Halloween is less than a week away and it’s time to ditch the obligatory “Scariest Movies” post and instead discuss “Scariest Movie Moments.” You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? Those scenes in movies – good or bad – that never leave us. Those moments from cinema that still give us goosebumps when we remember how they originally made our pulse quicken.
Here’s my top ten list of scariest movie moments. We’ll discuss on the KVNU Movie Show this Friday, October 27th. Make sure to listen live at 5PM by moving your dial to 610AM or 102.1FM. You can also listen online by clicking here.
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3 – The Fan Cam
There are loads of moments from the PARANORMAL ACTIVITY franchise that make my bumchops turn into a diamond mine, but the 1980s fan cam catching a Toby playing games with the family babysitter is enough to give me a heart attack.
SIGNS – Can I Have a Glass of Water?
Love him or hate him, M. Night Shyamalan directed a masterpiece with 2002’s SIGNS, and this scene is proof positive. It begins with lil’ Abigail Breslin telling/asking Mel Gibson, “There’s a monster outside my room, can I have a glass of water?” and ends with Gibson looking out her bedroom window at a tall figure standing on top of his barn. What makes this scene great is (1) every parent has been woken by their kid staring/hovering over them late at night, (2) the heartfelt talk between Gibson and Breslin that takes our mind off the initial jolt of fear, and (3) the final shot of the alien on the barn roof, preying on our fears of someone watching us through a window. All in all, massively unnerving, even 15 years later.
SIGNS – Cornfield Surprise
Another clip from SIGNS, this one has Mel Gibson grabbing his flashlight and venturing out into his cornfield in the dead of night. Let’s be real – if this was my house and I started seeing alien activity, I would burn my house to the ground and move, but this is Hollywood and that means our heroes and heroines have to do stupid stuff. Whether it’s the alien chirping behind Mad Max, or the grey leg sticking out of the corn, this is another pee-your-pants movie moment.
HOME ALONE 2 – Kevin Meets Cheeto Vader
Ugh. Too bad Donald wasn’t running into Marty and Doc.
THE STRANGERS – Kitchen Scene
I’m not sure I’ve ever watched a more start-to-finish unsettling movie than THE STRANGERS. I was on the edge of my seat the entire runtime with my cheeks and fists clinched. And when I saw Mr. Potato Sack Head lingering in the background of Liv Tyler’s kitchen, I knew affairs were not going to end well for our protagonists.
JAWS – Chum Some of This Sh**
We saw Chrissie attacked at the beginning of JAWS and we know Pippet the dog, the Kintner boy, Ben Gardner, and that nice man in the estuary rowboat were all eaten by Bruce the shark, but even with all that horror, the scariest moment is when we finally get a peek at the great white shark causing commotion off Amity Island.
POLTERGEIST – The Clown
I was seven years old when my dad took me to see POLTERGEIST. Who knew one scene involving a clown would cause me to sleep with my parents for a week, as well as never look under my bed ever again? POLTERGEIST was rated PG and was produced by Stephen Spielberg, so what could possibly cause nightmares for droves of kids, right? Wrong. POLTERGEIST was actually rated R, but with MGM in dire financial straights, an appeals board of movie producers, distributors and theater owners awarded the movie the kid-friendly PG rating. It was this moment in movie history the path to PG-13 was born.
THE CONJURING – The Rocking Chair
James Wan is an absolute genius. His INSIDIOUS and INSIDIOUS 2 made me a firm believer THE CONJURING would be absolutely amazing. I was right. And this scene, with the utterly creepy Annabelle doll having its hair brushed by the evil witch, Bathsheba, is one of the film’s most terrifying scenes.
TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE – Wanna See Something Really Scary?
This is such a great scene with Albert Brooks and Dan Akroyd. It’s fun and lively and despite their car ride in the dark, we don’t really feel a sense of dread. And then it happens. Akroyd asks Brooks, “You wanna see something really scary?” and what comes next is pure nightmare material.
THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN – The Mole Men
I know this is TV and I know it’s 1950s black and white, but this pilot episode of George Reeves’ run as the Man of Steel made my skin crawl. I think it centers around something that always creeps me out: The thought of someone looking in my window, or me opening my blinds to see someone or something looking inside. Ugh. Gives me the heebie jeebies just typing that.