Greatest Scariest
Movie Moments and Scenes

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

Cabin Fever (2002)

#28

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.

Paul's (Rider Strong)
Horror
Diseased Karen
(Jordan Ladd)

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.

The tale (the film's entire story) was told in flashback by Francis (Friedrich Feher) - it was a tale of the strange sufferings and horrible events that he had experienced. He 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.

In one of the more shocking sequences, Francis' 'fiancee' Jane Olsen (Lil Dagover) was abducted by Cesare, and a chase ensured by a mob across rooftops and down alleyways.

Abduction Sequence

The film's major plot twist was that the story, told in flashback by Francis, 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 entire film was a framed story (with a flashback) that was made up from the mad ramblings and delusions of Francis, the mentally-ill narrator/story-teller of the film while he was seated in the asylum courtyard. Francis' doctor was the benevolent and respected Dr. Caligari!

The Major Twist
Francis - The Insane One
Dr. Caligari - The Respected Asylum Director with His Patient Francis

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. Francis had claimed he had made the shocking discovery that Dr. Caligari was the insane director of a mental institution, and that he was obsessed with imitating a 18th century mystic (of the same name) who sent out his somnambulist Cesare to commit murder.


Francis (Friedrich Feher) Telling His Tale, Seated in Courtyard

Dr. Caligari (Werner Krauss)

At Fair, Caligari Advertising Cesare

Opening of the Cabinet - With Somnambulist Cesare Inside

Cesare's Eyes Opening

Caché (2005, Austria/It./Germ./Fr.) (aka Hidden)

Austrian writer/director Michael Haneke's French film was a psychological thriller about an upper middle-class couple living in Paris in a townhouse:

  • Georges Laurent (Daniel Auteuil), the successful host of a French TV talk-show program on literary subjects
  • Anne (Juliette Binoche), a book publisher

Their lives were disrupted (actually terrorized) when they began to receive unmarked, mysterious videocassettes at their doorstep - intrusive surveillance tapes that showed how their home's exterior (and their comings and goings) was being surreptitiously observed from a camera positioned out on the street. In fact, the film's opening shot is a long-held, motionless view of the family's bourgeois home.

In the film's most shocking (and very unexpected) sequence, Georges was invited to the apartment of an unhappy, middle-aged Algerian named Majid (Maurice Bénichou) - a childhood family member. After Majid claimed he had nothing to do with the videotapes, he suddenly suicidally slit his own throat - blood sprayed from his jugular vein onto the door and wall behind him, and Georges stood in stunned silence looking at Majid's body on the floor.

The reason for Majid's suicide became clear later on. Georges admitted an earlier 'hidden' betrayal, secret or injustice - when he was only six years old and feeling threatened, he had fooled Majid into similarly beheading the family's rooster. Georges then claimed to his parents that Majid purposely did it to frighten him, and subsequently, Majid was sent away to an orphanage.


Opening Image



Majid's Stunning Suicide

Candyman (1992)

#75

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:

No, no, but you doubted me...You were not content with the stories, so I was obliged to come. Be my victim. Be my victim! I am the writing on the wall, the whisper in the classroom. Without these things, I am nothing. So now I must shed innocent blood. Come with me.

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:

We have a bargain...Do you hear the pain or what is beyond?...The pain, I can assure you, will be exquisite. As for our deaths, there is nothing to fear. Our names will be written on a thousand walls, our crimes told and retold by our faithful believers. We shall die together in front of their very eyes, and give them something to be haunted by. Come with me and be immortal.

The Candyman's Ribcage Covered in Bees:
"Come With Me and Be Immortal"

He then revealed buzzing bees swarming on his chest and pouring from his mouth before he kissed her ("Bee-Kiss").

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:

"What's the matter, Trevor? Scared of something?"

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.


Helen Repeated "Candyman" Incantation 5 Times in Mirror
Confrontation with "Candyman" in Garage


Helen Incarcerated

Her Psychiatrist Stabbed in Back



Bonfire Immolation Deaths of the Candyman and Helen


Husband Trevor Lyle (Xander Berkeley)

Summoning Helen By Calling Her Name 5 Times

The Murder of Trevor

Cannibal Ferox (1981, It.) (aka Make Them Die Slowly)

Umberto Lenzi's Italian torture-porn exploitation film with unbelievable scenes of graphic violence in the Amazon followed closely on the heels of Cannibal Holocaust (1980, It.), and was often accused of being a rip-off. It was also banned from viewing in dozens of countries, and controversial for its extreme violence.

It exhibited gruesome death scenes and tremendous shock value for its explicit gore and gratuitous violence. Its opening included a warning statement about its barbarity:

The following feature is one of the most violent films ever made. There are at least two dozen scenes of barbaric torture and sadistic cruelty graphically shown. If the presentation of disgusting and repulsive subject matter upsets you, please do not view this film.

The controversial film began with the murder (by mobsters) of an unnamed drug user in the NYC apartment of a despicable and exploitative drug-dealer:

  • Mike Logan (Giovanni Lombardo Radice, aka John Morghen), a cocaine-addicted, NYC drug dealer who was selling heroin; the mobsters were seeking to locate Mike for over a month (for an unpaid debt of $100,000)

Meanwhile, in an Amazonian jungle setting, three explorers set out to study the phenomenon of cannibalism:

  • Gloria Davis (Lorraine De Selle), a NYU Ph.D. graduate student and aspiring anthropologist-researcher
  • Rudy (Danilo Mattei, aka Bryan Redford), Gloria's brother
  • Pat (Zora Kerova), her blonde friend
Gloria
Rudy
Pat

Gloria's theoretical objective was to prove that cannibalism was a myth (an "invention of colonialism") - although she soon found out otherwise.

Coke-snorting Mike had fled to South America (Colombia) along with his drug-dealing partner:

  • Joe Costolani (Walter Lucchini, aka Walter Lloyd), a fellow adventurer

Told in flashback, both Joe and Mike began exploiting, torturing and abusing the natives to acquire their precious gems and drugs (cocaine), during a search for a cache of stolen emeralds. Mike treated the locals with sadistic disrespect and then blamed hostilities on the natives. They claimed that their alleged Portuguese guide was brutally tortured (with eye-gouging), tied to a large wooden pole, castrated, and brutally killed by the cannibals, although Mike had committed the murder. To get out of the jungle alive with Joe, Mike kidnapped a young native girl (the native chief's daughter), although the two were pursued and attacked. Joe was badly-injured in the right shoulder and right leg.

The two groups met up, and soon slutty Pat was sexually seduced by Mike, helped with a dose of cocaine.

During a cocaine-fueled rage, Mike encouraged Pat to slowly kill the captive native girl with a knife, but went ahead and killed her himself with a gunshot when Pat resisted and the girl tried to flee.

The scenes in question were many. There were various animal cruelties - a live parrot's head was ripped off and its innards were eaten, a tortoise had its body parts amputated before its belly was torn open, a furry creature tied to a post was eaten by a anaconda, a small crocodile was sliced open, and a piglet's belly was slowly cut open.

Within a short period of time, the mistreated natives became aggressive, sought revenge and captured the entire group. After Joe succumbed to his lethal wounds, the angry natives discovered his body, dragged his corpse out of a hut, disemboweled him, pulled out his intestines, and ate them - as Gloria and Rudy watched from afar.

Joe's Disembowelment

Mike was also caged, but fled into the jungle, although he was recaptured and treated harshly like the villager-guide he had previously tortured. He was castrated with a machete (his prized excised penis was eaten raw by the native chief and the painful wound was cauterized to prevent him from bleeding to death) while he was strung up on a large wooden pole. Then he was imprisoned underground.

During an escape attempt while being transported to another village, Rudy's leg was bloodied in a jungle booby trap and he was attacked by fiercesome, blood-seeking piranhas when he hid in a pool of jungle water. Forced out of the water, a native shot him in the chest with a lethal poison blow-dart.

Mike actually escaped again - and upon recapture, his right hand was amputated (chopped off at the wrist) with a machete.

A torturous 'meat-hook' death was inflicted upon feisty female victim Pat, as she was being watched by a group of female villagers. She was stripped of her shirt, poked in both breasts by a spear, and then iron hooks were pierced through both of her breasts - blood sprayed out as she screamed in intense pain. She was impaled by both breasts and suspended by ropes attached to the iron hooks to bleed to death in the Amazon jungle sun, as Gloria watched her die.

Breast Hook-Impalement Death

Mike was further restrained in a crude apparatus - positioned under a wooden table with a hole in it, through which the top of his head appeared. From there, natives chopped off the top of his skullcap with a machete to eat his reddish, gelatinous brains. An horrific and repulsive partial decapitation death method was the one in which Mike suffered and expired - deservedly.

By film's end, Gloria was freed by a sympathetic male native, and was able to reach safety and civilization when discovered by monkey traders, near death. Similar to the natives' version of events, Gloria confirmed that the others were in a canoe that capsized and they were consumed by crocodiles.

A few months later back in NYC, she published her dissertation thesis titled Cannibalism: End of a Myth and received her doctorate degree in sciences and anthropology. Her writing was all a cover-up and a lie - and a distortion of her harrowing jungle experience. She was praised for her debunking of the idea or cruel myth - "the notion that man eats man" - and demonstrated that anthropophagy did not exist. Her reasoning was that the violence she had experienced was first inflicted upon the natives by her "civilized" and "superior" white society - and those acts of violence bred more violence.


NY Mobster Murder of Drug User in Mike's Apartment


(l to r): Injured Joe and Mike


Flashback: Mike's Brutality Toward Portuguese Guide - Eye-Gouging (Followed by Castration and Death)



A Native Girl - Murdered by Mike


Mike's Machete Castration


Piranha Attack on Rudy's Bloody Leg


Rudy Shot and Killed with Poison Blow-Dart


Mike Recaptured

Mike's Hand Amputated



Mike's Brain Scalping, Decapitation, Slow Death and Brain Consumption


Gloria's Rescue

Cannibal Holocaust (1980, It.)

This extremely graphic, hotly-debated cult classic Italian film from director Ruggero Deodato - was the uncredited inspirational precursor of the faux-documentary "found-footage" smash hit The Blair Witch Project (1999) - it was filled with violent, grisly, and disturbing images.

[Note: Another Italian exploitation film Cannibal Ferox (1981, It.) (aka Make Them Die Slowly) with unbelievable scenes of graphic violence (including castration and breast impalement) in the Amazon followed closely on the heels of Cannibal Holocaust (1980). It was also banned and controversial for its extreme violence. See separate entry below.]

For his work on the film, the director was arrested by Italian authorities on suspicion of murder charges and faced life in prison, following its 1980 Milan premiere. He endured a trial when Italian authorities were unconvinced that the footage was indeed staged. Deodato lost the original trial, and all prints were to be destroyed, but he managed to have the ruling overturned in the early '80s when the actors finally appeared on TV to prove otherwise. Some five years passed before the film saw release in Deodato's home country. This movie was banned for twenty years in certain countries, including the UK.

It opened with a reverse disclaimer:

For the sake of authenticity, some sequences have been retained in their entirety.

The cannibal-exploitation film was purportedly the story of a four-person American film crew that disappeared while making a documentary (a feature entitled "The Green Inferno" - referring to the jungle itself) about the last surviving indigenous tribes that still practiced cannibalism in the wilds of South America's Amazon jungle area. The tribes in the area included the Yacumo, the cannibalistic Yamamomo (or Tree People), and their warrior-rivals the Shamatari (or Swamp People).

The film began with a NYC reporter recounting the story of the group that entered the jungle on the border between Brazil and Peru. The entire film crew consisted of:

  • Alan Yates (Gabriel Yorke), the young director - a famous documentarian
  • Faye Daniels (Francesca Ciardi), Alan's girlfriend and script-girl
  • Jack Anders (Perry Pirkanen), a blonde cameraman
  • Mark Tomaso (Luca Giorgio Barbareschi), a cameraman
  • Felipe (Guillermo), a guide

After their disappearance, the reporter told about a search and rescue mission that was undertaken, led by New York University anthropologist Harold Monroe (with two guides: experienced, bearded Venezuelan Chaco (Ricardo Fuentes) and his younger assistant Miguel). Along the way, they experienced a number of ghastly sights, including a skeleton of a corpse, and a brutal ritualistic "punishment for adultery" torture. It was performed by a native Yacumo husband against his young wife (Lucia Costantini) on a muddy lakeside. He violated her with a large wooden dildo and spiked ball of mud, followed by beating her to death. They also watched as rival tribes attacked each other, raped a young woman, and carved open another female. They realized that the filmmakers had caused unrest and great hostility among the villagers.

Later after finding the more primitive Yamamomo tribe (and Prof. Monroe's naked swim with natives), they were led to a totemic shrine (with the skulls of the four crew members and pieces of photographic equipment) - evidence that the crew had been murdered. They participated in a grisly, ritualistic, cannibalistic feast (eating parts of the dead body of a Yamamomo criminal recently executed), before being allowed to take back the crews' film reels - footage of their journey into the primitive culture - in exchange for Monroe's tape-recorder.

The reels were taken back to NYC for viewing. Masterful cinematic tricks and special effects created an unnerving view of the fate of the team - found in the undeveloped film cans of raw, unedited footage. Grisly, realistic-looking scenes (either realistic or staged) included:

  • numerous animal slaughterings (including a horrible turtle murder-beheading, causing Faye to throw up, and a beheading of a squirrel monkey)
  • Felipe's leg amputation with a machete (to prevent venomous snake-bite poisoning) and cauterization, although he soon died and was left behind
  • a staged massacre of the Yacomo tribe, including hut burning where women and children had been herded, and some natives were burned
  • insensitive to the native culture, Yates and Faye had vigorous sex in full view of the natives
  • a ritualistic forced abortion and the clubbing death of the mother-to-be (including the burial of the undeveloped fetus in mud)
  • the crew's gang-rape of a young Yamamomo girl (ignoring the objections of Faye)
Turtle Murder
Felipe's Leg Amputation with a Machete
Alan Yates and Faye - Sex in Full View of Natives

The film's most notorious scene was next -- the discovery of the impalement of the young gang-raped female on a pole, with a pole inserted from her mouth to her genitals. (Was she punished by the natives, or was this a set-up by the film crew to obtain sensational footage?)

Retaliation by the Natives Against the Gang-Raped Girl:
Pole Impalement

The Yamamomo tribe attacked the film crew, seeking revenge. Anders was hit by a spear, and then suffered male genital dismemberment followed by body mutilation, disembowelment, the display of guts, and cannibalism (the same fate befell Mark). Faye was stripped, raped, beaten by the women, and beheaded (her decapitated head was paraded around). Yates' death was filmed by his own dropped camera.

Anders' Genital Dismemberment and Mutilation
Faye's Rape and Beheading Murder
Deaths of Film Crew Members

After viewing the horrific final reel of the unedited film of the sadistic, unethical, exploitative, offensive, culturally-insensitive film crew getting what they deserved, Monroe staggered out into the NY city street, lit his pipe, and in voice-over asked himself: "I wonder who the real cannibals are."


Guts-Eating: Cannibalism

Prof. Monroe's Discovery of Gory Skeletal Corpse - (Felipe)




Rape-Murder of Native Wife in Muddy Lakeside - Brutalized with a Wooden Dildo - For Committing Adultery


Yacumo Village Girls

Prof. Monroe Cavorting Naked in Water with Native Yamamomo Girls



Totemic Shrine: The Four Skulls of the Fateful Yates Film Crew

Yamamomo Cannibalistic Feast For Prof. Monroe - in Exchange For Film Reels


The Film Crew's Staged Yacomo Hut Burning - Resulting in Burned Natives

A Dying Elderly Native Woman

Forced Abortion and Destruction of Fetus



The Crews' Gang-Rape of a Yamamomo Girl


Yates' Death

Cape Fear (1962)

#36

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:

Say, she's gettin' to be, uh, gettin' to be almost as juicy as your wife, ain't she?

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:

Look! I was gonna go for Nancy, but uh, I can always make it with Nancy. You know, next week, next month. Wait a minute, now. You proposition me. You, instead of Nancy, and I'll agree never to see you again. All right? Listen, unless, of course, you want it. Now that's how you give your consent.

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.

Cady taunted Sam to shoot him: "Go ahead. I just don't give a damn." But Sam decided not to kill him, in the last lines of the film:

No. No! That would be letting you off too easy, too fast. Your words, do you remember? Well, I do! No. We're gonna take good care of you. We're gonna nurse you back to health. And you're strong, Cady. You're gonna live a long life - in a cage! That's where you belong. And that's where you're going. And this time, for life! Bang your head against the walls. Count the years, the months, the hours, until the day you rot!

Sam decided not to shoot him dead, but instead let him "rot" in a prison "cage" for the remainder of his life.


Menaced Daughter Nancy at School

Psychopath Max Cady (Robert Mitchum)




The Sexual Assaults of Peggy and Young Nancy




Face-Off Between Max and Sam

Cape Fear (1991)

#29

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.

Two Unsettling Scenes:
Cady's Psychopathic Sadistic Violence
Cady's Unsettling Assault on Female Law Clerk
(Illeana Douglas)
Cady's Murder of Bowden's PI Claude
(Joe Don Baker)

The character of the violent Max Cady was forecast in two brutal and unsettling scenes:

  • after picking her up at a bar, Cady handcuffed the hands of law clerk Lori Davis (Illeana Douglas) behind her back, then viciously bit off a chunk of her cheek and savagely raped her (Lori was a young acquaintance of Sam's (and possibly having an affair with him)), and beat her - sending her to the hospital with a mauled face and broken arm
  • dressed and disguised as the Bowden maid Miss Graciella (Zully Montero) in their kitchen, Cady strangled Sam's hired private investigator Claude Kersek (Joe Don Baker) with a garrotte, and shot him in the head as he struggled (blood showered onto both of them), and then spoke into his ear: "How about that present that you like, you white-trash piece of s--t"

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.

Cady: I wanted to meet you, see what you're like. I see you're a nice person. That's all.
Danielle: You're not gonna hurt me, are you?
Cady: No, I'm not gonna hurt you at all. There's no hurtin' here, Danielle. 'Tween us, there's no anger, nothin'. Just a search for truth. I mean, did you judge me, did you get angry at me when you caught me smokin' the grass? Hmm?
Danielle: No.
Cady: But your parents, they judged you. They got plenty angry at you, didn't they?
Danielle: Yeah.
Cady: Mm-hmm. They punished you for their sins. What did they do?
Danielle: They, uh... My dad... They just yelled a whole lot and, um... My mom cried... and my Dad said I couldn't drive the Cherokee.
Cady: I'd say they punished you for their sins, and you resent that, and you should resent it. But Professor 'Do-Right' has a little advice for you. You shouldn't damn 'em. Don't judge 'em. Just forgive 'em, for they know not what they do.
Danielle: Well, um, why do you hate my father?
Cady: I don't hate him at all. Oh no, I pray for him. I'm here to help him. I mean, we all make mistakes, Danielle. You and I have. At least we try to admit it. Don't we?...But your daddy, he don't. Every man carries a circle of hell around his head like a halo. Your daddy too. Every man... Every man has to go through hell to reach his paradise. You know what paradise is?...Salvation. 'Cause your daddy's not happy. Your mommy's not happy. And, you know what? You're not happy. Are you?

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.

During a final face-off, Max Cady was wounded by gunshot from protective lawyer-husband Sam Bowden after a fight to the death (and Sam's near-drowning) in Cape Fear River.

After being overpowered and held at gunpoint, Cady taunted Sam to shoot him: "Go ahead. I just don't give a damn." But Sam decided not to kill him, in the last lines of the film:

No. No! That would be letting you off too easy, too fast. Your words, do you remember? Well, I do! No. We're gonna take good care of you. We're gonna nurse you back to health. And you're strong, Cady. You're gonna live a long life - in a cage! That's where you belong. And that's where you're going. And this time, for life! Bang your head against the walls. Count the years, the months, the hours, until the day you rot!






Cady's Seduction of Daughter Danielle (Juliette Lewis)

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.

Visions of the Man and other Ghouls/Souls

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.


The Deadly Crash

Mary's Imagined Survival



"Carnival of Souls"

Twist-Ending: Corpses in Dredged-Out Car

Carrie (1976)

#8

In this effective Brian De Palma horror film, in the film's opening locker room scene, Carrie (Sissy Spacek) was cruelly taunted by schoolmates for having her first menstrual period.

And soon after, 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.

Carrie's Lethal Psychokinetic Powers

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, Carre's ultra-religious psychotic mother Margaret White (Piper Laurie) attempted to kill her after the ruinous prom experience. Carrie had removed her blood-stained clothes and bathed in a tub. Then, she wished for comfort from her mother (who appeared from behind the bathroom door). She asked to be hugged: "It was bad, Momma. They laughed at me...Hold me, Momma. Please hold me."

Instead, as they knelt together, Mrs. White was self-critical about when she had conceived Carrie in a moment of sinful weakness and mistakenly carried her to term:

I should have killed myself when he put it in me. After the first time before we were married, Ralph promised never again. He promised and I believed him. The sin never dies. Sin never dies. At first it was alright. We lived sinlessly. We slept in the same bed but we never did it. And then, that night, I saw him lookin' down at me that way. We got down on our knees to pray for strength. I smelled the whiskey on his breath, and he took me. He took me! With the stink of roadhouse whiskey on his breath. And I liked it. I liked it! With all that dirty touchin' of his hands upon me, all over me. I should have given you to God when you were born, but I was weak and backsliding. And now, the devil has come home. Oh. We'll pray....We'll pray. We'll pray. We'll pray, for the last time, we'll pray.

Suddenly, as she was reciting the Lord's Prayer, Mrs. White reached for a gleaming butcher knife and stabbed Carrie in the back as she was hugging her. The struggle traveled to the first floor, where Carrie had tumbled. Cornered in the locked kitchen, a fatal blow was about to be delivered by the raised knife.

To stop the assault, Carrie used her telekinetic powers to send a projectile of another sharp knife to pin her mother's right hand against a wooden kitchen door pillar. Other kitchen objects (a peeler, another knife, and other cutlery and utensils) further pinned her mother's left hand (on the other side of the entryway) and also wounded her in the chest. One final knife spun into her mother's heart as the ultimate death blow.

The image was of her suffering mother literally being crucified with her hands pinned to the sides. She gasped in almost religious pain and ecstasy, and then her head flopped to the side, with a slight martyred smile (as the camera slowly pulled back).

The Death of Carrie's Mother - Mrs. White

Carrie pulled her mother off the kitchen door-frame, causing the house to creak and crumble, and the two were in the prayer closet as the house burned down around them. It literally sank and was swallowed into the ground. The Jesus effigy image in the closet had arrows in its chest, duplicating the position of the sharp objects embedded in Mrs. White body. Both perished in the blaze.

In the shock second ending - 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.

As Sue 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.


Shocking Menstruation in Girls' Locker Room





The Bucket of Pig's Blood Followed by Carrie's Psychic Revenge



Carrie Stabbed in the Back by Her Murderous Mother



Carrie In the Closet With a Jesus Effigy - Perishing in Blaze and Collapsing House





Carrie's Hand Bursting Out of Grave


Sue Waking Hysterically From Nightmare

Casino (1995)

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:

Dogs, Dogs, can you hear me, Dogs? Listen to me, Anthony. I got your head in a f--kin' vise. (It'll) squash your f--kin' head like a grapefruit if you don't give me a name. Don't make me have to do this, please. Come on. Don't make me be a bad guy, come on.

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:

Charlie M? You make me pop your f--kin' eye out of your head to protect that piece of s--t? Charlie M? You dumb motherf--ker!

Offscreen, Dogs had his throat slit after divulging the name.

In a later more violent sequence, Nicky and his brother Dominick (Philip Suriano) were savagely beaten (Dominick first, and then "Nicky") within inches of dying by their own thuggish gang members wielding metal-baseball bats, led by Frankie Marino (Frank Vincent).

After being brutally beaten and stripped, they both suffered a barely-alive burial in a recently-dug ditch-grave hidden amongst the corn stalks.

In voice-over, crime boss Sam "Ace" Rothstein (Robert DeNiro) explained the reason for the hit on "Nicky" - his hot-headedness:

The word was out. The bosses had enough of Nicky. They had enough. How much were they gonna take? So they made an example of him and his brother. They buried them while they were still breathing.



Tony's Head Crushing







Beaten and Buried 'Almost Dead'

Casino Royale (2006, UK)

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:

There will be little left to identify you as a man.

Bond defiantly taunted Le Chiffre while in excruciating pain as he was struck repeatedly:

I've got a little itch, down there. Would you mind?...No! No! No! No! No! To the right. To the right! To the right!...Aargh! Yeah! Ahh! Ahh! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes...! Now the whole world's gonna know that you died scratching my balls!

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.




Bond's Naked Torture in a Chair by Whipping his Genitals with a Knotted Rope.

Cat People (1942)

#97

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:

  • Kitten-faced, scorned Serbian-born fashion designer Irena Dubrovna (Simone Simon) jealously stalked and followed after rival female Alice Moore (Jane Randolph), her husband's assistant. The stalking occurred on a Central Park path at night, where Alice walked through the park's underpass-transverse in shadowy streets along a stone wall. The earliest views of the two women were full shots. Pools of light from the streetlights cast shadows at their feet, as the soundtrack accentuated their high-heeled shoes striking the pavement and presented close-ups of their strides.

    The pace quickened as Alice and her pursuer hurried more rapidly between the light areas (pools or circles of light under lampposts) and dark areas. All of a sudden, a discomforted Alice realized that someone might be following her [a projection of her own guilt and fear of retribution?] - and she slowly turned to listen anxiously and view an empty street. What made her most frightened and panicky was that the clicking of the footsteps behind her abruptly ceased, but she sensed that a forbidding presence still remained.

    She hugged a lamppost as a low, panther-like growl and hissing sound (calculated to make the film audience jolt and jump from their seats from the accentuated horror) accompanied the jarring arrival of a city bus applying its squealing air-brakes to stop at the curb - moving abruptly into the frame from right to left in front of her. She grabbed the door handle to steady herself and turned around to watch disturbed, billowing tree branches adjacent to the top of the wall swaying and rustling back and forth. The bus driver (Charles Jordan) quipped: "You look as if you'd seen a ghost." She gasped: "Did you see it?"


  • There was a second similar scene in a YWCA basement-indoor swimming pool. Alice asked the YWCA receptionist for a key to the pool area, while stroking a black kitten from a litter "of four." The black kitty trotted after Alice toward the changing room area, as Irena arrived and slyly asked the receptionist: "Is Miss Moore in?" - she was directed toward the pool area. As Alice was about to turn off the locker room light, she noticed that the black kitten was spooked by something on the stairway. A low growling noise and the sinister black shadow of an animal (black panther?) descending the stairs proved terrifying.

    Alice raced toward the deserted pool and dove in. The shadowy play of the rippling wake of the wavy water appeared on the indoor pool's claustrophobic walls, and more echoes of ferocious animal growls filled the air. Completely vulnerable, she tread water in the center of the pool as the walls alternately darkened and lightened around her. The unnatural pattern and shadow of an unseen prowling creature on the walls of the swimming pool obstructed the light - something was circling around her. The sounds of water drippings filled the void between louder snarlings.

    Suddenly, Alice screamed for help with shrieking, distressed cries that bounced off the cavernous pool walls. The receptionist and a house maid speedily rushed to the rescue - and found an amused Irena, calmly transformed from a panther, switching on the pool light. Alice claimed to the staff that: "It was dark down here and Mrs. Reed coming in unexpectedly frightened me. I'm terribly sorry," yet she asked for them to not depart without her: "Don't go, I'm coming right out." Supposedly, Irena's excuse for trailing Alice was to find Oliver's whereabouts, although Alice nervously admitted: "You'll probably find him at home."

    A footnote to the entire scene: the receptionist discovered that Alice's robe had been torn to shreds by vertical tracks of claws from a savage beast: "Gee whiz, honey, it's torn to ribbons."

Irena Dubrovna
(Simone Simon)






First Feline Stalking (Bus Driver: "You look as if you'd seen a ghost")




Second Feline Stalking

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.

Disturbing Visuals

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.

FBI Agent Peter Novak (Vince Vaughn) Rescuing Victim
Success With Comatose Patient Edward

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).


Dr. Catherine Deane (Jennifer Lopez) - 'Brain-Mapping'

Dead Victim Anne Marie Vicksey (Catherine Sutherland) Watched by Psychopath Carl Stargher


Sadomasochistic Serial Killer Carl Stargher Above Dead Nude Victim

Milky Bleach Bath for Victim



Play "Dolls"

Recently-Kidnapped 8th Victim Julia About to Be Drowned in Tank-Cell


Vision of Segmented Horse

Stargher as Grand Guignol King With Purple Cape on Throne


Deane as Virgin Mary



The End of Murderous Adult Stargher

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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