thought to be evil by her parents, so eventually, her mother killed her by pushing her in a well. The Ring references the ring of light Samara saw as the top of the well was being sealed by her mother. Rachel finds the well and Samara’s body. She notifies the police and Samara is properly laid to rest. That night, Rachel tells her son that it’s over and that Samara won’t hurt him. Then her son tells her some chilling words~ she wasn’t supposed to help Samara… she won’t rest!! The scene flashes to Rachel’s boyfriend’s apartment. His TV flickers on… he sees and a black and white (almost blueish) image of the well. Yes THE well… then slowly and grotesquely, Samara climbs out of it… and slowly walks towards the camera with her long black straggly hair covering her face. She gets right up to the camera, and then crawls through the freakin’ TV!! Did not see that one coming! The boyfriend who had been staring in confusion when the TV first came on, is now struggling and tripping over everything in his apartment to get away. She’s slimy and dripping with water as she crawls her way to the living room floor, then she stands up and almost fast forwards herself to him. He falls over some shelves and can only watch in horror as she draws closer to him, her hair parting ever so slightly to reveal an evil and disgusting eye! Rachel, after discovering his body and realizing that she should’ve died before her boyfriend, figures out that she lived because she made a copy… thus passing on Samara’s message. She then has her son make a copy so that he won’t fall victim to Samara’s evil TV-bursting ways. I couldn’t sleep for days because I kept staring at the TV in my bedroom, just waiting for it to turn on by itself! I even made my then-boyfriend return the movie to the movie store immediately… and considered making a copy before we did so!
1. Paranormal Activity~ scene: dragged out of bed~ ok, so I know there seem to be two camps with this movie; ones who hated it and thought it was stupid and ones who loved it and were terrified by it. Seeing as how it’s in my #1 slot, you can guess which side I fall into. I was also lucky enough to see this before the hype took off. I need to tell a little story first, because I thoroughly enjoyed my experience with this movie:
PA opened in just 13 theaters, all college towns… since lucky me lives near the college I work at and it’s a big college town, we were able to see this movie at the original screening (not counting the movie festival it premiered at a few years ago). So Dave and I went with some friends, my scrapbooking friend Kerrie and her hubby, Blake who is really into scary movies. We rsvp’ed via email for the 9pm screening and when we showed up at the theater, there was a huge line! Since it was a free screening, there were tons of college students there, anxious to be scared. I even saw a few students I worked with at the art center! We were let into the theater, but seats filled quickly and probably half of the seats were marked as reserved. As my friends, Dave and I stood there on the stair case, staring at all the empty but reserved seats, we wondered if we would actually get a chance to see it. Eventually the manager came in and said “ok, people in the reserved seats, if you know someone is definitely coming, grab a seat or two.” Then he paused for 10 seconds and said “Ok, if someone hasn’t claimed that seat for someone, feel free to rip off the reserved sign!” Awesome… and because of this, we actually got fantastic seats, instead of being stuck in the front! A few minutes passed and Ryan Buell from Paranormal State on A&E came out to do a little intro, which was really cool. He had seen the movie at the movie fest where it was debuted a couple of years ago and he thought it was terrifying. His intro was followed by a brief talk from a Paramount rep. And then the movie began…
The premise of the movie is that a young couple, Katie and Micah have recently moved into a new house, but Katie is experiencing some strange things. Turns out a dark presence has been following her all her life and has decided to show up again. Micah is skeptical and is then determined to catch whatever it is on film, and the whole movie is from the point of view of the camera~ and is presented as “found footage” a la Blair Witch Project. While BW was scary at the time, the shaky cam footage got to me after awhile… in PA, most of the scariest night time scenes are viewed from the camera mounted on a tripod. Shaky cam scenes are kept to a minimum. Onto the movie… The first few nights are slow, but not uneventful. It starts out gradual… the door moves a little, a loud bang, etc… then Micah gets a ouija board to try to contact it… something a psychic earlier in the film warned against. By contacting it, you’re inviting it into your home. Soon after that, things get much, much worse. While I was thoroughly creeped out through the whole movie, the scariest scene in this movie gave me nightmares for DAYS! One night, while sleeping (and you really learned to dread anytime the night time scenes began) the time stamp at the bottom of the screen starts fast forwarding (as it had in previous nights) and when it stops, you just know something awful is going to happen… and happen it does! The sheets are blown off of Katie… then her foot swings out and she’s dragged to the floor! This awakens her and she is immediately alarmed… then her foot raises in the air and she is dragged out the door! She begins screaming for Micah who wakes up and leaps for Katie, but the door slams in his face… he pulls it open and we see Katie, foot still high in the air being dragged down the hall way (presumably to the attic where previous scenes hinted is where this demon dwells)! We hear screaming, some struggling, but it’s dark at the end of the hallway and the camera is still stuck in the bedroom. Soon we see Micah and Katie running to the bedroom and hugging and crying hysterically. Later, the footage cuts to Katie lying in a chair, curled up in a blanket. Micah asks if he can film “it”… she lifts the back of her shirt to reveal a hideous bite mark!
The end of the movie was equally terrifying (the scariest I’ve seen in awhile) but I won’t give it away here. There have been few movies that absorbed me the way this one did and I don’t know that I’ve ever really screamed like the way I did while watching this movie. Even Dave had nightmares and was freaked out! I left the theater feeling a little bit like I wanted to throw up… it was awesome! It’s really too bad the hype sort of killed this movie… then people went in daring themselves to be scared or determined to NOT be scared… and weren’t. I went in with virtually no expectation except to see a potentially scary movie. And it was free so I didn’t care if it sucked or not. In my opinion, it was great and I loved it. I’m hesitant to recommend it because of all the talk and hype around it, which is a shame really. As long as you don’t go in to it with a “You can’t scare me” attitude and allow yourself to be immersed into what feels like a real situation, you’ll at least enjoy the ride!
Honorable mention: Jurassic Park~ the T-Rex attack seen~ brilliant and scary!; Cloverfield~ another shaky cam movie, but the night vision seen in a subway tunnel is spooky as all get out!; Grudge~ ugh, that creepy voice that people here before the scary woman attacks someone!; Descent~ the first few scenes where the cave people are seen… freaky!; Trilogy of Terror~ three words: Zuni Fetish Doll… if you’ve seen it, you know what I mean; Trick ‘r Treat~ not all that scary but it’s a series of several stories that all intertwine and it’s really a lot of fun to watch!… one story follows children trying to uncover the site of a bus crash and find zombie children… really creepy! This should be a Halloween classic!
There it is, my top 10… that felt kind of good to write. I’ve been wanting to write something like this for sometime! Sorry for the lengthy post, but this will most likely be the last time I write something like this. I may do the occasional review on a new horror movie, if I feel like it’s worth my time. Thanks for reading… I’ll be back with more scrapbooking entries!