35. Halloween – He’s Not Dead
There are a lot of great scenes in Halloween (Adam over at the Nerdgasm Podcast prefers the opening of the film, which I can definitely see) but this one is the best executed. After quite the third act, it seems to have wrapped up nicely with our female protagonist winning out over her masked villain. But this scene inspired plenty of contemporary horror endings by asking the question “is he really dead?”
34. Jaws – Underwater Surprise
About two years ago I was watching Jaws at my parents’ house for some reason. My mother was sitting in the chair next to me and remarked that she probably hadn’t seen the movie since it first came out. I was obsessed with it as a child so I knew it by heart. When this scene approached, I could tell she didn’t know what was coming. I was so excited. Needless to say, she literally jumped straight up in her seat and screamed. It was great. Thanks, Spielberg.
33. Poltergeist – The TV People
Talk about a film that has aged beautifully. This Tobe Hooper/Steven Spielberg collaboration is probably one of the most popular horror films of all time. Everyone and their brother has seen and loved Poltergeist. Some might cite the “They’re Here” segment or the terrifying clown scene as their favorite, but my personal favorite was a much quieter moment. There is just the right amount of creepiness in this scene to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, and it is just masterfully filmed.
32. Don’t Look Now – The Reveal
(NSFW: A Little Gore and a Lot of Shock – ALSO SPOILER ALERT)
Nicolas Roeg, director of Don’t Look Now, isn’t a horror filmmaker by any stretch. This film represents his only foray into the genre, but this one has been aped by so many horror directors since. It’s just a great, great movie. Donald Sutherland, who to me is one of the greatest actors of the 1970’s, carries the film on his shoulders with a little assistance by an outstanding Julie Christie. Ultimately though, it is Sutherland’s show, and the ending of Don’t Look Now proves that. People always allude to the heavy Hitchcock influences throughout the film, but the ending sequence resembles something out of La Jetee or a Andy Warhol Factory film. To me, it was one of the greatest shocking moments in my cinema-loving life, so if you haven’t seen the film, don’t watch the ending.
31. Cannibal Holocaust – The Impaling
(NSFW: Gore, Nudity, and Horrible Human Beings)
Apparently you can watch Cannibal Holocaust on YouTube…the times they are a-changin’. This scene is roughly two minutes long, but watch the full movie at your own risk.
When it comes to exploitation film, there is no scene more iconic than the impaling from Cannibal Holocaust. Preceded by one of the longest and hardest to watch sections of the film, the impaling really turns the tide of the film. At first, you find the filmmakers deplorable for their actions, but it is at this point that you truly beg for them to be punished for their crimes. The smug reactions of the crew solidifies their fate in the eyes of the audience, and it is punctuated by these searing images.
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