With Halloween fast approaching things are getting spooky here at Raindance. To get the rest of you in the mood, here is my top five terrifying movie moments.
*MAJOR SPOILER ALERTS*
1. Don’t Look Now
A true horror classic and, in my opinion, one of the best British films of all time.
When a married couple lose their young daughter they move to Venice in an attempt to forget but events get increasingly surreal when the husband played by Donald Sutherland begins seeing what appears to be his deceased daughter amid the wintery canals of the city.
The film relies on a slow build of tension and an unbearably oppressive atmosphere, as well as a balance between reality and the uncanny, rather than shock tactics or gore. It also made me promise myself I’d never visit Italy’s famous ‘City of Water’.
The Climax. These days it may feel a bit dated and could even be viewed as ridiculous rather than terrifying. But if you’ve sat through the whole film and you don’t know what’s coming it will certainly leave an impression.
2. The Shining
The mother of all horror movies. Kubric’s adaptation of the famous Stephen King novel tells story of a struggling writer who moves his family to an isolated hotel for the winter before being possessed by the malevolent spirits which reside there and promptly going after his family with an axe.
Do you need to ask?
3. The Thing
John Carpenters Sci-Fi horror about a shape-shifting alien that wreaks havoc on an isolated Antarctic research station is another one that couldn’t be overlooked.
The film combines incredible in-camera special effects with a taught, psychological narrative of suspicion and paranoia, Carpenter making full dramatic use of the idea of an alien that can take the form of anything. Or anyone.
The blood test sequence. Resolved to discover who has been consumed by the shape-shifter, Kurt Russell and his fellow researchers test each others blood with a piece of hot metal. Enjoy.
Carpenter’s horror masterpiece had to feature for the name if nothing else. A film that invented a genre, admirably simple and viscerally effective - the thought of that mask alone is enough to send shivers down my spine.
Notable for it’s effective use of POV shots throughout, non-more so than in this climactic sequence which sees Jamie Lee-Curtiss hiding in a closet from her psychotic younger brother Michael Myers. ‘You can’t kill the boogie man’.
Alfred Hitchock, the master of suspense with possibly his greatest film. To this day nothing has come close to Psycho and it still stands up 100%. It changed the way people watched films with Hitch’ demanding the audience turned up for the beginning of screenings to ensure the full effect of the narrative and the decision to kill off the leading lady at the end of act one is bold even by today’s standards, not to mention the now legendary twist.
One of the best scenes in cinema history. Enough said.