The Ten Spot: Scariest Non-Horror Movie Moments
Not all scary moments occur in horror movies. Plenty show up in comedies, family films, dramas, and documentaries. This list compiles ten movie scenes that scared me as a kid and as an adult from non-horror films. Go ahead and call be a punk ass bitch if you didn't think these were frightening and feel free to share your favorite non-horror scares in the talk back below. WARNING: Some of the movies discussed will contain spoilers.
I have a distinct memory of watching SUPERMAN III when I was a kid. It was on TV and I was sitting there eating a snack and thinking how cool Superman was and not fully understanding why he had stubble and wasn't being a very good hero. But, when he had his showdown at the end and the supercomputer grabs Vera and turns her into a blank-eyed cyborg, I just about shit my pants. I hauled ass to my mom's room, fell on the floor, and split my lip. To this day, I get sensitivity in my lower jaw when I see that scene.
Bite the curb. Three little words that preceeded one of the most horrifying acts in a studio film. Sure, this may not be scary in the traditional sense, but I remember watching this scene much like the infamous wooden splinter to the eye from Lucio Fulci's ZOMBI 2. You know what is going to happen but you think they are going to cut away and they don't. Your jaw just drops. AMERICAN HISTORY X is one of those movies I have never been able to watch more than once. It has a lasting effect on the viewer thanks to Edward Norton's gut-wrenching performance. There is no way you get through this scene without cringing.
Yes, TOY STORY 3. Pixar has gotten a dark edge in recent years and I like it. But, it was in the ending of the final chapter in the TOY STORY trilogy that viewers were given one of the scariest moments in any animated film. As our heroes plunge into the core of the incinerator at the garbage dump, we watch them flail and scramble to escape as they slowly inch closer and closer to the pit of fire before them. As each of the toys realize that it is hopeless and accept their fate, you instantly question if Pixar is really about to kill off their iconic characters. In the end, Woody and the crew survive, but any children in attendance just had to grow up real quick. Gut-wrenching and one of the most human moments in animation history.
SE7EN may be considered a horror movie by many, but I look at it as a dark police procedural. There are no supernatural elements unless you consider pure evil to be supernatural. John Doe is one of the most evil serial killers to ever grace the silver screen. I saw this movie in the theater on the last Cinemascope screen on the East Coast. The sound was deafening. While I admit that I jumped a few times during the movie, nothing freaked me out more than when the Sloth victim's emaciated body suddenly lurched to life. The writhing and choking skeleton was one of the most unanticipated movie moments I have experienced, despite the fact I should have seen it coming a mile away. I did not shit my pants, but I almost did.
As a kid, I attended Hebrew school to get my Judaism learn on. It was not the most fun place to be, but it was where I first watched RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. There have not been many positive movies to showcase Jewish history in an action-packed way. But, Indiana Jones became a surrogate Jewish hero for me. Now, even though RAIDERS is rated PG, it was definitely not appropriate for a 10-year-old to witness the faces melting off of Nazi soldiers. It was badass, but definitely not appropriate. I thank my lucky stars I did get to see it back then as I remember it as one of my fondest, if not most scarring, movie memories.
Another movie that masquerades as a kiddie flick but is far from it. Large Marge scared the living hell out of me. The entire lead up about the sound of a garbage truck being dropped from the top of the Empire State Building had me on the edge of my seat. When she flashed her horrible face, I flipped the f*ck out. Now, watching it as an adult, it cracks me up, but I still remember seeing that monologue for the first time. Who would have though Pee Wee Herman could scar young children. Wait, don't answer that.
TRAINSPOTTING is a horror movie in a lot of ways. It deals with drug addiction in the same way that REQUIEM FOR A DREAM does. Both have a fantastical approach to showing the lowest dregs of what drugs can do to a person. But, from the moment Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) begins his withdrawal symptoms, the viewer experiences the fever dream of insanity that concludes with the dead baby crawling on the ceiling. Sure it doesn't look real at all, but in the context of the entire sequence, it truly punches you in the gut to remember that baby died earlier in the movie. Was it an accidental drug overdose? Was it parental neglect? Whatever it was it chilled me to my core. Now, as a parent, it scares me even more.
Why are some movies marketed for children? Nothing about WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT? should be witnessed by anyone under the age of 10. But, being a Disney movie, my parents took me to see it in the theater. It is such a great movie and a lot of the humor went right over my head for years, but the horrific idea of cartoons dying stuck with me to this day. Add to that the reveal at the end that Judge Doom is truly the Toon that killed Eddie Valiant's brother. The eyes, the voice, everything screams nutjob and was scary as hell. To this day I won't want the ending of ROGER RABBIT late at night. What a freaky ass character.
MULHOLLAND DR is, for many, a nonsensical waste of time. I didn't love the movie, but there is one scene in the middle that caught me completely off guard. The scene appears abruptly with no apparent connection to the rest of the movie. A character recounts a nightmare to his therapist at a coffee shop that involves a grotesque monster hiding behind the restaurant. So, of course, the therapist wants his patient to confront his fears. What they don't expect is for the monster to actual be there. The reveal only lasts for a split second, but it is a lasting image that anyone cannot unsee. It is the way Lynch shoots the scene and edits it that gives it such power. Definitely re-watched the scene a half dozen times when I saw it. I recommend the movie to any first time viewers and don't mention the scene. It comes up so randomly it always freaks people out.
What the f*ck is wrong with family entertainment? So jacked up in so many ways. I am amazed most movie fans are not sociopaths. CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG is one of those movies that you think will be a nice SOUND OF MUSIC or MARY POPPINS type movie that suddenly f*cks your mind six ways to Sunday. When the Child Catcher appears, he is so f*cked up looking I didn't trust strangers for a long time. I hid my head under a blanket every time his nasty face showed up. Of course my mother loved the movie so we watched it constantly. Even Googling for this article gave me chills. F*ck you, Child Catcher! And f*ck you, Ian Fleming!