|Movie Title/Year and Brief Scene Description|
Cabin Fever (2002)
Eli Roth's debut feature film, mostly a gore-fest, told about five college graduates who rented a cabin in the woods in rural North Carolina and became infected by a contagious, flesh-eating disease/virus from drinking contaminated water. An infected homeless hermit (Arie Verveen), set on fire, had expired in the area's reservoir. The film's tagline was the catchy: "Catch It!"
In the film's most infamous, cringe-inducing scene, diseased Marcy (Cerina Vincent) - unaware that the rash she had on her back had become diseased, bubbly and blistered with oozing sores, attempted to shave her soap-lathered, infected legs in the bathtub, causing bloody wounds, skin to come off, and reddish bathwater.
When she emerged outside the cabin, Marcy was torn to pieces (off-screen) by a mad dog (named Dr. Mambo) in the woods - shot from the dog's POV. Her body parts were discovered scattered about, in the reddish-tinged scene.
One of the scariest scenes was one in which blonde Karen (Jordan Ladd) was revealed to be the first one with the illness after drinking the bad water. As her would-be boyfriend Paul (Rider Strong) sexually touched her as she dozed feverish and unconscious, he removed his hand in horror - noticing that it was covered in goopy, infected blood. The skin on her thighs and groin area were rotting.
Later, after Karen was isolated in a shed outside the house, Paul found the mad dog (Dr. Mambo) feeding on her diseased body. He shot the dog, then put Karen out of her misery by beating her to death with a shovel.
The Bathtub Shaving Scene
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920, Germ.)
For its time, this German expressionistic, surrealistic fantasy/horror film was truly scary. It was also a landmark film that introduced many standard horror film conventions.
The shadowy, disturbing, distorted, and dream-nightmarish quality of the macabre and stylistic 'Caligari,' with twisted alleyways, lopsided doors, cramped rooms, overhanging buildings, and skewed cityscapes, was brought to Hollywood in the 1920s, and later influenced the classic period of horror films in the 1930s, and also film-noirs.
It told about a ghost-like, mad hypnotist-therapist in a carnival named Dr. Caligari (Werner Krauss) who called pale-skinned, lanky, black leotard-wearing Cesare (Conrad Veidt), his performing somnambulist (and haunted murderer), from a state of sleep (in a box-shaped coffin) for a group of fairgoers.
The film's major plot twist was that the story, told in flashback by Francis (Friedrich Feher), appeared to be only a delusional nightmare in the psychotic mental patient's mind. Dr. Caligari was not a menacing figure, but Francis' asylum doctor.
The last scene was of Francis becoming crazed when he saw the asylum director Dr. Caligari - whom he insisted was the mad and sinister "Caligari" of his story.
Director Bernard Rose's creepy horror film (the first of a trilogy of films (from 1992-1999)) told about a married anthropology graduate student Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen) who was researching urban legends. She came across a local legend of a "Candyman" - a spirit who was summoned in a mirror. The "Candyman" was reportedly a tortured and murdered slave from 200 years earlier. His right hand had been amputated and replaced with a hook after he had impregnated a white woman. His body was smeared in honey (as the locals chanted 'Candyman' five times) and then he was stung to death by bees.
In one of the film's scarier scenes, Helen playfully chanted the name "Candyman" five times in front of a mirror - her incantation brought a confrontation with the fearful 'Candyman' (Tony Todd) in a concrete parking garage. He possessed a hooked right hand and wore a fur-trimmed coat. He continually entreated her from a distance: "Helen. Helen."
She asked the silhouetted figure as he approached closer: "Do I know you?" with his response:
Also, after she was incarcerated for murder, she dared to again repeat the name 'Candyman' five times in front of a mirror for doubtful psychiatrist Dr. Burke (Stanley DeSantis) to prove her innocence ("I can prove it...I can call him"), thereby again unleashing the incarnated spirit of the bloody, haunting and hook-wielding "Candyman" maniac with a deep gravely voice. The "Candyman" stabbed the unbelieving doctor at his desk from behind.
By film's end, the 'Candyman' again found her in his company and seduced her: "You came to me...Surrender to me now and you shall be unharmed." As the room spun around, he picked her up in his arms and told her:
He then revealed buzzing bees swarming on his chest and pouring from his mouth before he kissed her.
In the shocking ending of the bloody film, both Helen and the haunting, incarnated 'Candyman' maniac were burned to death. Still mourning the death of his wife Helen, cheating husband Trevor Lyle (Xander Berkeley) was in his bathroom when he called out Helen's name five times in front of a mirror, not knowing that he was invoking her return as a spirit that had replaced Candyman - she appeared in a bluish pulsating light and asked him:
Because he had been sleeping with another woman named Stacey (Carolyn Lowery) (who was in the kitchen with a butcher knife preparing dinner), she took spectacular revenge against him - Helen killed Trevor by stabbing him in the stomach with the Candyman's large hook, ripping him open from his groin up to his neck - and leaving him a bloody corpse in the bathtub.
Cannibal Ferox (1981, It.) (aka Make Them Die Slowly)
This Italian exploitation film with unbelievable scenes of graphic violence in the Amazon followed closely on the heels of Cannibal Holocaust (1980). It was also banned and controversial for its extreme violence. It began with a disclaimer-warning:
The violence was caused by the initial actions of two white men, drug dealers named Joe (Venantino Venantini), and Mike Logan (Giovanni Lombardo Radice, or John Morghen) who were searching for a cache of stolen emeralds, and in the process brutally killed their native guide.
The scenes in question were:
Cannibal Holocaust (1980, It.)
The hotly-debated cult classic film from Ruggero Deodato contained violent, grisly and disturbing images (actually faux-documentary footage - except for the numerous animal killings), decades before the "found-footage" smash hit The Blair Witch Project (1999).
It told the story of a four-person film crew, led by Alan Yates (Gabriel York), that purportedly disappeared while making a documentary (a feature entitled "The Green Inferno") about the last surviving indigenous tribes that still practiced cannibalism in the wilds of South America's Amazon area.
Grisly, realistic-looking scenes included a leg amputation with a machete (to prevent snake-bite poisoning), a staged hut burning where women and children had been herded, guts-eating, a brutal ritualistic "punishment for adultery" torture with a large wooden dildo, numerous animal slaughterings (including a horrible turtle murder), a forced beating and abortion (and burial of the undeveloped fetus in mud), a forcible gang-rape of a young native girl in a muddy field, beatings with large hammers, male genital dismemberment followed by body mutilation, disembowelment and the display of guts, and script girl Faye's (Francesca Ciardi) rape, beating and beheading.
The film's most notorious scene included the discovery of the impalement of the young woman on a pole.
Masterful cinematic tricks and special effects created an unnerving view of the fate of the team - found in undeveloped film cans by another search and rescue team.
Cape Fear (1962)
This was a suspenseful and intense late b/w film noir from director J. Lee Thompson (James Webb's screenplay was based on John D. MacDonald's novel "The Executioners"), with moody music by Bernard Herrmann.
The character of evil, intimidating, vengeful and insolent, cigar-smoking, Panama hat-wearing psychopath Max Cady (Robert Mitchum) was a convicted rapist. After being released from prison, he terrorized the family of well-regarded lawyer Sam Bowden (Gregory Peck), who had helped to imprison him for over eight years with his witness testimony. The legal system limited the Bowden family and its rights, as Cady voyeuristically stalked the family as a sexual predator.
At a boat dock, Cady lewdly made a comment about young teenaged daughter Nancy Bowden (Lori Martin) to Sam:
Cady poisoned the family dog Marilyn with strychnine (mid-barking, the dog let out a long whine), and further menaced Nancy by first approaching her at her school. After Nancy's school let out one day, he lustfully stalked her into the school's basement, and terrorized her. When she ran outside the school, she unexpectedly ran into Cady's arms - screamed and ran into the street and was almost hit by a car.
And then he threatened Sam by phone after the lawyer paid for three thugs to try and beat him up: "Speakin' about your wife and kid, I got a little caper planned for them...I got something planned for your wife and kid that they ain't never gonna forget."
The scariest scenes were on a houseboat (on Cape Fear River), where Sam had lured Cady with the two females as 'bait.' The bare-chested ex-con threatened to force Sam's wife Peggy (Polly Bergen) to have consensual sex with him to save the rape of her daughter. He angrily squeezed a raw egg in his fist over her and rubbed the insides over her chest as he told her:
When she claimed he was using sexual blackmail on her, he held her against a wall, slapped her, and forced her to keep quiet: "All in all, I don't think you're gonna, you're gonna say too much about this, are you?"
Then shortly after, in the climactic finale, Cady went after young Nancy. Although the young girl defended herself with a fireplace poker, she was no match against his powerful grip - he gagged her mouth and dragged her outside, and was about to rape her when she was saved by her father, who fought against Cady bare-fisted, overpowered him and held him at gunpoint.
Sam decided not to shoot him dead, but instead let him "rot" in a prison "cage" for the remainder of his life.
Cape Fear (1991)
In this remake from director Martin Scorsese of the classic revenge story, vengeful psychotic Max Cady (Robert De Niro) threatened public-defender lawyer Sam Bowden (Nick Nolte) and his wife Leigh (Jessica Lange) and family in the town of New Essex, North Carolina. He blamed Sam for helping to send him to prison in Atlanta fourteen years earlier for the rape and battery of a young woman.
The character of the violent Max Cady was forecast in two brutal and unsettling scenes:
The most tense and disturbing scene was both repellent and fascinating. Cady posed as a drama teacher on the set of a play in the school's auditorium, where he had planned to take advantage of the young Bowden daughter.
He brought her to the conclusion that everyone in her family was unhappy. He was able to have Danielle confide in him. He proceeded to verbally and physically seduce and kiss the rebellious, naive, sexually-curious and troubled fifteen-year old daughter Danielle (Juliette Lewis) - with her dual responses of fear and excitement.
He told her: "You know, I think I might have found a companion, a companion for that long walk to the light."
He politely asked if he could put his arm around her. When she giggled and acted embarrassed by his forwardness although eventually agreed ("No, I don't mind"), he approached closer, and stroked her face. He was able to insert his thumb into her mouth, and she sucked on it. Then he cupped her face, cradled her head, and tenderly kissed her.
Carnival of Souls (1962)
This low-budget independent horror film, a spooky and haunting cult zombie classic by producer/director Herk Harvey (his sole feature film), was notable for its many atmospheric and forboding scenes of stylistic terror. The plot was very similar to the episode of the Twilight Zone titled "The Hitch-Hiker."
In the film's opening, a drag race resulted in one of the cars crashing off a bridge into a muddy river and landing upside down. Of the three females in the car's front seat, there was only one crash survivor (?) - passenger Mary Henry (Candace Hilligoss), a talented organist.
As the story progressed after her near-fatal car accident, Mary moved to Utah to take a new job as a church organist. While driving there, she experienced one of many disturbing, creepy visions of ghostly figures of the recent dead. She was stalked by a weird vision of a ghoulish, spectral Man (director Harvey) with darkened eye sockets, who first glared at her with an eerie stare through the windshield, and caused her to drive off the road. Mary also had moments when she became invisible and inaudible to others. She seemed to be caught between the real world and a dream-world.
Later, she was drawn to an abandoned amusement park (and circus tent pavilion) in the twilight hours, where she heard and produced strange organ music. During a macabre party, she saw a surreal dance of death performed by zombie-like ghouls or souls (a "carnival of souls") who were twirling around as dance partners. The camera motion was sped up while the soundtrack was distorted with laughter.
And then after being chased to the beach by many of the undead dancing partners, she mysteriously disappeared.
In the revelatory final scene's plot twist, the submerged car (with Mary's corpse inside) was partially dredged out of the river. Her dreams, imagined visions and trances were due to her hallucinations during her death experience and entry into the spirit world.
In the shock second ending to this effective Brian De Palma horror film - a dream sequence, surviving mourning classmate Sue Snell (Amy Irving) who was holding a bouquet of flowers, visited the defiled gravesite (with a graffiti-marked For Sale sign reading: "Carrie White burns in hell" and an arrow pointing downward) of dead psychic student Carrie White (Sissy Spacek). Carrie and her mother (Piper Laurie) had perished in their collapsing house.
As she went to put the flowers on the grave, Carrie's bloody hand burst out of the ground at her and grabbed her arm to pull her down into hell with her - the white-clad young girl screamed and suddenly woke up while recuperating in her bed at home, still screaming hysterically and being grabbed and held by her reassuring mother (Priscilla Pointer) ("It's all right, I'm here") as she experienced more nightmares.
In the film's opening locker room scene, Carrie was cruelly taunted by schoolmates for having her first menstrual period.
And in the film's centerpiece, the prom scene, she was doused and crowned with a bucket of pig's blood from above. In her mind, she heard tauntings: "They're gonna laugh at you," and "Plug it up!", and in her view (spinning around), she imagined the prom-goers laughing and jeering at her. Feeling humiliated, she sought psycho-kinetic, murderous revenge against the prom-goers (shown in split-screen). Seeking retribution, she caused the prom's exit doors to slam shut, and the lights to pop.
An emergency fire hose snaked into mid-air and doused the party-goers, causing chaos, confusion, and bodies careening around the dance floor. Some were electrocuted (Mr. Fromm (Sydney Lassick)), crushed by falling rafters (Miss Collins (Betty Buckley)), trampled, or burned to death in the resulting fire. Outside as Carrie walked home, she overturned a car attempting to hit her, driven by Billy Nolan (John Travolta) and Chris Hargensen (Nancy Allen), and she caused the flipped, rolled-over car to burst into flames.
When she returned home, she also murdered her ultra-religious, psychotic mother Margaret (Piper Laurie) - crucified by flying cutlery and kitchenware.
Director Martin Scorsese's gangster crime drama was replete with many brutal killings and murders. In a gratuitously violent torture scene of a rival mob member, Tony Dogs (Carl Ciarfalio) was subjected to intense interrogation for two days and nights to get him to talk. As he was being tortured and grilled, enforcer "Nicky" Santoro (Joe Pesci) threatened:
When his head was further squeezed in the vice after he swore at "Nicky," one of his eyes popped out.
Tony eventually divulged the name after extensive torture, Charlie M. "Nicky" was flabbergasted by the information:
Offscreen, Dogs had his throat slit after divulging the name.
The 21st Bond film in the series was infamous for its sexual torture and interrogation scene.
Villainous financier Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) strapped 007 agent James Bond (Daniel Craig) naked to an open-bottomed cane chair and swung a heavy, knotted rope to strike Bond's testicles, in order to extract a password code to a bank account to retrieve millions of funds after he had lost a high-stakes poker game ("I want the money").
Le Chiffre warned:
Bond defiantly taunted Le Chiffre while in excruciating pain as he was struck repeatedly:
Bond vowed he would not tell the password and Le Chiffre's enemies would eventually hunt him down and kill him. Le Chiffre promised if Bond divulged the password that fellow prisoner Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) would live.
Bond refused, so Le Chiffre kicked over his chair and threatened to castrate him with a knife: "I'll feed you what you seem not to value." Bond was saved from death when Mr. White (Jesper Christensen) abruptly entered and shot Le Chiffre in the forehead.
This Val Lewton-produced horror film from director Jacques Tourneur featured two frightening, feline-panther stalkings that produced fright without showing anything - they were two superb examples of suggestive horror:
The Cell (2000)
Director Tarsem Singh's stylish and innovative sci-fi thriller (his first feature film) was a combination of a typical police procedural (The Silence of the Lambs (1991) or Se7en (1995)) mixed with a virtual reality gimmick, as in The Lawnmower Man (1992). As one of the researchers said of the risky VR journey, "It's like the old wives' tale where you die in your dream, you die in real life."
The opening scene demonstrated the capability of child psychotherapist Dr. Catherine Deane (Jennifer Lopez) to empathically enter into the mind of a comatose young boy named Edward Baines (Colton James) who nearly drowned on Seal Beach. Inside the Campbell Center lab aided by a 'brain-mapping device,' she was form-fitted as she lay prone with a deep-red, rubbery and ribbed, sensory catsuit-like VR device that was hung from ceiling wires.
A serial killer in rural Southern California, identified as sadomasochistic Carl Rudolph Stargher (Vincent D'Onofrio), had built a glass-enclosed "cell' in an underground chamber near an abandoned tin-sheeted building (near Exit 10 off Highway 99) where he kept each captive kidnapped victim (grabbed randomly) to torment - seen in gratuitous detail. He would watch and record them on a set of four closed-circuit TV monitors as he meticulously fed and cared for them before slowly drowning them in the cell. With one recent victim, Anne Marie Vicksey (Catherine Sutherland), he gazed at her as she floated after drowning in the cell.
In the basement of his small house, Stargher treated the most recent victim's body: bleaching it (turning it into a "doll"), then viewing it while suspended over the corpse, hung by 14 steel rings-hooks implanted into his back, and masturbating at his handiwork. Nearby, he displayed a grotesque collection of painted and pale plastic child's play 'dolls', some of which were modeled in absurd postures.
Stargher had just suffered from an irreversible coma when he was apprehended by a SWAT team (he was tracked down by a hair from his rare albino German shepherd). Dr. Deane was called upon by the FBI, led by Agent Peter Novak (Vince Vaughn), to find Stargher's recently-kidnapped eighth victim, Julia Hickson (Tara Subkoff). Deane entered into Stargher's twisted, depraved and bizarre psyche and mental landscape to confront his dreams, represented by inventive, disturbing visuals. Her efforts were to discover information to locate and rescue the missing female kidnap victim from fateful drowning (automatically timed to occur within 40 hours) in the tank-cell.
Inside of his mind, she found that one of his alter egos in his severe schizoid personality was a young abused boy. One image she witnessed was of a surrealistically-beautiful segmented horse - after being suddenly sliced into still pulsating pieces of anatomical slabs by falling panes of glass. In another scene, she saw a grotesque display of female victims in display cases attached to clockwork machinery that kept them continuously looping through poses. She saw the younger version of Stargher (Jake Thomas) relive how his abusive father had whipped him for playing with dolls ("I didn't raise no faggot"), burned him with an iron, river-baptized him (nearly drowning him) - with water representing both death and salvation, and broke three ribs and fractured his jaw when he was six years old.
Others of Stargher's alter egos included an evil, demonic devil satyr with horns created out of human hair, and a Grand Guignol king with a purple cape on a throne. The visual highlight of the film was the twisted 'Anna and the King of Siam' fantasy.
The scariest scene was when agent Novak was also compelled to enter Stargher's mind to search for a trapped Catherine (taken captive by Stargher, and wearing a neck collar and chain). Both risked insanity and death if they remained too long. Novak found himself struggling, bound and prone, as Stargher plaintively sang "Mairzy Doats" and disemboweled him with a large pair of scissors. His intestines were slowly pulled out and wound onto a rotisserie spit.
In the end, a clue from the logo of the steel torture slab (and hoist), manufactured by Carver Industrial Equipment in Bakersfield, California, led them to the location of Stargher's victim. Novak flew by helicopter, discovered the trap door leading to Julia's 'cell,' smashed the enclosure and rescued her just before she drowned - a very tense sequence. At the same time, without authorization, Deane reversed the feed and took Stargher into her own consciousness. Representing a Catholic Virgin Mary (wearing red and white), she took young Stargher into her trust. He admitted that his pathology started when he drowned an injured bird as a mercy killing ("It was better for the bird. I saved him"), to save it from his father's torture. She then killed the murderous adult Stargher, by stabbing him in the heart with a sword, claiming: "My world, my rules." At the same time, she cradled the young Stargher in her arms as he also died and peacefully drowned in a baptism pool. As young Carl had saved the hurt bird, she also saved him from his beastly persona.
In the denouement, she adopted Stargher's albino dog, and used the reverse process to successfully break through Edward's coma (symbolized by blooming trees, falling snow, and an unbroken toy boat).
(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