|Movie Title/Year and Brief Scene Description|
Rabid (1977) (aka Rage)
Canadian writer/director David Cronenberg's unconventional, low-budget horror vampire film (his second commercial feature film, and similar to his first body-horror film, Shivers (1975)) starred ex-porn film star Marilyn Chambers.
Chambers took the lead role of Rose, a mutant predator with vampirish blood cravings following plastic surgery (and an experimental skin graph). Critically-injured, she had been treated following severe burning and bleeding suffered in a motorcycle crash. In the Keloid Clinic, she underwent a new technique involving the neutralizing of skin tissue - grafted skin from her thigh was removed, treated, and then applied to injured areas of her body. After a month of remaining unconscious, she awoke, removed her nutrient IV tube, and escaped from the clinic.
In a memorable scene, she found shelter in a barn where she put her arm around a black and white heifer. She attempted to suck blood from the cow (rather than from humans) - but her attempt failed and she threw up. A drunk farmer (Terence G. Ross) forced himself upon her while calling her "Honeypie" and suggesting: "I got somethin' you can drink off of, and it ain't no whiskey neither" when he knelt in front of her. He noticed her bloody mouth and then she punctured his eye with a grotesque phallic-shaped organ that burst out of her armpit. Upon her return to the clinic, she attacked blue bikini-clad patient Judy Glasberg (Terry Schonblum) in a hot tub and drowned her. Her frozen body was later found in freezer in the clinic's basement.
Unable to digest food regularly following the accident, Rose realized that she required human blood to survive. After Dr. Keloid (Howard Ryshpan) became infected from her bite, he was performing surgery in an operating room with his wife Roxanne (Patricia Gage) assisting. Inexplicably after she passed him a pair of scissors, he cut off her finger and sucked the bleeding stump.
Rose's feeding scenes contained symbolic sexual imagery - since her blood-sucking bites came from a pair of vulgar, phallic-shaped (and also clitoral-shaped), stinger-like appendages from inside a vaginal-like slit or orifice in her armpit. In the apartment of her best friend Mindy Kent (Susan Roman), Rose suffered severe pain and sweating on the floor of her apartment's bathroom.
In the film's creepiest scene, she found another nourishing victim (Miguel Fernandes) in the Eve adult porn theatre (showing Party Swapers and Models For Pleasure) - whom she allowed to sit next to her. The soundtrack of the film corresponded to the seductive wishes of the naive male patron. His closeness aroused her, and her needle-like stinger emerged from her armpit. She left the theatre alone after fulfilling her insatiable, mosquito-like appetite for human blood. The dead man had a bloody entrance wound on his right palm.
Her bloodlusting bite would infect her victims with a highly-contagious, venereal, rabies-like disease that transformed them into manic, consuming flesh-and-blood consuming zombies. The bite was akin to unprotected sexual intercourse via promiscuity that was also linked to rampant, rabid infection - a new outbreak threatened the entire city of Montreal. Mindy witnessed a rabid woman attack a man on the subway. During the establishment of martial law, chaos ruled - exemplified by the accidental careless murder of a Santa Claus in a mall - shot by an officer.
Fearing that she was accountable for the health crisis, Rose allowed herself to bitten by one of her zombified victims (Young Man in Lobby) (Allan Moyle) so she would suffer the same fate. The nihilistic film ended with Rose's body, found on a trash pile, being indiscriminately tossed into the back of a garbage truck by a sanitation crew.
The spectacular, cliff-hanger, breathlessly-paced, non-stop action/adventure film of the early 1980s was this immensely successful summer box-office hit. The scary scene in the fiery finale when the Ark of the Covenant was opened was reminiscent of the opening of the Great Whatsit box in the climax of Kiss Me, Deadly (1955). Retribution from the horrors of hell (God's vengeance) was released upon the rival, religious artifact-obsessed French archaeologist and his Third Reich Nazi cohorts.
When the gold lid was removed by two Nazi soldiers, French archaeologist Renee Belloq (Paul Freeman) reached in to discover only fine grains of sand within. (Had the stone tablets of the ten commandments disintegrated?) But then the Ark unleashed electrical energy and charges, zapping all electrical lights, apparatus and machines in the arena. Things turned dark, and then a loud humming noise emanated from within the Ark. Inside the box itself, there was a wondrous, brilliant light, and a white smoke undulated out of it and blanketed the ground. Nearby tied to a pole together, Indy (Harrison Ford) warned Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) to look away (similar to the Biblical story of Lot warning his wife not to watch the destruction of Sodom, or Adam and Eve's knowledge of the forbidden fruit and subsequent loss of innocence in the Garden of Eden):
Belloq had an obsessed, transcendent look on his face - he believed that the blinding light in the Ark was beautiful. Ghostly spirits hypnotically zoomed around everyone - but apparently, God's wrath had been summoned, as the forms changed from wondrous to deadly visions. Belloq was besieged by the ghostly images and screamed in horror - the interlopers were punished by a lethal dose of death for breaking the sacred taboo.
The villain was consumed by flames, and piercing firebolts and shafts of fire zapped the rest of the Nazis through the heart. One firebolt actually traveled through one of the movie cameras, destroying the visual evidence of the event! Toht's head, along with the heads of several other commanding Nazis, melted into dripping ooze by the extreme heat, while Belloq's head exploded.
The climactic firestorm created a rushing vacuum of wind and a rising plume of fire above the island. Suddenly, the blinding fire in the heavenly sky reversed itself, and the fire was sucked and swallowed up by the Ark. When the forces were returned inside the Ark, the lid slammed down tightly and neatly shut and sealed itself, and covered up the divine powers.
Only Indy and Marion survived the holocaust because of their humility and reverence for the awesome forces.
Director Stuart Gordon's gory, cult-classic comedy was about re-animated dead people - a combination mad zombie and mad scientist film (and a retelling of the original Frankenstein films). It had a number of clever taglines, such as: "...It will scare you to pieces," and "Herbert West has a good head on his shoulders...and another one on his desk." The twisted film was based on an H.P. Lovecraft serial tale, Herbert West - Reanimator. It was shot in only a little over two weeks, and told the outrageous tale of a demented medical student who was experimenting on regenerating dead bodies.
In this grisly horror tale (and black comedy), university student-scientist Dr. Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) from Switzerland had been experimenting with recently-dead corpses. He injected them with green fluorescent goo - a serum designed to bring back the dead. In his first attempt at re-animation in his basement laboratory, Dr. West tried to kill a black housecat named Rufus with a croquet mallet and baseball bat - with West hysterically laughing after its death. He then attempted to reanimate the dead creature with the luminous green serum.
There were a number of scary scenes as West's experimentation went awry:
As she protested and screamed: "Please stop, let me go," he attempted to provide oral sex ('head') to Megan, but was interrupted by West ("I must say, Dr. Hill - I'm very disappointed in you! You steal the secret of life, and then here you are trysting with a knuckle-headed co-ed. You're not even a second-rate scientist.").
Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window (1954) was an intriguing, brilliant, macabre visual study of obsessive human curiosity and voyeurism.
Some of the intensely frightening moments:
Hitchcock's Rebecca (1940) was a classic gothic thriller and a compelling mystery (and haunting ghost story) about a tortured romance. A naive, plain and innocent (unnamed) young woman (Joan Fontaine) experienced a quick courtship, and then a tragic marriage and relationship with a brooding and overburdened widower - aristocratic, moody patriarch Mr. de Winter (Laurence Olivier), who lived in an estate called Manderley.
The pathetic, bewildered and shy bride experienced fear, pain and guilt when psychologically dominated by the 'presence' (and memories) of the deceased first wife (named Rebecca but never seen on screen). She was tormented by Rebecca's blindly adoring, sinister and loyal housekeeper Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson), who fondly recollected the dead woman.
In the film's scariest scene, demonic Mrs. Danvers plotted to eliminate the second Mrs. de Winter by urging her to jump to her death from an open window - urging that she could never be the true replacement and mistress of the estate.
In a trance-like state and ready to end her life, distractions from explosive flares and shouts of the discovery of a sunken boat ("Shipwreck! Ship on the rocks") following a storm at sea prevented her from losing her sanity and jumping.
Red Eye (2005)
The title of the film had a double meaning - obviously, the "red eye" late-night flight, and a shipment of "red eye" snappers used to hide terrorist weapons. The creepy set-up of this Wes Craven airplane thriller was a chance encounter on a red-eye flight from Dallas to Miami - with two passengers sitting together:
He stunned her with details about her family and her personal life, and hinted that he had plans for her: "As fate would have it, my business is all about you." He demanded that she do as he said. Otherwise, he threatened to have a hitman kill her father, divorced retiree Joseph "Joe" Reisert (Brian Cox) in Miami.
She was to assist in setting up Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Charles Keefe (Jack Scalia) and his family in the hotel where she worked. They were to be assassinated by a portable rocket missile launched from a boat in the harbor. Rippner compelled her to orchestrate a room-switch for Keefe by calling on the plane's JetPhone - so that the Deputy would be changed to an ocean-side room facing the harbor. Otherwise, Jackson's hitman partner in a silver BMW would violently kill her father in his Miami home.
The film climactically ended with their struggle in her father's Miami house before Jackson was killed. She shot and wounded him in the stomach with the dead hitman's gun - and her father shot Jackson again (with a bullet to the chest) to save his daughter - just as the police arrived.
Roman Polanski's horror film (his first English-language film) was an intense study of madness - and resultant murder. The film's tagline described its premise: "The nightmare world of a virgin's dreams becomes the screen's shocking reality!!" Sexually-repressed, virginal, and fragile young Belgian beautician Carol Ledoux (Catherine Deneuve) became progressively more insane after she was left alone in her sister Helen's (Yvonne Furneaux) apartment - who had left for a brief holiday to Italy with her married boyfriend Michael (Ian Hendry). She was very disturbed the night before they left, when she heard her sister's moans of orgasmic pleasure with Michael in a nearby bedroom. Soon after, Carol began to have psycho-sexual hallucinations of nocturnal rape, and she lashed out with two murders.
There were many scary moments:
Requiem for a Dream (2000)
Director Darren Aronofsky's harrowing, downbeat thriller-drama (initially rated NC-17) was about addictive and obsessive self-destruction - intoxicants that brought about addiction ranged from food (specifically chocolate) to television, prescribed diet pills, and heroin. It told about members of the Goldfarb family, who suffered from self-delusion and cravings that ultimately brought about their entrapment and enslavement.
Marion (Jennifer Connelly)
Harry (Jared Leto)
Stag Party Orgy
Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Director Quentin Tarantino's violent crime drama, his debut film, was a dark, noirish cult hit (and independent film) that broke many of the rules of conventional crime films. The male-oriented, testosterone-fueled tale was about a group of cigarette-smoking, shades-wearing, code-color-named Los Angeles criminals (including director Tarantino as ill-fated Mr. Brown), and others involved in a jewelry heist, such as:
The gang of tough guys began to mistrust each other and suspected a rat when the robbery plan was foiled.
The Ring (2002)
Director Gore Verbinski's remake horror film followed the Japanese film of the same name (Ringu (1998)). It told about Seattle investigative reporter Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) who was looking into the deaths of individuals who viewed a bizarre and cursed videotape. As per the recent deaths, anyone who watched the videotape died in seven days. Time ticked away for Rachel herself after she viewed the tape. She learned about a horse ranch owned by Anna Morgan (Shannon Cochran) and her husband Richard (Brian Cox), and their adopted daughter Samara (Daveigh Chase).
As she delved into the mystery, Rachel visited the Morgan ranch, where she found out that the horses went mad and drowned themselves, and that Anna had committed suicide. The unloved and feared Samara had apparently been a problem child.
A flashback scene revealed Samara's murder on the horse farm. Coming up from behind Samara, adoptive parent/horsewoman Anna Morgan partially suffocated her sleeping-gowned daughter with a black plastic bag. Then, she pushed her daughter down into a circular water well. Samara watched from below - her final sight, as the well was sealed with a stone cover, was a corona-like ring above her. [Note: The film's enigmatic tagline explained: "Before you die, you see the ring."] She survived for seven days before dying. Later, Shelter Mountain Inn, specifically Cabin 12 (and the site of the first few deaths in the film) was built over the site of the well.
The cursed videotape was created or caused by the spirit of Samara, who had an unusual ability, known as nensha (projected thermography). With her mind, she was able to thermographically imprint her thought images onto specific surfaces (ie, the VHS tape). The tape's surrealistic series of random objects and haunting images were actually aspects of Samara's short life. The curse along with the tape was also specifically designed by Samara - either copy the tape and pass it on, or suffer your own death in seven days (the length of time that Samara survived down in the well). In all, seven individuals viewed the tape, and those that died watched the tape, but did not copy the tape and pass it along.
The tape's images included (in this order):
The PG-13 film's greatest and scariest scene was the pay-off scene at the conclusion:
Roman Polanski's devil-worshipper film was his first American feature film and his second, scary horror film - following his first disturbing film in English Repulsion (1965) - see above. Polanski cleverly and deliberately presented this film with enough ambiguity so that the viewer was never quite certain whether the female protagonist's experiences were truly supernatural or just fabricated, imaginative hallucinations.
The creepy, eerie gothic film was about a young newlywed couple, mother-to-be Rosemary Woodhouse (Mia Farrow) and self-centered, ambitious, yet struggling NYC actor husband Guy (John Cassavetes) who moved into a large, rambling old apartment building in Central Park West (the Dakota), and began a loving, post-honeymoon period. They became friendly with the eccentric next-door neighbors, an overly-solicitous and intrusive elderly couple (members of a coven), Minnie and Roman Castevet (Ruth Gordon and Sidney Blackmer), and soon the ambitious husband's acting career turned promising.
Many of the Woodhouse's fears and problems began with bizarre hallucinations and dreams, especially when "dizzy," woozy and disoriented Rosemary (after eating some of Minnie's chocolate mousse, laced with sleeping powder) was put to bed by Guy.
(alphabetical by film title, illustrated)
Intro | #s-A | B | C-1 | C-2 | D-1 | D-2 | E | F | G | H
I-J | K-L | M | N-O | P | Q-R | S-1 | S-2 | S-3 | T | U-Z