The Month of Horror is in full swing! For the film section, we’ve decided to a Roundtable on our scariest movie moments. Not our favorite moments, per se, but the moments that made us so scared we wanted to crawl into a ball and scream for help. Those moments.
Let’s do this.
Brian Martin, Graphic/Novels Editor
The Exorcist (1973)–The Face of Evil
I was playing board games with a couple friends one night, and someone suggested we put on The Exorcist as background noise. We all agreed, but barely watched the movie as we played. One of my friends left to use the restroom just as Father Karras has the eerie dream about his mother. We watched, chuckled a bit, then OH MY GOD WHAT WAS THAT?! We backed the movie up and watched again. There, nestled in the middle of the scene, was a split-second shot of a ghastly white demon face. The games stopped at this point, and we stared at the television, too nervous to look away for even an instant. We caught two more glimpses of that horrible face that night, and none of us drove home comfortably in the foggy night afterwards.
Having an older brother meant I was privy to seeing movies I shouldn’t have as a kid. One was back in 1984 when I would have been 10 years old or so. The movie: A Nightmare On Elm Street. Many of the film’s images still send a signal to every cell in my body – run and hide. Yet there is one scene that has stuck with me more than any other, that being Tina’s death. While much of Freddy Kruger is comical by today’s standards, the music and setting in that scene are unsettling and chilling. As Tina is being killed, her slashed body pulled up the wall and dragged across the ceiling where she finally falls in a bloody splat on her bed, is horrific. The best part was, she was dreaming. No one could see Freddy, not even her boyfriend. And all of us have to go to sleep sometime.
Dustin Sanson, Staff Writer
Tales from the Hood–Hungry Puppets
The scariest moment I can remember in any movie will of course come from a movie I watched as a child. Today it’s ridiculous to see, but as a child it was the only time I ever made a pact with my little brother for his protection. In the movie Tales From the Hood, which is like it’s parody title would suggest, a collection of terror stories, there is one particular case where, in the final moments of the scene, a man is eaten alive by several tiny puppets that were brought to life. That night, I experienced true terror; and for years to come I would tread softly around any puppets or dolls and with a watchful eye, making sure they weren’t alive. To this day, no scary thing has ever brought me to that level of cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die terror again.
Nick Hahneman, Interim Games Editor
Audition-Kiri, Kiri, Kiri
When I was in college, I was pretty convinced that I had developed an iron-stomach and a high tolerance for horror films. Then my roommate introduced me to East Asian horror by showing me the movie Audition. The entire film is designed to build up to the final scene, in a slow, increasingly sickening trajectory. Our protagonist, a middle-aged widower, thinks he’s found the love of his life, unknowing of the extremely twisted psychosis that lies beneath her enchanting façade. The climax of the film, a fifteen minute long torture scene, was so stark in its portrayal and so harsh in its presentation that it left me deeply disturbed. Unlike Saw or other “torture porn” movies, the scene isn’t meant to shock for the sake of being outrageous, but is an expression of true sadism. The delight this girl takes in sticking needles into his eyes and his flesh as he lays paralyzed but aware of the pain, the glee she exhibits while amputating his foot was so supremely uncomfortable to watch that I had difficulty sleeping for days. As she whispered “kiri, kiri, kiri”, driving the needles into his flesh, the movie went deeper, deeper, deeper under my skin until it hit bone. It’s a movie I’ll never forget, and one I wish I’d never watched.
Nate Humphries, Tech/Science Editor
The Ring–Sunken Face
I haven’t always enjoyed horror movies, but my interest in them began one fateful night, when I watched The Ring in theaters. I had never been into horror movies, so I wasn’t really prepared for the amount of jumps and shocks present. Let’s just say that after the first time you see the person with their mouth open in the closet, I didn’t look directly at the screen until the very end (of course, right after I started looking again, you see the guy with his mouth open). But for some reason, I still enjoyed the movie. That’s because The Ring was the first movie to show me that horror movies, while focusing on the frightening side of life/fiction, don’t have to be all about the scare factor – they, too, can have great story lines.
Steven Adam Renkovish, Film Editor
The Shining–What’s in Room 237?
My scariest movie moment: The first time that I saw The Shining, I was fairly new to the horror genre. I hadn’t seen much horror at all up to that point. I remember when Jack enters Room 237. That entire sequence. You know what happens! It horrified me! As many times as I’ve seen that film, that one scene still manages to freak me out the most.
Rachel Helie, Assistant Editor
Session 9–The Reveal
Gordon Fleming, owner of the financially struggling Hazmat Elimination Crew arrives at the condemned Danvers State Mental Hospital with his men. I don’t know if I need to say any more. A crumbling wreck of a hospital haunted by memories seems scary enough. The hospital itself is a character in this slow burn of a movie.
The scares you can expect from Session 9 are understated but it builds. In the final scene of the movie, Gordon, played by Peter Mullan, is confronted with the true nature of what has happened, not just between his crew but between his own ears. His life has shattered. He desperately calls his wife throughout the day, trying to get her on the phone to apologize to her. He’s not at home. Gordon’s pain is the thread that one follows through every scene, even as the other crew members uncover their own mysteries in the rooms at Danvers.
This is a movie I have recommended countless times and it never disappoints. My only advice, for your own sake, is that you not watch it by yourself after dark. True horror presents plausible scenarios that invade the consciousness and prevents any attempt at explaining it away. That’s Session 9. At the end of the film, you keep telling yourself “That could happen.
Cameron Cook, Editor-in-Chief
Inland Empire—Who is that?
Never in my life has a movie scared me as much as Inland Empire. From the illogical narrative to the intentionally inconsistent tones and themes, the movie is as close to an actual nightmare I’ve ever been while still awake. The story changes periodically, the rules switch around, the characters become other people, and the imagery is muddy and difficult to pinpoint. What exactly is going on in the film? That’s the fear. The scariest moment in this ocean of terror is two-fold. Laura Dern’s character (who knows which one) is making her way through a seemingly infinite, labyrinthine hallway, and she comes upon herself. A gun rises and shoots. In close-up, David Lynch gives us one of the most horrifying images I’ve ever seen. It’s a face stretched beyond recognition over another face. The absolute nightmare of a fading star–the face becoming unrecognizable.
The screenshot doesn’t do this scene justice. It’s one of the most horrifying in cinematic history.