We’re wrapping up Halloween week by sharing with you, in no particular order, a small selection of some of the most horrifying scenes presented in the silver screen. We’re skipping the most popular ones to make way for seldom-cited yet equally scary scenes. Still, this post is definitely not for the faint-hearted!
Movie: “Gidam” (Epitaph) (2007)
Director: Jung Sik and Jung Beom-sik
Scene: Asako gets haunted by her dead mother
Before anything else, I would just like to say that I’m a big fan of horror films. It’s reached that point where I actually think that I’ve been desensitized enough to not get scared so easily anymore. But seeing the Korean period horror film “Epitaph” proved me wrong, and it’s all because of this scene. The film’s plot is rather complicated, but it’s basically comprised of three closely intertwined stories. This one is the second story which centers on a little girl named Asako, who’s rushed to the hospital after being the only survivor of a car crash that killed both her parents. As a result, Asako suffers from nightmares and terror attacks that her doctor only brushes off as survivor’s guilt (but really, there’s a heavier reason for it). The scene above shows one of Asako’s scary episodes.
Movie: “Sinister” (2012)
Director: Scott Derrickson
Scene: Something gets run over by a lawnmower
“Sinister” is the latest and perhaps also the most mainstream item in this list. But you’d have to excuse me for including it because I think it’s one of the few decent, newer horror movies to have come out over the last year. Anyway, “Sinister” follows the story of true-crime writer Ellison Oswalt who, together with his entire family, moves into a home where an actual massacre occurred so he could write his new book based on it. His research yields frightening results, including mainly a box of old Super 8 film reels that he found in the attic. Each reel contains a home video depicting family members being murdered in some of most gruesome ways possible by the person behind the camera. The video clip above is from the reel labeled “Lawn Work ’86.” Shot from outside the house, initially you’ll see a family watching TV in the living room. It then cuts to the scene where the cameraperson goes to the shed to retrieve a lawnmower, operates it… and continues to do so even after running something (or is it someone!) over.
Movie: “Låt den rätte komma in” (Let the Right One In) (2008)
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Scene: Eli saves Oskar from his bullies at the swimming pool
Oskar and Eli are 12-year olds – the only difference lies in the fact that Eli has been 12 for a very long time because she is a vampire. In this clip, Oskar gets lured unwittingly into a set-up by some of his bullies at the local swimming pool. One of the older brothers of Oskar’s bullies wants to exact revenge and so he challenges Oskar to stay underwater for 3 minutes or he gets his eye poked out. We don’t really get to see the gory action since the camera focuses only on Oskar, who has his eyes closed, the entire time. But seeing a pair of feet getting dragged in the water along the edges of the pool, bloody severed body parts getting in the water, and finally, a shot of Eli’s pale but bloodstained face make it all unnerving. This part can be seen towards the end of the film.
Movie: “El laberinto del fauno” (Pan’s Labyrinth) (2006)
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Scene: Ofelia meets the Pale Man
We’ve written about “Pan’s Labyrinth” in a previous Friday Movie Flashback installment, but we just have to include this particular scene in this list. Here, the girl Ofelia goes to the Pale Man’s lair to accomplish the second of three tasks that the Faun had asked her to do. Despite being warned not to get sidetracked and eat even one small bite of the sumptuous dishes laid before the Pale Man’s table, she still did, and her action woke the Pale Man up who apparently has an appetite for little kids. Childish? You might find yourself reconsidering that thought after seeing the Pale Man open its eyes and how he devoured the fairies helping Ofelia.
Movie: “Ōdishon” (Audition) (1999)
Director: Takashi Miike
Scene: Asami tortures Aoyama
You have to hand it to the Japanese when it comes to successfully coming up with some of the most scariest, most disturbing films (think “Battle Royale,” The Grudge,” and “The Ring,” just to name a few). “Audition” was based on a novel of the same name by Japanese author Ryu Murakami. The plot seems innocent enough: the aging widower Aoyama, with the aid of his friend, tries to find a young second wife by holding an audition for a fake movie project to draw in refined, beautiful, and talented women. If you’re clueless about the film prior to watching it, it will lull you into a fake sense of security that the film is just one of those beautiful, dramatic films – until you get to the (literally) gory part, that is. He finds her, all right, but what Aoyama doesn’t know is that Asami’s not really as meek and beautiful as she appears to be. The title of the scene in the video above is pretty much self-explanatory, so if you’re a bit squeamish, you might want to skip this altogether.
We’re aware that the horror genre has produced thousands of movies since the inception of filmmaking, which is why coming up with just five is quite a feat! That said, we want you to share with us those movie moments that you found downright terrifying! Tell us about them and why they gave you sleepless nights in the comments section below!
Like this article? Check out our stories from the Friday Movie Flashback series in the Lomography magazine!
Cover photo via Garden of Secret Dreams.