Greatest Scariest
Movie Moments and Scenes


Greatest and Scariest Film Scenes
Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Brief Scene Description

M (1931, Ger.)

Director Fritz Lang's highly influential film - his first sound film, was an expressionistic psychological thriller about a child molester and murderer who terrorized the German city of Berlin.

After school, a little girl named Elsie Beckmann (Inge Landgut) bounced her ball against a billboard, as the shadow of psychopathic Berlin child-killer/molester Hans Beckert (Peter Lorre) moved over the poster of the billboard (reading "10,000 Marks of Reward - Who is the Murderer?") that offered a reward. Beckert leaned down and spoke to the girl, still in silhouette: ("You have a very beautiful ball. What's your name?...").

As he stalked and approached his target by buying her a balloon, he compulsively whistled his motif - Edvard Grieg's "In the Hall of the Mountain King" from the Peer Gynt Suite.

Signs of Elsie's Absence

Soon after, Elsie's place setting at the table was unoccupied and both the ball (bouncing away) and the balloon (floating away into telephone lines) were seen - signifying the girl's abduction and murder. An extra edition of the newspaper reported how another young kidnap-murder victim had been claimed (the 9th victim).

Beckert was later marked by underworld members with the letter M on his back, until caught and tried in a kangaroo court, and then by a conventional court.

Shadow of Child-Killer

Purchase of Balloon from Blind Man for Elsie

Beckert Marked with "M"

Beckert Apprehended and Tried in Kangaroo Court

Mad Love (1935)

Peter Lorre's first American role was in famed cinematographer/director Karl Freund's melodramatic horror film - an adaptation of Maurice Renard's 1920 novel Les Mains d'Orlac. MGM's film was the first direct American remake of the German horror film - director Robert Wiene's The Hands of Orlac (1924, aka Orlacs Hände) starring Conrad Veidt.

Lorre portrayed twisted surgeon Dr. Gogol who became obsessed with Parisian Grand Guignol theatre actress Yvonne Orlac (Frances Drake). He was known for his great surgical skills: "He cured deformed children and mutilated soldiers." He had watched Yvonne Orlac's performances from a private box for 47 consecutive evenings at the Theatre des Horreurs, a role that required her to endure bondage and torture for committing adultery.

Backstage in her dressing room after the final show, he was shocked to learn that she was married to concert pianist husband Stephen Orlac (Colin Clive), and was leaving for London, England to live with him. To satisfy himself for the time being, Gogol purchased a wax effigy and life-scale figurine of his beloved (displayed in the theatre's lobby) from the waxworks movers who came to remove the theatre's statue of their star performer and melt it down. He referred to the wax statue of Yvonne as Galatea (from the Greek myth).

Meanwhile, Stephen was on a train bound for Paris on which police were transporting Knife-Thrower Rollo (Edward Brophy) - a convicted American circus knife-murderer with a deadly talent for throwing knifes. In a stroke of unlucky fate, the train jumped the tracks and Stephen's prized hands were irretrievably crushed. [The execution of Rollo was conducted - by guillotine, as Dr. Gogol, the medical examiner, watched.]

Knowing that the amputation of her husband's hands would end his career, Yvonne begged Dr. Gogol to save his precious hands ("Doctor, you don't understand. His hands are his life!"). At the time, Gogol confessed his obsession to her:

Is there no room in your heart, even pity for a man who has never known the love of a woman but - but who has worshiped you since the day he first walked by that absurd little theater...Oh, I can't be silent any longer! You are a woman, you must have known!

She admitted that even if she wasn't married, Gogol frightened and disgusted her. He knew that she would never understand his lustful desires:

"I, a poor peasant, have conquered science! Why can't I conquer love? Don't you understand? You must be mine. Not his. You are mine!"

She pushed him away: "Liar, hypocrite, you disgust me."

Thereafter, Gogol schemed to win her admiration, gratitude and love by acquiring executed Rollo's corpse, chopping off his hands, and transplanting them onto Stephen - without really explaining what he had done.

After the surgery and a long period of physical therapy, Stephen's scarred and disfigured hands gradually healed but he couldn't play the piano as before - and he began to realize that he had an uncanny ability to throw knives or other objects with deadly accuracy.

Meanwhile Gogol worshipped his wax statue and read from a book:

"Galatea! And I am no Pygmalion! 'The face of all the world has changed, I think, since first I heard the footsteps of thy soul...Guess now who holds thee? Death, I said. But there the silver answer rang: Not death, but love!'"

Accused of killing his stepfather Henry Orlac (Ian Wolfe) and worried about his own guilt with his deadly new hands, Stephen was summoned to visit with a strange man to learn the truth about hishands. The man introduced himself as the decapitated yet revived, brought-back-to-live Rollo. It was a shocking and scary appearance - "Rollo" was dressed in a trenchcoat, with a black Stetson hat, dark sunglasses, metal hands, and a heavy leather and metal neck-brace.

"Rollo" With Neck Brace and Metal Hands

It was implied that "Rollo" was the resurrected-from-the-dead condemned killer Rollo who had been guillotined. He claimed that Dr. Gogol had grafted his hands onto Stephen's wrists, and also reconnected the severed head onto Rollo's body!

Rollo died in the guillotine. Yes, they cut off my head, but that Gogol, he put it back here.

To implicate Stephen (and thereby have Yvonne all to himself), "Rollo" led Stephen to believe that he was his step-father's murderer - and that the murder had been committed with the hands that were removed from his body. After Stephen departed and was about to be arrested, in a masterful scene, the maniacal, hysterically-giggling Gogol removed his neck brace (to allegedly keep him from losing his head) and revealed his true identity.

Gogol - now increasingly insane - spoke to his wax statue (actually Yvonne who had broken the statue and pretended to take its place) and admitted his guilt and plan to implicate Stephen ("that fool"):

That fool. He believes he murdered his father. He'll kill now. Power of suggestion. How easily it worked. Triumph, Galatea. Triumph. He thinks he murdered his father, when it's I who killed him. Galatea, she'll come here now, flesh and blood, not wax like you. And he, he shall be shut up in the house where they keep the mad. I, Gogol, will do that. He shall be shut up when it's I who am mad. But nobody knows that. Excepting you and me. It's our little secret. And now I shall play to you, for the last time.

In the somewhat traditional ending, Yvonne was in the murderous clutches of the Gogol madman, after he discovered blood on Yvonne's left cheek and realized his statue of her was alive:

There's blood on your cheek, Galatea. So it seems that wax can bleed. Galatea, I am Pygmalion! You were wax, but you came to life in my arms....You speak. You speak to me. My love has made you live. Galatea, - give me your lips....Why are you afraid of me? I love you, I love you. You came to life for me. Don't you know me, Galatea?...Each man kills the thing he loves...

Gogol refused to take Yvonne's rejection and 'no' for an answer, and threatened to strangle Yvonne with her own hair:

And so I find a thing to do with all her hair In one long raven string I wind three times her little throat around and strangle her No pain feels she...I am quite sure she feels no pain..

She was saved when Stephen opened the panel on the bolted door and expertly threw a knife into Gogol's back.

Parisian Theatre des Horreurs

Obsessed Dr. Gogol (Peter Lorre) Over Yvonne Orlac

Gogol With Yvonne (Who Was Pretending to be a Wax Statue)

Gogol Finally Realized Yvonne Was Not a Wax Statue - He Attempted to Strangle Her

Gogol Knifed in Back By Stephen, Saving Yvonne

Yvonne and Stephen Reunited for an Embrace

Manhunter (1986)


This was the first film to introduce the serial killer character named Hannibal - serving as a prequel to The Silence of the Lambs (1991). It was based on Thomas Harris' 1981 best-selling novel Red Dragon, and from the screenplay by director Michael Mann. The film's original title might have been misinterpreted as a kung-fu movie, so it was renamed with the bland title of Manhunter.

This psychological thriller was later re-made as Red Dragon (2002) by director Brett Ratner, starring Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Hannibal Lecktor (now spelled Lecter) and Edward Norton as Will Graham.

The film's scariest high-point was the torture and death of obnoxious, sleazy National Tattler tabloid journalist Freddie Lounds (Stephen Lang), who was conducting his own investigation of the Red Dragon murders conducted by a new serial killer named Francis Dollarhyde (Tom Noonan). Dollarhyde had become known as the Tooth Fairy because he left bite-marks on his victims.

Lounds was ambushed by The Tooth Fairy serial killer in an underground parking garage. He was chloroformed and kidnapped. During a shocking torture scene, Lounds was blindfolded and strapped in a wheelchair, and taunted: "According to you, I'm a sexual pervert. 'An animal,' you said." Dollarhyde was incensed that Lounds' tabloid had printed a false and derogatory profile of him as the Tooth Fairy.

The tall, crazed "Tooth Fairy" enemy with a cleft-palate and scraggly white hair wore a ladies' sheer stocking mask over his head and eyes, and forced Lounds to watch a slideshow beginning with a painting of William Blake's The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in the Rays of the Sun, with further pictures of his transformed female victims (Mrs. Leeds, Mrs. Jacobi), and imminent future victim Freddie Lounds. The killer told the helpless Lounds:

"Before me, you are a slug in the sun. You are privy to a great becoming, and you recognize nothing. You are an ant in the afterbirth. It is your nature to do one thing correctly, tremble. But fear is not what you owe me. No, Lounds, you and the others, you owe me awe."

Lounds was forced to record a note in which he admitted his writings about the Red Dragon killer were lies, and that FBI profiler agent Will Graham (William Petersen) had coerced him to write the untruths (part of the note: "He will be more merciful to me than to you. You will lie awake in fear of what the Red Dragon will do"). The "Tooth Fairy" then announced that Lounds' promise to tell the truth would be sealed:

"We'll seal your promise with a kiss."

The screaming Lounds had his lips bitten off (off-screen) and then was set ablaze in the wheelchair. He was rolled down a steep underground parking garage ramp towards the camera - his death occurred later (offscreen) in a hospital.

Serial Killer Francis "Tooth Fairy" Dollarhyde (Tom Noonan)

Kidnapped Reporter Freddie Lounds (Stephen Lang)

Murder Sequence: The Torture and Death of Freddie Lounds

Maniac (1980)


This was a classic 80s slasher film and controversial, disturbing horror film from director William Lustig, with incredibly gory special effects by bloody make-up guru Tom Savini. The director admitted the film was a compilation of various serial killers in the news at the time, i.e., David Berkowitz and John Wayne Gacy. It was a notorious precursor to Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986), and was reminiscent of an urban version of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974). The film was remade as Maniac (2012) with Elijah Wood.

The gritty splatter movie opened with a nighttime scene of an unidentified male using coin-operated binoculars at a beach to spy on a couple (James Brewster and Linda Lee Walter) on the dunes under a blanket. When the guy went to get wood, the stalker came up to the female and slit her throat. When the boyfriend returned, he was garrotted from behind with a wire.

The stalker had been introduced - he was a self-loathing, self-torturing psychopath named Frank Zito (Joe Spinell, the film's co-producer and co-scripter), who often rambled and spoke to himself with an inner monologue, similar to Norman Bates' character in Psycho (1960). The demented and lonely Zito lived in a tiny NY apartment, adorned with a framed picture surrounded by candles of his prostitute mother Carmen. Later, it was revealed that the mama's boy had been abused by her - she locked him in a closet while she entertained tricks.

Zito stalked the streets of NYC to find pretty victims to kill and scalp. Then, he would take their clothes and trophy scalps home to dress up his growing mannequin collection. He collected a creepy set of decorated mannequins in his one-room NY apartment. They wore the scalped hair of his female victims (he nailed the bloody tufts of hair onto their heads). He also slept with his 'females' - handcuffed.

The deranged, sweaty, pudgy Zito was responsible for many stalkings and deaths strung together in this violent film - committed in a gruesome fashion. Zito's next victim was a hooker (Rita Montone), who was strangled after Frank began to have sex with her in a hotel bedroom. Frank then scalped the woman with a razor.

Zito Strangling and Scalping Hooker (Rita Montone)

The most infamous and graphically-violent scene was dubbed the "Disco Boy" sequence. One night, a couple making out in the backseat of a car in a parking lot near one end of the Verrazano Bridge were brutally executed. After spying on the couple, Zito jumped on the car's hood and fired into the windshield at the driver (Tom Savini) - the male's head was exploded with a direct shot from a 12-gauge double-barrelled shotgun. Blood splattered over the hysterical female Disco Girl (Hyla Marrow) - and she was also targeted and shot point-blank in the head.

The Disco Boy and Disco Girl Murder Sequence
Driver's Head (Tom Savini) Double-Barrell Shot-gunned in the Driver's Seat

Then, he started dating young British fashion photographer Anna D'Abroni (Caroline Munro) who took his picture in the park. Suspense was created during their seemingly-normal relationship - would he murder her too?

There were other misogynistic killing scenes, including:

  • in a masterfully-filmed, suspenseful scene, Zito stalked a young red-haired nurse (Kelly Piper) in a deserted subway station, and in the ladies room, he knifed her with a long bayonet from behind
  • Frank killed another female victim named Rita (Abigail Clayton/Gail Lawrence), one of Anna's models; he snuck into her apartment, grabbed her from behind in the hallway after her bath, and knocked her out; he bound and gagged her on her bed and engaged in a sick, one-sided conversation with her ("And now you're mine, all mine...I never wanted to hurt you, never"); she briefly and vainly begged not to be killed ("Don't kill me") before he knifed her across the throat with his switchblade ("I'm not going to kill you, I'm going to keep you so you'll never go away. I'm just going to keep you so you won't go away ever again"), and then scalped her for his collection

In the film's ultimate sequence, a baffling and over-the-top scene, Zito woke up in a sweat. He was nightmarishly attacked by his own anthropomorphic bloodied mannequins, who seemed to come alive and surround his bed. They grabbed his implements of death (shotgun, bayonet, knives, etc.), and first dismembered him (cutting off one arm), plunged a bayonet into his abdomen, and then decapitated him by ripping off his head.

The next morning, police officers found Frank's corpse on his bed - he had apparently committed suicide after suffering from a nightmare about his mannequins murdering him. After the officers left after a few brief moments (without saying a word or touching anything, strangely), there was a lengthy shot of Frank on his bed -- and then a zoom shot into his eye when it opened! Was he not really dead?

Frank's Corpse?

Opening Scene: Throat Slitting and Garroting of Boyfriend at the Beach

"Maniac" on the Loose

Zito Affixing Trophy Scalps on Mannequins

The Subway Murder Scene - Attack on Nurse (Kelly Piper)

Rita's Bathtub Scene Prior to Her Murder

A Nightmare? - Zito Was Decapitated and Dismembered by his Own Anthropomorphic Mannequins

Marathon Man (1976)


Marathon Man (1976) was a scary, paranoid nightmare thriller - best known for its suspenseful pursuit scenes and two truly repellent scenes of dental torture.

The main villain was the infamous character of Dr. Christian Szell (Laurence Olivier), who was known for selling stolen contraband diamonds for his own profit (derived from gold taken from Jews' teeth during WWII when he was at Auschwitz, known as "The White Angel, Der Weie Engel, due to his white hair"). In two excruciating and grim scenes (the infamous torture scene was split into two segments), sadistic ex-Nazi death camp dentist Szell proceeded to torture a tied-up victim in a window-less room using probing and buzzing dental instruments on a tray.

An early scene set the stage for the two tortures. In a Parisian hotel room, Henry "Doc" Levy (Roy Scheider), a globe-trotting, covert American government agent (in a group known as "the Division") was attacked. He was working to foil aging, fugitive, ex-Nazi war criminals. "Doc" was serving as a diamond courier for Szell in return for Szell's assistance in tracking down other Nazi war criminals. While standing on his balcony with a view of the Eiffel Tower, Doc was garrotted from behind by an assailant, but was able to fight off his brutal attacker and break his neck.

"Doc's" brother - an idealistic doctoral history student named Thomas "Babe" Levy (Dustin Hoffman), was taking a bath in his tub in his NYC apartment, when two mysterious intruders entered - he screamed for help, but was seized, dunked head-first into his bathtub, and abducted. The first session of death camp dentist Szell's sadistic, grim torture of "Babe" commenced.

In a chair, Babe was constrained while wearing a bathrope and striped PJ bottoms. After methodically washing his hands, Szell repeatedly and calmly asked the baffling question: "Is it safe?" He unrolled a collection of probing, ominous-looking dental instruments, and began to torture him; "Babe" stubbornly refused to divulge any information. After causing intense pain by digging around inside Babe's mouth, Szell applied a dab of a medicinal liquid on his little finger to the affected tooth:

"Is it not remarkable? Simple oil of cloves and how amazing the results. Life can be that simple; relief - discomfort. Now, which of these I next apply, that decision is in your hands, so, take your time and tell me. Is it safe?"

Note: His question asked whether or not it was safe for him to go and pick up a hidden stash of diamonds stolen from Jewish concentration camp victims. The diamonds, owned by Szell's dead brother, were in a safety deposit box in a NYC bank.

Dr. Christian Szell: "Is it safe?"

During a second session of torture and interrogation, Szell spoke about how "Doc" (whom Szell had lethally stabbed) had possibly relayed information to "Babe" before his death, and he would now use further torture to extract assurances of safety.

Your brother was incredibly strong. Strength is often inherited. He died in your arms. He travelled far and in great pain to do that. There has to be a reason...

Szell plugged in his loud-sounding, whirring drill (the horror was accentuated by POV shots) and threatened:

Oh please, don't worry. I'm not going into that cavity. That nerve's already dying. A live, freshly-cut nerve is infinitely more sensitive. So I'll just drill into a healthy tooth until I reach the pulp...unless of course you can tell me that it's safe.

"Babe" screamed as the pain increased and then passed out; Szell spoke to his thugs: "He knew nothing. If he'd known, he would have told. Get rid of him." "Babe" was able to escape and engaged in a marathon run across town to get back to his Manhattan apartment.

Garrotting of "Doc" Levy (Roy Scheider) in Paris

Abduction of "Doc's" Brother "Babe" in NYC

Man Behind the Sun (1988, HK) (aka Hei Tai Yang 731) (aka Men Behind the Sun)

This unrated (would have been NC-17 undoubtedly) provocative, unflinching and sickening documentary-style film (denounced by some as an exploitation film even though historically accurate) came from director T.F. Mou. It displayed many of the Japanese atrocities and perverse medical experiments committed toward guinea-pig human victims (Manchurian civilians in NE China) in Unit 731 (a biological warfare R & D experimental unit code-named Maruta) during WWII (and the Second Sino-Japanese War). The experiments were similar to ones committed by the Nazis in Europe. At the height of the conflict, Japan controlled the Korean peninsula, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Manchuria.

They were held in Unit 731 (a biological warfare R & D unit) during WWII (and the Sino-Japanese War). It was claimed that Emperor Hirohito secretly ordered the inhumane lab experiments during Japan's aggressive period of empire-building, including the search for a contagious strain of the bubonic plague to unleash on the Chinese and on other enemies..

  • One atrociously graphic scene showed a traumatized Chinese woman (who had recently had her newborn cruelly smothered to death in the snow) the subject of experiments on extreme temperature. She was forced to thrust her deliberately frost-bitten frozen hands into hot water, and then had her flesh ripped off her hands to expose the 'de-gloved' skeletal bones.

  • In another sequence, a group of prisoners were tied to wooden crosses in an open field and subjected to explosive bombs with ceramic (or porcelain) shell casings - as part of a flawed experiment to expose them to plague-infected fleas (with bubonic plague). Many of the prisoners were maimed or mutilated. Later, during a similar experiment with airborne bombs, those who were able to free themselves from their crosses and escape were either run over or shot.

It was also criticized for its use of actual autopsy footage for 'live dissections.' The most egregious example depicted a drugged young, mute and naked Chinese boy who was operated upon only with the use of chloroform. His internal organs were extracted from his body while he remained alive. One of the doctors exclaimed how happy he was that they now had healthy organs to experiment with further:

"Are you all satisfied? Well then, you have now got the heart and you've got the liver, and you've got the brain that you needed. All these organs from a living boy in puberty are difficult to come by. That was very successful."

After the experiments, unneeded body parts of the dead were routinely incinerated.

Another scene was heavily criticized in which a live white cat was thrown into a chamber and ripped apart by a swarm of hungry rats.

In another sequence set in a decompression or hyperbaric chamber, intense pressure caused a man's body to swell, causing his bowels and intestines to shoot out of his anus.

In another segment, a woman and her child were gassed to death in a glass-enclosed chamber, while the Japanese commandant and other medical officials observed the ghastly effects.

Frost-Bitten Hands Thrust into Hot Water - Exposing Skeletal Bones

Prisoners Tied to Wooden Crosses and Mutilated by Explosive Bombs

Extraction and Harvesting of Organs on Young Boy While Chloroformed

Explosion of Bowels and Intestines Through Anus in Hyperbaric Chamber

Gas Chamber Murders

Mirrors (2008)

French co-writer/director Alexandre Aja's supernatural horror film was an adaptation and remake of Sung-ho Kim's horror film Into The Mirror (2003, S.Kor.).

It told about the concept of reflections in mirrors that were haunted or possessed. They could taunt people and cause them to bring harm to themselves.

In the graphically-violent celebrated scene, a major set-piece, Angela "Angie" Carson (Amy Smart) - the sister of ex-alcoholic, and ex-NYC police detective Ben (Kiefer Sutherland), entered her bathroom and gazed at her reflection. When she turned away toward the tub, the reflection took on a malevolent and evil life force of its own and caused Angie to suffer harm.

After sinking into a bathtub, the actions of her reflected image in the mirror began to literally tear and pull apart her own jaws. She grabbed the sides of her mouth and slowly pulled them apart - causing massive hemorraghing and flailing about before she perished in her own bloody water.

Jaws Pulled Apart

Misery (1990)


Kathy Bates won the Best Actress Oscar for her sledge-hammer-swinging/psychopathic fan role in director Rob Reiner's blackish thriller Misery (1990) - another Stephen King adaptation (by William Goldman). Rescuer/nurse Annie Wilkes strangely idolized car accident victim and romance author-writer Paul Sheldon (James Caan) -- ("I'm your number one fan").

Sheldon had penned a series of books about a lovelorn 19th century character named Misery Chastain. Wilkes nursed Sheldon back to health in her place in Colorado. She was sane until she maddeningly learned that the writer had killed off the heroine character.

In an earlier tense scene, Paul frantically returned to his bed before Annie returned. Eventually, the obsessed Wilkes made a deranged, frightening decision to 'fix' things so that he would never try to run away.

In the very painful 'hobbling' scene, she explained how she could assure that her favorite captive author-writer Paul Sheldon would never leave her:

  • she placed a thick block of wood between his two ankles, took a huge sledge-hammer (she lifted it and said: "Trust me, it's for the best")
  • she blasted his left foot so that it visibly bent ("I'm almost done, just one more"), and then his right foot
  • after completing the horrible deed, she adoringly said: "God, I love you"
Hobbling Paul's Legs with a Sledgehammer
And Then Telling Him: "God, I love you!"

During a near-rescue scene, the Sheriff (Richard Farnsworth) was killed by a shotgun blast at the last moment.

However, in the concluding basement scene, Annie was planning on a double suicide-murder:

"You and I were meant to be together for ever. But now our time in this world must end. But don't worry, Paul. I've prepared for what must be done. I put two bullets in my gun, one for you and one for me. Oh, darling, it'll be so beautiful."

But Paul was able to trick Annie into getting a cigarette and second glass for champagne to celebrate completing the manuscript; he found an opportunity to bash her over the head with his typewriter, and although she shot him in the left shoulder, he was eventually able to stuff some of the manuscript into her mouth during a one-on-one fight, and then after tripping her, she fell and suffered a lethal blow to the head when she struck his typewriter.

In the haunting ending in a restaurant, a waitress told Paul: "I just wanna tell you I'm your number one fan" - causing Paul continued visions of a now-dead Annie still stalking him.

Annie Wilkes: "I'm your number one fan"

Injured, Bed-ridden Author Paul

Basement Scene of Revenge: Bashing Annie Over the Head with Typewriter and Killing Her

Haunting Concluding Restaurant Scene

The Mothman Prophecies (2002)

Director Mark Pellington's X-Files-like horror film starred Richard Gere and Laura Linney. It was an eerie psychological thriller based on a legendary 'true' creature - with black wings, mothlike features and red eyes. The creature was based on true-life events in Point Pleasant, West Virginia that occurred in the mid to late 1960s.

John Klein (Richard Gere), a newspaper reporter researching the "Mothman" legend, had a series of chilling, mind-reading phone conversations in his motel room, with the inhuman, supernatural "Indrid Cold" (voice of Mark Pellington, the director) who could read his mind:

Indrid Cold: "Your father was born in Racine, Wisconsin. He lived in a green house on Monroe Street. You don't remember how your mother looked."
John: "OK, you got my attention. Where's my watch?"
Indrid Cold: "In your shoe - under the bed. Very good, John. Thank you."
John: "What's in my hand?"
Indrid Cold: "Chap Stick."
John: "You're reading my mind, aren't you? Did you read my mind?"
Indrid Cold: "I have no need to, do I?"

The most amazing mind-reading revelations were John's next conversation about a paperback book that he had, and the fate of his wife:

John: "What's the third line, page 51?"
Indrid Cold:
"'A broken smile beneath her whispered wings.' Still more proof, John Klein?"
John: "What do you look like?"
Indrid Cold: "It depends on who's looking."
John: "I want to meet you."
Indrid Cold: "You already have, John. I have seen you afraid. You're afraid right now, aren't you?"
John: "Can I ask you something?"
Indrid Cold: "Why ask me what you already know, John?"
John: "What happened, what happened to my wife?"
Indrid Cold: "You were there. Mary Klein cannot be found by looking. You will see her in time."

The Eerie Chapstick Scene: A Conversation Between Reporter Klein and 'Indrid Cold'

Mulholland Dr. (2001)

Best Director-nominated David Lynch's surreal, enigmatic, complex, puzzle-box, mind-bending, and unconventional film was about Hollywood, obsession and unrequited love, a contract hit, dashed dreams and suicide. It portrayed the twisting, and shifting identities of its two female protagonists, two femme fatales, each with two personas:

  • Betty Elms/Diane Selwyn (Naomi Watts), a wholesome, pert blonde Canadian ingenue and aspiring actress
  • Rita/Camilla Rhodes (Laura Elena Harring), a full-bodied amnesiac and bi-sexual, a dark-haired brunette and her blonde counterpart

In the modern film noir, both were caught in a nightmarish, Los Angeles web of corruption and death after opening the mysterious Pandora's Box with a blue key.

There were two startling, creepy appearances of a deformed, homeless-looking, dirty monstrous dumpster-dwelling crone/vagrant (Bonnie Aarons). Just before his first appearance behind Winkie's diner on Sunset Blvd., Dan (Patrick Fischler) hesitantly, in a long monologue (located at the 10-15 minute mark of the film), told his well-dressed friend Herb (Michael Cooke) inside the restaurant about a dream that they had both been in:

I had a dream about this place...Well, it's the second one I've had but they're both the same. They start out that I'm in here but it's not day or night. It's kinda half night, you know? But it looks just like this, except for the light. And I'm scared like I can't tell ya. Of all people, you're standing right over there - by that counter. You're in both dreams and you're scared. I get even more frightened when I see how afraid you are and then I realize what it is. There's a man in back of this place. He's the one who's doing it. I can see him through the wall. I can see his face. I hope that I never see that face ever outside of a dream. That's it.

He ended by saying that the dream gave him a "god-awful feeling" that he needed to get rid of.

Afterwards with a foreboding feeling of dread, the two left Winkie's and walked around the side of the restaurant, and descended some steps (shot with a POV perspective) - proceeding stealthily and cautiously. From behind a graffiti-decorated concrete dumpster wall, the filthy and repulsive vagrant briefly appeared to them in a quick flash - causing a great jump scare!

[Note: There was some resemblance between the faces of the Dan and the vagrant -- a long face, prominent nose, and high cheekbones.]

It scared Dan into a heart attack, and he fell backwards into Herb's arms.

Metaphorically, Dan's story was actually the shocking and terrorizing fear of many individuals, and specifically the plot of the film -- an aspiring Hollywood starlet named Diane, who had come with high hopes to make something of herself in the "city of dreams," failed, was on the verge of homelessness, and had sunk to levels of impoverishment and degradation before literally dying.

Later, the black-faced horrible figure also appeared in Diane's vision holding a blue box, right before and after Diane committed suicide.

The Diner Scene Between Dan and Herb

Dan (Patrick Fischler)

Herb (Michael Cooke)

Viewing the Dumpster Vagrant

Dan's Heart Attack

The Mummy (1932)

In director Karl Freund's classic horror film from the early 1930s, there was:

  • the scary sight of the face of undead, cursed Egyptian high priest Im-Ho-Tep (Boris Karloff in his second horror-starring role) who was embalmed in bandages and buried alive 3,700 years earlier (shown in a horrifying flashback sequence); he had been sentenced to the live burial for a forbidden act of sacrilege - for attempting to revive a sacrificed vestal virgin whom he loved named Princess Ankh-es-en-Amon (Zita Johann)
  • the frightening awakening and coming to life of the Mummy - Im-Ho-Tep was frighteningly brought to life (unearthed or raised from the dead) by a group of British archaeologists in 1921, including one foolish young researcher named Ralph Norton (Bramwell Fletcher) who read incantations from the ancient Scroll of Toth

After being resurrected, 10 years later, the Mummy lived under an alias as gentlemanly but sinister-looking Egyptian Ardath Bey.

When he saw Helen Grosvenor (also Zita Johann), he believed that she was his long-lost reincarnated ancient princess love Anck-es-en-Amon from thousands of years before. His objective was to kill her on an altar, then mummify (or embalm her in a bath of natron to make her a "living mummy" like himself), place her in her original sarcophagus, and then resurrect her, and make her his immortal bride.

In the climactic conclusion, Ardath attempted to kill Helen (in Egyptian garb) by plunging a sacrificial dagger into her stomach as she laid on the altar. She objected to his crazed plan: "No, I'm alive. I'm young! I won't die! I loved you once but now you belong with the dead. I am Ankh-es-en-amon, but I-I'm somebody else too. I want to live, even in this strange new world!....The bath of natron. You shall not plunge my body into that!"

She jumped up and prayed to a large black statue of the goddess Isis to save her and offer forgiveness and protection: ("Oh Isis, holy maiden, I was thy consecrated vestal. I broke my vows. Save me now! Teach me the ancient summons, the holy spells I've forgotten. I call upon thee as of old!"); the statue responded by raising its right arm with an emitted ball of flame from an ankh symbol in its hand to set the Scroll on fire.

Bey's Attempted Sacrifice of the Reincarnated
Helen Grosvenor
Helen Praying to Isis
The Statue of Isis with Ankh Symbol
The Scroll of Toth Burning

The spell was broken that kept the curse functioning, and in a stunning transformation scene, Ardath's face dried, crumbled and deteriorated as Helen was saved.

Flashback: As Punishment, Imhotep Was Mummified and Buried Alive in a Nameless Grave

The Slow Resurrection of Imhotep

The Entrance of Ardath Bey, 10 Years Later

Ardath Bey's First View of Helen

The Crumbling of Ardath's Face and Body

The Mummy (1999)

The scariest scene of director Stephen Sommers' big-budget remake came after a battle scene with Imhotep's resurrected mummy priests. It was highlighted by the final demise of Beni Gabor (Kevin J. O'Connor), a cowardly and greedy treasure-seeker.

After gathering treasure for himself, Beni became trapped and entombed in a large underground vault, and quickly surrounded by a vast swarm of screeching, crawling, flesh-eating scarabs.

The beetles devoured him as the screen turned black when his torch extinguished.

Death by Swarming Scarabs in Underground Vault

Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933)

Director Michael Curtiz' and Warner Bros.' Technicolored (two-strip colors of greens and reds), 79 minute expressionistic mystery-horror film was the next effort to capitalize on the success of the similar Doctor X (1932); it was the last significant feature film to be made with the two-color Technicolor process.

The exciting and frightening gothic horror film again starred Lionel Atwill and Fay Wray; the initially-lost film was remade by director Andre De Toth as House of Wax (1953) (in 3-D), starring Vincent Price. Roger Corman's Bucket of Blood (1959) also used a similar storyline. The Pre-Code film was noted for its female leads prancing around in silky underwear or tight outfits, heroin and drug addiction, sexy double-entendre dialogue, bootlegging and multiple murders:

  • in the crime thriller's opening, set in 1921 London - brilliant sculptor Mr. Ivan Igor (Lionel Atwill) had set up a critically-successful Wax Museum, his labor of love, that was filled with beautiful and artistic wax creations of historical personages (he called them his "children"); he was proud of his life-like creatures that he produced with "the warmth and flesh and blood of life far more better in wax than in cold stone"; on the other hand, his unscrupulous and sinister business partner Joe Worth (Edwin Maxwell) was concerned about a 15,000 pounds deficit and unpaid rent, and was intent on turning the museum (with only "artistic nonsense") into a morbid and more commercially-successful "house of horror"
  • the spiteful and treacherous Joe betrayed his partner and set Igor's beloved museum on fire, in an effort to collect 10,000 pounds in fire insurance money; in a striking sequence inside the museum, as the two fought and struggled amidst the flames, Igor was trapped and all his lifelike wax images burned and hideously melted away and were ultimately destroyed; an unconscious Igor was left to die in the conflagration as the building was collapsing, but he awakened and watched with anguish as his "children" perished (statues of Joan of Arc, Voltaire, Marie Antoinette, Queen Victoria and more)
Fight Between Joe Worth and Ivan Igor
Melting Wax Figures in Museum Fire
Death to Igor ?
Igor Regained Consciousness - Helpless to Save Wax Figures
  • twelve years later in New York City in 1933 on New Years Eve, Igor watched from his curtained window while the body of a suicidal victim, model and drug-using socialite Joan Gale (Monica Bannister) was taken to the morgue in an ambulance; after two attendants left the morgue after their late shift, a figure sat up on a sheet-covered morgue table - it was a mysterious, face-scarred man who then lowered one of the wrapped-up cadavers through a window to his assistants below in the alley
  • wisecracking, spunky, fast-talking and hard-boiled city reporter Florence Dempsey (Glenda Farrell) for the New York Express was pressured by her impatient editor Jim (Frank McHugh) to report a new story by the next edition or he threatened her firing; in the meantime, a wooden coffin box (marked "Fragile") was delivered to Joe Worth's remote warehouse; heroin drug-addicted Professor D'Arcy/Sparrow (Arthur Edmund Carewe) was apparently being supplied with drugs and working for Joe Worth
  • the suicide victim Joan Gale's rich young "millionaire playboy" boyfriend, George Winton (Gavin Gordon) was arrested for her murder; Florence became suspicious and began following the story
  • an autopsy was ordered on Joan's body (suspecting that she had accidentally died of laudanum poisoning), but the coroner discovered that her corpse was missing - presumably the one delivered earlier to Joe Worth; Florence visited Winton in jail at the Tombs and was easily convinced of his innocence (he was getting "a raw deal"); Florence told her boss that there was a plague of mysterious suicides, murders and missing bodies in NYC: "Eight bodies have been stolen in New York in the last 18 months"
  • in midtown NYC on 14th Street, crippled and wheelchair-bound Ivan Igor opened up a new museum titled: "London Wax Museum"; it was revealed that Professor D'Arcy was also employed as an assistant by Igor as one of his sculptors; D'Arcy delivered his newest work, a waxed statue of Joan of Arc, to the museum (it suspiciously looked like the murdered Joan Gale)
  • Florence accompanied her demure and innocent roommate Charlotte Duncan (Fay Wray) to Igor's new wax museum to visit Charlotte's fiancée Ralph Burton (Allen Vincent), a sculptor serving as one of Igor's sculptor-assistants; in the museum, Florence was shocked to see the clear resemblance between a recently-completed Joan of Arc wax statue exhibit and the dead Joan Gale
  • in addition, Igor approached Charlotte and told her that she was the long-lost face of his destroyed masterpiece Marie Antoinette ("I knew you before you were born. Before this terrible thing happened to me, I made a very beautiful statue. And my child, you are that figure come to life"); he requested that she pose for her sculpture to be created (by Professor D'Arcy); suspicions were raised - were the museum's statues possibly paraffin-coated bodies of the missing corpses?
  • after the museum's evening opening, Winton (released from prison on bail) drove Florence, while they were following D'Arcy, to Joe Worth's remote warehouse; she learned that Winton was deeply in debt to Joe Worth; in the cellar, she hid from the scarred-faced man and found a wooden box; she reported her find to police (hypothesizing it held Joan Gale's body); she described the man's looks: "He made Frankenstein look like a lily"; the box was found to only hold illegal whiskey (Worth was a bootlegger)
  • shortly later at the police station, while suffering drug withdrawal, the arrested junkie D'Arcy was forced to confess to the police (after they found missing Judge Ramsey's watch in his possession) that Igor was having him collect bodies that resembled historical figures, including Ramsey: "All right, I'll talk. I'll tell you all I know! Ramsey was murdered because he looked like Voltaire...He's a statue, a silly wax statue....It was Igor at the Wax Museum.... You'll find your Judge embalmed in wax. He's a statue of Voltaire, together with the other corpses. I tell you, the whole place is a morgue"
  • meanwhile, back in the museum, Igor (filmed from a high angle) confronted Charlotte trapped in his locked basement laboratory (with a prominent vat of bubbling wax); the insane Igor rose from his wheel chair (he had been faking being crippled with crutches) and grabbed her with an insane look - he promised her immortality by being reborn into a Marie Antoinette effigy: "You'll help me to give back to the world - my masterpiece. My Marie Antoinette." She screamed as he continued: "Immortality has been the dream, the inspiration of mankind through the ages. And I am going to give you immortality....I have no desire to hurt you. You will always be beautiful. Think, my child, in a thousand years, you will be as lovely as you are now"
Igor Rising From His Wheelchair (Without Crutches)
  • in the famous "unmasking" sequence, Charlotte began screaming: "Let me go!", punching with her fists and clawing at Igor's face; his waxy face-mask cracked to reveal his scarred, hideous, loathesome and burned facial features underneath; she screamed again: (Charlotte: "Your face was of wax! You fiend!"); he responded by calling her "My Marie Antoinette" - and showing her the waxed body of his real mortal "fiend" and enemy Joe Worth in an upright coffin box ("There was a fiend and this is what he did to me")
Climactic "Unmasking" Sequence of Igor
(Similar to the "Unmasking" Scene in
Phantom of the Opera (1924))
  • Igor confessed that his damaged hands 12 years earlier (because of Joe Worth) had prevented him from sculpting; he had finally found the "fiend" and settled their account - he opened the coffin to reveal the mummified, stiff corpse of Joe Worth - the body fell face forward to the floor; to stock his new museum, Igor had been forced to find corpses or kill people (who resembled his burned statues), dip or permanently encase them in wax, and then display them
  • in the climactic ending, Ralph heard her screams and came to her rescue but after a brief fight he was knocked unconscious; Charlotte had fainted and was strapped down by her wrists on a gurney beneath a nozzle of molten wax, ready to be encased: ("Your beauty will be preserved forever"); as he prepared to inject a lethal dose via a hypodermic needle into Charlotte, the police arrived; Igor struggled with officers and fled onto a catwalk, where he was gunned down and fell into his own giant cauldron of boiling-hot wax and perished; Charlotte was saved in the nick of time by a revived Ralph from being covered in hot wax on the table
Igor Preparing Charlotte For Waxing - A Death Injection

Igor Survived Fire - Reappeared in NY in 1933

Joan Gale Suicide

Mysterious Figure with Scarred Face Rising Up From Under Sheet in Morgue

Plucky Reporter Florence Dempsey (Glenda Farrell) with Editor Jim (Frank McHugh)

New Museum Opening in NYC in 1933

New Statue of Joan of Arc

Charlotte (Fay Wray) - Told By Igor That She Looked Like His Marie Antoinette Waxed Statue

D'Arcy Confessing to Police: "It was Igor at the Wax Museum...The whole place is a morgue!"

Igor Revealing to Charlotte the Mummified Body of "Fiendish" Joe Worth in a Coffin Box

The Museum's Giant Bubbling Vat of Wax

Igor Shot on Catwalk - Sending Him into Hot Wax Cauldron

Greatest Scariest Movie Moments and Scenes
(alphabetical by film title, illustrated)
Intro | #s-A | B | C-1 | C-2 | D-1 | D-2 | E | F | G | H
I-J | K-L | M | N-O | P | Q-R | S-1 | S-2 | S-3 | T | U-Z

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