FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Jul 7, 2010

mah willies

Over at The Horror Digest, friend to both Final Girl and cats André put out a call for everyone's Top 10 Willies-Inducing Moments. Because I like to feel as if I belong, I've done gone and made up mah list! I've talked about plenty of these moments before in one capacity or another, but what can I say? If they gimme the willies, they gimme the willies. Besides, all the world loves a list, right? RIGHT?

The Shining - in the hallways

You know, I could simply write "the whole damn movie" when talking about Shining-induced willies. Every time I watch it, I have a new favorite scene or moment. I'll notice something I've never noticed before, or some little noise will get under my skin. Danny's hallway racetrack never fails to get me, though- and it's not simply because of those damn Grady sisters. It's Stanley Kubrick's use of sound that contributes immensely to the sense of unease at play; the wheels on wood and carpet...wood and carpet... It's the claustrophobic symmetrical framing of the scene. It's the disarming soundtrack. And yes, it's those damn Grady girls.

Black Christmas - the eye behind the door

Jess walks into a bedroom, finds her friends brutally slaughtered...and the killer is hiding behind the door, watching her and whispering to her. The tagline for Black Christmas is absolutely right: if this picture doesn't make your skin crawl, it's on too tight! Also, you're probably a jerk.

Session 9 - Hank returns to the asylum

Hank's greedy nature gets the best of him and he returns to the abandoned insane asylum after work, late at night, to abscond with the jewelry and gold teeth of dead patients. As he wanders the tunnels with only a flashlight to guide his way, he discovers he's not alone.

The Haunting - noises outside the door

Hill House is haunted. Whatever's haunting it stalks the hallways. It's very loud and it's right outside your door, pounding on the walls...

Salem's Lot - Mrs. Glick stirs

My inclination was to choose a Mr. Barlow-centric moment from Salem's Lot- man, that vampire's ugly mug gives me the serious willies every time it pops up. But this scene, in which the dead Mrs. Glick returns to (sort of) life as a vampire, is so full of dread that my goosebumps get goosebumps.

The Fog - Mrs. Kobritz answers the door

Old ladies are not supposed to get killed in horror movies. It's against some sort of law or something! John Carpenter is not afraid to go there, however, so he sends poor Mrs. Kobritz to answer the tap-tap-tapping at her door. Unfortunately for her, it's not an Amway salesman lurking in the fog. It's a bunch of mean leprous ghosts.

Yes, "Amway salesman". Apparently it's always 1979 in my world!

The Blair Witch Project - hands on the tent

I love Blair Witch. There, I said it and I don't care who knows it! It's got some unbelievably frightening sequences- not the least of it is the middle-of-the-night, middle-of-the-woods sound of children laughing...which is immediately followed by hands pounding on the outside of our unlucky filmmakers' tent. So not cool. SO NOT COOL. I like to camp. I have to very consciously not think of this scene whilst doing said camping- otherwise, I will undoubtedly puke my pants.

[REC] - that GD thing in the attic

I think [REC] is terrific. The first time I saw it, I could not cope with the end sequence in the attic. I held my breath. It gave me nightmares. It's still just about too much. It's perfect.

Event Horizon - someone's in the medical tent

Sometimes, all it takes is that all-familiar no one is supposed to be here trope to induce major willies. I'm not sure if it qualifies as the uncanny or cognitive dissonance or what, but that awful feeling that accompanies the thought I'm supposed to be alone here, but I'm not is largely what horror movies are made of for me.

I don't even know if that makes sense- I kind of feel like I simply typed a bunch of words that may or may not go together- but if you know what I mean, then I can tell you that this scene from Event Horizon is a prime example of it.

The Exorcist - that GD face

Is it Pazuzu? I don't know. I don't care. That face that subliminally flashes a few times throughout The Exorcist has frightened me since forever. I hate looking at it. I hate having it on my screen, on my blog. I can't rationally rationalize it away- that it's just Eileen Dietz in makeup. IT'S TOO TERRIFYING TO ME, and now I have to go because of it.


Verdant Earl said...

Event Horizon baffles me. I've watched it a number of times, and I don't really feel that it's a good film. Yet it scares the piss out of me anyway.

And it makes me made that it's scaring me, BECAUSE I don't think it's a particularly good film. Vicious circle.

Andy said...

That scene from Session 9, especially when the figure pokes out from around the distant corner, makes me (as you said in another entry) puke my pants.

Apparently, I need to rent Event Horizon as well.

Andre said...

Yay! Did you only do this because I said I'd do the film club? I knew it! Just kidding I know you just really wanted to talk about... your willies!

GOOD CALL on Mrs. Glick stirring, I didn't even think about that scene but it's so true.

And wait a minute, wait just a goddamn minute. There are legitmate hands on the outside of the tent?! Why did I never realize this. I thought it was just chaos and that Heather was having night terrors again. I feel like such a fool.....I need to see this again omg omg.

Oh and THANKS for telling us about your willies : )

Stacie Ponder said...

Andre rules!

I've always believed those to be hands pounding on the outside of the tent. The three kids are still inside. It's fast and chaotic, but REALLY NOT COOL. By which I mean, cool.

TheodorePuertoriquez said...

To be honest. That scene in Unbreakable when the serial killer comes to the door and says "I like your house" always creeped me out so bad. Also the opening of Jaws still scares me with that girl getting dragged around the surface of the water.

Unknown said...

I love your taste in movies. Those hallway scenes in The Shining always creep me out, and the ending scene of [REC] is just ridiculously awesome.

andrew said...

I never understood all The Blair Witch hate. It's a scary damn movie. Certainly not your run of the mill Hollywood horror flick, but that's what made it great. Well, in my mind anyway.

For me it was the scene at the end when Heather sees Mikey propped up in the corner leaning against the wall. Holy shit that freakin' killed me.

Michele (TheGirlWhoLovesHorror) said...

God, I love Event Horizon. Most think it's just a cool sci-fi movie, but NO. It is fucking creepy.

Jeffrey said...

I agree with you on all of these except Session 9. That movie bores me.

Ross Horsley said...

Yes, B.E. Earl, yes! Event Horizon is simultaneously not very good and genuinely scary. How annoying! Good picks as always, Stacie.

vicki said...

How about when Margot Kidder sees the red eyes outside the window in Amityville Horror. That seriously still gives me the creeps.

Jose Cruz said...

Great choices, Stacie! Nice to see I wasn't the only one freaked out by Billy from Black Christmas. I have yet to see Blair Witch or REC though. Yes, I deserve to be flogged. I enjoyed looking at your willies!

Banned In Queensland said...

Totally agree with you about [Rec]. That finale gave me more than just the willies, it scared the crap out of my crap.

I'm not sure I really understand why Danny's endless tricycle rides would give anyone the willies though. I was really bored by those sequences and couldn't help the feeling that Kubrick had just fallen in love with steadicam and didn’t know when to stop.

scarina said...

I love that you wrote about the big-wheel noise in The Shining. That's one of my fave parts of the movie.

danielrsilveira said...

For me, the most willie-inducing scene of The Exorcist is when Father Karras sees his mother in Regan's bedroom. Creepy!

TheodorePuertoriquez said...

I know a lot of people hate on "The Strangers" but pretty much the entire movie from beginning to end scares me. Especially the scene where you see the guy is in the house with Liv Tyler and she doesn't notice.

Oh shit and the part at the very end of Phantasm when the tall man grabs him through the closet mirror or whatever.

The really sexy scene in a Nightmare On Elm Street 2 when he sneaks into Grady's room and Grady is all topless and sweaty and the kid starts transforming into Freddy.

Was that Grady or Brady? Also when Brady or Grady gets killed in Silver Bullet and all you see is his bloody kite, that creeped me out so bad. Silver Bullet was seriously the best Werewolf movie and story ever in history.

the2ndsuitor said...

These are such great moments! Excellent picks! I mean no hollow flattery, they truly are top notch.

I admit that there are some that I haven't seen, but I think that I more than make up for it w/ having seen Session 9 in the theater. It may be the most terrified I've ever been at the movies. It really elevates the movie from spooky to scary.

Plus, it punctuates a moment further in the movie. At the "What are you doing here?" moment on the stairs, as a viewer you completely lose every guess you had at what you thought was going on. I find it disturbing in a non-Hostel/Saw way.

Also, once you watch it again, knowing what is up w/ the tunnel shadow, it almost makes it scarier. Very effective! Great picks.

Anonymous said...

How is it possible that you share the exact same "creeper" moments as me? Almost to the T.

I think the scene in Jaws when the poor guy in the row boat is pulled under tops it for me.

Also the sliding chair in Poltergeist. Coach's reaction chilled me for some reason. Wait...maybe when every dead person comes out of the bedroom and walks down to the den. ugh!

Bravo Stacie.

Unknown said...

Great list. In praise of Rec, what I love most is the fact that they NAILED a reveal. How many times in horror history has there been a build up to the final monster only to be left flat. Rec fashioned something so horrifying and in a modern horror film at that!

What's also horrifying is that I used "Today's vocab" in my Facebook update today BEFORE reading Final Girl today! What does that mean!?!

David Robson, Proprietor, House of Sparrows said...

I once attended a screening of THE EXORCIST and, possibly because I am, at heart, a wuss, closed my eyes during parts I knew would give me nightmares. During that dream sequence I knew That Face was coming and shut my eyes, and the sound the audience made (a sudden but hushed "ah!") was marvelous - the other scares in the movie were followed by a tension-releasing laughter, but that "ah!" wasn't answered or relieved.

Daniel Danny Dan said...

Ahh, great minds indeed.

Kinda wish I'd seen this before putting up my post. This was surprisingly hard for me and The Fog and Exorcist moments were definitely qualifying.

I remember Event Horizon being way freakier than expected but I cannot recall that scene, try as I might. I'm thinking another look is in order.

George Beremov [Nebular] said...

[Rec]'s attic sequence is the most terrifying and nightmarishly creepy scene EVER! It was so scary, I though my heart is going to explode while watching it :) An that 'thing'.. OMG.. It gave me the creeps!!!

Just look at it:

Ruben Romero said...

You've listed some of my7 faves --

Blair Witch -- the hands and the little tiny voices.

[REC] (just watched it, and I kudo'd you for turning my onto it) when he sweeps by the attic and falls.

The Shining -- The old lady oh yeah

Ever see One Hour PHoto with Robin williams? In fact, any sort of home invasion really freeks the s***outta me.

How about the glowing eyes outsid eof the window in Amityville?

Lazarus Lupin said...

Look there is NOTHING wrong in liking the Blair Witch. It gets a rather unfair drubbing. It is a legitimate film of suspense and fear. Besides the chills I like the fact that at the end we are no closer really in understanding what happened. We have the legends and we have what happens but we don't have the standard movie explanations. Wonderful!

Bonnie said...

Wow, some good picks here! The end of [Rec] completely destroyed me. It just totally came out of left field and scared the living daylights out of me. The last time I can remember an image freaking me out that much was at the end of Ju-On (before The Grudge ever came out) with the woman in the body bag crawling down the stairs. The eye through the door in Black Christmas made my stomach drop to the floor too though...
Also I love Session 9; it doesn't get nearly enough attention.

Anonymous said...

I always remember the grandfather sucking on Sally's bleeding finger in the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre as something horribly wrong. I don't think I've seen it in 25 years and it's still seared in my memory.

And I still can't believe how freaked out I got at the end of [Rec], like, "that's so disturbing I might not ever watch another horror movie" freaked out.


Mikey Sarago said...

Great list. Some of these movies made my list, too. I hate that there are so few people who liked Blair Witch. It's such an incredibly scary movie. And I'm with you 100% with Pazuzu. The Exorcist completely traumatized me when I was a kid and I never fully got over it, and yet everyone I know thinks it's a funny movie. Frickin crazy bastards.

timothy grant said...

I loves me a list.

I did one up on my blog, but to follow my rules of netiquette, I shan't post the link here.

For interested parties (eye and hoo trauma are involved... just saying) you can follow my name link to my blog - Post Mortem Depression.

That is all.

Fred [The Wolf] said...

The demon face from THE EXORCIST sure is creepy. And we share the same SHINING moment. Awesome list, Stacie!

Here's mine:

Anonymous said...

The one scene that still freaks me out is in Exorcist III when the nurse is walking down the hall, and the killer with a sheet suddenly walks up behind her with those big beheading scissors. So sudden and creep!

Theron said...

Actually, if you do to Slammed & Damned, you;ll see that Captain Howdy & I are one and the same...or are we?

Vulnavia Morbius said...

Hmmm...If I were to pick something from Salem's Lot, it would be Danny Glick floating outside Mark Petrie's window. That freaked me out hard when I was a kid.

The end of [REC] is all kinds of awesome.