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Please close the door and switch on the fun without fail.

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Happy Halloween!
I was going to post a book discussion but then I was tired and also sick. But it is Halloween so I will share something with you, via The Hairpin, from the scariest movie I have ever seen in the theater:

Granted, I don't usually get to see many movies in the theater, so I'm not saying there are a whole lot of competitors for the title. I did see Blair Witch in the theater, but I took so long to figure out what was going on in the two freakiest parts (What's that in the shirt? Why is he in the corner? OHHHHHHH) that it was more of a delayed-reaction terror.

So. The Ring. I went to see it by myself because no one would go with me, but I was doing movie linkspams on a dinky GeoCities site (yes, even then), and I thought the trailers looked really cool and creepy and I had a feeling it was going to be a really big thing. (And I still think that the trailers and the Cursed Videotape, copies of which the marketing team actually planted in real life, were amazingly well done--just the right touch of icy, cryptic distance.) So I went to an afternoon showing, probably a Sunday, and I was pretty much alone with my oatmeal fleece jacket and a small clutch of college students (my age) a couple of rows behind me. I nearly died. Naomi Watts fell into the dark haunted well and I wanted to leave the theater so badly, I have never wanted to leave a theater from terror before, but my legs no longer worked. I am serious, I sat there, literally, in the literal sense of literally, trying to get out of my seat and I could not make it happen. I then began to pray, in complete seriousness, that a higher power would strike me unconscious before Naomi Watts found something. Because you knew she was going to. There was no point in the movie booting her down there otherwise. You knew. And the movie. still. made you. wait for it.

(I can't find the entire scene on YouTube, but here it is right up to the part where It Got Worse, as the Tropers would say. I think the end is where I started to lose control of my motor capabilities.)

When it was over, I staggered out of the theater white as a sheet. I am not exaggerating a whole lot on this one. "What happened?" my mother asked. "You look like you've been through a war."

I never saw any of the other movies, Japanese or sequels or prequels or whatever-have-you. This is all I want to have seen.

Obviously, this is your cue to share a movie that has scared you stupid. I want experiences of real, actual, physical terror if you've got it.

NOTE: ALSO: TCM is running The Innocents later tonight; don't miss that if you found the discussion interesting.

ETA: I have been reminded of Tiny Moist Hand!

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Hands-down, Spoorloos, the original of The Vanishing, via the Netherlands. Stay away from spoilers and just watch it to the end. I can't think of another film that's come close. A summary doesn't do it justice; it needs for its final action to unfurl gracefully for it to resonate, but it's worth hunting down.

I have heard about The Vanishing and never, ever want to see that film. I'm not sure if I would describe that movie as depressing or terrifying but the ending really gets to me in a deep down, nihilistic way. So unbelievably sad. Not gonna watch, too much sadness in the world already.

I didn't see The Ring until it was on VHS/DVD. My brother and I rented it over spring break, and I remember sitting on my bed clutching my bathrobe and shrieking into it at certain parts.

I have one of those DTV adapter boxes, and after 8 hours it shuts off and leaves nothing but static. I am still afraid of the damn static after all these years.

I made my boyfriend sit up all night with me with the lights on, watching my turned-off TV to make sure nothing came out of it. I briefly debated unplugging the TV, but decided that I would be even more terrified if it did do anything. With it plugged in, I could at least try to tell myself that we'd accidentally hit the remote or something if it made any noise or flickered or, heaven forbid, turned on.

I really liked Spoorloos too. Especially the build up to the answer.



I have a long, tragic history of being terrified of aliens, ever since my older brother was all about the Alien movies, and I was like four and naturally scared shitless.

The parts I remember are the ones with the reflection in the knife under the door, the VIDEO TAPE OMFG, the ALIEN HAND COMING OUT OF THE GRATE OMFG, and ALIEN IN THE TV AHHHHH.

With the hand-thing I literally threw my popcorn up in the air and it landed like five rows behind me all over some poor soul.

Then later that night, as I was spending the night at my grandmother's for Thanksgiving, and I had every light in the living room on while staring un-blinkingly at my Harry Potter books, my dad came around the corner. In his green bathrobe. My tall, thin father. I screamed the most blood-curdling shriek and woke the entire house up. FAIL.

Edited at 2011-11-01 02:42 am (UTC)

The music from that movie kills. I remember grabbing my best friend's hand during the movie and asking him to just deal with it. He leaned in and started mimicking the music. Ahhh!

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You're all gonna laugh, but the answer is predicated on the fact that I am a GIANT ASS WIMP and don't watch horror movies.

But the Blair Witch project scared the shit out of me.

The summer it came out, I was working nights in a casino, so I very deliberatly went to see it before I was going to be working NINE NIGHTS IN A ROW. So I woud work myself into exhaustion, sleep during the day, and the first time I tried to sleep during the night after I saw BWP, I needed to sleep with the light.

And the night after that.

And the night after THAT.

I told you. GIANT ASS WUSS.

That is not a wussy thing AT ALL. I saw that movie totally cold (like, had never heard of it, the movie had not yet entered the cliche zeitgeist, went to the theater to see Run Lola Run and it was sold out so saw BWP) and it was TERRIFYING. I lived in a major city in Texas at the time, but I moved to rural Indiana not long after and I STILL get the collywobbles about trail running through the woods at certain times of year. Also: Indiana woods are full of creepy abandoned homesteads. TERROR.

28 Days Later scared the shit out of me.

I went home after it was over and sat through dinner thinking of a Zombie Escape Plan. Then I felt better.

The TRAILER for 28 Days Later scared the shit out of me. That zombie sitting outside of the window? I flew right out of my seat, no joke.

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which probably had something to do with my mother saying "Oh, you had a clown doll just like that. I think it's in the attic".

Your mother is evil. I think I like her.

Oh god - I know your pain. I decided that all original films are better and so decided to watch the Japanese version "Ringu" when it was aired on Ch4...at 4am...in a pitch black house...downstairs and on my own. I got 20 mins in and then had to switch to another channel in abject terror. I then dug out my LOTR dvds which were luckily in the same room and forced myself to stay awake watching them until my parents woke up.
I also saw The Grudge in the cinema. Every once in a while I freeze and pray to god that it's just a phantom feeling and not an actual hand growing out of the back of my head.

Okay, that's just eerie--I did the exact same thing. Immediately after watching The Ring (the American version granted), the entire bunch of us from college stayed up until like 4am watching The Two Towers. Not even kidding.

I feel your pain, I saw the Ring and couldn't go to sleep after-- I just stared at the tv in my room for half the night and waited for it to turn itself on. I then made the mistake of reading the original japanese novel a few years later... it's even scarier than the movie.

Awesome story re THE RING :)

Of the thousands of horror films I've seen, only a handful have scared me stupid- probably the 2 most booful ones were DEAD & BURIED and the original BLACK CHRISTMAS. DEAD & BURIED is an unconventional zombie film and features Jack Albertson (Grandpa from the original CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY)! as a senile but still terrifying and evil coroner/necromancer. BLACK CHRISTMAS features the most unsettling and genuinely unhinged psychopath on screen IMNSHO.

Scary story: I went to see CANDYMAN at the cinema with my (older) brother. First time the Candyman appears to kill someone, he appears so quickly and unexpectedly that my brother let out and ungodly scream and dumped his large pepsi all over us both

Scary Story II: About halfway through STIR OF ECHOES, I was stung by a bee. INSIDE THE MOVIE THEATRE. My screams were of pain, rather than fear, but I like to think it made the movie creepier :)

See, I watched Black Christmas with my mum during an extreme snow storm... and all we could do was laugh at how stupid some of the people were. IT'S NOT CLAUDE THE CAT, GIRLS, DON'T GO TOWARDS THE SOUND, SERIOUSLY, HOW DID YOU GET INTO UNIVERSITY WITH THAT BRAIN?! YES, THAT'S RIGHT LEAVE THE TRAUMATIZE GIRL IN THE HOUSE ALLLLLL ALONE. Extremely disturbing psychopath but extremely hilarious sorority girls.

I am with you 100% on The Ring. I don't know why I thought this would be a great movie to go see (even back then I didn't do well with scary movies along these lines), but I did and I dragged my mom along with me. I spent a good portion of the movie staring at the bowl of popcorn in my lap.

This was on a Thursday and my mom then went out of town for the weekend, leaving me home alone. I didn't sleep for three days. At that time, we were living in a five-apartment complex and we were in the upstairs apartment that was above all the garages, so we had a long hallway going from the living room down to all the bedrooms & bathrooms. I was paranoid the entire weekend about looking down the hallway while watching TV and seeing someone walking towards me. I was too scared to go lay down in my bedroom for fear that I'd open the door and something would be there. I was scared to walk down the hallway IN ORDER TO PEE. And I kept the TV on the entire weekend because I didn't want to turn it off and risk seeing something moving in the reflection like in the movie. I didn't fall asleep until late Sunday morning out of sheer exhaustion.

Oh, for serious. I couldn't watch that at night, and was practically crawling out of my skin the whole time.

Hand to God, ET scares the bejeezus out of me. It's so bad I can't look at images of the little dude without screaming holy terror. I had to ask my coworkers not to decorate their desks with an ET theme last year for our "80s scary movie" decorating contests.

Random coworker: Really?
Me: Yes. No pictures, no images. Don't even do the voice.
Random coworker: *does "phone home" finger*

ET scared me so much when I was little- I think it was the first movie I ever saw in the theater, and I HATES IT. The scenes of the guys running through the woods with the guns?


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I also saw it in the theater and during that part there was a woman in the theater who started screaming in panic and just *kept* screaming as it was happening.

We got one of my girlfriends in college HARD with that movie. Twitchy anyway, my friend pushed the search button on her cordless phone and made it ring right after the move ended, making her scream hysterically. Was one of the better pranks we pulled, I think.

Also, I saw IT when I was 11. BIG MISTAKE. Didn't sleep for a week, and saw clowns in the shadows every night. Brrrr.