Greatest Scariest
Movie Moments and Scenes


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

The Changeling (1980)


Peter Medak's tense and unsettling haunted house entry starred George C. Scott as composer/musician and university teacher John Russell. He was a recently-mourning widower who rented and moved into a haunted Seattle three-story mansion while working at his alma mater. He was still having nightmares and dealing with his own personal tragedy after witnessing the death of his wife Joanna and young daughter Kathy in a freak snow-plow accident in the film's opening during a winter vacation in upstate NY.

The mansion rental deal was facilitated by one of the historical society's workers Claire Norman (Trish Van Devere), although he was warned about the gothic house: "No one's been able to live in it. It doesn't want people."

Deeply-disturbing imagery, supernatural phenomena (a piano key pressed by an unknown presence), and sounds (strange thumping noises representing the boy's fist banging on the side of a bathtub during a horrific drowning-murder, running faucets, doors slamming, whispers, etc.) began to appear to Russell.

They were the communicative manifestations of a poltergeist - a crippled six year-old young boy named Joseph Carmichael who had been murdered (drowned) by his father Richard Carmichael in a bathtub, many years earlier in the early 1900s in the dusty attic (with its doorway and staircase concealed behind a bookcase). And it appeared that the six term, powerful, wealthy and elderly US Senator Joe Carmichael (Melvyn Douglas), the local symphony's benefactor, was somehow involved and wanted to keep it covered up.

The murder ultimately benefited the changeling - revealed as an imposter - the state of Washington's long-time Senator Joe Carmichael (Melvyn Douglas).

Strange images or scenes included:

  • Kathy's rubber ball bouncing down the stairs
  • the apparition of the dead child under the water in a bathtub
  • a shattered window
  • a cone-shaped object suddenly flying off a table and smashing during a seance when the tormented spirit conveyed a message to the frenzied medium
  • Russell's replaying of the recording of the seance and hearing Joseph's voice on the tape
  • the local girl's nightmare of seeing an emaciated ghostly boy coming up through the floorboards of her house
  • the shattering of a mirror foreshadowing the murder of Captain DeWitt (John Colicos)
  • and a cobweb-covered wheelchair pursuing a terrified Claire down the stairs from the attic

Russell confronted the aging Carmichael in the Senator's home with the entire story about the murdered son ("That changeling was you"), but he denied the truth of it. Russell was offered blackmail money to keep silent ("All right, how much do you want for this farce that you've concocted?") but refused. Russell vehemently chastised Russell:

"Truth terrifies you, doesn't it?...It won't be buried...None of this belongs to you!...It should have gone to that dead child. You suspected something was wrong all your life. You're not Joseph Carmichael. You're the beneficiary of the cruelest kind of murder - murder for profit."

The Senator berated Russell for accusing his father (actually step-father) of murder: "My father was not a murderer...My father was a great man, a loving man...I will not allow you to slander his good name." Before departing, Russell left the real medal with the Senator, found in the burial digging. Then, when the Senator placed the real medal on a portrait of foster father Richard on his desk, her heard the doomed boy crying: "My medal" - and then "Father, don't!" before it began to violently shake.

The Senator became hypnotized and had an out-of-body or dream-like experience - his illusionary double entered the burning mansion, climbed the flaming stairs to the attic, and saw the same vision of Joseph's drowning death at the hands of his father. Then, back at his own home, the Senator suffered a fatal heart attack as the attic exploded. He was wheeled into an ambulance from his home. At the same time, Claire had rescued Russell from the mansion that was burning to the ground.

The Senator's Illusionary Double Climbing the Flaming Mansion Stairs to Attic
The Senator's Fatal Heart Attack in His Home

The next morning, the camera zoomed toward the burning embers of the mansion, and focused on Joseph's burned-up wheelchair, and his music box that suddenly clicked open and began playing a lullaby. Justice seemed to have finally been attained.

The Rented Gothic Mansion

Apparition of Boy (Joseph Carmichael) Underwater

The Drowning of Joseph Carmichael

Cob-Web Covered Wheelchair

US Senator Joseph Carmichael (Melvyn Douglas) - "The Changeling" - Comparing the Real and Fake Baptism Medals

Placing Real Medal on Portrait of Father Richard Carmichael

Un Chien Andalou (1929, Fr.) (aka An Andalusian Dog) (short)

Spanish director Luis Bunuel's short silent film (written in collaboration with artist Salvador Dali) with a non-sensical title (it literally meant "An Andalusian Dog") was a surrealistic adventure to behold. Filmed low-budget, the dreamy film took only two weeks to shoot. It began with the ominous title card, "Once upon a time."

In the shocking and disturbing opening sequence, composed of freely associated images, a man sharpened a straight razor and then tested the sharp blade on his fingernail. On a balcony, he viewed the full moon, where a cloud was about to pass over it and bisect it.

He then moved the sharp-edged blade close to a woman's (Simone Mareuil) wide-opened eye and sliced it in half, as the cloud sliced into the moon. -- (it was actually a cow's eye that was being cut).

Later in the film, there were other striking images presented in an unlinked series, including that of ants coming out of a hole in a man's severed hand, a severed hand lying on a street sidewalk, the grabbing of the breasts of a woman through her clothes (and then of her naked breasts directly when the clothes disappeared) - and the man's fantasizing that the breasts were her bare buttocks, a grand piano with a dead donkey on top of it, and the final image of a couple half-buried on a beach in sand up to their elbows (and probably dead).

Straight-Razor Eye-Slicing

Children of the Corn (1984)


In this 1977 Stephen King short story tale that was adapted for the screen, children in the isolated and deserted farmland (fictional) town of Gatlin, Nebraska were slaughtering all of the adult townspeople in the name of a demonic God dubbed "He Who Walks Behind the Rows" - in order to produce a prosperous corn harvest. The creepy story was told by a young boy in the town, a narrator named Job (Robby Kiger). It played on the fears of disobedient, out-of-control, monstrous children preying on all adults and running their own society.

The film opened with the coffee shop massacre of Gatlin adults after Sunday worship services in the local Baptist church. Some of the patrons were poisoned by the coffee, and others were hacked by a meat-cleaver.

The Coffee Shop Slaughter

The massacre was depicted in crayon drawings (under the opening credits) created by Job's sister Sarah (Anne Marie McEvoy). The sketches often foreshadowed what would happen next. The young fanatical cultish murderers were led by boy preacher Isaac Chroner (John Franklin) with an Amish-styled hat, who glared through the front window of the coffee shop before the slaughter.

Isaac's followers fashioned corn-cob crucifixes (one held a dead cop) and held sinister religious meetings and rituals in the corn fields, often at dusk. No one 19 years or older was allowed to live. Isaac often preached about the bloodthirsty incarnation of the Abrahamic God, dubbed "He Who Walks Behind The Rows."

Two cross-country travelers passing through the town on their way to Seattle: Vicky Baxter (Linda Hamilton) and her boyfriend Burton Stanton (Peter Horton), accidentally struck a runaway Gatlin boy named Joseph (Jonas Marlowe) in the middle of the road. He had tried to escape from Gatlin and had stumbled out onto the highway clutching his sliced throat - and it appeared that his throat was slit before being killed by the impact. When Vicky dozed off, she dreamed that the boy awoke and reached out to strangle her from under a blanket - the film's scary jump-boo moment.

Sadistic and menacing, red-headed Malachai Boardman (Courtney Gains), Isaac's curved blade-wielding enforcer for the cult of murderous children, led a group of children who abducted Vicky. She was tied to a giant corn-dressed cross or crucifix and hoisted up, while the children chanted "Kill" - demanding her sacrifice.

Wounded in the chest and attempting to escape a group of crazed children, Burt was surrounded in the middle of the street, as Malachai called out tauntingly: "Outlander!" When Malachai mutinied against Isaac, he ordered Isaac to be crucified in Vicky's place. Shortly later, Malachai took a bound Vicky at knife-point into the deserted street and tried to lure Burt out of hiding, shouting: "Outlander! Outlander! We have your woman. She still lives! Outlander, maybe you don't hear so well" - and then sliced into her cheek with his machete, drawing blood - "Outlander! Her blood'll spill unless you give yourself up."

When Malachai turned on Isaac, he ordered Vicky cut down from the cross and Isaac put up in her place. Hanging on the crucifix, Isaac was seemingly devoured and consumed by "He Who Walks Behind the Rows," a reddish protoplasmic form that crept up his body, after which his cross sky-rocketed into the air. Isaac was then transformed into a reanimated zombie-like follower of the demonic god, speaking in a deep voice. When Isaac was sent back, he cried out: "Malachai! He wants you too, Malachai. He wants you too!" He strangled and broke the neck of Malachai.

The beastly god then took the form of a giant, bloody-red cloud of "fire and brimstone" - grimacing as it was destroyed when the cornfields were burned to the ground.

One final boo moment occurred as a female cult member in the back seat of Burt's car popped up with a curved blade, but the threat was quickly subdued.

Death of Joseph

Dead Cop on Cross

"Outlander! Her blood'll spill..."

Isaac on Cross

Final Boo Moment

Child's Play (1988)


Child's Play (1988) was the first in a series of Chucky supernatural horror films (1988, 1990, 1991, 1998, and 2004), about a plastic killer doll named "Chucky." In the film's prologue, a Good Guy doll in a Chicago toy store was imbued (through a Haitian voodoo ritual) with the evil soul of lethally-wounded serial killer Charles Lee Ray (Brad Dourif), known as "The Lakeshore Strangler."

Widowed mother Karen Barclay (Catherine Hicks) bought the blue-eyed, cherub-faced, red-haired, freckled toy doll - a cheaper-priced, $30 stolen Good Guy doll from a homeless street vendor, to give to her son Andy (Alex Vincent) as a 6th birthday present.

The vicious Chucky, looking innocent with blue overalls and sneakers, committed his first murder, the killing of young Andy's babysitting Aunt Maggie Peterson (Dinah Manoff). He emerged from Andy's bedroom (shot from Chucky's POV), and deftly stalked her, causing her to have an 'attack' of the "alone-at-night-willies." She admitted to herself: "What is wrong with me? I'm scaring myself half to death." When she turned, he suddenly struck her in the right eye with a hammer, and she was propelled backwards - she fell out of the multi-storied apartment's kitchen window to her death, crashing into the top of a parked truck on the street.

Later, in one of the film's scariest moments, Chucky was talking and moving (he told Karen: "Hi, I like to be hugged"), but without the included batteries installed. She held the doll in her hands and inspected the battery compartment, and to her shock found it empty. The doll's head suddenly twisted around and spoke: "Hi, I'm Chucky! Wanna play?"

Chucky Threatening Karen Barclay (Catherine Hicks):
"You stupid bitch! You filthy slut! I'll teach you to f--k with me!"

In fright and suspecting that the doll was murderous, she dropped the doll and it rolled out of view under the sofa. When she peered underneath the sofa and poked at it, the doll appeared to be lifeless. When she threatened to throw it in the fireplace when it didn't move or talk back to her, the doll suddenly shouted curses at Karen: "You stupid bitch! You filthy slut! I'll teach you to f--k with me," and began struggling with her, leaving deep bite marks in her arm. Afterwards, Chucky descended to the ground floor in the apartment's elevator and disappeared. Chucky's subsequent murders were blamed on prime suspect, Andy, who was hospitalized for psychiatric evaluation.

Chucky's main intent was to transfer his soul into Andy's body.

In the exciting climax in the apartment, to help save his mother, Andy struck a match and threatened to burn the doll alive in the fireplace. Although Chucky begged, "Andy, no, please! We're friends to the end, remember?", Andy snarled: "This is the end, friend!"

Andy Burning Chucky in Fireplace

Still alive although charred, Chucky screamed out: "Give me the boy!" as he pursued Andy and Karen with a knife. In the hallway, Karen shot off Chucky's body parts (head, right arm, and left leg), but Chucky's severed head suddenly came alive and ordered the other body parts to attack ("Choke him! Kill him!...Kill them! Kill them all!").

Finally, Chucky was shot in his vulnerable heart by detective Mike Norris (Chris Sarandon), and he died repeating his favorite phrase: "Hi, I'm Chucky. Wanna plaaaaay!"

Serial Killer Charles Lee Ray Imbuing Doll With Killer Abilities

Chucky with Andy

Death of Aunt Maggie Peterson

Chucky Pursuing Karen with Knife

Chucky's Severed Head

Chinatown (1974)

Director Roman Polanski's neo-noir thriller, with a taut and complex script by Robert Towne, was a skillful blend of mystery, romance, suspense, and hard boiled detective/film noir genre elements. The investigation of a routine story by a detective uncovered secrets under many layers, facades, red herrings, and networks of corruption, conspiracy and deception. His efforts to separate good from evil - to save the good and punish the evil - ultimately failed in the metaphoric (and then real) world of Chinatown by the film's climax.

In a tense nose-cutting scene, snooping LA private detective J.J. "Jake" Gittes (Jack Nicholson) was threatened to stay off the case by a maniacal, intimidating, knife-wielding hoodlum (director Roman Polanski in a cameo role):

You're a very nosy fellow, kitty-cat, huh? You know what happens to nosy fellows? Huh, no? Want to guess? Huh, no? OK. They lose their noses. (Jake's nose gushed blood after a sharp flick of the knife.) Next time you lose the whole thing. (I) cut if off and feed it to my goldfish. Understand? Understand!?

In the film's tragic ending, occurring in Chinatown itself, Evelyn Cross Mulwray (Faye Dunaway) was shot through the head from behind in her fleeing convertible. Jake, the first to get to the car, opened the driver's door and she flopped toward him - her face was horribly blown apart through her flawed eye.

She had literally been destroyed by her domineering water-tycoon father Noah Cross (John Huston), who lamented: "Lord, Oh Lord," as he clumsily shielded and covered the eyes of an hysterical daughter/grand-daughter Katherine (Belinda Palmer) - a child born of incest!

He told her: "Don't look, don't look" - to prevent her from comprehending the enormous tragedy. The tragic ending included the haunting closing line told to Jake: "Forget it, Jake, it's Chinatown."

Hoodlum Threatening Jake Gittes

Evelyn Shot to Death

Noah Cross with Daughter of Incest Katherine

"Forget it, Jake, it's Chinatown"

Christine (1983)


An evil-possessed red and white 1958 Plymouth Fury, an inanimate object that took on a life of its own, was the basis for John Carpenter's horror film, based upon Stephen King's book of the same name. The sentient vehicle became obsessively-jealous of introverted nerd owner Arnie Cunningham's (Keith Gordon) new girlfriend Leigh Cabot (Alexandra Paul).

At a drive-in theatre on a rainy night, the malevolent car threatened Leigh and she nearly died. Christine caused a number of threatening incidents to frighten both Leigh and Arnie:

  • the car made her choke on her popcorn (when Arnie got out of the car to check the windshield wipers)
  • the car's doors locked Leigh inside
  • the car's dome light became a brilliant white light, as Arnie struggled to get back into the locked car
  • the car's radio blasted an old but menacing 50s tune

Afterwards, Leigh delivered an ultimatum to her car-fixated boyfriend.

In other scary scenes, the evil, flaming Christine chased Buddy Reperton (William Ostrander), one of Arnie's enemies who had severely vandalized Christine. Seeking revenge, the malevolent Christine (now able to regenerate herself) ran down Buddy as he fled on the highway - and left him a flaming corpse on the road.

Christine similarly stalked Peter "Moochie" Welch (Malcolm Danare), a member of Buddy's gang, down into a narrow alleyway and pinned him against a wall - crushing him to death.

In the conclusion set on New Year's Eve, Arnie and Leigh conspired together to destroy Christine in a Darnell's junkyard. Christine suspected the plot, laid in wait, and attempted to crash into Leigh inside the office, but Arnie was mortally wounded when he was thrown through the windshield.

Arnie grasped onto Leigh, and then fell back, with a sharp shard of glass in his ribs. He reached out his bloody hand (after removing the shard) and caressed Christine's front grille, before expiring (as Christine's headlights extinguished in respect).

Leigh Choking on Popcorn

The Death of Buddy

The Death of "Moochie"

Arnie's Death

Cliffhanger (1993)

In the opening tense scene of director Renny Harlin's action film, an operational rescue on a steep towering 4,000 foot mountain peak in the Rocky Mountains was being attempted.

Hot-shot rescue worker Gabe Walker (Sylvester Stallone) climbed up to where the two stranded climbers were perched on a narrow ledge:

  • Hal Tucker (Michael Rooker), with a knee injury
  • Sarah (Michelle Joyner), Hal's girlfriend

With assistance from a rescue helicopter, after Hal was rescued by harnessing himself to a steel cable stretched over a chasm, it was now nervous Sarah's turn (Walker called it "the best ride in the park"). She was assured: "There's nothing to it." But she found herself dangling over the deep chasm when her harness broke.

Walker made the risky decision to go out on the line and daringly rescue her. She reached up with her right hand to grab Walker's hand - and was suspended in mid-air by one hand, while screaming out:

"I can't hold on..I don't want to die...I'm slipping...Please don't let me fall."

But she found herself slipping and losing her grip, and when her glove came off in Walker's hand, she fell to her death in the abyss below.

The Death of Sarah

A Clockwork Orange (1971, UK)


This controversial film was producer-director-screenwriter Stanley Kubrick's randomly ultra-violent, over-indulgent, graphically-stylized film of the near future. It followed the delinquent activities of young punker Alex de Large (Malcolm McDowell), with a group of his Droogs (Pete, Georgie and Dim), during one night on the town.

After beating up an elderly drunken tramp (Paul Farrell), they fought off a rival gang of five, led by Billyboy (Richard Connaught), that was in the midst of raping a buxom victim or 'devotchka' (Shirley Jaffe) on an empty opera house stage.

The Second Horrible Rape Scene - to the tune of "Singin' in the Rain"

Then they came upon an ultra-modern house where they deceptively gained entry. Next came the abhorrent scene of the assault and rape of the couple in the house. Both victims were bound and gagged, with a rubber ball painfully inserted into their mouths and wrapped with long strips of Scotch tape around their heads. The red pajama-suit-wearing writer's wife Mrs. Alexander (Adrienne Corri) was raped, while the elderly husband Frank Alexander (Patrick Magee) was assaulted and kicked on the floor by Alex who ironically punctuated his rhythmic, soft-shoe kick-dance with the lyrics of "Singin' in the Rain."

He was forced to helplessly watch the ugly disrobing and choreographed rape of his own wife when Alex first attacked her breasts - he snipped off two circles of jumpsuit cloth around them to expose them and then in the mode of 'Jack the Ripper', he slit her entire suit off from her pant leg upward; after unzipping and pulling his own pants down prior to her rape, he mocked the husband: "Viddy well, little brother. Viddy well."

One of the more controversial scenes was of a gigantic penis sculpture being used as a murder weapon by a gang of juvenile delinquent droogs on a female victim. A wiry, introverted red-haired Englishwoman Miss Weathers, known as the 'Cat Lady' (Miriam Karlin) was in an almost-deserted, isolated Woodmere Health Farm outside of town. She was exercising on the floor surrounded by dozens of cats when she heard knocking, but refused to answer. Alex sneakily entered through a window on the second floor, and confronted her while grinning: "Hi-hi-hi-hi there!" He called her giant phallus artifact "naughty, naughty, naughty. You filthy old soomka." When he rocked her giant, obscene phallus sculpture on its testicles, she screamed: "Leave that alone! Don't touch it! It's a very important work of art."

The Catlady retaliated by picking up a bust of his beloved Beethoven and rushed at him - they dueled each other with antagonistic weapons. He held her off with the oversized phallus, while she thrust the small bust of Beethoven at him. When she went down on the floor, Alex raised the Beethoven sculpture above her and plunged it down into her - filmed from a low angle. As she screamed, a close-up of a mouth within another open mouth (from one of the pop paintings in the rooms) flashed on-screen with other dismembered body parts in an orgy of modern art. Alex left her senseless and beaten on the floor, mortally wounded by her own sculpture-turned-weapon, when he heard sounds of distant police sirens.

There were also the scenes of Alex being given a new, experimental, brain-washing reprogramming treatment called "aversion therapy," the Ludovico Treatment Technique, to cure him. He was strait-jacketed and transported to a screening room where he was tied down in a seat and made a captive audience.

He was forced to watch films (of sex and violence) with his eyelids clamped open with pitiless clamps, while an assistant lubricated his bulging pupils at various intervals. His tortured face and head were wrapped in straps, and connected with electrodes and wires. He was also subjected to experiments to suppress his violent and aggressive sexual drives and urges (including being tempted by a topless woman). In the process of behavior modification, he had given up his own individual and personal rights in order to become a model citizen.

Frail and crushed by despotic training and brainwashing, Alex became a victim of violence himself, totally unprepared and helpless to cope with the real world when he was returned to society. The revenge-seeking former victims included:

  • the drunken old bum
  • former gang members
  • the widower of the rape victim - leftist writer Mr. Alexander

Although Alex was rescued by two policemen, the two were Georgie and Dim, two of his former Droogs. Alex was roughly dragged to their patrol car and driven into the country. As he was led out of the vehicle with handcuffs, Alex feebly joked: "The old days are dead and gone. For what I did in the past, I've been punished...I've been cured."

As they lead him down a forested, muddy lane, in a long tracking shot filmed with a hand-held camera from behind, accompanied by a Moog synthesizer playing "Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary," Dim wanted to make sure that he remained cured: "This is to make sure you stay cured." When they reached a water trough, Georgie viciously hit Alex in the stomach with his blackjack club, doubling him over. For retribution, Dim pushed him headfirst under the water and held him there for a very long time to drown him, while Georgie methodically beat him with his nightstick.

In the nihilistic ending adapted from the Anthony Burgess novel (without including the last chapter in the film adaptation), it was learned that juvenile droog Alex, 'cured' of being an ultra-violent youth in futuristic England, had attempted suicide after his cruel behavioral conditioning, and was hospitalized.

The Minister of the Interior (Anthony Sharp) explained to bed-bound Alex, as he was spoon-fed, how he had authorized the undoing of the effects of the Ludovico Technique and was attempting to restore Alex to his previous condition (with the freedom of choice and therefore the right to take pleasure in violence). He promised to help restore Alex with a good job and salary, in exchange for Alex publicly absolving the government for its inhumane Ludovico Technique experiments. The Minister effectively seduced Alex over to the government's side:

It was apparent that Alex had learned nothing from his behavioral modification treatments by the state. He was returned to his former self - with his free will intact and with his old proclivities for sex and violence. After giving a thumbs-up signal to the press and mugging for the cameras, Alex's eyes glazed and rolled back (in a semi-Kubrick stare with facial contortions), and he found peace as he fantasized a pseudo-orgy while trapped in his hospital bed.

He saw himself copulating (making love to/or raping?) with a beautiful blonde woman who wore only black silk stockings - they were frolicking naked in slow-motion on piles of white snow, while two rows of genteel-looking, Victorian Londoners (ladies and gentlemen), the men dressed in top hats and the women carrying parasols, looked on and sedately applauded toward them.

Alex had reverted to his old, pre-conditioned behavior, as he triumphantly and sardonically said, in voice-over:

"I was cured all right."

The First Controversial Rape Scene of a 'Devotchka' (Shirley Jaffe)

Alex With Penis Sculpture Raised Above Head - Used as Murder Weapon on Cat Lady

The Ludovico Treatment

Sexual Temptations

Alex's Near-Drowning

The Minister of the Interior Spoon-Feeding Alex

Alex's Eyes Rolling Back

"I Was Cured All Right"

Cloverfield (2008)


Director Matt Reeves' 'found-footage' action horror-thriller (his first feature film), an American monster and disaster movie, was produced by J.J. Abrams (responsible for popular TV shows including Alias, Lost, Fringe, and Person of Interest), so it was only natural that it was hyped and advertised with a viral media campaign with lots of obscuring secrecy (with a '1-18-08' trailer). Many compared the film's events to the horrors experienced by New Yorkers during 9/11. The short 84-minute film's tagline was: "SOME THING HAS FOUND US."

Critics lambasted the Godzilla-like, alien-attack film (similar to the pre 9/11 American remake of Godzilla (1998)) for its derivative nature, poor acting and script-writing. The jerky, documentary-styled, You-Tube, cinema-verite filming was similar to George A. Romero's Diary of the Dead (2007), Paranormal Activity (2007), Redacted (2007) and many other such 'found-footage' films, such as the influential The Blair Witch Project (1999). Some theaters advertised that the hand-held film method would cause symptoms of motion-sickness ("similar to riding a rollercoaster") that might produce nausea and vomiting.

When the disaster film started with a color bars test pattern, it was presented as chilling and oblique video footage recovered by the US Department of Defense - the personal recording was located in an area known as US447 ("formerly known as Central Park"). Most of the video was filmed on the night of Friday, May 22, 2009 (and the next early morning). Its two main characters (in a cast of unknowns) were a young couple introduced in a mid-town Manhattan apartment, the female's dad's place (who was out of town):

  • Elizabeth "Beth" McIntyre (Odette Yustman), Rob's on-again/off-again girlfriend
  • Robert "Rob" Hawkins (Michael Stahl-David), a yuppie planning to move to Japan following a surprise farewell party

They were planning a Coney Island date in late April - but then the events tape-recorded shifted to three weeks later - in late May, when the horrors began. Other vacuous, 20-something characters included:

  • Jason (Mike Vogel), Rob's brother
  • Lily (Jessica Lucas), Jason's girlfriend
  • Hud (T.J. Miller), Rob's best friend, and camcorder operator
  • Marlena Diamond (Lizzy Caplan)

There were many catastrophes in this film, most of which were caused by the appearance (slowly revealed) of a monstrous scaly creature with fireballs for breath (covered with superfast, vicious spider or crab-like parasites that fell off and attacked), who threatened the entire city - and in particular, the above group of friends:

  • an earthquake, and a NYC power outage
  • capsized, overturned oil tanker near Liberty Island
  • the decapitation of the Statue of Liberty, with the head lying in the street (reminiscent of the poster image for Escape from New York (1981), and a symbolic allusion to the post-apocalyptic Planet of the Apes (1968))
  • the collapse of the Woolworth Building, and destruction of the Brooklyn Bridge (by the monster's tail)
The Destruction of NYC
The Head of the Statue of Liberty
Collapsing Buildings, Dust Clouds
Brooklyn Bridge Destruction

An ill-advised up-town odyssey was made by friends (Rob, Hud, Lily, and Marlena) to rescue Beth, who was trapped in her mid-town apartment (on the 39th floor), while mass mandatory evacuations were taking place just before the military planned to destroy Manhattan ("Hammer Down Protocol"). The rescue operation was code-named Cloverfield. One of the scariest sequences was filmed in the pitch-black darkness of the Spring Street subway station, where the small group was attacked by one of the crab-like creatures, and Marlena suffered a lethal toxic bite on her shoulder, and later complained: "I don't feel so good" before dying.

In The Dark Subway Tunnel and The Attack on Marlena
by a Parasitic, Crab-Like Creature

The helicopter carrying an injured Beth, Rob, and Hud crashed in Central Park after being attacked by the Monster, wounding Hud before he was literally consumed by the beast. In the film's final moments, Beth and Rob awaited the destruction of the city. They each gave a self-filmed testimonial, beginning with Rob:

Rob: "My name is Robert Hawkins. It's, uh, 6:42 AM on Saturday, May 23rd. Approximately seven hours ago, some - thing attacked the city. I don't know what it is. Uh, if you found this tape, I mean if you're watching this right now, then you probably know more about it than I do. Whatever it is, it killed my brother, uh, Jason Hawkins. It killed my best friend Hudson Platt and, uh Marlena Diamond, and many many others. We've crashed into Central Park and taken shelter underneath this bridge. Uh, the military has begun bombing the creature and we're caught in the middle. Okay, ready?..."
Beth (distraught): "My name is Elizabeth McIntyre. I don't know why this is happening. And we're gonna wait here until it passes."

Then, they professed their love for each other as a massive bomb hit, monstrous roars were heard, and rubble fell onto them: (Rob: "Look at me! Look at me! I love you!" Beth: "I love you!" Part of the film's appeal was that Hud had been taping over happier footage of Rob and Beth a few weeks earlier (on their Coney Island date on April 27th at 6:17 PM), shown as the film ended.

Rob: "We got like three seconds left. What do you want to say? What do you want to say? Last thing to the cam."
Beth: "Um... I had a good day."

Taking Flight

Brief Glimpse of Monster

Evacuation by Helicopter

Aerial View of Monster Being Bombed

Hud's View of Monster
Before Being Eaten

"My name is Robert Hawkins..."

"My name is Elizabeth McIntyre..."

Concluding Bombing

Coney Island footage:
"I had a good day"

The Collector (1965) (aka The Butterfly Collector)

Director William Wyler shot this claustrophobic yet absorbing psychological thriller - based upon John Fowles' 1963 novel of the same name. Its tagline stated:

"You won't dare open your mouth...but YOU'LL BE SCREAMING FOR HER TO ESCAPE."

It was basically a one-situation, two-character work, told from the POV of a kidnapper. He was a mentally-disturbed, shy, introverted, obsessed young London bank clerk named Freddie Clegg (Terence Stamp). Clegg was a reclusive individual who was obsessed with butterfly collecting.

After winning a football betting pool and claiming $200,000 (71,000 pounds), he bought and renovated a huge Tudor country estate, and then made captive a hostage (or "specimen") for his collection in the ornate cellar. His chloroformed victim was a London art student named Miranda Grey (Academy Award-nominated Samantha Eggar) whom he had stalked and admired from a distance for years.

Not intent on rape, molestation, ransom or murder, his main pathological motive was to "collect" and dominate her and add her to his set of pretty objects - and hoping that she would eventually reciprocate his feelings of love. Although she gave the pretense of cooperating, she made many attempts and tried many unsuccessful ploys to escape.

In one of the more tense scenes in the film between captor and captive, Clegg allowed Miranda to take a bath in the main house, and she was almost discovered by an unexpected visit from a neighbor. He gagged her to prevent screaming, wrapped a robe around her, and lashed her to the pipes. She tried to alert the neighbor by overfilling the tub - using her outstretched foot to increase the water flow in the tub faucet.

The Tense Bathtub Scene

In the chilling finale, Clegg went back on his word to liberate her from the cellar. She hit him in the head with a shovel, causing him to leave her wet and cold in the cellar without heat while he went to get treated. A few days later, he brought her medicine, but she had died.

Miranda Grey (Samantha Eggar)

Freddie Clegg's Entrapment (and Eventual Murder) of Miranda

Color of Night (1994)

This psychological thriller by director Richard Rush introduced the character of distraught New York City psychoanalyst Dr. Bill Capa (big-name star Bruce Willis). Suffering from stress-induced, psychosomatic color blindness, he quit his practice and traveled to LA to stay with analyst/author friend Dr. Robert Moore (Scott Bakula).

During a brief scene, Dr. Capa was jogging up to the Los Angeles area house where he had taken temporary residence after the death of his therapist friend.

When he opened the mailbox, the jump scare was fantastic and unexpected - a huge rattlesnake had been planted there - it lunged at him.

He was sent sprawling backwards onto the road, where he was almost run over by a motorist driving by.

Jump Scare: Rattlesnake in Mailbox

Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954)

Jack Arnold's horror classic (originally shot in 3-D) told about a prehistoric, web-footed, humanoid Gill-Man (Ben Chapman) who was discovered swimming in a Brazilian river in the Amazon by an anthropological expedition.

In scary and superbly-photographed underwater sequences, the creature expressed 'Beauty-and-the-Beast' love interest in dark-haired bathing beauty Kay Lawrence (Julia Adams).

He watched her from below as she swam above him in a white one-piece suit.

The Gill-Man then kidnapped her from the boat by grabbing her and diving into the water.

The Gill-Man's Pursuit of Kay (Julia Adams)

Creepshow (1982)


Creepshow was a horror anthology film consisting of five short stories. It was directed by zombie-filmmaker George A. Romero, from a script by horror author Stephen King. The stories were inspired by the E.C. (Educational Comics) horror comics of the 50's and 60's.

The last two segments of the film were adapted from King's previously-published stories.

  • In The Crate, the fourth of five spooky stories, a large wooden storage box or crate had been acquired after an expedition to the Arctic 134 years earlier. The crate was in the possession of meek university professor Dexter Stanley (Fritz Weaver). When the box was opened with a crowbar, the extremely lethal, voracious werewolf-like creature inside mauled the caretaker Mike (Don Keefer) and one of the professor graduate students, Charlie Gereson (Robert Harper). Another professor, Henry Northrup (Hal Halbrook) then schemed to use the hungry creature to dispose of his domineering, foul-mouthed, complaining wife Wilma (Adrienne Barbeau), seen in various murderous flash fantasies. As she was devoured, Henry quipped: "Just tell it to call you Billie, you bitch!"
"They're Creeping Up on You"
  • In They're Creeping Up on You, the last (and most effective) of the five stories, ugly and gigantic cockroaches emerged and swarmed during a blackout in the germproof, sparkling-white, vacuum-sealed penthouse apartment of roach-phobic, obsessively-clean, miserly and cruel millionaire Professor Upson Pratt (E. G. Marshall). Swarms of the insects emerged from inside his corpse - from his chest and mouth.

Scenes From "The Crate" - About Werewolf Creature in Crate

Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)

Woody Allen's darkest and most somber movie took a long, provocative, and ultimately downbeat look at morality with its ensemble cast. Dual stories about Manhattanites, each composing about one-half of the film, were interwoven together.

The first story dealt with Judah Rosenthal (Martin Landau), a wealthy, law-abiding, successful and well-respected ophthalmologist, married to Miriam (Claire Bloom). However, an enraged and obsessed flight attendant and ex-lover Dolores Paley (Anjelica Huston), with whom he had been cheating on his wife, threatened to divulge the scandal and ruin his life. With this dilemma facing him, Judah was forced to take extreme measures - the contemplation of murder of his mistress by contacting his seldom-seen brother Jack (Jerry Orbach) with Mafia connections.

In a tense, disquieting scene, Jack phoned Judah and notified him that "everything came out fine. It's over and done with, no problems. You can forget about it." Dolores was murdered (off-screen) when she came to her apartment door for a supposed flower delivery, and it was made to look like a burglary.

Shocked at the reality of the contracted murder ("I think I've done a terrible thing"), guilt-ridden Judah went to the apartment of ex-mistress Dolores. He found her dead in her bedroom, staring lifelessly up at him.

Judah (Martin Landau) Looking Down on Dead Ex-Mistress Dolores (Anjelica Huston)

Cujo (1983)


This horror-thriller from director Lewis Teague was adapted from Stephen King's 1981 novel of the same name. It told about a monstrous, rampaging, rabid (from a bat bite in a cave), ferocious and snarling St. Bernard dog.

The slobbering Cujo attacked hysterical mother Donna Trenton (Dee Wallace Stone) and her petrified 4 year-old son Tad (Danny Pintauro) in a locked, broken-down, sweltering, two-door Ford Pinto at Joe Cambers' (Ed Lauter) deserted farm-garage-junkyard. Cujo had already assaulted and killed Joe and his neighbor.

In a shock scene, the mean-tempered dog suddenly first appeared at her broken-down, canary-yellow Pinto's passenger door, as the mother struggled to roll up the window and protect her son. The two were soon trapped in the car.

The Menacing Cujo

During a climactic struggle, Donna impaled the psycho dog on the sharpened broken end of a baseball bat when it leaped on top of her. She thought the dog was dead in the yard, as she went into the house. She tended to a dehydrated Tad on the kitchen table, and gave him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

Surprisingly, the mad animal was resurrected and made a final attack upon Donna (in a slow-motion jump-scene to her amazement, Cujo burst through the kitchen window behind her into the house). There, she eventually shot Cujo to death (with the dead Sheriff's revolver) when it lept at her with its jaws open.

The Curse of Frankenstein (1957, UK)

In Hammer Studio's version of the Frankenstein tale (based on the classic story by Mary W. Shelley) that was directed by Terence Fisher, the famed Universal monster Frankenstein appeared for the first time in color. This monster film starred Peter Cushing as the insane Baron Dr. Victor Frankenstein, and Christopher Lee in his first (and last) appearance as the Monster (or "Creature").

It marked the advent of a long cycle of the studio's stylistic gothic horror films, with Lee also playing the famed Dracula vampire, as in Fisher's Horror of Dracula (1958) the next year. The success of a new generation of horror films was often credited to this first film in the series, one of the most profitable films (to date) in Britain.

The Hammer horror films boldly and riskily substituted a new actor for the square-shaped monster (replacing Boris Karloff), added colorful cinematography and impressive and lush art direction, and more blood, gore and sex than their predecessors.

The remaining six sequels of the Hammer Frankenstein series were:

  • The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958, UK)
  • The Evil of Frankenstein (1964, UK)
  • Frankenstein Created Woman (1967, UK) (aka Frankenstein Made Woman)
  • Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969, UK)
  • The Horror of Frankenstein (1970, UK)
  • Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1974, UK)

The low-budget film opened with a title screen: "More than a hundred years ago, in a mountain village in Switzerland, lived a man whose strange experiments with the dead have since become legend. The legend is still told with horror the world over...It is the legend of..." (THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN - title credits)

Then in 1860 Switzerland, Baron Victor von Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) was imprisoned (and awaiting execution by guillotine) - for the murder of his maid Justine (Valerie Gaunt). He was visited in his cell by a Priest (Alex Gallier), and he begged not for "spiritual comfort," but for the Priest to listen to his life story and learn of his innocence - his story was told in a flashback, beginning with: "I suppose it was when I was a boy at school. I always had a brilliant intellect....And when my mother died, I inherited the Frankenstein fortune, and this enabled me to begin the life and the work I had always planned for myself" -

  • teenaged and motherless young baron Victor (Melvyn Hayes as youth) lived in his inherited Frankenstein estate with his Aunt Sophia (Noel Hood) and her daughter Elizabeth (Sally Walsh as youth), Victor's cousin
  • the "brilliant intellect" of a precocious and maturing Victor was tutored for two years by gentlemanly scientist Paul Krempe (Robert Urquhart); with various chemical and electrical equipment, the two became research colleagues and succeeded by bringing a puppy back to life (had they killed it ? offscreen) - an extraordinary breakthrough; Victor was emboldened: "We’ve only just started; just opened the door. Now is the time to go through that door, and find what lies beyond it..."
  • the determined, grown-up Victor described his life-long dream, mostly to realize his arrogant ambition of restoring life to dead tissue; he would assemble and create a synthetic human body from scratch, and with god-like powers give it the "spark of life": ("We must move on to the next stage. We've restored life when life was extinct. It's no longer sufficient to bring the dead back to life. We must create from the beginning, we must build up our own creature, and build it up from nothing....We must create a human being, a man with perfect physique, with the hands of an artist and matured brain of a genius"); Paul disagreed and refused to collaborate any further: "What you're saying is nonsense, a revolt against nature. Such a thing could only end in evil"
  • the ruthlessly-devoted Victor scavenged for a framework - human remains for his increasingly-obsessive experiments - he embarked on an unethical, illegal, and unorthodox mission to steal body parts, including a highwayman's (robber's) corpse hanging on a gibbet-gallows (with a mutilated head from carrion birds); he deftly amputated the head with a scalpel and lowered the body part into an acid bath; Paul became more and more opposed to Victor's mission and vehemently objected: "I don't think we should continue with this thing"
  • Victor's childhood cousin-sweetheart and fiancee Elizabeth (Hazel Court as adult) arrived unexpectedly and moved into the estate, the same night when Victor returned with the purchased hands of a famed sculptor; vowing no further assistance to Victor, Paul decided to remain in the estate in order to protect Elizabeth from Victor's perceived madness and ensure her safety, while continuing to object to Victor's "dangerous" experiments: (Paul: "You can't see the horror of what you're doing!...I will not help you anymore!...Stop what you're doing before it's too late!")
  • although engaged to marry Elizabeth, Victor was having an affair with the maid Justine, and had promised to marry her
  • Victor also purchased a pair of eyeballs from a worker in the Municipal Charnel House (a repository for skeletal remains); his dedication bordered on insanity - never realizing the terrible consequences ("I'm harming nobody, just robbing a few graves!")
  • Victor further desired the brain and mind of a learned and reknowned genius-scholar ("A brain of superior intellect, a lifetime of knowledge already behind it. Imagine that, Paul. My creature will be born with a lifetime of knowledge!"); Victor invited distinguished visiting Professor Bernstein (Paul Hardtmuth) to his estate with the implicit intent to murder him; while viewing a painting and encouraging the Professor to back up, Victor pushed him over the upstairs railing or bannister onto the floor below, and then claimed it was an accident
  • after the Professor's burial in the Frankenstein family vault, Victor immediately dug up the body and extracted the corpse's brain for his own diabolical creation; the horrified Paul suspected that Victor had killed the old man and confronted him in the vault; they struggled together and the extracted brain in a glass jar broke during their scuffle, and embedded shards of glass in the soft tissue; later, Victor blamed Paul for damaging the brain when the glass jar in which it was held broke
  • in a memorable sequence in the attic lab during an electrical storm, the monstrous Creature (Christopher Lee) that Victor had wished for was brought to life; an electrical spark from lightning activated the equipment and drained the tank - and the Creature began to visibly breathe; when Victor returned to his lab, the mummified Creature had already emerged from the tank and stood to confront its creator; it flung off the bandages covering its head to reveal a scarred and hideous face - due to its damaged brain, it was actually a mute, murderous, psychotic and brutishly-violent humanoid with a hateful stare; its first act was to grab and choke Victor, before Paul saved him by smashing the Creature from behind with a chair; Paul screamed out: "This thing must be destroyed before it regains consciousness...A criminal lunatic that tried to kill you...Don’t you see? – you’ve created a monster!"
First Scary View of the Creature - Who Choked Victor
  • the dangerous Creature was locked up (Victor planned to operate and repair the brain), but it escaped its bonds, destroyed the lab and fled through a broken window; it savagely killed an old blind man (Fred Johnson) in the woods
  • in pursuit, Paul shot the Creature in the eye with a shotgun, and it presumably died; the Creature was buried in the ground; however, later by himself, Victor returned to the gravesite and dug up the remains; the dead Creature was suspended in mid-air in Victor's lab area where he promised to reanimate the Creature ("I'll give you life again")
Creature Shot in Eye by Paul
Creature Suspended in Mid-Air
  • in the meantime, Justine decided to blackmail Victor by claiming that he had impregnated her, and threatened to tell both Elizabeth and the authorities about his strange experiments in his lab if he didn't marry her ("If you don't marry me, I'll tell"); when Justine secretly ascended into the lab area that night in a white nightgown, Victor locked her in the room with the homicidal Creature, knowing that she would be killed - he listened to her dying screams through the door; at the breakfast table (a week later), Victor calmly asked Elizabeth: "Pass the marmalade, would you, Elizabeth?"
Justine Entering Lab
Justine Attacked by the Creature in Locked Lab
  • the evening before a marriage ceremony between Victor and his fiancee Elizabeth, Paul arrived for a dinner party and was told by the proud Victor that the Creature was still alive (it was chained to the wall with a partially-shaved head after brain surgery and new facial scars) and could obey simple commands; Paul despised Victor for creating such an atrocious "animal"; Victor blamed the monster's imperfections on Paul: "There you see the result of your handiwork as much as mine. Oh yes, I gave him life. I put a brain in his head. And I chose a good brain, a brilliant one, but it was you who damaged it, you who put a bullet in the wretched thing. This is your fault, Paul"; Paul threatened to report him to the authorities for continuing his brain experiments: ("I shall go to the authorities and have them destroy that Creature – and see that you pay for these atrocities!")
  • the Creature broke free from his chain, spied upon a curious Elizabeth (with exposed cleavage and low decolletage, infuriating censors) through a skylight, and fled to the terraced rooftop; there, Victor pointed his gun at the Creature and fired, but his first shot hit Elizabeth (who had been grabbed); a second gunshot wounded the snarling Creature; it approached Victor, who threw Elizabeth's oil-lamp at the monster, setting it on fire and causing it to fall through the roof's skylight and directly into a vat of acid below where it was completely dissolved; Victor (the real monster of the tale) was charged with Justine's murder and other killings
Creature Threatening Victor on Terraced Rooftop
Creature Set on Fire by Oil Lamp
Creature Crashing Through Skylight
  • as the flashback ended, Victor exclaimed to the Priest: "My life's work destroyed. Destroyed in a moment. And by the same hand that gave it life"; when Victor begged Paul (who had just arrived) to confirm his story to the Priest ("He'll tell you it's true, he knows!"), Paul denied complicity or knowing anything about Victor's work, although he agreed with the official determination that Victor had killed Justine (Victor asserted instead that the Creature had killed her); as Paul abandoned Victor and refused to save him, he departed from the prison with Elizabeth while telling her: "There’s nothing we can do for him now. Come on, I'll take you home"
End of Flashback: Paul Denied Complicity
Paul and Elizabeth Leaving Prison
Silhouette of Guillotine
  • Victor was led to the guillotine (seen in silhouette) as the end credits began to scroll upward

Victor Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) in His Cell - Before Flashback to His Youth

(l ro r): Tutor Paul Krempe with the Baron Victor

Resurrection of Dead Puppy

Victor: "We must build up our own creature"

With The Stolen Body From the Gibbet-Gallows

The Headless Corpse in a Vat

Hands of Sculptor

Victor's Fiancee Elizabeth (Hazel Court)

Victor's Secret Affair with Maid Justine

Victor's Obsessed Work - Examining Eyeballs

Professor Bernstein

Bernstein Pushed to His Death

Paul and Victor Fighting Over The Extracted Brain in a Glass Jar

The Creature's Attack on Blind Man in Woods

Justine Blackmailing Victor: "You've got to marry me"

The Revived Creature After Brain Surgery

The Curious Elizabeth Entering the Lab

Elizabeth Spied Upon by the Creature Through Skylight

Elizabeth Grabbed by the Creature on Rooftop and Hit By Victor's Gunshot

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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