Have you voted for your favourite horror movie villain yet?
10 THE WICKER MAN
“OH JESUS CHRIST, NO!”
For the entire duration of the film, we’d been asking, “Why is this called The Wicker Man?” And then, in the closing moments, we find out. From the film’s very first scene, Sergeant Howie has unknowingly been playing a game set by the inhabitants of Summerisle and it has led him to this point. As he sees the gigantic wicker man he realises his fate, which is to be burned alive in a sacrifice to the Sun God. “Oh Jesus Christ, no!” he cries valiantly as he is led away to be roasted alive. Only slightly less scary is the sight of Christopher Lee in drag.
9 FRIDAY THE 13TH
JASON JUMPS OUT OF THE LAKE
What people forget about Friday The 13th is that hockey-masked freak Jason Voorhees isn’t the killer – it’s Jason’s chunky-knit-jumpered mum. Furious that her little boy drowned in Crystal Lake while two summer camp employees had sex, she carves up the employees at the newly re-opened camp, driven by a warped sense of vengeance. As the film draws to a close, the sole survivor manages to dispatch mom with a machete, then drifts off in a boat. Next morning, she wakes up out on the lake. A police car pulls up, soothing strings start swelling up on the soundtrack... she’s made it! Then the deformed body of Jason suddenly lurches out of the water, overturning the boat and dragging her down into the water...
THE CHEST BURSTER
The worst case of indigestion in cinema history, Alien’s most famous scene of a baby alien bursting out of John Hurt’s chest was a surprise not just to the audience but to the cast members, too. Director Ridley Scott didn’t tell the other actors what was going to happen. They watch helplessly as Hurt writhes around in agony, not knowing just how much blood was going to splurt out. So in the film, when you see their shocked expressions as the blood sprays onto their faces, just remember: that’s not acting.
7 THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT
MIKE STANDS IN THE CORNER
Near the end of Blair Witch, the hapless Heather and Mike follow the screams of their missing buddy, Josh, to the house of Rustin Parr, a serial killer from the ’40s who claimed he’d committed his killings while possessed by the Blair Witch. Parr took pairs of kids down into the basement, and then made one kid face the wall while he killed the other. In the chilling climax to the film, we hear Heather’s screams getting louder and louder as she hares down the stairs to the cellar. There she discovers Mike, standing in the corner, facing the wall... and you realise that she’s about to die.
THE SHOWER SCENE
Probably the most famous scene in horror history, the murder of Marion Crane in the shower took a week to film, and consists of 78 different shots spliced together. Hitchcock’s original plan was for the scene to be unscored, but composer Bernard Herrmann convinced him to use his now-famous shrieking violins. Now that the film’s available for frame-by-frame examination on DVD, you can see that, contrary to popular belief, the knife is seen touching flesh – Marion’s navel – only for the last frame of one brief eight-frame sequence. Hitchcock received an angry letter from the father of a girl who refused to have a bath after being scared by Diabolique, and now refused to shower after seeing Psycho. Hitchcock told him to, “Send her to the dry cleaners.”
THE HEAD IN THE BOAT
After a raft of shark killings, Richard Dreyfuss, along with salty sea captain Robert Shaw and Lance Henriksen lookalike Roy Scheider, go in search of the giant, dead-eyed beast. Dreyfuss goes underwater exploring a recently sunk boat. All is serene, with no John Williams music to prepare us when, SHIT! A disembodied head rolls out of one of the portholes. And in what may be a nod to Hitchcock’s The Birds, he’s missing an eye. The amount of underpant-washing that occurred after this scene must be immense.
4 DON'T LOOK NOW
THE KILLER DWARF
Without doubt the scariest dufflecoat moment of all time. John Baxter (Donald Sutherland) is haunted by a small figure in a red coat, which could be the ghost of his dead daughter. Spotting it again, he gives chase through the mist-shrouded back streets of Venice. As the mysterious figure stands facing the corner, Baxter approaches, saying, “I’m a friend – I won’t hurt you.” The figure turns to reveal a weird-looking dwarf old lady. She shuffles towards Baxter, slowly shakes her head as if to say “big mistake, buster”, pulls a knife out of her pocket and slashes his throat.
SADAKO CRAWLS OUT OF THE TELEVISION
In Ringu’s most famous sequence, a TV flickers into life all on its own. We see blurry images of a ghost girl crawling out of a well and walking towards the screen. Then she climbs out of the TV set and crawls along the floor, showing off her missing fingernails, before fixing her victim with a death-inducing mad glare. The sequence doesn’t feature in the original Kôji Suzuki novel on which the film was based. Nakata has said that the inspiration for the sequence came from David Cronenberg’s Videodrome, in which, in one sequence, David Cronenberg hallucinates his television set coming to life, and pushes his head into the screen. Suzuki was impressed: “That scene gives depth to the movie.”
THE HAND FROM THE GRAVE
Brian De Palma’s shocker about a teenage girl with telekinetic powers closes with Carrie killed when her house burns down. Classmate Sue (Amy Irving) lays flowers on Carrie’s grave... then the dead girl’s bloody arm shoots out of the earth and grabs her arm. Sue wakes up in her bed at home, screaming. Sissy Spacek was buried in a specially constructed box. She says: “Brian yelled, ‘Grab!’ and that was my cue... It was claustrophobic, but very exciting. I couldn’t see and what with the blood being slippery, I almost broke Amy’s arm! The rocks scratched my arm to bits all the way down, but I wouldn’t have missed that for the world!”
1 AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
As kindly nurse Jenny Agutter (hubba hubba!) reads David Kessler (David Naughton) a bedtime story (the lucky sod!), he falls asleep and goes into dreamland… Aww, suddenly he’s at home, with his mom and dad and little brother and sister. The Muppet Show’s on the telly and mom’s cooking. Then comes a knock at the door. Who could this be? The postman? Mrs and Mrs Reynolds from next door with warm cookies? No, it’s a gang of monsters in Nazi costumes who burst in, massacre the family and slit David’s throat. Bang! He wakes up. “Nasty dream?” asks Nurse Jenny in her come-hither voice as she goes to open the curtains to let some light in... when suddenly a monster Nazi bursts through and – in a frenzied attack – stabs her. Bam! He wakes up again. Even at this point, you’re wondering; is he still dreaming?