Greatest Scariest
Movie Moments and Scenes

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Greatest and Scariest Film Scenes
Movie Title/Year and Brief Scene Description
Screenshots

The Dark Hours (2005, Can.)

Director Paul Fox's effective, low-budget psychological thriller followed the increasingly hallucinatory actions of psychiatrist Samantha Goodman (Kate Greenhouse). She was a counselor for the criminally disturbed and insane in a prison in Canada, but was also suffering from an inoperable brain tumor. Recent cat-scans revealed that the tumor, after remaining stable for two years, was now growing. She was medicating herself with shots (in a rashy spot on her upper thigh) of an unapproved drug, and seemed to be having blackouts and other mental hallucinations. She was definitely losing her grip on reality.

During a weekend break at a rural cabin in the snow with her writer-husband David (Gordon Currie) and her pretty younger sister Melody (Iris Graham), she shared morbid news with them about her worsening condition. Then, she locked herself in the bathroom, where she overdosed with another injected dose of medication in the film's conclusion. During her final half-hour of life, she engaged in delusional mind games with herself (and other projections of her subconscious in the form of two menacing visitors). One challenge was to prove to herself that she wasn't crazy or in a dream, and could still feel pain.

In the film's most squirm-inducing scene, she sat at a table and convinced herself to cut off her little finger (the film was rated R for this scene of self-mutilation) with a pair of pliers. She twisted and turned the cutters until her pliable pinky eventually was bloodily sheared off.



D.A.R.Y.L. (1985)

D.A.R.Y.L. was a sci-fi drama, from Australian director Simon Winder, about a super-intelligent, 10 year-old, precocious android boy (Barret Oliver) named Daryl (Data Analysing Robot Youth Lifeform). The mysterious and miraculous boy possessed a computer brain and an organic body - he was created as a government experiment in artificial intelligence (AI).

After he was freed by sympathetic scientist Dr. Mulligan (Richard Hammatt), amnesiac Daryl lived with adoptive foster parents, a childless couple named the Richardsons, for awhile. With them, he learned human socialization skills and traits, and some new emotional responses. When Daryl's whereabouts were discovered, he was returned to the top-secret government facility where he was created, to be examined by military scientists.

In the disquieting, disturbing scene, Daryl was wired up for tests and exams on a table and scans were completed, to see why he was "malfunctioning." Daryl betrayed his true nature as a human that was capable of showing emotions (fear and anxiety) when he conveyed the computer-printed words on a monitor: "I'M FRIGHTENED." When the words were read, the tests were cancelled by Dr. Jeffrey Stewart (Josef Sommer) ("No tests, okay?").

However, other scientists and the military judged the D.A.R.Y.L. experiment to be a failure - Daryl was only considered to be a faulty, malfunctioning, and "expensive piece of hardware." A decision was made by the evil military establishment to terminate the project - which meant destroying Daryl, their human-acting robot. As one general put it:

Baseball? Ice-cream preferences? Friendships? That's all right for America, but hardly what we need in the Department of Defense. The Joint Chiefs have made their decision in light of this report. Youth Lifeform Project as of now is terminated.

Instead, the military chiefs wished to create an "adult version" of the D.A.R.Y.L. prototype ("a fearless, technically-skilled, devastating soldier"): "D.A.R.Y.L. goes to the scrapyard."

In the film's exciting conclusion, Dr. Stewart was mortally wounded during an attempt to free Daryl and return him to his foster parents.





Dawn of the Dead (1978)

#39

This gore-filled epic-length sequel was written and directed by George A. Romero, but without any of the characters from the original film, Night of the Living Dead (1968). Confusion and pandemonium abounded due to conflicting reports of attacks of reanimated zombies.

A knowledgeable doctor was interviewed as he warned about the hopeless situation, blaming the dire circumstances upon emotional reactions of the citizenry. He explained: "Every dead body that is not exterminated becomes one of them. It gets up and kills. The people it kills get up and kill...They kill for one reason. They kill for food. They eat their victims."

In one of the film's earliest scenes, a SWAT team in a ghetto tenement building in Philadelphia violently forced the resistant residents to leave their apartments and give up their dead loved ones:

  • one resident's zombie head was explosively shot off
  • the flesh of the shoulder of another woman was ravenously bitten by a marauding zombie relative

At a private airfield in the hurriedly-abandoned airport chart office, black Philly PD SWAT team member Peter Washington (Ken Foree) was also unexpectedly assaulted by two zombie children (Donna and Mike Savini) who emerged from a closet, but he tossed them off and shot them.

Outside a Pittsburgh-area mall, a careless SWAT cop Roger DeMarco (Scott Reiniger) was retrieving his forgotten knapsack from the cab of a truck when he was helping to ferry semi-trailer trucks from a loading dock to the mall to block the entrances. Roger was surrounded by zombies and bitten in the left forearm and left calf.

And in the film's climax, TV news helicopter pilot/traffic reporter Stephen Andrews (David Emge) fled into a mall elevator, and was shot in the arm by fleeing bikers. When he attempted to climb up above the elevator and enter into the elevator shaft, the elevator door opened and several zombies lumbered into the car, clawing at his legs and pulling him out of the hatch.

During this chilling zombie attack, he was bitten in the leg and began to bleed profusely, as more of them attacked, and he was again bitten in the neck. He valiantly defended himself, but soon bled to death in the elevator. He was revealed to be a reanimated zombie when the doors reopened, to join the army of undead who now had infiltrated into every mall store.






Dawn of the Dead (2004)

The film was a 'reimagined' 2004 remake by Zack Snyder (it was his feature-film debut) of the original Dawn of the Dead (1978) by director George A. Romero - see above.

Undead flesh-eating zombies in the local mega Crossroads Shopping Mall were much swifter moving than in the original film.

During one of its earlier scary scenes, one of the last surviving humans in a suburban Wisconsin town, a nurse named Ana Clark (Sarah Polley), survived an attack and bloody neck bite by zombified neighbor girl Vivian (Hannah Lochner) inside their house. Her husband Luis (Louis Ferreira) had already been left a zombie. She narrowly escaped through the bathroom window.

One of the film's most horrifying scenes was the one in which infected undead mother Luda (Inna Korobkina), who was bitten by one of the zombie security guards, gave birth while tied to a bed in the mall's children's store - her bare belly displayed unnatural movements and then a zombie baby was born. Norma (Jayne Eastwood) soon shot the mother, and the zombie baby was also killed soon after.

There were also multiple zombie deaths, including such gruesome details:

  • a stake through the chin and exiting the top of the head of a male zombie
  • a stake through the eye of a screaming female zombie
  • an exploding canister of propane gas shot out of the hands of another zombie




Dead Alive (1992, NZ) (aka Braindead)

This over-the-top bloody and gory Peter Jackson horror-comedy zombie film, his second feature film, was indisputably the goriest, grossest film ever made.

Full of bad taste and cartoonish splatterings, the slapstick cult horror film included an outrageous custard-eating scene. Rotting body parts from zombified, ravenous Mum Vera Cosgrove (Elizabeth Moody) squirted pus into a bowl of porridge-pudding. When her right ear fell off, it was eaten with the mush.

Grotesque Zombie Vera Cosgrove

Also, in the housewarming dinner party scene held by Lionel's greedy uncle Les (Ian Watkin) to celebrate his "inheritance" of the Cosgrove estate, the guests were attacked by zombies (one zombie punched his fist through the back of a woman's head and it emerged out of her mouth). The assault was led by Les' sister and other zombies who burst out of their locked basement prison.

Most of the zombies were finally massacred in the infamous and climactic zombie slaughter scene when dweebish and shy mama's boy Lionel Cosgrove (Timothy Balme) strapped a rotary-blade lawnmower to his chest ("Party's over") in the room full of party-crashing zombies - to send buckets of blood, stringy intestines, spinal cords and body parts flying everywhere. Lionel's mother Vera was transformed into a grotesque monster with pendulous breasts - she stuffed Lionel back into her womb, and then he rebirthed himself by cutting himself out of her blood-gushing womb.



The Dead Zone (1983)

#51

Another Stephen King novel (in 1979) was the basis for this supernatural horror-thriller film directed by David Cronenberg. The story told about Johnny Smith (Christopher Walken), a psychic schoolteacher of English who awakened from a five-year coma after a traumatic and horrific car accident. On a rainy night, his small VW bug crashed into a milk-tanker dislodged from a truck. He found that he had the newfound ability (or "gift") to foretell the future of a person through physical contact - touch, and he even believed he could change the future.

Catastrophic events in the future were seen when he shook hands with aspiring and ruthless US Senate candidate Greg Stillson (Martin Sheen) - who had married his previous fiancee Sarah Bracknell (Brooke Adams) and had a child. Johnny foresaw President Stillson in the future precipitating a WWIII holocaust after a nuclear attack on Russia.

In the film's most gruesome, disturbing and ritualistic suicide scene, black raincoat-clad serial killer Frank Dodd (Nicholas Campbell), the Deputy Sheriff actually, was sought by Sheriff Bannerman (Tom Skerritt) who was guided and aided by psychic Johnny Smith to solve some grisly murders. In desperation when trapped in a bathroom, Frank methodically prepared to commit suicide by falling on a strategically-placed open pair of scissors attached to the bathtub with tape - mouth-first. To save audiences from the gore, the actual moment of impact was off-screen. Only the twitching after-effects were shown when Smith and the Sheriff burst through the door.

Johnny's Final Vision: "It's Over. You're Finished"

The film ended with Johnny heroically planning to assassinate Stillson during a rally because of his premonitions of disaster - the politician protected himself by holding up his own baby as a human shield. Johnny was wounded in the chest by a security guard and fell from a balcony. When the angered Stillson came up to him and grabbed him ("Who are you, you son of a bitch? Who sent you?"), Johnny foresaw another conclusion. [A Newsweek magazine cover story was titled: No Future For Stillson - with a picture of the politician putting his baby in the line of fire.] He saw Stillson's own suicide due to his ruined reputation. Johnny smiled as he whispered: "It's over. You're finished," and shortly thereafter died in Sarah's arms.





Deep Blue Sea (1999)

In this science-fiction thriller by Renny Harlin, research was being conducted on mako sharks, to alter their DNA and make them more intelligent - and of course, deadlier and swifter.

Chimera Pharmaceuticals' corporate financier Russell Franklin (Samuel L. Jackson), with a goatee and glasses, arrived at the research facility to witness demonstrations of major test results. He delivered a stirring "let's pull together" motivational speech to the group that was working on a super-intelligent shark program in a top-secret, deep-sea island location called Aquatica.

He spoke about a previous brush with death that he had experienced during a mountaineering-avalanche disaster (where there were seven survivors and only five made it out alive, due to inhumane cannibalism). In the middle of his rousing exhortations for survival -

Now you've seen how bad things can get and how quick they can get that way. Well, they can get a whole lot worse! So we're not going to fight anymore! We're going to pull together and we're going to find a way to get outta here! First, we're gonna seal off this --

he experienced an unlikely, extremely startling demise. He was abruptly grabbed by an enormous, genetically-engineered, angry killer mako shark (a combination of CGI and animatronics) that erupted out of the water behind him, chewed him and then tore his body in half. The sharks' plan was to flood the facility so that they could escape into open waters and breed.


Deliverance (1972)

#63

British director John Boorman's gripping, absorbing action-adventure film told about four suburban Atlanta businessmen friends who encountered disaster in a summer weekend's river-canoeing trip.

At shot-gun-point in the woods, in a nightmarish and frightening sequence, a sexually-perverted, gay rustic hillbilly (Bill McKinney) viciously targeted and humiliated Bobby Trippe (Ned Beatty in his film debut) - a chubby-faced insurance salesman - viewing him as a defenseless intruder into his territory.

Strapped against a tree, his partner Ed Gentry (Jon Voight) helplessly watched in horror as the Toothless Man terrorized Bobby. He forced the overweight, middle-class salesman to first strip down to his underwear. After a degrading roll around in the dirt and up a steep, leaf-strewn hillside while fondling and groping his prey. The mountain man/rapist made Bobby squeal like a female sow before sodomizing him:

Mountain Man: Now, let's you just drop them pants.
Bobby: Drop?
Mountain Man: Just take 'em right off.
Bobby: I-I mean, what's this all about?
Toothless Man: Don't say anything, just do it.
Mountain Man: Just drop 'em, boy! (To Ed - at knifepoint) You ever had your balls cut off, you f--kin' ape?
Bobby: Lord.
Mountain Man: Look at there, that's sharp. I bet it'd shave a hair.
Toothless Man: Why don't ya try it and see?
Bobby: Lord, lord. Deliver us from all.
Toothless Man (To Bobby): Pull off that little ol' bitty shirt there, too. (To Mountain Man) Did he bleed?
Mountain Man: He bled. (To Bobby) Them panties, take 'em off. (After attacking him) Get up, boy. Come on, get on up there.
Bobby: No, no, no. Oh, no. No. Don't.
Mountain Man: Hey boy. You look just like a hog.
Bobby: Don't, don't.
Mountain Man: Just like a hog. Come here, piggy, piggy, piggy. (Holding Bobby's nose as he straddled him from behind) Come on, piggy, come on, piggy, come on, piggy, give me a ride, a ride. Hey, boy. Get up and give me a ride.
Bobby: All right.
Mountain Man: Get up and give me a ride, boy.
Bobby: All right. All right.
Mountain Man: Get up! Get up there!
Bobby: All right. (His underwear was pulled off) Oh no, no!
Mountain Man: Looks like we got us a sow here, instead of a boar.
Bobby: Don't. Don't.
Mountain Man: What's the matter, boy? I bet you can squeal. I bet you can squeal like a pig. Let's squeal. Squeal now. Squeal. (Bobby's ear was pulled)
Bobby: Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
Mountain Man: Squeal. Squeal louder. Louder. Louder, louder. Louder! Louder! Louder! Get down now, boy. There, get them britches down. That's that. You can do better than that, boy. You can do better than that. Come on, squeal. Squeal.

The final frightening image of the entire film was of Ed, snapping awake next to his wife from a vivid nightmare of his journey. He was fearfully haunted by a white, bony hand (of the Mountain Man that was murdered by Lewis (Burt Reynolds)) rising above the surface of the water of the newly-flooded wilderness. The man's stiff, outstretched hand - pointing nowhere - served as a signpost. Ed laid back in his wife's arms - unable to rest and experience 'deliverance' from his recurring nightmare of their experience with extreme violence.










The Devil's Backbone (2001, Sp.) (aka El Espinazo del Diablo)

#61

This off-beat Gothic ghost murder-mystery (from director Guillermo del Toro) was set during the ongoing Spanish Civil War in 1938.

It contained imagery of a seldom-seen dead boy ("the one who sighs") named Santi (Junio Valverde) - a pale-faced orphan who (in flashback) was brutally beaten and drowned in an orphanage.

The murdered boy was a sad ghostly figure who haunted the place - he appeared with milky eyes, left wet footprints and had watery blood flowing from a gash in his head.

The boy predicted doom and warned of an upcoming catastrophe ("many of you will die"). He was associated with a scary, deep water tank or pool in the orphanage's damp basement.

The film boasted a haunting soundtrack (with gurgling, a ghoul's cries and sighs, and the screech of mechanical gears).

In one scary sequence, orphaned Carlos (Fernando Tielve) descended into the basement where the ghoulish Santi was hiding. Carlos was tapped on the shoulder from behind.

In another shocking scene, while the camera looked through a keyhole lock in a door as Carlos hid in a closet, the ghostly boy's large eye suddenly appeared in the field of view.




The Devils (1971, UK)

This sadomasochistic story filmed by director Ken Russell was adapted from Aldous Huxley's "The Devils of Loudon." The contentious film was frightening and effective. It included numerous scenes of orgiastic and crazed, nude, head-shaved nuns and other equally scary nightmarish scenes of 17th century French life. The most controversial scene was one of nuns sexually assaulting and desecrating a large statue of Christ.

Other notorious scenes included:

  • The public exorcism of the wicked, sexually-repressed and obsessed, and deformed (hunch-backed) Sister Jeanne des Anges (Vanessa Redgrave) after she confessed to depraved witch-hunter Father Pierre Barre (Michael Gothard) during an intense questioning session. She was threatened with "eternal damnation." She claimed she "had a vision. I saw a man walking across the waters of a lake. I dried his person with my hair (laughter). I had a great knowledge of love which persisted throughout my prayers, and could not rid my mind of this man for several days." Because there was a mist, she said she couldn't identify the man. She said that the man with six other creatures took a group of "beloved sisters" into the chapel where they formed themselves into "an obscene altar and were worshipped." During a naked embrace, she said that they ascended into heaven. Sister Jeanne was subjected to a medical examination using grotesque metal instruments, to seek more truth. With bloody hands and lascivious smiles, the examiners concluded: "There's been hanky-panky."

    Father Barre insisted that the Beast had to be exorcised from her body, and he put her in a choke hold. On the altar, she was injected with a hot-liquid enema, as her legs were forcibly spread wide open. She blamed her possession on the priest - Father Grandier.


  • The frenzied scene of the climactic torture / burning at the stake of the promiscuous, defiant rebel priest Father Grandier (Oliver Reed). Grandier was forced to crawl to the funeral pyre set up for his execution. Meanwhile, the crazed, self-righteous priests shouted out: "Confess! Confess! Beg forgiveness." Grandier responded:

    "Forgive me for defending your city so badly....I have finished confessing. Give me the kiss of peace and let me die...I am about to meet the God who is my witness. And I have spoken the truth."

    As his pyre was lit, the hysterical priest cried: "May your body be consumed by eternal fire" - Grandier's body was licked by flames without the benefit of being strangled first.

Burned at the Stake






Greatest Scariest Movie Moments and Scenes
(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

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