Thursday, October 11, 2012

Scariest Movies

Karen: What movies have really scared you? I don't mean just made you jump once, but truly got to you, got under your skin and made you feel deeply afraid?

I'll name a few. The first movie to affect me so strongly was the original Nosferatu, the 1922 silent film. I saw it very late at night while on a sleep over with a friend when I was about nine years old. The creepy Count Orlok so disturbed me I could barely catch a wink. Although I've gotten past my fear of this film I still find it eerie.

The Exorcist is a film I have seen twice -and I don't know if I want to see it again. It really freaked me out.There's just a lot of disturbing imagery in this film. In general I don't care for films about possession or ghosts. It has nothing to do with religious beliefs either, it's more from a sense of powerlessness.

The original Night of the Living Dead was a film that stuck with me for a long time after I first saw it, back when I was in my late teens. I had read about it for years, how gruesome it was, how it had been banned in many places. I was expecting it to be shocking. But I wasn't expecting to keep thinking about how horrible it would be to have loved ones rise from the dead and attack me. The idea of the dead returning, soulless and with no purpose other than to eat the living, weighed on my mind for a very long time.Of course now zombies are everywhere so the idea is not so novel; in fact it's practically a joke. But at the time it really bothered me.
OK, it's your turn: what movies scared you?


david_b said...

For starters, I'd say the 'flying monkees' in Wizard of Oz were pretty frightening for me as a youngster, but I recall both my parents and brother taking me to 'non-kid' films when I was 10 or 11.. My parents once took me to see 'The Omen' which just came out; my brother dragged me along to see 'Tommy' (Tina Turner as the Acid Queen..? Eww).

As for monster movies, I'd say 'Creature from the Black Lagoon' was pretty effective, especially with those cool underwater sequences, and perhaps some of the Frankenstein movies.

I can't recall the names of 'em all, but did see one b&w 50s flick a few months ago with a severed female head being preserved for a new body in the dark laboratory, and of course the head's awake and talking. Seeing those types of films as a youngster on those late night 'Shock Theater' shows were pretty scary.

Doug said...

I'd second the flying monkeys, and even the entrance of the Cowardly Lion -- hey, when you see that stuff when you're 6-years old...

David, would echo The Omen as well. Believe it or not, I've never seen The Exorcist -- only clips from it. So The Omen was my the-devil-is-real movie. The scene with the dogs is especially frightening.

Halloween -- that someone would stalk you with the intent of doing casual, carefree harm really frightened me as a 12-year old (13?).

But generally speaking, I don't like scary movies. That just doesn't give me entertainment-pleasure. But I still like the Universal Frankenstein and Werewolf films (not into Dracula so much).


Roygbiv666 said...

Guess it depends on how you define "scary" - jumping out of your seat, or being left with a creepy feeling.

I'd say "Rosemary's Baby" was pretty scary. The first time I saw it, even the name "the Trench Sisters" made my skin crawl (I think I associated "trench" with WWI or something).

1944's "The Uninvited" was a good, creepy ghost story.

This one time, not at band camp, my friend and I went to a cineplex to see something. Two middle-aged women (i.e. how old I am now) were talking about one the movies and said "that was very disturbing". We laughed. Then we watched the same movie and were disturbed. That was "Se7en" before all the imitators.

The original "Halloween" was a good one - suggestion, rather than explicit.

I found "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer" gave me actual nightmares, it must have been good.

Edo Bosnar said...

It didn't occur to me when until david_b and Doug mentioned it, but the first time I saw Wizard of Oz, when I was about 5, parts of it rather scared me. However, not the flying monkeys, but rather the first and subsequent appearances of the Wicked Witch.
Otherwise, one movie that really, truly and utterly scared me when I first saw it was 'Damien: Omen II'. This was when it was shown on network television, and I was about 12 years old at the time. That one really got under my skin and had me freaked out for about a week - I think much of this had to do with the fact that I was going to a Catholic school at the time, and going through a phase where I was taking a lot of that biblical prophecy stuff seriously. Later I saw both Omen and Omen II again and they hardly had any effect on me at all.
A more recent movie that didn't so much scare me as profoundly disturb me was 'Event Horizon.' It was kind of anti-Star Trek in that engendered such a feeling of hopelessness, and Sam Neill's performance as an emotionally troubled man seduced by the evil force from that dimension of chaos (or, basically, Hell) was genuinely creepy.

david_b said...

Doug, too funny, I'd never seen 'Exorcist' either.

Never a fan of 'Halloween' flicks or the like.

Give me Hitchcock or perhaps 'Alien' anyday.

vancouver mark said...

I'd echo "Wizard of Oz," not just for those damned monkeys but for the Witch herself - she scared the crap out of me when I was five or six.

When I was about sixteen I managed to sneak into the original "Texas Chainsaw Massacre." Incredibly creepy and disturbing, especially that scene where the room is full of feathers, then we see the freaky bone sculpture, and then that stupid fat hen stuffed in the little cage starts cackling.

Honorable mentions also to the original Alien and Halloween.

And the Exorcist was just too grim, from the hospital spinal tap to the crucifix to the green pea soup and "why ya doin this, Damey?" Very scary but not enjoyable - the kind of movie that made me want to wash my hands as soon as I came out of the theatre.

Graham said...

Night of the Living Dead scared the absolute crap out of me. Another one was Re-Animator. I saw both of those around the same time and I can remember trying to sleep and not having much success doing so.

Not sure what it was that spooked me so bad about those two, because I've seen lots of others that didn't faze me. Maybe because things weren't resolved at the end of the movie with either one of them. Anyway, I have to get psyched before I watch either of them even today.

Doug said...

You know what movie scared me in a reality sort of way?

Dead Man Walking, with Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon. I couldn't get that film out of my head for about a week and a half. If you're not familiar, it's based on a true story of a guy on death row for the rape/murder of a young couple on lover's lane. Sarandon plays the nun who was his spiritual adviser in the days leading up to his execution. The scary part for me was the slow reveal of the crime, in flashes and very short clips throughout the film, up until the end when Penn is executed; that is spliced in with a full play of the crimeon that day in that remote area. That scene plays out much like some of the parts in Deliverance. Creepy, scary, "could really happen to you or someone you love" sort of terror and suspense.

Gettin' the creeps just writing this...


david_b said...

"The Omen".. just remembered the woman hanging scene at his party.. ("It's all for you, Damien"..). Sick stuff.

Yes, that and the dog-graveyard scene. Ugh.

And yes, second the witch in Oz, Margaret Hamilton did such a spectacular performance.

Anonymous said...

That movie with the preserved female head sounds like "The Brain That Wouldn't Die," IIRC. It is kind of a camp classic, like "Robot Monster" and "Plan 9 from Outer Space." As for me, I was pretty easily scared as a kid. Even some Disney movies frightened me: Darby O' Gill and the Little People (the Banshee and the death coach), Blackbeard's Ghost, the witch in Snow White. Talos in Jason and the Argonauts gave me nightmares, too. By the time I was ten or so, I was watching classic Universal horror movies and Dark Shadows without any trouble. It's hard to appreciate how scary those classics must have been when they were new, because they've been parodied so much. TCM showed some pretty scary movies this very week: The Haunting, The Uninvited, The Innocents, Dead of Night. An adult could actually watch those without laughing or rolling his eyes. And I'm glad I was an adult before I saw "Nosferatu." If I'd seen it when I was a child, I would probably have been in therapy for years.

Karen said...

I couldn't actually get through the Wizard of Oz til I was a teen-ager. The witch and those monkeys...brrr....

And all of the Hammer films really unnerved me as a kid!

J.A. Morris said...

I couldn't recall the name of the only movie that really creeped me out, so Karen's post got me googling. It was called 'The Blancheville Monster'. Here's a brief summary:
I wanted to watch it because it had the word "monster" in the title. The titular "monster" is actually a man whose face was scarred in a fire.
It had a very creepy atmosphere,and the music was unsettling. I was 7 or 8 when I watched it. It didn't give me nightmares or anything like that, but I remember wishing it would end. The main thing I remember was this quote:

""You will follow me, Emily. To your tomb. To your death. To DIIIE. To DIIIE. To DIIIE. To DIIIE"

Heavy stuff for a kid, now it makes me laugh!

Later, when I was 10, I was fortunate enough to catch a 3D screenin of 'House Of Wax'. It didn't scare me, but I'll never forget a scene near the end. Charles Bronson seemed to come out of the crowd, on to the screen to attack the leading man! Still the best use of 3D I've ever seen. I saw it 20+ years later and it still looks amazing!
That didn't scare me, but I've never heard such a scared movie audience before or since.

Unknown said...

Night of the Living Dead scared the h**l out of me when I was around 12. I saw it on Bob Wilkin's Creature Features, of all places. Usually, he showed a Flash Gordon chapter (which I loved), followed by the worst monster movies that the 1950's produced. He had a hard time keeping his disdain for them to himself. The last thing I ever actually expected to see on that show was something scary. This was probably my first experience with nihilism.

I actually saw the original Invasion of The Body Snatchers on Creature Features too. That one scared me, but not as much. More on an intellectual level. I think I was too shocked to see something good on Creature Features to change the channel.

John Carpenter's remake of The Thing frightened the bejeseezus out of me. I made the mistake of watching it in a theater with a really good sound system. I met one of the animatronics guys who worked on that once. They had a working model of the german shepard. This guy had the shepard robot walk into a room with some crew members playing cards. No one noticed until he pressed the button for it's "transformation". Cards went flying. Having lived through the movie, I know how they must have felt. I'm glad I saw it once, but...

James Chatterton

Dougie said...

Lost in the Desert aka Dirkie. A South African children's adventure that I saw on a double bill with The Golden Voyage of Sinbad in 1974.
It actually disturbs me even to recall it: a little boy and his little dog survive a plain crash in the Kalahari only to face thirst, wild dogs, scorpions and venomous snakes. It's like the "Saw" of the natural world- but for kids (ostensibly). It was the bleakest, most relentless movie experience I had as a kid.

I saw Se7en as an adult in the cinema and felt like I needed a good wash. A horrible, sensationalist film dressed up as some kind of cineaste achievement.

Dougie said...

Gah. Obviously I meant "plane" crash. It's been a long week.

nude0007 said...

This is a complicated and tough question.
First, what do you consider a "horror" movie? Does it include suspense, slasher/stalker(Jason, Halloween), sci-fi, supernatural, or just some kind of monster or beast?
Then, as many here note, what once scared us doesn't necessarily scare us now, so do we rate something by the memory of how much it scared us or how much it scares us now? I saw Dracula (the original) again lately and it was just boring, too much left to the imagination, but as a kid it was fairly spooky. Wolfman ditto. Frankenstein was just funny.

slasher films seem to rely on victims that do the stupidest things and make the most ridiculous decisions. I can't get past that, and end up rooting for Jason, or whoever the slasher is.

supernatural holds no particular fear for me, being a rationalist. I don't believe in such stuff for a minute, so it is just ridiculous.

monsters are pretty scary, but often they seem intent on murder for no particularly good reason.

The thing that really scares me is to see a smart, capable person incapacitated and tortured, violated, humiliated without hope. (yes, Virginia, there are things FAR worse than death) Knowing someone has control over you and is set on causing you as much pain as possible for no reason is REALLY scary. Think Seven (se7en).

Garett said...

Invasion of the Body Snatchers from '78. I think it was the idea that people you know can transform into monsters--creepy. Having intelligent actors like Donald Sutherland, Leonard Nemoy, and Jeff Goldblum in it increased the tension. How could Spock be a monster?

J.A. Morris said...

Speaking of "scary" movies, I may have mentioned before that my wife & I have a blog where we post reviews of Holiday films,tv & specials, episodes.

I posted a review of John Carpenter's Halloween earlier, give it a look if you feel like it:

And here are some other recent (and not-so-recent) Halloween-themed reviews:

@James Chatterton, I remembered that a dog has an unfortunate encounter with The Thing, I'd forgotten it was a German Shepherd. A Shepherd also gets offed by Michael Myers, what is it about Shepherds getting offed in John Carpenter movies?

Like Doug, I prefer the classic Universal Horror and Hitchcock films over the slasher/serial killer genre.

humanbelly said...

Boy, WIZARD OF OZ seems to be a common (and unexpected) "first scary movie" experience, doesn't it? And I'm right there, as well. But while the flying monkeys were really scary, and the witch supplanting Auntie Em's image in the crystal ball disturbed me greatly, the thing that sent me screaming and crying from the room was. . . that flippin' mean, talking apple tree-!!! I was quite little-- but my Mom said she had never seen me react like that in my life.

@ Doug: Okay, so, uh, how exactly as a 12 (or 13) year old did you get in to see a HEAVILY R-rated film like HALLOWEEN, hmm? Hoo-boy, you youngsters. . .
But yes, that film is THE MOST SCARED I have EVER BEEN in a movie theater. Seeing it in a packed, somewhat decrepit old-time movie house was an experience like no other one on earth. A guy across the aisle from me, during the final sequence, was screaming "Stab Him!! Stab Him!!" so hard at Jaimie Lee Curtis that he fell out of his seat and into the aisle. And it didn't seem to be an inappropriate response at the time. At the time, I thought I had never been so frightened in my life. And so of course, I come home to a dark, empty house (everyone else was out and/or away), and had to let myself in by getting the key out of the dark, empty garage, via the dark, creepy door at the end of the front porch, there. No matter where my eyes fell, it was pretty much a Carpenter-cum-Hitchcock camera shot in front of me.

Saw it AGAIN a week later with my two best pals. . . and if anything, it was worse. Because I knew what was coming, and DID NOT KNOW if I could live through it again. Just the opposite of what you'd expect. Audience was exactly the same that night as well. And as we were leaving the theater, via the main exits down on either side of the screen, my buddies and I were leading most of the crowd, and as we get to the doorway, the taller, imposing buddy (Patrick) just turns around, hoists his arms up high, and does an enormous Frankensteinian "RRAAAARRHHH!" at the several hundred folks following behind us. The scream in response was unbelievable. . . aaaaaand then we had to run away because, understandably, there were several folks who didn't think that was a particularly amusing impulse on Patrick's part (my other pal, LaVaughn, and I ourselves being pretty much in that camp).

It was a movie perfectly made to be seen in a theater with lots of other scared thrill-seekers, yessir.


Doug said...

HB --

Home Box Office, brother.

Saw Animal House, Stripes, Jaws for the first time, too.


Steve Does Comics said...

I've never been scared by a film as an adult but, when I was a kid, Quatermass and the Pit, Night of the Demon and The Innocents all scared me. I was also scared by Trilogy of Terror when Karen Black was being chased round her apartment by a knife-wielding Zuni fetish doll.

Did the old 1970s Rupert the Bear TV shows ever get shown in America? They were terrifying, filled with dead-eyed, immobile-faced puppets who all moved strangely.

Karen said...

The Vincent Price film, Last Man on Earth (the first movie version of Richard Matheson's I Am Legend)left an impression on me -even after I had forgotten the name of the film, I could clearly see in my mind's eye the vision of bodies wrapped in white sheets being dumped into a huge smoldering pit. That stuck with me.

A film that caused me physical pain was Alien. AS it was R-rated, me and my friend went to see it with my older brother and his friends. My usually very reserved friend grabbed my leg in a Vulcan death grip when the chest burster popped out!Owww!

Anonymous said...

I remember seeing the original version of "When a Stranger Calls", where that guy kept phoning and asking "Have you checked the children?"...that scared the hell out of me.

And in a completely different way, I was really freaked out when I saw "The Day After" on TV in 1983...I was eleven at the time and it really made me paranoid about nuclear war for a while.

Mike W.

Inkstained Wretch said...

My suggestions:

The Unknown: A 1927 Lon Chaney silent flick in which he plays a gypsy with no arms who works in a circus sideshow - as a knife thrower! He falls for his assistant (a very young, very beautiful Joan Crawford) and when she doesn't return his love things go bad... This has a great performance by Chaney, some seriously creepy plot twists and a humdinger of an ending. Directed by Tod "Dracula" Browning.

Freaks: Tod Browning (again) did this classic featuring actual circus freaks who have their revenge on the others in the circus who exploit one of their own. The climatic chase sequence is something out of your nightmares.

(While I'm talking about Tod Browning, check out the new version of the 1931 Dracula with the modern Philip Glass score. Not scary, but really puts new life into this familiar film.)

For more contemporary fare, I recommend:

Nosferatu: The 1979 Werner Herzog remake is pretty damn good and Klaus Kinski is perfectly cast as the vampire.

The Descent: Some women go cave exploring and discover something that some other explorers got trapped in their ... a long, long time ago. Very claustrophobic, this one.

Event Horizon: Let me second Edo's recommendation. This is a very underrated flick -- and this one gets in your head.

Cigarette Burns: A John Carpenter flick done for a cable anthology series. It's about a guy who goes looking for a horror film so scary it has only been shown a few times -- and each time people went insane when they saw it. An unusual bit of existential horror.

Tony said...

The movie that freaked me out the most was "Fatal Attraction". To me, films like Friday the 13th, and Nightmare on Elm St were more like comedies, because you KNEW who was getting killed next, and the movies were too far fetched. "Fatal Attraction" was more realistic of a situation that could really happen.

david_b said...

"Freaks" was a pretty stark film, very interesting to watch.

And yes, "The Brain That Wouldn't Die" sounds right.., thanks a bunch, Anonymous.

Redartz said...

Mike W- "The Day After" shook me up too. I was driving a delivery route between Indianapolis and Cincinnati at the time, and the day following the broadcast I constantly watched the horizon for a looming mushroom cloud.

Count me as another former child scared stiff by the Wizard of Oz. I was actually shook up by the Wizard with his huge green head!

Finally, one must consider "Jaws" when listing the scariest films. Thirty years later those images of "Chrissie" and her demise still haunt me...and the soundtrack was nearly as chilling as the imagery.

Fred W. Hill said...

As a little kid, the only movie I remember really creeping me out was the first Planet of the Apes, mainly the part where the humans have been caged and are being tortured. When my family lived in Japan in '68, my mom took me and my brothers (me 6, Terry 5, Don a few months old) to see it at the base theater and apparently it got too intense for us during that scene so we left in the middle of the film. Of course, about 3 years later Terry & I sat through several hours of a Planet of the Apes film festival, lapping up every minute of it! By that age, most horror films don't really scare me, but I really could never take slasher flicks. Also, I'll 2nd Inkstained's callout on Freaks -- I first read about it in a book I got at age 10 called Cinema of the Fantastic, but actually seeing it just gave me the creeps, perhaps just knowing that those are people with genuine, extreme physical defects. In the same vein, as Nude referred to, it's not implausible monsters that most frighten me, but films based on the all too real horrors perpetrated by people against one another. The scene in Little Big Man where the cavalry rides into a Dakota village and slaughters the people, men, women and children, causes me to tear up because I know it's based on actual events even if set in a film which mostly a satirical romp. Same thing with films about the Holocaust. Nosferatu is creepy as hell but I know he's pure fiction; Nazis were all too real.

Anonymous said...

Evil Dead, the original of The Army of Darkness Series.

Dawn of the Dead from the 80s. It was more disturbing than the remake. I really like the remake too.

The original DotD and The Evil Dead were both low budget. Something about that makes a horror movie scarier. Perhaps it is the implied horror and hopelesness that they can't afford to show?

Edo Bosnar said...

Hmmm, Inkstained, I wouldn't necessarily consider my characterization of 'Event Horizon' a recommendation, but I guess it could be interpreted that way...
As for the Evil Dead, I saw that in HS with a few friends and we pretty much laughed through the whole thing, but I have to admit, I was a bit creeped out and frightened by that opening sequence where they're driving to that cabin in the woods, just because I lived in an area that had similar wooded areas, often with these old dilapidated cabins in them.
Fred, good point about Little Big Man - that's a really good movie, and I highly recommend the novel that it's based on - it's not nearly as light-hearted as the movie generally is, but still well worth reading.
And Doug, re: HBO, you spoiled city kids with your cable TV...

Rip Jagger said...

Hitchcock's The Birds is likely number one on the list. I saw this as a kid (how did that happen...I must've been neglected) and it left a big old dent in my psyche.

Also uber-creepy is Halloween, the first one only. A lot of Carpenter's stuff gets me, especially in the early parts of his movies before stuff is revealed. The Fog is a fun ghost flick, though not really scary, more creepy.

The Evil Dead movies are fun but not really scary nor really are any zombie flicks that much, though I will confess the image of shambling dead bodies is a disturbing one.

I love the classic horror flicks more than the modern stuff. Next year it will be time to once again break out the Universals and give them another viewing. I try to do that about every other year.

Rip Off

Anonymous said...

WOW ! Not one single mention of Steven King. Who’d have thought it?

OK, Carnival of Souls. 1962. Made on a budget of about $6. Scared the crap out of me. I mean, really. Only years later, in hypnotherapy would you believe, did I find out why.

Rosemary’s Baby is horrifying not for any gore or effects, but the opposite: it’s just everyday life with an undercurrent of something horribly wrong. I can still hear Mia Farrow screaming to wake herself up, to make herself believe and then yelling ‘this is not a dream, this is really happening’. That went right through me.

The bit in Dead Again where he accidently calls her ‘Margaret’. The entire cinema jumped 10 feet in the air.

Se7en was genuinely harrowing and loses nothing on 2nd & 3rd viewings.

The Mist – very underrated IMO. There’s a real feel of ‘I have no idea where this is going’. The monsters are amazing and the very, very real ending is just horrible.

Fred – agree about ‘real horror’. From a point of view of its physical effect on me, I think the film that most traumatised me was Casino. Not a horror film, obviously, but the sheer amount of graphic violence and torture really upset me. I think those almost documentary horror movies are the worst...Night of the Living Dead and TCM both fall into that category. Grainy, little or no music. Just ‘here’s what happened’. Wolf Creek was a nasty little number like that.

The Innocents is just horrible for the possession of children. At the end... a small boy, possessed by a man, engaging in a full throated kiss with a woman. Kinda wonder how that would play today.

Donald Sutherland at the end of the Body Snatchers remake. That noise that came out of his mouth went right through me too. I saw a still of that a while back and it still made me jump.

James – the Thing is horrendous, but superb. I think in 20 years time it will stand up better than a lot of the early CGI stuff that came after it.

The original Elm Street – obviously, it’s funny now, but the idea of someone using the anything-can-happen mechanics of a dream to kill you was a genuinely hideous idea. Sleep kills!

As I posted before, Dracula feeding a live baby to his wives was unexpectedly horrific when I was nine.

HB – there’s an interview somewhere with Jamie Lee where she talks about going to see Halloween at the first screening, not really believing Carpenter that people were going to be absolutely mesmerised. It gets to a scene where she (Laurie) is looking back at the house, and the guy in the seat in front of her literally jumped to his feet and shouted ‘don’t go in there’. She knew she had ‘em.

Incredible Shrinking Man – I couldn’t believe he just dwindled away to nothing. That idea terrified me when I was little. It seemed like they shouldn’t be allowed to make a film where that was the ending.

Mike – agree on the Day After. It was the missiles leaving the silos, right? Through the corn fields etc. That image is with me still.

Dog Soldiers – the werewolf film to end them all, IMO.


vancouver mark said...

The Day After had great build-up (remember about half-way through they announced that the remainder of the movie would have no commercial interruptions and your heart sank?), but the post-nuke portion seemed somehow kind of weak - lots of dust and dead birds, one guy went blind, Jason Robard's hair fell out. Around the same time an English nuclear war movie called Threads came out that was far more graphic and frightening. The characters to me were more engaging and the brutal images or ruined Sheffield still make me wince as I recall them.
After the Exorcist i wanted to wash my hands, after Threads i wanted a shower.

A drama that utterly terrified me as a kid was Suddenly Last Summer, with Elizabeth Taylor. It's from a Tennessee Williams play, so it has horrible things happening to a desperate, crazed woman. I was home alone around eight years old and it happened to come on. It was the first time I learned about lobotomies, and how they can be forced on people. And the brutal reveal of how Taylor's gay cousin died was incredibly grotesque and stayed with me for a long time. And it was my first exposure to Katherine Hepburn, shudder.

Doug said...

My mom would not let us watch The Day After, so I've never seen it. However, when I was in college I saw a British program and I believe it was called "Threads". Can any of our friends in the UK verify the name? It was the same premise, of nuclear disaster.

It was incredibly depressing, and with Reagan in the White House, a very real sort of scary.


Chuck Wells said...

One thing that strikes me about many of these choices is that most carry a really intense undercurrent that leaves viewers unnerved. Doesn't matter which particular film you want to talk about (The Omen, Halloween, Rosemary’s Baby, The Uninvited, The Exorcist, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Alien, Night of the Living Dead, Re-Animator)or whether the specific creature or premise was convincing or not. Each of these films left me uncomfortable and in a "good" and "entertaining" way. All are classics and most that spawned franchises never equaled the original film!

Steve Does Comics said...

Doug, the post-nuclear disaster was indeed called Threads and, as Vancouver Mark mentioned, was filmed in my home city of Sheffield. The depressing thing is they basically just went down to the east end of Sheffield and filmed it as it already was. The east end of Sheffield has always had a certain... ...character.

Doug said...

Mark and Steve --

Wow, my apologies. I had read Mark's comment, but for whatever reason the eyes totally skipped over his mentioning of Threads. Very sorry -- not a good sign of a caring moderator.



PS: But thanks for the info. about the filming, Steve!

Anonymous said...

The Day After was shocking for the sight of the missiles roaring out of the ground and streaking past mom-and-apple-pie homes. It gave you feeling that the reality you live in is not actually real and there are missiles under your feet and pointed at your home and fingers on the trigger every second of every day. Considering the commie-bashing, evil-empire, Reaganomic times, it was amazing that it never told you who started the war. It successfully communicated, as Carl Sagan said, that it wouldn’t matter once it had started because nothing would matter. Where it failed somewhat, as I remember, was that even as it showed the horror, it kind of did it within a society that was still functioning. The hospital was overwhelmed, but there still WAS a hospital, the army was shooting looters, but there still WAS an army and there were still things to loot. Society was still there.

Threads just showed you how, no matter what happened in the immediate aftermath, it would all just disintegrate, everything would fall apart and virtually everyone would die. One of the characters says something like ‘if a nuclear bomb comes, I know where I want to be: right underneath it and pissed out of my head’. Which is pretty much the message. It was narrated with statistics that really brought it home (like, the entire resources of the health service would not being able to deal with the effects of ONE bomb, let alone hundreds), and it showed what nuclear winter would be like: sky blacked out, disease epidemics, no food, medieval lifestyle, mutant & stillborn really went places that the Day After did not.


vancouver mark said...

Sorry Steve to dis your town. Please tell me the mother walking with the burned baby wasn't a regular.

That must have been a disturbing experience, living in Sheffield when that was filmed and came on. Was it a BBC Sunday night movie? The school counselors must have had a nightmare day the Monday after it televised.

Steve Does Comics said...

Mark, I'm proud to announce that the east end of Sheffield isn't normally filled with corpses, people suffering from radiation burns and people eating rats. But, when Margaret Thatcher's economic 'rationalisation' saw Sheffield's steel and cutlery industries collapse, the city's east end was left looking like a bomb had hit it, with great swathes of it left as an abandoned, rubble-strewn wasteland. It made it an ideal place to film post-nuclear holocaust scenes.

Fortunately it's a bit better nowadays. It's mostly filled with call-centres and out-of-town superstores but there're still left-over areas of dereliction even now.

There was certainly a lot of fuss about it in the local media when it came out. I remember the people behind it being interviewed on local radio and there being phone-ins about it afterwards. It put people right off nuclear war, I can tell you.

It also had a major impact because it was written by Barry Hines who's a local legend thanks to having written a film called Kes which is one of the all-time great British movies.

Anonymous said...

I have definitely had a good, deep scare from many of the Satan-related films (Omen, Rosemary's Baby, Exorcist), but the movie that scared me to the bone and had me waking up in the middle of the night sweating with nightmares was The Changeling (George C Scott late 70s/early 80s). I was only about 10 when I saw it and the quiet, echoey house and slower pace just got under my skin. Even seeing it a second time didn't relieve my terror (in fact, i think i was more frightened the the second time).

Rewatching it once as an adult, the impact had certainly waned and I doubt that it belongs in the pantheon of great horror/scary movies, but it certainly had a powerful effect on me as a lad.


4 Color Guru said...

Hands down, The Changling starring George C. Scott.
First horror movie I seen in the theater as a young fellow, I'm not going to spoil it with a synopsis.
Just find it and watch it, may come off a little dated but will still give you the willies.

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