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Matt Hawes
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Posted: 27 June 2018 at 2:55pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

As an adult, it's hard to find a movie that I would truly call frightening. Many may be unsettling to me, especially if the subject matter is based on something that actually happened. And, no, those films are often not what we call "horror" films in any traditional sens. But, as a child, naturally, it was easier for films to frighten me. Below are some of the films I remember scaring me one way or another...

THE WIZARD OF OZ. As a small child, the scene where Dorothy is in the house as it flies through the air, carried by the tornado, always had me on edge when the witch appears out the window.

THE GODFATHER. Obviously not a horror film, but when the film was first shown on national television in the 1970s, when I was a child, there were the warnings at the beginning of the showing and through the commercial breaks warning audiences about how the film may be disturbing for some viewers. Since I was just a child, I think this put me in the mode of being nervous watching the film. Being that it was shown on network TV during that era, I'm sure anything too drastic was cut out. Still, the suggestion and those warnings were enough to unsettle me then.

ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN. Yep, it's more of a comedy, but again, I was a young child and the scene where Lou is reading about Dracula as the monster lurks behind him was genuinely scary to me as a kid. Also, the scene when the Wolf Man first appears in the hotel room was another scary one for me.

THE EXORCIST. This one was scary enough for adults, so even watching it as a kid on network TV was enough to frighten me.

SOYLENT GREEN. This one scared me, and stuck with me for one very important reason. I am going to put this as a SPOILER, in case someone here has never seen it before, as it is the big reveal:

SPOILER in inviso text:

"Soylent green is people!" When I saw this (Yep, again, as a small child, and on TV), I had never even considered that people could eat other people.

The thought was so unsettling and revolting to me that I avoided watching the film for years. I never forgot it, though.


So, what films truly scared you? Feel free to list several, and explain why the film scared you so. Also, do you still get scared watching any films?




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Thomas Woods
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Posted: 27 June 2018 at 3:39pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I will mention the only two movies that gave me
involuntary nightmares.

The Blair Witch Project

I always sleep on my side, but in my dream a witch
like figure was hovering over me when my eyes started
to open, it turned out to be my fan, not above me but
beside me.


Pumpkinhead

The demon was summoned to chase me, so I felt I would
go to a place he would never show himself. I ran into
a building where a play was taking place and sat in
the audience. But was stunned when the Demon appeared
on stage and ripped one of the actors in half. Then I
woke up.
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Thomas Woods
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Posted: 27 June 2018 at 3:41pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

As a kid, it was the original FLY (black and white). I
was too scared to look at the screen.
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Ryan Maxwell
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Posted: 27 June 2018 at 3:57pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

JAWS. And my brother, knowing that, grabbed me and pulled me across his body so I was face to face with the shark as it came out of the water during our first trip to Universal Studios. I think I cried the rest of the day. I was 6, he was 18, the jerk. 
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Neil Lindholm
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Posted: 27 June 2018 at 4:02pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

These are the two that come to mind. 

ALIEN - I snuck into the theatre when it was released (I was about 12) and all I really remember was hiding behind the seat, absolutely terrified. 

BLUE VELVET - Saw it in the theatre and left shaking. Dennis Hopper and the rest of his gang completely freaked me out. 
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Jabari Lamar
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Posted: 27 June 2018 at 4:07pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

2nd vote for JAWS. That and the first AMITYVILLE movie, saw both as a little kid  I don't remember exactly what it was about either that scared me, but I remember being scared to take a bath after seeing Jaws, as I guess I though a shark might just magically appear in the water.

For what it's worth, the first movie to ever make me cry was E.T. (the final scene, when E.T. and Elliot hug goodbye).
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Shaun Barry
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Posted: 27 June 2018 at 4:39pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply


I'll see if I can stop at ten:


THE EXORCIST (1973)
Didn't see this until years later, on cable, but holy crap...

THE AMITYVILLE HORROR (1979)
Kind of ridiculous now, but for most of my childhood, this was the most disturbing horror movie I'd ever seen.

THE SHINING (1980)
My father let me watch this on HBO when I was only 9, and its stuck with me ever since.  To this day, I still have nightmares every so often of being stuck in the Overlook Hotel...

POLTERGEIST (1982)
I must have caught this every single time it was on cable... and every time, it seemed to keep me up until 3 in the morning!

JACOB'S LADDER (1990)
Maybe not the most terrifying movie ever, but it haunted for weeks afterwards, when I first caught it in the theater.  Eerie, but also maybe one of the saddest horror films you'll ever see.

THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (1999)
It's the last 5 minutes that truly made my hair stand on end.

THE OTHERS (2001)
Love, love, love this one, some really good old-fashioned scares.  One of my all-time favorites--I can still get goosebumps just thinking about it.

THE CONJURING (2013) & THE CONJURING 2 (2016)
Derivative, preposterous stuff... but James Wan is also a horror-filmmaking genius, as far as I'm concerned.  I'm in my 40's, and both films terrified me.  Can't praise these enough!

THE BABADOOK (2014)
The film as a whole may not live up to the scare potential of its original trailer, but it's still incredibly effective, and stayed under my skin for days afterwards.  Should have been a bigger hit.




Edited by Shaun Barry on 27 June 2018 at 4:43pm
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John Byrne
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Posted: 27 June 2018 at 5:13pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

This is a tough one. I was a "sensitive child" with a hyperactive imagination. I could watch the crappiest movies and scare myself silly.

That said, this scene, from RIDERS TO THE STARS (1954), literally made me sick. It haunted my nightmares for years.

LINK

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Joe Smith
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Posted: 27 June 2018 at 5:56pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

The scene in the office towards the end of WILLY WONKA where he
screams at Charlie scared the hell out of me.

Contrastingly, HERDITARY bored me so much I almost took a nap.
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David Miller
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Posted: 27 June 2018 at 5:58pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

A lot of stuff on television had me freaked out; in the late Seventies my family lived in Maine near the Canadian border which I assume had something to do with the recurring commercial about a desperate man being run over by a tractor. The Sky Skeleton from Scooby Doo gave me nightmares where his touched made human flesh decay. When Grumpy roared at the start of Land of the Lost, I'd hide under the kitchen table.

The first actual movie I remember sending me fleeing from the room in terror was when I saw Mario Bava's 1965 PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES on a UHF channel under the title THE DEMON PLANET (which for years I pronounced like it was made from blue jean material). There's a scene in the middle where a woman relates a visit from a dead crewman, and in an effort to assuage her fears, they pry open the crude grave formed from scrap to show her the body, and instead the crude plastic bag they'd purposed as a shroud wafted out of the empty hole. Jesus Christ. I tracked down the movie a few years ago and was pleased to find it just as effective. ALIEN copied the opening 20 minutes.

SALEM'S LOT and JOHN CARPENTER'S THE THING had ten year old me running screaming from the living room where my family was enjoying the home video, specifically the kid sitting up in his coffin in the former, and the guy's head tearing itself off and skittering across the room in the latter. 

Kenneth Branagh's 1996 HAMLET rocked me with primal terror during Brian Blessed's scenes as The Ghost. I don't know what it is, but I've seen it three times now and when the lightning flashes and thunder booms, each time it took me almost out of body with fear.


Edited by David Miller on 27 June 2018 at 5:58pm
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 27 June 2018 at 6:34pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

There are lots! (many of them already on Shaun's list, so I'll just list ones that have not already been mentioned).

Psycho (1960). The shower scene, obviously, but really just the look of the Bates Motel and the foreboding of Bernard Hermann's score was enough to unnerve me the first few times I saw it. There's also the horrible tension of Lila Crane stealing into that old house.

The Haunting (1963). I seriously used to avoid watching this at night. Eerie as hell, effective used of sound between loud and quiet, and the horror of a totally unknown presence that might just make you mad.

Rosemary's Baby (1968). The first time I tried to watch this as a child just the opening music with the la-la-la singing gave me the creeps.

The Omen (1976). The girl hanging herself was really shocking for me as a child, but it was Mrs Baylock's appearance at the hospital with that hellish chanting that scared the crap out of me. I still find the music to be an uncomfortable listen.

Halloween (1978). I caught this film from about halfway when I was 9 or 10 and it stuck with me in a horrible way. We had an old shed, curtained in by thick bushes either side. I was hesitant to venture there at the best of times, but after seeing this I was afraid Michael Myers would get me if I went there. I finally saw the whole film when I was about 14 and it still scared me a hell of lot even watching in daylight hours.

The Monster Club (1981). This anthology film has an element of humour about it in places, but the final story, about a town full of ghouls, got to me in a big way as a child. Very creepy.

Psycho II (1982). First saw this when I had just started secondary school, so would have been 11. I found it toweringly scary (I hadn't seen Psycho yet at that point). The opening reprise of the shower scene from the original, the couple making out in the cellar, scrabbling to climb a log pile to escape the tall lady in black.... eep! I literally couldn't sleep that night and was wary in the shower for weeks and weeks.

I'm trying to think of a more recent film that I have seen as an adult that has really scared me.

The opening section of Jeepers Creepers got to me in the cinema back in 2001, and I was in my mid-20s then. The rest of the film was so-so, but that opening bit with Justin Long falling into the pipe and finding horrors in the basement was incredibly taut. Gripping the armrests kind of stuff.

Oh yes, The Exorcism of Emily Rose from 2005. That creeped the hell out of me in the cinema also. Good one that.




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Bryan Eacret
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Posted: 27 June 2018 at 6:44pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

The Night of the Living Dead is the most scared I have ever been watching a movie.  I saw it when I was a kid on a late night creature feature with my dad. A blanket was over my head for most of the movie. I stayed up late by myself a few years later and a blanket was over my head again.

Jaws destroyed the ocean for me. 

Arachnophobia scared me when I was older. Especially the ending. 
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 27 June 2018 at 6:46pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK (1973) - I saw the movie on tv as a kid, and it scared the beejezus out of me. Haven't seen it since and don't want to.

THE CHANGELING (1980)


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Bill Mimbu
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Posted: 27 June 2018 at 6:59pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

GARGOYLES (1972) - TV movie that absolutely scared me as a kid, until the point where the titular creatures started speaking perfect English, and then it turned silly.
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Doug Centers
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Posted: 27 June 2018 at 7:07pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

Most movies that truly scared me happened when I was younger. Movies that seemed to creep into my head and settle in for a while.

THE EXORCIST (1973)- #1 by a long shot. I was about 12 when I seen it. Back then it wasn't how realistic the practical effects were it was the idea that her head just spun around. Needless to say I slept with the lights on for a few nights afterwards.

JAWS (1975)- At the theater. When that head popped out of the bottom of the boat, that was it. I was looking thru my fingers the rest of the movie. Also I drew my feet up onto the seat as I was sure a head would be rolling down the aisle.

THE LEGEND of HELL HOUSE (1973)- One of my early drive-in memories. Creepy.

THE OTHER (1972)- Writers can do some real creepy things with twins.


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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 27 June 2018 at 7:38pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

As a kid, it was the original FLY (black and white). I 
was too scared to look at the screen.
++++++

But...the original was in color! Could you mean RETURN OF THE FLY, which was in black and white?

Anyway, the moment where the sheet is pulled off of Andre’s head is still immensely effective. Wasn’t enough to terrify me, though, since I didn’t see it until I was an adult. But I can imagine the reactions at the time of the film’s release!


When I was a very, very young kid, I caught a few minutes of THE TERMINATOR on TV. The scene where the endoskeleton comes out of the fire, red eyes glowing with menace. Terrified me.

Same deal with TERMINATOR 2. After I saw it, at the tender age of eight, I had paranoid feelings that the T-1000 would rise up out of the floor and stab me in the brain.

A few others which come to mind are STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN (for the Ceti Eel sequence), INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM (chilled monkey brains and human sacrifice), TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE (For the opening sequence and the remake of “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet. That Gremlin is still ****ing terrifying, finger-wag and all.).

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Thomas Woods
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Posted: 27 June 2018 at 7:54pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

But...the original was in color! Could you mean RETURN
OF THE FLY, which was in black and white?

---

The one with the spider web at the end and a fly with
a human head on it. I'm pretty sure it was black and
white when I saw it. Could be wrong.

EDIT:

Was it colorized later or always in color, it's
possible I am mixing two movies in my young mind.

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Edited by Thomas Woods on 27 June 2018 at 7:57pm
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Thomas Woods
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Posted: 27 June 2018 at 8:02pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

Five Million Years to Earth was pretty freaky too.
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Ronald Joseph
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Posted: 27 June 2018 at 8:06pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

As a kid:
PSYCHO
PSYCHO II
The trailer for THE CHANGELING terrified me. Didn't watch the movie itself until I was well into my 30s.
JAWS
John Carpenter's THE THING
THE ENTITY (that sound!)

As an adult:
TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME - yes, you read that right. Something about that movie triggered every childlike feeling of discomfort and dread I've ever had in ways I can't even describe in words. I couldn't even stop watching, as I was at a friends with a group of people and wasn't about to leave. 
THE RING
JU-ON and THE GRUDGE

I know I'm forgetting some, but this is a pretty good start.
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 27 June 2018 at 8:30pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

Some good mentions.

I've long felt that scary movies and comedy have quite a lot in common. They are often slightly looked down on, but are actually harder to pull off successfully I think than a straight drama or actioner. There's a kind of binary thing at play, that doesn't apply in the same way to other types of movie: a scary movie is either scary or it's not. A comedy is either funny or it's not. And after all that difficulty of getting the movie to have 'it', the 'it' tends to diminish markedly after the first viewing. The laughs or the scares aren't as funny or as scary the second or third time, while a drama can keep on doing its thing on repeated views. Or so I think.

Just going back to a couple mentioned in the last few posts:

I saw Arachnophobia in the cinema when I was 16 and, I agree with Bryan that it was full of scares; I remember feeling almost unbearable tension throughout the time in that darkened theatre. Watched it again on AMC a few months back and the effect was deadened. Part of that was mulling over nonesense like how young Jeff Daniels looked, but I dunno, something had just escaped in the intervening years.

Similar story with The Ring. That was terrifying in the cinema back in 2002. The video with all that eerie imagery and the creepy girl and her dance out of the TV (yes, I know it's a remake of a superior Japanese film), but it really worked a treat on me back in the day. Watched it on TV not so long ago, and it was still a little eerie, but not truly scary any more.

I'll add Scream to my list. Yes, it was all witty and clever and post-modern, and so on, but one key thing underpinning the movie was that it was genuinely scary at times. A trick that none of the sequels managed.

And since I've brought up one work of Wes Craven, it seems remiss not to mention one of his other major ones. A Nightmare on Elm Street. Before all the silly sequels, before Freddie becoming some kind of cult, comedic figure, this film was very, very scary. It didn't stay with me at all after I saw it, but during the time I sat on my sofa, watching it on VHS in broad daylight with my friends next to me, and my mum on an easy chair over in the corner, that film was bewildering and terrifying. You weren't sure when reality was switching into dream, no one seemed safe in any way, and it had that damn scary children's rhyme.


Edited by Peter Martin on 27 June 2018 at 8:30pm
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Thomas Woods
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Posted: 27 June 2018 at 8:34pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

GARGOYLES (1972)

---

Duuuude ... i forgot about that one, was freaky as hell
as a young viewer.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 27 June 2018 at 8:45pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

Was it colorized later or always in color, it's 
possible I am mixing two movies in my young mind.
+++++++

It was always in color. The two sequels, however, were produced in B&W as a cost-saving measure.
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Steven Myers
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Posted: 27 June 2018 at 10:48pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply

When I was very young movies like The Wizard of Oz and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Since then...a few scenes that made me jump, but nothing really scary.

However, Law and Order SVU kept me up at night after some of the horrible crimes they investigated. Sick stuff! Eventually I stopped watching.

I'm curious how anyone was scared watching Blair Witch Project. I was bored. At the end I thought something was going to happen, but then it just ended..
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 27 June 2018 at 10:59pm | IP Logged | 24 post reply

Time it was and what a time it was back when my oldest nephew was but a tiny tot. His mother wanted to watch Jurassic Park but wasn't quite sure he was old enough to be in the room while it was on. Struck with a brilliant way to test the idea, I grabbed my VHS copy of "Land of the Lost" and put it in while my nephew stared up at the television screen. He watched the family in the raft. He stamped his feet to the music. He stared, rapt, as the family ran from Grumpy, the tyrannosaur, up the cliff face and into their cave... Then when Grumpy turned towards us, the audience, and roared... My nephew took three giant steps backwards from the screen, trying not to get eaten, his eyes wide as saucers.

He was not old enough for Jurassic Park just yet.

Me, I avoided scary movies as a kid and I generally do so now. I did have a bad reaction to the gore and horror when the Igor character tried to have sex with the female in Andy Warhol's Frankenstein by "putting himself inside her" and ripping out her guts in the process. I had sneaked into the theater. I think I was eight years old at the time. Deeply unpleasant. Watching the film again recently did nothing the dispel the nausea and disgust. 

I vaguely recall being disturbed by a movie shown on the Sunday morning movie called "Monster On Campus." Blood dripping from a defrosting Neanderthal fell onto a dragonfly, reverting it to its Pre-Cambrien Era size... That freaked me out on dragonflies for years and years.

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Robert Shepherd
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Posted: 27 June 2018 at 11:02pm | IP Logged | 25 post reply

I don't recall ever being scared at movies. I don't watch horror flicks so perhaps thats why. But the one scene that did give me a scare when I first saw it was Aliens II, when Ripley checks in the ceiling crawl space and you can see the aliens crawling fast and close. That got me good. Not a shock scare, but a genuine "we gonna die" scare.
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