|Movie Title/Year and Brief Scene Description|
Fatal Attraction (1987)
Director Adrian Lyne's blockbuster was a cautionary horror tale about sexual carelessness, perfect for the AIDS-epidemic era.
The most memorable scene in the psychological thriller was the 'bunny boiler' scene of scorned Alex Forrest (Glenn Close), a book editor who experienced a fling with errant philandering husband and successful New York lawyer Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas). Afterwards, she took predatory revenge on his daughter Ellen's (Ellen Hamilton Latzen) pet rabbit (named Whitly) by making 'hare stew' (filmed with suspenseful cut-aways of the child running to the empty rabbit hutch).
There was also the shock scene in which Alex suddenly and explosively emerged from the bathtub after having apparently been drowned - and was shot in the chest by Dan's wife Beth (Anne Archer).
This 'return from the dead' scene paid homage to a similar bathtub scene in the French film Les Diaboliques (1955, Fr.).
[Note: The reshot audience-pleasing ending was not the original one which had the victimized husband being led away after being arrested by police on suspicion of murder, and the scorned pregnant woman committing suicide with a knife (with Dan's fingerprints on it) while dressed in white, to the tune of "Madame Butterfly."]
Director James Foley's psycho-thriller was an effective film, with a plot similar to Fatal Attraction (1987) - featuring a jealous boyfriend - actually an obsessive stalker - but couched in the form of a major parent-teen rebellion.
Sweet-talking, charming, innocent, and soft-spoken David McCall (then unknown Mark Wahlberg in his first starring role) became the 'perfect boyfriend' of naive, baby-faced 16 year-old girlfriend Nicole Walker (Reese Witherspoon). She was living with her controlling father Steve (William Petersen) and young stepmother Laura (Amy Brenneman). Steve was critical of the way his daughter sluttily dressed in a short skirt - like when she was 12, although he had endearing names for his 'Daddy's girl,' such as "my little sugar plum."
David met Nicole in a rowdy downtown Seattle bar-club and dance hang-out. He seemed to respect her when she denied him touching her breast when they first kissed, and he impressed her with his response: "That's one more perfect thing for me to admire - and respect - and wait for." During a later rollercoaster ride (to the tune of a remake of the Rolling Stones' "Wild Horses"), she let him touch her between her legs - she orgasmed and entirely fell for him, literally. She also let him deflower her virginity in her bedroom, when her father and stepmother were out of town in Vancouver.
She finally realized that he was actually dangerous, jealous, violent and psychopathic when he beat up her platonic friend Gary (Todd Caldecott) after she gave him a perfectly innocent hug. Nicole also was pushed and received a black left eye. [Later in the film, David killed Gary by snapping his neck in the woods near the school.] He also beheaded the family pet - a German Shepherd in this case named Kaiser.
The menacing and intimidating stalker David told Nicole's father that he had unfortunate "inadequacies" and wasn't keeping up with his own "missus" - "'Cause if you were, she wouldn't be all over my stick." Nicole's beleaguered father ordered him to stop seeing his daughter - in no uncertain terms:
David methodically and repetitively punched himself (self-flagellation?) to fake bruises (and gain Nicole's sympathy and confession of love). However, she had a change of heart when (from outside David's house) she witnessed her best friend Margo (Alyssa Milano), an adventuresome party girl, carried off in a thong bikini and raped by David. Nicole declared it over, and disowned Margo (she at first denied the incident, then said she was forced, and then cried out to Nicole: "You're my only friend!"), while the spurned and obsessed David etched the words "Nicole 4 Eva" on his chest with a dart. He also intimidated Nicole in a public bathroom, and then vandalized Steve's car with a note: "Now I've popped both your cherries."
Steve broke in to David's house, trashed, and ransacked it, causing David (and his friends) to retaliate by assaulting the Walker house in the film's major confrontational showdown for the last 15 minutes. David screamed to get Nicole back at the Walker front door - viewed through the keyhole, where he was locked out:
A long, scary, bloody and deadly siege occurred at the highly-secured Walker house as David and his friends attempted to enter. At one point, Laura used a drill to puncture and wound the left hand of one of the intruders. When security guard Larry (David Fredericks) came to their rescue, one of the gang members shot him to death. They took Steve hostage at gunpoint, forced their way inside, and bound and gagged Steve and Laura. Nicole stabbed David in the back with a wooden spike when he was about to shoot her father in the head.
A fierce hand-to-hand struggle between Steve and David (with the film's last line from Steve as he gasped: "Now, you get out of here") ended when Steve crashed him through a window and down onto a rock outcropping below.
The Walker House Siege, Ending With David's Death
Final Destination (2000)
The premise of the entire Final Destination series was that Death couldn't be cheated. After a major catastrophe, allowing some to survive because of a premonition, eventually Death stalked each one of the living and killed them in freak accidents.
In the scary opening scene, psychic airline passenger/high school senior Alex Chance Browning (Devon Sawa) had a frightening premonition of a 747 airplane crash - and deplaned before it exploded on take-off in a horrifying scene. He found that fate followed him and the other survivors of the crash.
Final Destination 3 (2006)
Similar to the other films in this macabre black comedy series about fateful death, characters died a horrible death because they had cheated the Grim Reaper earlier. In this case, lucky survivors exited a dangerous rollercoaster ride that killed everyone during a derailment, because of one person's premonition of disaster.
There were a number of inventively grisly deaths in this film including one very scary death scene:
The Fly (1958)
Kurt Neumann's sci-fi horror film was later made into a more famous remake by David Cronenberg in 1986 (see below). This mid-50s film was followed by two sequels: Return of the Fly (1959) and The Curse of the Fly (1965).
In short, the drawing room melodrama told about a scientist named Andre Delambre (David Hedison) whose bloody body (unidentifiable except for a scar on his left leg) was found in the Delambre Electronics factory's hydraulic press (with a completely crushed head and arm). His wife Helene (Patricia Owens) openly admitted to Inspector Charas (Herbert Marshall) that she killed him by pushing the red button on the press (but it was no accident and Andre had suicidally assisted in his death). Early on, Andre's brother Francois (Vincent Price) admitted about the couple: "Helene and Andre believed in the sacredness of life. They wouldn't harm anything - not even a fly."
Helene was put under observation in her own home. She became unusually distraught and was thought "mad" when the attending nurse (Betty Lou Gerson) attempted to swat a fly to death. When charged with Andre's murder (although declared insane), Helene explained, in flashback, the circumstances surrounding his death to Inspector Charas and Francois, and said she aided Andre "to carry out his last wish" - to die.
Andre had been secretly working on a matter-teleportation device (the "disintegrator-integrator") late at night in his basement lab ("the work of a madman") with a number of objects and test subjects, including a now-missing domesticated cat named Dandelo ("she disintegrated perfectly, but never reappeared...a stream of cat atoms"). It was horrifying to listen to the disembodied meows of the teleported cat when it didn't reemerge. After more redesigning and adjustments, a guinea pig transported successfully and survived, although Helene was worried about his tinkering: "It's like playing God."
Helene became suspicious when Andre didn't surface for awhile, claiming that he had some "trouble" after a "serious accident." (At the same time, Philippe claimed he had caught a white-headed fly - but then let it go.) Andre couldn't speak, and could only communicate with handwritten or type-written notes. One that she received said: "Fetch me a bowl of milk laced with rum." He also insisted that it was vital for Helene to find a white-headed fly, and added: "My life is in your hands."
When Helene first saw him (the moment of full revelation was delayed to create more suspense!), his head was draped with a black cloth, although he seemed to have a human body. After he accidentally revealed his hideous left claw deformity, she screamed. The next morning, she read another note offering an explanation. When he had graduated to teleporting himself in a human-sized test chamber, a common housefly had accidentally entered the chamber and mixed their atoms. He needed to find the other fly to "untangle" their atoms in a repeat of the experiment.
The scariest scene was when she saw his fly's head for the first time. When she pulled off his black cloth, he revealed a twitching fly's head with enlarged eyes. She screamed at the view (the kaleidoscopic POV of her transformed husband's hundreds of prismatic eyes watched her scream). She backed away as he approached, and then fainted.
He picked her up and then resisted the temptation to caress her face (with his claw) and kiss her. In a fury, he destroyed his teleportation equipment with an axe, and burned his research papers. Obviously, his inner nature (insect vs. human) was strained and struggling with itself. He wrote on a blackboard an ominous warning: "No use. Now Help me - but don't come near me. Kill fly - plez. Love You." Unable to reverse the process, Andre ordered Helene to kill him in the hydraulic press.
After the flashback as the film ended, the Inspector thought she was insanely dangerous and was ready to arrest her for murder. To prove her innocence, he asserted: "Show me the fly." Shortly later, Andre's young son Philippe (Charles Herbert) led Francois and the Inspector to the white-headed fly he had often observed. It was now caught in a web next to a bench in the garden.
In the spine-chilling ending, when they came upon the web, they saw the entrapped fly in a large brown spider's web with Andre's miniature human head and arms and his human ability to speak. He screamed piteously: "Help me! Please Help meeeeeee! Go! Go away! No! Please Help Me! Please ! Go away! Go away! No! No! No! No!" Just as the fly was about to be devoured, the Inspector smashed them both with a rock. Francois noted about the merciful killing:
To clear Helene, Andre's death was reconsidered as a suicide, due to his derangement.
In the happy ending, Francois explained to Philippe the reason for Andre's death: "He died because of his work. He was like, like an explorer in a wild country where no one had ever been before. He was searching for the truth. He almost found a great truth, but for one instant, he was careless...The search for the truth is the most important work in the whole world - and the most dangerous."
The Fly (1986)
Director David Cronenberg's science-fiction horror film was a remake of the equally-exciting 1958 film of the same name. In both cases, they told how an eccentric, hapless scientist, Dr. Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) in this film, had accidentally merged himself at a molecular-genetic level with an ordinary housefly during a teleportation incident using an experimental telepod device.
There were a number of horrifying sequences:
In the concluding scene of Seth's painful attack on Stathis Borans (John Getz) by using acidic vomit, Seth first covered his left fist with the white substance, causing it to disintegrate into a bloody stump. He then regurgitated the whitish acid onto his right ankle and peeled off his foot. At Veronica's urging and begging, he paused.
Also in the final sequence, he had a horrifying discussion with Veronica, pleading with her: "Help me. Help me to be human." He asked her to engage in a fusion sequence (with a two minute countdown) to come together with him:
As she resisted his attempt to drag and throw her into the transporter, his fleshy skin from his jaw fell off in her hand and he was transformed, in the most grotesque scene of all, into an actual human fly. His plan failed when he was inadvertently fused with metallic components of his telepod device. The seriously-wounded Borans had disconnected the power lines to Veronica's telepod with a shotgun blast, causing a shower of sparks and aborting her connection to the fusion process.
In the poignant final scene after the failed transport, anguished and completely disfigured 'Seth' flopped out of the telepod and wordlessly begged Veronica to kill his monstrous self by guiding the shotgun's muzzle to his body with a deformed claw. He wished for her to end his monstrous life with a mercy killing, although she at first begged: "No I can't." She dropped to her knees after the deed was accomplished.
In this haunting horror-thriller by actor Bill Paxton (his directorial debut film), a person claiming to be Fenton Meiks (Matthew McConaughey) confessed to Dallas FBI Agent Wesley Doyle (Powers Boothe) that his younger brother Adam (Levi Kreis) (whose body was in an ambulance after he committed suicide) was the likely, self-proclaimed "God's Hand" serial killer.
In the gothic horror film (told through flashbacks), it was later revealed that both of the Meiks boys (Fenton and Adam) had been brought up in a strictly-religious household with a delusional, widowed father (Bill Paxton):
The father had bright, religious visions of "God's will" that led him to enact divine retribution - to kill 'demons' that he saw in various individuals ("They may look like people on the outside, but inside...", and "We don't kill people, we destroy demons"). He claimed to his two sons: "We can see the demons, while other people can't."
He said that soon, God was sending three tools or "magical" weapons to assist them in the punishments and murderous retributions that he would be carrying out with his two sons:
In the upending, contrived twist ending, there was an abrupt change in the identity of the film's narrator - it was Adam, not Fenton, who had been narrating. Adam had killed his brother Fenton (Fenton had not committed suicide), and then posed as Fenton to frame him. Fenton (actually Adam) told Doyle that after his father was killed by his brother, the job of killing demons was passed on to him.
In a tense confrontational scene in the Thurman Rose Garden adjacent to the Meiks house (where all the previous 'demon' burials had taken place), Fenton/Adam confessed that he regarded agent Doyle as one of the 'demons.' While touching Doyle, Adam had a vision of the agent violently murdering his own mother as she retrieved clothes on a clothesline - and therefore deserved to be killed:
Since everyone thought that the confessor in Doyle's office in the opening scene was Fenton (and not Adam), Adam was able to get away with the murder (and the fuzzy, distorted security camera pictures also helped him elude detection). All of the clues in Doyle's disappearance and death lead to Fenton, who had been killed by his brother. In Fenton's home, the authorities found incriminating evidence and Doyle's FBI badge.
Believing that Fenton was the killer, FBI agents went to Adam's town to tell him about the death of his brother Fenton. Ironically, Adam was a Texas town sheriff and his wife was pregnant.
Father (Bill Paxton) with
Visions of "God's Will"
To Kill Demons
Adam Killing Fenton
FBI Agent Wesley Doyle (Powers Boothe)
Doyle in Grave
Adam Axed Doyle with "Otis"
Director James Whale's classic horror film remains as one of the world's most famous monster movies.
The first appearance and unveiling of Frankenstein's Monster (Boris Karloff in his signature role) was truly memorable and shocking. The door to Frankenstein's lab slowly swung open, revealing a dark, lumpish silhouette in the doorway in a full figure shot. The bulky figure lurched clumsily into the room with halting steps, gradually revealing a bulky head and broad back.
The Monster awkwardly moved into the room by backing in! The hulking Monster then slowly turned around, and then provided a shadowy profile in our first chilling close-up look of his blankly expressionless, tabula rasa face - a jagged surgical scar around the jaw appeared. There was also a prominent spike that gleamed into view on the side of the figure's neck. A series of camera jump cuts provided increasingly tighter close-ups of the hideous visage of the cadaverous creature.
The Monster was a startling, grotesque, and gruesome figure, about seven feet tall with broad shoulders. The creation was more Monster than man. The monstrous face was placid, gaunt and elongated. The creature had a square-shaped head with boxy forehead, hooded eyelids over deep-set sunken eyes, neck-spikes or bolts to serve as electrical connectors on his neck, jagged surgical scars, and a matted wig. The Monster wore a dark suit and thick, heavy boots, causing him to walk with an awkward, stiff-legged, crude gait. His long arms seemed enormous because the coat sleeves were shortened.
The film's other, most powerful, poignant, and horrifying scene was when the Monster parted bushes and entered a clearing by the bank of a lake. He attempted to make friends with an innocent little girl named Maria (Marilyn Harris) who was playing there by herself. As she was gathering daisies at the edge of the water, she was not repelled by his hideous appearance or fearful of him and invited him to play and be her friend:
She took his hand and led him to the side of the lake. She asked: "Would you like one of my flowers?" and offered him one. A close-up of their two hands touching emphasized the enormity of his hands. With child-like innocence, he smelled the flower and a beatific smile lit up his face. After they knelt next to the water, Maria handed him some flowers to join in her game of flinging them into the pond, and he compared his hand to hers: "You have those, and I'll have these. I can make a boat." One by one, they tossed flowers onto the surface of the lake, watching the petals float. "See how mine float?" The Monster delighted in the game with his new-found friend (his first) and was pleased when he threw a daisy and it also floated.
When the Monster's few flower blossoms were gone, he puzzled for a moment at his empty hands, and then innocently and ignorantly picked up Maria. The little girl screamed: "No, you're hurting me. No!" He enthusiastically threw her in the water - expecting that she, too, would float like the flower petals. She floundered and splashed in the water and quickly sank and drowned. As he staggered away from the lake, the Monster seemed to express some confusion, despair and remorse - shaking and wringing his hands and possibly perceiving the horrible thing he had just done.
A further scary scene was the Monster's attack upon Frankenstein's bride Elizabeth (Mae Clarke) who was wearing her beautiful wedding gown with a long train for their wedding day. The Monster had entered a window of the Frankenstein mansion into the room where Elizabeth was seated - alone and helpless. She was horrified by his appearance and screamed loudly. The Monster was driven off by the screams and by Frankenstein and his servants who rushed to her aid. She swooned and was quite shaken and dazed by the incident, but unhurt.
The prestigious MGM Studios was shocked by director Tod Browning's creepy and bizarre, circus-related horror film and it was severely censored. His lurid and off-beat creation starred various human aberrations in its cast, including Prince Randian (a living torso who smoked cigarettes), and an assortment of 'little people' freaks (pinheads, Siamese twins, androgynes, the trunk man, the women without arms, the bearded woman, etc.).
The story was set in a traveling sideshow, where sexy, gold-digging trapeze artist Cleopatra (Olga Baclanova) married love-smitten circus midget Hans (Harry Earles) - solely for his money. In retaliation for the marriage and for being rejected at the wedding celebration, and knowing that Cleopatra was both unfaithful and teaming up with strongman-lover Hercules (Henry Victor) to murder him with poison, the group of 'freaks' came to Hans' rescue.
During a violent thunderstorm, they banded together, slowly chased after them (after crawling through the mud - some with knives in their mouths), and surrounded the scheming couple.
Later, it was revealed what Cleopatra's disfigured fate was - she was shown off to a crowd of sideshow gawkers by the loud admonishments of the hawker:
Her tongue was cut out, one eye gouged, and both legs were hacked off. She had been surgically transformed into a squawking half-woman, half-chicken-hen for the sideshow by the vengeful freaks.
They had also emasculated Hercules (off-screen and censored).
Alfred Hitchcock's first R-rated film was about a serial killer who specialized in using neckties to strangle his female victims.
The film essentially opened during the vicious and agonizing necktie strangulation-rape scene of ex-Mrs. Brenda Blaney (Barbara Leigh-Hunt). At first, the charming ladies man, serial killer Bob Rusk (Barry Foster) confronted her: "You're the one I wanted to see....I like you. You're my type of woman." When she begged for her life, he tore off her dress and bra, screamed at her: "Love me!...Women - they're all the same," and then revealed that he was the notorious Necktie Killer. After a lengthy struggle, she was left dead with her twisted tongue hanging out.
Later in a very tense scene, the killer desperately realized that he needed to locate his missing, incriminating initialed/monogrammed stickpin (from his jacket's lapel) after he had committed his second murder. With a quick succession of shots, Rusk remembered that his victim, barmaid Barbara Jane "Babs" Milligan (Anna Massey), had struggled with him during strangulation, and had torn the pin from his lapel.
He had placed her nude corpse within a sack in the back of the truck, amidst many other stacks of unsold potatoes. He frantically searched through the stacks of burlap potato sacks in the rear of the jostling and swerving truck as it journeyed along. Rusk finally found the pin, clenched in a death grip by the corpse in a state of rigor mortis. He first tried to cut it away from her clutching fingers with a pocketknife, but then was forced to break the corpse's clutching fingers to retrieve it. He was relieved, but then faced the daunting task of escaping from the back of the moving truck.
There were a number of famous death scenes in this classic slasher horror film:
There were many other grisly and bloody scenes of teenaged death:
Throughout the film, Jason's death was being avenged by his crazed, homicidal and schizophrenic mother -- camp kitchen-worker mother who was retaliating for her young son's accidental and tragic death from drowning in the lake over two decades earlier in 1957. The finale pursuit was the scariest:
There was a concluding shocking, surprise (dream?), boo-moment:
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
Robert Rodriguez' sexy and ultra-violent crime thriller was memorable for its sleazy Titty Twister roadhouse (open 'from dusk till dawn') in Mexico. Exotic, maroon bikini-clad, caped dancer Santanico Pandemonium (Salma Hayek) on a fiery stage performed for the leering, cheering audience. She had a white snake phallically wrapped around her.
One of the patrons, deranged and psychopatic rapist-criminal Richard "Richie" Gecko (actor/scripter Quentin Tarantino), soon became an undead victim of Santanico's sudden destructive vampirish attack when she lustfully saw blood dripping from his wounded hand.
She morphed into a vampirish creature, jumped on Richie's back and used her fangs to bite into his neck.
He fell to the ground dead, but was then resurrected as a zombie that had to be killed permanently by his brother Seth (George Clooney) with a wooden table-leg stake thrust into his heart.
Full Metal Jacket (1987)
Stanley Kubrick's intense Vietnam-related war film began with US Marine boot camp training at Parris Island, and the tremendous strain placed upon tormented, overweight, misfit and psychopathic Marine Private "Pyle" Leonard Lawrence (Vincent D'Onofrio) - this led to his inevitable bloody and suicidal death.
In the middle of the night, he was ranting about his rifle in the bathroom, while rehearsing one of his training routines:
Gunnery Sargent Hartman (R. Lee Ermey) heard the commotion and rushed in, asking Private "Joker" J.T. Davis (Matthew Modine) on duty: "What is this Mickey Mouse s--t? What in the name of Jesus H. Christ are you animals doing in my head? Why is Private Pyle out of his bunk after lights out? Why is Private Pyle holding that weapon? Why aren't you stomping Private Pyle's guts out?" "Joker" replied that the gun's magazine was fully "locked and loaded."
Hartman demanded that Pyle surrender his rifle and then insulted him when he didn't comply:
Holding his rifle at waist level, Pyle murdered Harman (filmed in slow-motion) by blasting him in the chest at close range. He then backed up, dropped down on one of the bathroom toilets, put the gun to his mouth, and suicidally pulled the trigger. He blew his head off, splattering the wall behind him with his brains and blood. The bloody death scene slowly faded to black.
(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