Saturday, July 10, 2010

13 Willies-Inducing Moments

André Dumas, author of The Horror Digest blog, has created a top 10 list of the most willies-inducing moments from horror movies and has invited others to join in with their own lists. Final Girl's Stacie Ponder has made a great list of her own as well, and between the two lists, there didn't seem to be much room for originality, as it seems we share most of the same fears (Awesome people think alike, though, so that can't be helped). In trying to do something a bit different, I decided to up the count to 13 and venture off  with a few unlikely choices. The results may not be the ultimate list, but a pretty darn good one nonetheless.

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13. JAWS











Jaws has managed to scare many people out of the water for many years. The opening kill is very effective, but for the most willies-inducing moment, I'm going to go with a different scene that comes later on in the film.

When Chief Brody's son goes on a sailboat with some of his friends in the pond, the shark attacks a nearby boat and eats the guy who falls in. The way the shark just sort of glides towards the guy's feet with his jaw stretched open has always given me the shivers and made me think twice about stepping foot in the water.

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12. POLTERGEIST II: THE OTHER SIDE













I'm a huge fan of the original Poltergeist, and although I think this sequel is pretty entertaining, I know it ain't exactly the bee's knees. But the villain, Reverend Kane, is more than enough reason to call this a memorable horror film.

When Carol Anne goes shopping at the mall with her mother and brother, she accidentally wanders off and gets lost amongst the crowds, only to bump into Kane, the creepy-ass reverend from HELL!!! Carol Anne knows this dude can't be trusted and looks scared out of her mind. Kane asks her if she's lost and tries to comfort her with a song, but that only manages to make things far worse for her...and me.

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11. THE OMEN













One of the most effective scenes of this classic film comes when Robert Thorn visits a creepy old cemetery out in the middle of nowhere in Italy, in search of the grave of his son's birth mother. What he finds inside is the skeleton of a jackal, which is pretty damn eerie. But then, a bunch of vicious dogs appear and start to attack in a crazed frenzy.

The whole scene is quite chilling, but it works even better courtesy of a filmmaking blooper; As the dogs attack, a quick frantic shot reveals a few crew members (probably the dog trainers) watching from behind some brush. This would have normally bothered the crap out of me, but in this particular case, it somehow managed to benefit the scene, as the sudden appearance of random watchful eyes in the shadows was pretty chilling.

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10. SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT













Silent Night, Deadly Night revolves around the unfortunate upbringing of Billy Chapman, a child who witnesses the brutal murder of his parents at the hands of a criminal dressed as Santa Claus, gets put into an abusive orphanage, run by the ironically evil Mother Superior, and eventually snaps, becoming a crazed killer himself.

When I was a kid, there wasn't much scarier than Silent Night, Deadly Night's Grandpa Chapman. At the beginning of the film, before the horror begins, poor, innocent little Billy goes on a trip to the mental hospital with his parents to visit his comatose grandfather and gets left alone with him. With the absence of the doctor and parents, Grandpa Chapman suddenly becomes devilishly animated and decides to take this time to warn little Billy of the dangers of Santa Claus. According to his crazy old mind, if you're not completely good all year, then Santa will not only leave you present-less, but will seek you out just to punish you (which, unfortunately happens, courtesy of that aforementioned criminal).

The dude looks creepy enough as is, but the way he talks to Billy is so incredibly horrifying as he turns red and veiny while seemingly straining to keep his composure. I don't care what anyone says, Grandpa Chapman is the scariest mother f**ker on the planet.


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9. MY LITTLE EYE













The movie centers on a group of reality show contestants who are sent to live in a secluded house filled with wall-mounted security cameras in every room; something along the lines of Big Brother, only not shitty. With the point-of-view mostly coming from these wall-mounted cameras, it's all rather voyeuristic, which results in plenty of creepy moments.
 
In this one particular scene, the group gathers around a fireplace on a cold, snowy night and a creepy story is told about how forgetting to close your curtains is the easiest way to get yourself a stalker. The scene has a very atmospheric campfire story vibe, which alone works great, but is elevated by the fact that we're watching this scene through one of the security cameras, which slowly zooms in to the back of the heroine's head as the story's being told. This technique worked wonders at giving me the chills and made me peer into the darkness over my own shoulder every so often to make sure no one was watching me as well.

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8. THE INNOCENTS













Robert Wise's The Haunting is widely regarded as the greatest ghost movie ever made. While the book it's based on by Shirley Jackson is probably my all-time favorite book, the film, however, didn't quite have the same effect. The Innocents, in my opinion, is a far superior film that was way ahead of it's time and never fails to give me the chills.

Lonely Miss Giddens has been given the task of becoming the governess to neglected orphans, Miles and Flora, who live tucked away in a beautiful, secluded estate. Adoring the children, Miss Giddens couldn't be happier with her new job. But then she starts to see and hear strange things around the property and begins to think something supernatural has a hold of the two children.
 
The creepiest moment of the movie comes when Miss Giddens is sitting by a pond with Flora, who seems to fall into a sort of trance while singing a creepy, familiar lullaby. Miss Giddens, sensing that things are a bit off, catches a glimpse of something across the pond; a woman, dressed in black, just standing among the weeds, staring back at her.

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7. THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT  
      (Spoilers Included)













I still don't get why The Blair Witch Project is hated by so many people. I saw this one in theaters with my mom at the age of 13 and by the time the end credits were rolling, we were both shivering and staring blankly with shock. Meanwhile, everyone else in the theater was booing. Sure, this movie utilizes subtlety to the max and leaves a lot to the imagination, but that's what's so damn great about it.

When Heather and Mike are searching for Josh towards the end of the film and stumble upon an old, dilapidated house in the middle of the woods, they're clearly terrified to enter and I couldn't help but share their feelings. Once they get inside and get separated, Heather eventually finds Mike in the dark basement, just sort of standing there, facing a corner of the room. She screams for him and he doesn't move an inch or say a thing...and then Heather's screams are suddenly cut off and her camera falls to the floor. A pretty effing creepy way to end a movie, if ya ask me. 

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6. THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE













Being filmed in a dirty, raw way, most of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre has a very disturbing feel to it, but there's one scene in particular that I can barely stand to watch. After Sally is captured by the crazy family, they bend her over a large bucket and give the grandfather a hammer to smash in her head as if she were an animal. And because the grandfather is so insanely old and pretty much looks like a rotting zombie corpse, he can barely move, let alone use a hammer, so watching his frail body attempt to smash Sally's head in, while she chillingly screams, is downright disturbing.

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5. FIRE IN THE SKY













I already didn't enjoy the thought of the possible existence of aliens, but it got so much worse after I saw Fire In The Sky, which is supposedly a true story.

Sometimes, listening to someone's bloodcurdling screams alone can be more frightening than seeing what's making them scream. But in this case, it was equally frightening, visually and aurally, and thus was a bit too much for me to handle when I was a kid.

Poor Travis gets strapped to a table while creepy little aliens probe about and shove weird gooey stuff and tubes down his throat, has a sheet of rubber-like substance form-fitted to his body, and then has to watch as a long, sharp needle lowers towards his eyeball, preparing to penetrate. If this really did happen to him, I don't know how the hell he didn't just have a heart attack and drop dead right then and there, as I probably would have.

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4. AMITYVILLE II: THE POSSESSION













Okay, so Amityville II isn't exactly a good movie and pretty much plays out like a poor man's Exorcist, but I can't help loving the crap out of it.

The opening credits sequence alone is creepy as hell...and nothing even happens, other than a slow pan of the Amityville house and the foggy property, accompanied by the insanely creepy theme music. Whenever I'd feel bored and in need of a horror fix, I would just pop the old tape into the VCR, turn off all the lights and play with myself get scared.

But even though the opening credits sequence would be my first choice, I'm gonna have to mention another willies-inducing moment, which comes when the family has settled down for the night, the house is left dark and quiet, and then we're suddenly seeing through the eyes of someone/something coming out from a secret room in the basement. The first-person view then travels throughout the house, moaning at the sight of a crucifix and making a clock go haywire as it passes.

If this isn't considered willies-inducing, then I don't know what is. The thought that something could be walking around your own dark house late at night while you're asleep is one of the scariest things I can think of, especially if they moan at Jesus.

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3. BLACK CHRISTMAS  
      (Spoilers Included)













Black Christmas is, without a doubt, the best slasher film ever made and it never fails to scare me. The one willies-inducing moment comes when lead character Jess finds her friends dead in a bedroom...and then realizes the killer is standing right behind the door, staring at her with his big, creepy bulging eye.

This scene alone was absolutely frightening to witness, but it gets much, much worse when she slams the door into his face and takes off running. At this point, we're still not given a look at the killer, but what we do get is the sound of his heavy footsteps running down the stairs after her, accompanied by his chilling screams and wails as he thrashes about in a maniacal tantrum. These sounds are more frightening than anything I've ever heard in my life and scares me half to death with every viewing.


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2.  THE TWILIGHT ZONE: "THE HOWLING MAN"  
       (Spoilers Included)













I realize that The Twilight Zone is considered to be quite dated by today's young'uns. And I agree that most of the episodes were pretty corny, but some of them were still fairly effective and remain so to this day. Out of all the episodes, though, there was really only one in particular that scared the living crap out of me when I was a kid, and that was "The Howling Man."

When a passerby gets caught in a bad storm, he takes refuge at a monastery filled with creepy old monks with really long beards (an irrational fear of mine) and hears strange howling that gets dismissed as nothing but the wind. But then he tracks down the howling to a man locked up in a cell. A man with sad, piercing eyes and gentle voice that pleads for release from the crazy monks.

Long story short, the passerby falls for the imprisoned man's charms and sets him free, only to find out this man was locked up for good reason, seeing as how he happens to be the Devil himself.

Anything involving the Devil or demons or pretty much anything related to Christianity, good or bad, just doesn't sit well with me. I don't know where it stems from, but the whole damn thing has always made me feel very uncomfortable and gives me the willies, big time. So needless to say "The Howling Man" is the stuff of nightmares to me and pretty much every scene in this episode freaks me out. I want to say the aforementioned scene of the Devil getting loose and revealing himself was the one willies-inducing moment, but I think I'm gonna have to go with another moment that comes at the very end of the episode.

Feeling guilty for letting the Devil loose upon the world, he spends years tracking him down and eventually captures him and locks him up in a closet in his very own home. When he explains the story to his maid and very clearly tells her that she should never, under any circumstances, open the closet door, she of course assumes he's totally crazy and, lo and behold...opens the closet door.

The expression on the maid's face, the slow opening of the door and the reveal of darkness within has managed to stay with me since the first time I saw it as a young kid and still creeps me out to this day.

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1. THE EXORCIST













I feel as though an explanation for this entry is slightly redundant. The Exorcist was no doubt a major source of childhood trauma for many a people (considering it's known as the scariest movie of all time), and I'm certainly no exception. Pretty much everything about this movie is absolutely terrifying in the most terrifyingly terrifying way imaginable. And if you don't agree with that, then you should just jump off a bridge cause you're wrong.

Noooo, I only kid. But if you don't think this movie is scary...then I hate your guts. The one scene of this movie that has scared me and stuck with me the most is Damien's dream sequence, in which Pazuzu, the possessing demon of the film, shows his true face in quick, subliminal-style flashes.

You'd think because I included an image of his face here that I'm probably not scared of Pazuzu anymore...but right now I'm actually trying incredibly hard to avoid direct eye contact. Over the years, I've lost many hours of sleep because of this damn face and I don't think my fear will ever dissipate. Like...ever.

I used this image of Pazuzu to make my own custom pumpkin stencil not only once, but twice (see pics below) and was completely horrified throughout the whole design/carving process. Maybe I thought it would be a way to face my fears and put them to rest through one of those therapeutic show-your-anger/fear-through-art things.

But no such luck...


The camera went out of focus on this last pic, making the face look real, which makes it ten times scarier, which makes it ten times more likely for me to drop a deuce in my pantaloons. 

Thanks a lot, God.



P.S. I suggest you check out the original Horror Digest list for other great runner-ups, like the moment from Black Sabbath, which I totally agree with, but couldn't fit into my own list.



4 comments:

Everyday Goddess said...

I'm scared just reading this!

But then again, just hearing the music Tubular Bells from the original Exorcist pretty much scares me.

Mikey Sarago said...

Haha, don't worry. You're not the only one who gets creeped out by Tubular Bells!

Andre said...

Ahhhh I am terrified of Jaws and you just reawakened something I completely blocked out of my head! Well done. I cannot believe you carved that face into a pumpkin---you are nuts!! I love it. Thanks for sharing your willies! : )

dave said...

I've enjoyed your writing style muchly! And you most certainly are not alone ... I read this entire post without incident, but as soon as the picture of Pazuzu came into view I had a sudden & urgent need to glance over my shoulder into my dark bathroom. That image is so well created (as were your pumpkins!)...