Ever since I finished watching and reviewing Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments, I've done a lot of thinking about what my own list would look like. 100 is kind of an insane number, because you start including too many things and before you know it, you're including movies like The Wizard of OZ and things get out of control. I've also thought about why people get so ruffled by Bravo's original list, and my conclusion is that most of what scares us is typically individualized. Just because I have a ridiculous fear of sharks doesn't mean that everyone does. Everyone's lists are going to be different because we are all terrified and affected by different things. So I encourage YOU ALL to come up with what I am dubbing your Top 10 Willy Inducing Moments personalized for you, by you. All you need to do is make your list and write a little blurb about why each moment made it. PLEASE NOTE these are willy inducing MOMENTS and not necessarily movies. For instance, there are plenty of films scarier than Pet Sematary but few things are scarier than Zelda rising out of the bed. See what I mean?
To kick things off here are My Top 10 Willy Inducing Moments.
#10 Nosferatu- Count Orlok rises from his coffin
There is something untouchable happening in Nosferatu that is seldom challenged today and especially in the Vampire genre. Silent films generally have a knack for frightening me due to the speed of the projector but Nosferatu is one of the few films that made me grimace with the willies. Prior to the coffin rising scene we see Count Orlok much like any other person, granted he is still terrifying looking but he is wearing a smashing hat and jacket so it somehow makes him seem more human. But when he is in that coffin and rises up like a stiff board, the game has suddenly and abruptly changed. Count Orlok is the most terrifying vampire I have ever seen and his movements, his nails, his teeth, even the natural shape of his head is utterly upsetting. Watching him come "alive" is one of the most affective if not the most affective rising from the dead scene out there.
#9 Black Sabbath- The Countess's face in The Drop of Water
I just recently watched and reviewed this and decided immediately that this little segment would be embedded in my thoughts whenever I was feeling particularly scared. The moment in question is when Helen goes back to her apartment and after a series of unexpected frights, she goes into her bedroom to find the dead countess lying on her bed and then slowly rising to face her. The main reason this scene strikes a chord is the sheer terror that you feel when seeing The Countess's dead and apparently rigor mortised face.
What makes the bedroom scene more terrifying than the rest of the film however, is that we and Helen were already shaken by the first time we saw the Countess dead in her own mansion. When Helen goes home she expects to be rid of the terror yet stumbles upon it again in the most unlikely of places. It evokes a similar feeling of when you go to see a scary movie. Once you get home any bad feelings should be behind you, yet we still feel inklings of a presence that may have followed us home. We find that our hands may tremble when we turn on the light because maybe, just maybe that dead woman will be in our own bedroom!
#8 The Sentinel- Hello Daddy
Bravo included this moment on their original list and was actually the reason I saw the film in the first place. This scene is terrifying because we don't expect a man to be walking around in the vacant apartment above hers. The way that he just saunters by behind her is blood curdling and although we get the real shock when he turns around and reveals his milky white eyes (not to mention that yes, that is her father), I think the true scare comes when we first see him walk right by her, as if nothing was unusual in the slightest. Just passing by!
#7 The Innocents- Lady in black by the lake.
When I watched the Innocents for the first time I confided in my readers that halfway through it, I was forced to turn on the light. This is a powerful statement even coming from me, a self proclaimed scaredy cat, because while I may be scared of almost everything, the dark is one fear I like to think I conquered a long time ago. But there was something about the way that these ghosts were just there. They didn't appear in a ghostly spectral light or fade away into the darkness. Deborah Kerr simply looks up and sees the woman in black, sitting as simply as day. Not starring with a menacing stare--just sitting. And that simplistic form of eeriness is one of the most effective kinds out there. This scene still creeps the bejesus out of me and hopefully I'm not alone.
#6 The Exorcist: Spider Walk
This is a fairly obvious selection and hopefully one that makes a reappearance in many other people's lists as well. When we see other peoples bodies do things that shouldn't be physically possible, it strikes a certain note of fear within us. It creates feelings that what we are seeing is not human, it's other worldly and in a sense---evil. This spider walk is so unexpected and so traumatizing that it becomes hard to believe anyone who says they aren't affected by it.
#5 The Sixth Sense- Lady in the kitchen
Dog M. Night Shyamalan all you want, but I can't pretend that this scene didn't scare the crap out of me. Oh look ha ha Hayley Joel Osmont is taking a pee ha ha and BAM pink bathrobe stalks by. Our hearts momentarily beat out of our chests before we tell ourselves, "it's okay it must be his mom". But why is his mom wildly searching for silver ware in the middle of the night? And then she turns around. Probably the most affective point I can make about this scene is that we don't start seeing the ghosts until Cole tells us (or Bruce Willis rather) that he can. Up until this point it was just a feeling that Cole was terrified of an unseen thing. This introduction to the ghosts that he sees was jolting and absolutely horrific. And my sister didn't help things by opening up all the kitchen cabinets on her way to the bathroom....
Watch it here
#4 Pet Sematary- Zelda rises
There may be nothing scarier in this world than a woman who is played by what is obviously a man. Take note when you need a woman to be really scary, cast the ugliest man you can find. Zelda, Rachel's spinal meningitis ridden sister is introduced to us in a similarly terrifying flashback. Seeing her writhe uncomfortably makes us uncomfortable---but nothing and I mean NOTHING tops the moment when the mother opens the bedroom door to see Zelda sit straight up as though controlled by marionette strings. And then later the real shock happens...Zelda gets up and walks towards us, her back hunched over grotesquely and she's shouting and it's terrible. Make it stop, make it stop!
#3 The Orphanage- 1,2,3, knock on the wall
The Orphanage is a movie that had the power to literally give me the chills. It was one of the most haunting experiences I've ever had. While the Devil's Backbone may have been a better film, I found that The Orphanage was made up of a lot more terrifying moments---for me at least. The most terrifying is easily realized when she is in absolute desperation by the film's end. Her hunch that the dead children of the orphanage could lead her to her son, seems oddly stopped at a stand still. In an attempt to regain their trust, she dons an old uniform and begins to play the hide and seek/ red light, green light game that we see in the film's beginning.
What makes this scene so terrifying is that we are seeing everything from her point of view. She knocks and then slowly the camera pans around to reveal if the children have appeared. The first few times that we look and find nothing is almost more traumatizing than when we finally do see the kids. And by that point we're expecting them to be pressed up against the lens when we turn around for that last time. Thankfully, Spain has restraint and the actual appearance of the children is more subdued. This doesn't mean however that this scene did not have me cowering behind a pillow.
#2 REC- The Skinny THING
Have you ever been more horrified of something as unnaturally skinny as this? Tall and skinny things are by nature entirely too scary to look at. They create a certain alienistic feel about them and hopefully give more people than just me the willies. This scene in particular (as well as its mirror image in Quarantine) is one of the most terrifying things I've seen. What makes it great is the look of terror on Angela's face. I'm still fuzzy on whether or not she actually realizes what is mere feet away from her but, she can surely sense that it's there at least. The look of absolute fear on her face is almost as chilling as the creature itself. And THAT is some powerful stuff.
#1 JAWS- Opening
Can you really be surprised here? If my number one fear in the world is sharks then it should be pretty obvious that my number one willies inducing moment is this scene. As luck would have it, this is the same moment that Bravo chooses as #1...perhaps we have more in common than I once thought. What always gets me about this scene is the way that the first bite happens. If you've read the book, this first bite is presumably her entire leg being bitten off---and the actress acts as though only a sudden chill has swept over her. In the novel it is described as such, and only when her hand travels down to feel the protruding bone, does she realize what has actually just happened. The shot of her being pulled almost gently in that first bite is so unbelievably affective that it almost hurts. The way that she shudders and tries to catch her breath, then what follows---the violent thrashing of her body which causes us to only imagine what could possibly be happening underneath the water's surface is shocking. Her final breaths are mimicked in our own and we find ourselves trapped in thoughts of what it would feel like to be in the same position. To me---nothing is scarier.
What about you?