|Movie Title/Year and Brief Scene Description|
The Devil's Rejects (2005)
This brutal, repellent, uncompromising and sick grindhouse film by writer/director Rob Zombie was the sequel to his debut feature, House of 1,000 Corpses (2003).
The abhorrent exploitation film told about a lunatic tribe of hillbilly serial killers (the Fireflys, with names borrowed from characters played by Groucho Marx) on the backroads. As the villains of the Dr. Satan murders from the previous film, they were fleeing from the law across the state, from vengeful Texas Sheriff Wydell (William Forsythe) whose brother George was murdered by the family.
It was filled with degraded scenes of murder and dismemberment, and mostly awful, distasteful and unpleasant sequences:
A motel maid discovered the bloody corpses of Jimmy and Gloria in the bathtub. The sole surviving Wendy was forced to wear an organic mask made from husband Adam's skinned face. Wendy hysterically ran for help into the middle of the road and tried to wave down a car. A big semi-truck ran over her, and her body was left a bloody mess. Sheriff Ken Dwyer (Steve Railsback) commented on the scene of explosive carnage: "Jesus Christ, what a f--king mess. There must be 100 yards of bloody asphalt and corpse chunks."
Les Diaboliques (1955, Fr.)
Despicable and abusive schoolmaster Michel Delassalle (Paul Meurisse) badly mistreated his downtrodden, humiliated, frail and ailing wife/headmistress Christine (Véra Clouzot, director Georges Clouzot's real-life wife) and brassy schoolteacher-mistress Nicole Horner (Simone Signoret).
In the film's famous shocking twist ending after following a curving plotline, Michel was never killed by the two women. He had faked his own death - with collaborative help by Nicole - so he could murder long-suffering, invalid 'widow' Christine.
When she unexpectedly saw tyrant Michel's corpse in the bathtub, it caused her (and the audience) to have a fright-induced heart attack, when he rose zombie-like out of a bathtub with half-opened, all-white eyes. She thought he was dead from drowning.
She clutched her chest in the vicinity of her heart, fell back against the wall and slid to the floor where she collapsed. After rising, he removed fake white covers from each eyeball.
Dial M For Murder (1954)
Hitchcock's 3-D thriller masterpiece told about a charming, sophisticated yet villainous husband - an ex-tennis pro, who masterminded the murder of his unfaithful wealthy wife for having an affair with mystery writer Mark Halliday (Robert Cummings), so that he could inherit her fortune.
Tony Wendice (Ray Milland) blackmailed Captain Swann/Lesgate (Anthony Dawson), a former classmate with a criminal record, to commit the "perfect murder" for 1,000 pounds cash - the murder of Margo Wendice (Grace Kelly).
During the attempted strangulation scene, the tension was ratcheted up. Tony's plan was to have his wife leave her bedroom to answer the living room phone, to enable Lesgate to strangle her from behind the window curtains where he was hiding. Tony dialed the number (dialing M for murder), but because his watch had unexpectedly stopped, he was about eight minutes too late. The assassin was frazzled and about to leave because of the delay.
When the phone finally rang, the camera slowly panned to the left around Margot as she answered. The camera moved to view Lesgate's position behind the curtains. Reflections from the fireplace played upon the walls in the darkened room. Lesgate approached with a twisted stocking and wrapped it around her neck. But she foiled his strong attack by fighting back.
There was the tremendous 3-D effect of Margo reaching back behind her - into the audience from the screen - searching for a weapon (a pair of scissors) to defend herself and kill the assassin by stabbing him in the back. When he theatrically fell to the floor onto his back, the blades of the scissors were pushed more deeply into his body.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)
This classic horror story told about a fatally curious medical doctor named Dr. Henry Jekyll (Fredric March) who adventured into the unknown by self-testing an experimental serum formula that released the uninhibited, subconscious evil in his soul, and caused him to develop a monstrous split personality as Mr. Hyde.
The scariest scene was Jekyll's first transformation scene when he drank a potion in his laboratory and amazingly changed into the frightening Mr. Hyde.
He was transformed into a bullying, jagged-toothed, sexually libidinous, simian-like bedeviled creature. He delivered a grotesque exclamation in front of a mirror, as the camera spun around:
The film was also horrifying for Hyde's sordid, sexually-decadent and sadistic sexual encounters in which he terrorized Cockney slut "Champagne Ivy" Pearson (Miriam Hopkins). Eventually, he murdered his lover-turned-tragic victim Ivy.
Don't Look Now (1973)
Nicolas Roeg's supernatural thriller opened with the scary drowning death of a red raincoat-wearing young blonde daughter Christine (Sharon Williams) in an early scene set in England. Her father John Baxter (Donald Sutherland), an architectural restoration expert, sensed her impending death and raced out of the country estate to the pond. The anguished, grief-stricken father dragged her lifeless body to the muddy bank and delivered CPR, but he was too late and couldn't save her. He spent most of the rest of the film haunted by her death.
Later in the film, Baxter sighted an elusive small figure in a bright red hooded coat in a dark Venice alleyway. Thinking it was his daughter, he pursued what turned out to be his nemesis. He ascended a swirling staircase, assuredly telling the figure with its back to him: "I'm coming. I'm here. I'm here. I'm a friend. I won't hurt you. Come on." It wasn't his daughter - but a murderous dwarf (Adelina Poerio), who turned around, withdrew a long sharp knife from her right coat pocket, and deftly sliced his throat with one quick swing. He fell onto the stone floor and bled to death - punctuated by the peals of bells and quick images from earlier in the film.
This classic American horror film (the first sound horror film) from Carl Laemmle's Universal Pictures was an acclaimed masterpiece, directed by Tod Browning.
The first glimpse of Transylvanian Count Dracula (Bela Lugosi), a 500 year old vampire, was shocking. He was standing upright next to his coffin, wrapped tightly in an all-enveloping black cape. His ashen face, with a piercing, unmoving, cold fixed gaze, was illuminated with an unholy glow from the twilight and his black hair was slickly combed straight back. Rats scurried about and wolves howled.
Dracula was then seen sitting atop a carriage dispatched from the castle. He was a tall, silent figure, wrapped in a black cape and staring hypnotically straight ahead.
Dracula made an elegant, black tuxedo-garbed entrance on a long and massive staircase, while holding a single candle, in the massive entryway of the castle. Rats and armadillos scurried across the dirt-covered stone floor. A giant spider web hung from the ceiling above the staircase. Dracula walked through the large spider web without disturbing it. Dracula glided forward and memorably introduced himself in an immaculately delivered line (uttered with a Hungarian accent):
He raised his eyes, and uttered with a lilting Hungarian accent after hearing the sound of wolves:
Later, crazed lunatic Renfield (Dwight Frye) was discovered on the ship Vesta that bore the casket of Dracula to England.
Renfield emerged in the hatchway from the hold of the death ship, stared up giggling and totally insane - obviously infected with Dracula's madness for the remainder of the film.
Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966, UK)
Director Terence Fisher's horror film sequel was another of the UK's effective Hammer Studios productions. In the previous film (Fisher's Horror of Dracula (1958, UK)), Dracula had been destroyed.
A group of vacationing English tourists (two couples), including Alan Kent (Charles Tingwell) and his red-haired wife Helen (Barbara Shelley), found themselves at Dracula's deserted castle at Karlsbad in the Carpathian Mountains.
They were surprised to be waited upon by Count Dracula's (Christopher Lee) creepy and strange manservant, Klove (Philip Latham), who startled them from the shadows. Klove had already placed their luggage cases in bedrooms, and the table was set for four people. He explained: "My master's hospitality is renowned...If you are ready, I will serve dinner now." He then told them about his deceased master: "My master is dead, but instructions were left that the castle should always be ready to receive guests. I am merely carrying out his wishes."
Alan didn't believe any of the superstitions or warnings: "You'll forget about all of this in the morning, you'll see," but his wife Helen was truly frightened and ominously predicted evil: "There'll be no morning for us."
In the middle of the night (during a thunderstorm), an awakened Alan followed after Klove (hauling a heavy trunk or chest down the corridor). Alan discovered a secret passageway leading down to a crypt (with lit candles) containing Dracula's sarcophagus. From behind, Klove approached and stabbed Alan.
During the ritualistic sacrificial-resurrection scene, Alan's fresh corpse was suspended by his legs (hooked up to a winch) over Dracula's opened tomb-sarcophagus during a Satanic ritual. After Dracula's urn of cremated ashes were sprinkled into the open sarcophagus, Klove slit the man's throat to let his gushing red blood mix with the ashes to awaken the legendary creature from the dead. Over a period of about a minute under smoke, Dracula's shape appeared, and his hand reached out over the edge of the sarcophagus, as lightning struck and thunder clapped.
Then, Klove also convinced Helen to proceed into the cellar ("Madam, your husband, will you come quickly?"), where she was so shocked by the sight of her husband's body drained of his blood that she could barely let out a terrifying scream. Bloodsucking Dracula appeared above her with a smile revealing fanged teeth - he made her his first undead bride with a bite to her neck, the sight of which was obscured by his black cape.
Director Steven Spielberg's feature-length film debut was this low-budget picture shot in less than two weeks (it was an ABC-TV "Movie of the Week" offering originally) - adapted from Richard Matheson's short story published in Playboy Magazine.
Mild-mannered, distressed traveling salesman David Mann (Dennis Weaver), an LA electronics vendor, was driving in his red 1970 Plymouth Valiant, when he was relentlessly pursued on a rural California highway road by a demonic, killer diesel-engine truck (a 1955 Peterbilt 281 towing a tanker trailer).
The greasy, grungy truck (with a FLAMMABLE warning) was driven by a hidden, faceless psychopathic driver (wearing cowboy boots) (stuntman and character actor Carey Loftin), although the truck itself personified a person (front window eyes, headlight pupils, front grill nose, front fender mouth, etc.). The driver exhibited stalking and many kinds of 'road rage' behaviors:
During Mann's last-stand confrontation with the monstrous homicidal truck, he gunned his overheated engine and proceeded to ram the truck - diving out at the last second. The explosive crash sent the truck (in slow-motion) over a cliff into rocks below. Mann stared at the burnt wreckage, as the credits rolled.
During the 'Pink Elephants on Parade' sequence of the film, both floppy-eared young Dumbo and companion Timothy Q. Mouse became intoxicated when they accidentally drank water from a bucket that had been spiked with champagne. Their psychedelic, nightmarish hallucinations - scary to them - included the sight of brightly-colored pink elephants singing, dancing, and playing trumpets.
Another of the animated film's more terrifying scenes was the capture and confinement of Dumbo's mother Mrs. Jumbo when she was thought to be a rogue wild elephant.
She had 'attacked' a bratty kid, in motherly defense, who was tormenting little Dumbo by pulling his large ears.
(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