Ludovico Treatment, Demon Theory style

Been trying to figure out what scenes/images from horror movies have become so indelibly imprinted on pop-culture that even people who don’t watch horror kind of have to know them, or at least of them. Which is to say I can’t just pick the coolest or best horror clips–the ones that imprinted me once upon a time. I mean, that’d be Freddy’s long arms from A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, kid-Jason at the end of FRIDAY THE 13th, Gage cutting grandpa’s Achille’s in PET SEMETERY, John Carpenter’s spider-head thing in THE THING, how Michael was just suddenly gone at the end of HALLOWEEN, the girl in SIXTH SENSE’s tent, the floating nurse-nun in EXORCIST III, the scuttler in THE GRUDGE’s attic, the kill scene in IRREVERSIBLE, the end of DARKNESS, etc. But the whole movie audience isn’t cued into those so much, I don’t think. And no, I’m not doing best kill-scenes here either, or best gore or fight scenes or a top horror list (here, here and everywhere). Just the stuff that changed us. Or that I think might have:

Those are the ones (okay, the eleven . . .) that were stickiest to me, anyway, in the sense that I couldn’t shake them, and still kind of can’t. Did get me thinking about the most indelible scenes from all movies put together–CASABLANCA, CHINATOWN, SCARFACE, etc–but it’d be a real chore to cut that down to ten. A chore for another night.

Also, this list got me thinking about what I think are the seven best horror films from the last seven years. Not that his list isn’t great, but my seven would be more along the lines of:

  • High Tension
  • The Ring
  • Session 91
  • The Blair Witch Project
  • 28 Days Later2
  • The Descent3
  • The Sixth Sense

Which, I know, they’re not all ‘landmark’ like a list is supposed to be (my ‘big’ and probably incomplete list is here4), but, again, for me anyway, it’s all about what scares me, what I can’t shake off after the theatre no matter how hard I pretend to laugh.5 As for my favorites, that’d be more along the lines of

  • HOSTEL
  • DEVIL’S REJECTS
  • WRONG TURN
  • SAW 2
  • LAND OF THE DEAD
  • IDENTITY
  • WOLF CREEK
  • THE DAWN OF THE DEAD (remake)
  • THE GRUDGE
  • BOOK OF SHADOWS
  • THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE
  • MAY
  • WILLARD
  • PSYCHO BEACH PARTY
  • DEAD & BREAKFAST
  • CLUB DREAD
  • GINGER SNAPS

and RAVENOUS is too old, right? And, I know, blasphemy–no AUDITION. I don’t know. As easy of a scare as I am, that one didn’t quite get to me. And, too, I’ve yet to catch DEVIL’S BACKBONE, so it may very well (as everybody says) be a top-seven contender. Same for either PULSE. I mean, I even somehow missed SLITHER.

Was going to make a “SCREAM and Everything (good) That Followed” list too here, slasher-style–ie, nothing but slashers–but realized real fast that I like just about all slashers. Of all them that have sprung up, though, the FINAL DESTINATION series has by far been my favorite. Cannot get enough of that. And of course CHERRY FALLS was just a rollicking good time, and hopefully the BLACK CHRISTMAS remake will do the original justice (and yeah, heresy on blasphemy, I kind of liked the WHEN A STRANGER CALLS and TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and HILLS HAVE EYES redo’s [though I draw the line at THE OMEN]).

Anyway, talking horror remakes–which TERMINATOR 4 counts as, I think, and Rob Zombie’s HALLOWEEN will definitely be–that’s a whole nother list (did I hear there’s going to be another HOWLING? another JAWS?!), which I won’t even go into, except to say that, between CAMPSITE MASSACRE and JUST BEFORE DAWN, CAMPSITE MASSACRE would benefit the most from an update in production values6, though don’t forget THE BURNING either, and, man, a PROPHECY: THE MONSTER MOVIE remake? That would make my year.

So far as sequels and prequels are concerned, too, the main one I suppose I’m interested in is the TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE prequel. Unless I see a “SESSION 8” or a “SESSION X” up in marquee lights one fine day. Though of course what I’m mainly waiting for is that big tag team match with Jason and Freddy on one set of ropes, Alien and Predator on the other, Jamie Lee Curtis as emcee, Michael in the black and white, a kitchen knife in his hand . . .

©Stephen Graham Jones, 2006

1 either ending
2 either ending
3 either ending
4 my ‘desert island’ list, however, is here
5 technically, GLITTER and CROSSROADS aren’t horror
6 but yeah, how to attract another Rachel Ward and Daryl Hannah, right? I mean, assuming the molds are even still around

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