Between the time I read Andre's Top 10 Willy Inducing Moments over at The Horror Digest, and the time I sat down to write my own top 10, the thing caught fire in the horror blogosphere and everyone has been responding to Andre with their own lists. Well, it's nothing new for me to be late to the dance, so here are ten moments that have just absolutely given me the willies over the years.
Keep in mind that these are in any particular order, as I just wrote them down as they came to me.
#10: Nightmare on Elm Street 2 – The school bus ride that opens the film.
This is one of the first horror films I ever saw. I couldn't have been much older then ten or eleven and I was at a cousins' place. They'd rented a movie, and I don't think my family had gotten a VCR quite yet, so I was down for whatever. Ho. Ly. Shit. Tame by today's standards, yes, but when you're expecting maybe a comedy or an action flick, and instead wind up watching a bunch to teens terrorized on a school bus in the first five minutes, well—you're going to wind up the tiniest bit traumatized. If it hadn't been summer vacation, I'd have been walking to school the next day.
#9: Alien – John Hurt's indigestion.
I'd seen parodies of this scene before I ever saw the actual movie, but my skin still crawled when John Hurt started convulsing on the mess hall table. I'm not sure if the alien's emergence freaked me out as Hurt's performance. He and the rest of the cast sold that scene like they were selling ice cubes to Eskimos. The cherry on top for the scene is when the thing goes scurrying out of the room like a lab rat on crank.
#8: The Ring – The video.
Which horror blogger discussed good horror movies that are rated PG-13? Was it Andre? Wouldn't surprise me. Anyway, this movie is PG-13 apparently, but I didn't know that. And seeing that video-tape the victims watch for the first time grossed me out. Seriously. The girl climbing out of the well was very creepy in its own right—and I see it on a few people's lists—but that video with quick cuts and eery sound effects just ran through me like nails on a chalkboard. I think it was the finger nail and the intestines (or whatever they were) in the vid that sealed the deal for me.
#7: Misery – The ankles take a beating.
I like having the ability to stand. It's nice. You know, supporting the weight of my body with my ankles. This movie really made me appreciate my joints—and how I NEVER want to wind up bedridden with a crazy lady in the house. I saw this movie around the time my Dad had started teaching me how to use a sledgehammer and an ax 'cause that's shit that men do. Let's just say that after seeing James Caan get cripple-fied by Kathy Bates, I never looked at sledgehammers the same again. Heck, I'm not even crazy about having my feet near pieces of 2x4, either.
#6: Halloween – Micheal Myers sits up.
You know the scene I'm talking about. Michael Myers is supposed to be dead. Hell, he's lying lifeless on the floor in the room behind Jamie Lee Curtis, so he must be dead, right? Foolish boy. When he sits up like a possessed mannequin, at the waist, I let out some unintelligible noise that was meant to sound like, "Oh shit!" but wound up sounding more like, "Whah sneh!" Would have been less embarrassing if I'd been watching the movie alone.
#5: Cabin Fever – Finger bang. (no photo or YouTube video found)
You know what, confession time. I'm not exactly a coordinated guy, and I'm not so nimble on my feet, and being horizontal doesn't make for much improvement. But even I have a reasonable amount of hand coordination and sense of touch to realize the place I've just stuck my fingers is not the place I was aiming for. Watching this movie, I expected the obligatory teen sex scene. What I did not expect was for the guy to look aghast as he brought his hand back into view to see all that nasty diseased blood on his fingers. Blech. That's just one of those times when you tell yourself: Self, I think I won't bother telling the boys in the locker room about this.
#4: Evil Dead – The evil hand gets stabbed.
The bargain basement budget for this film kept me from being creeped out too much. Though the sound effects just drove me up a wall watching this late at night. The cackles were the kind that tapdanced up my spine, and yet I had to remain stoic and "manly" because I was watching the film with a half-dozen girls. But when that pencil went through the hand, I guess I started going pale because the girl next to me smirked at me and asked if I was alright. I like my ankles (see #7), but I love my hands, especially the backs of my hands. Ever get smacked or jabbed on the back of the hand? Not pleasant. And neither was that scene.
#3: Nightbreed – The guy who cuts off his own scalp with thumb knives.
This is another movie I saw relatively early in life. Somewhere in my tween years. I was able to stomach most of the film, but that one scene that made me cringe for years afterwards was in the jail cell. That crazy guy starts talking about Mideon and monsters, and how he wants to join them, so he can show them his "true face." Then he brandishes the thumb blades—now that I think about it, how did he keep those in jail—and proceeds to slice off his scalp. Jee-zuz.
#2: The Blair Witch Project – Whatever was in that gift outside the tent.
I couldn't find a photo of YouTube video, so here is a spoof by the Muppets instead.
I liked this movie, though there wasn't really all that much that gave me the willies. The scene with what's-his-name moaning in agony somewhere in the distance at night was pretty chilling, but the morning after when what's-her-face finds the homemade door prize from the witch and sees ... I don't really know what she saw, even to this day, besides blood and maybe an appendage. All I had to see was that bit of blood and then the sound of her retching. Oh lord, if you've ever come across dead things—or pieces of dead things—in the woods then you probably appreciate why this is on my list.
#1: The Thing – The alien goes apeshit while there's still guys tied up.
I had to put this on my list because it's still one of my all-time favorite horror movies, if not my absolute favorite. And that showdown scene in the rec room, or wherever, when each guy is having his blood tested to see which one is the alien. That is some tense shit going on in that scene, and Kurt Russell plays it to the hilt. But when he finally jabs that petri dish of blood with the hot wire and it comes alive, followed by the guy in the chair next to Keith David morphing into the alien, that had me crawling out of my seat. I'd have slithered behind the couch if it hadn't been against the wall. Imagine being in the same room with that mess, then imagine being tied up in a chair while the shit is hitting the fan. Yeah, not fun.
BONUS WILLY: The Wizard of Oz – The god damned flying monkeys.
It's my favorite musical. Probably my favorite family/children's movie. And it was probably my first taste of horror, because the Wicked Witch scared me when I was a little ankle-biter. But as unsettling as she was with her cackling voice and hunched, bony figure, she wasn't nearly as scary for me as those god damned flying monkeys. Regular monkeys, I'm fine. Glue some wings to them, then send them out on a hit against Dorothy et al, and you've got some scary mother-frigging monkeys. When they jacked up the Scarecrow and spread his innards all over Oz, then stole Toto and Dorothy, I was floored. I was also four. I was at a zoo not long afterwards and they had monkeys. I refused to go near them. That, my friends, is willy inducing resonance.