Describe a scene in a horror film that brought you to close to tears.
The climax of Heavenly Creatures is one of the most affecting, disturbing, unforgettable sequences in any movie ever.
Even though “Real Men” aren’t supposed to be brought to tears by scenes in horror films, I have to say that the first time I remember being really moved by a scene in a genre film was in the original “Dawn of the Dead.” It was the first time I felt truly invested in the characters in a horror picture — maybe any kind of picture. Two scenes in the movie really got to me: first was Roger’s “We whipped ‘em, didn’t we?” scene; the second was the elevator scene at the end with Stephen. Even though I was moved by the ending of “Night,” I didn’t feel as much for those guys as I did for the foursome in “Dawn”; I really felt like I knew them, or at least understood them relative to what they were going through. When Peter started to go a little cuckoo, it was terrifying and sad at the same time; you knew what was in store for him, and had to watch and wait for it to happen. And when Stephen met his fate it, it pretty much killed me. It’s such a great movie, but man, what a downer.
I’m actually a shamefully easy cry at the movies (”Oh why won’t they leave the Alligator People alone?!”) but the first thing that comes to mind is when Father Dyer gives Father Karras last rites at the end of THE EXORCIST. The movie doesn’t get enough credit for the way it understands the distance that yawns between people for all kinds of different reasons (a motif telegraphed with the missed phone calls, the Ouija board, the thwarted conversations where one person pursues another who doesn’t want to talk, the backwards speech, the writing on Regan’s stomach) and the loneliness of the modern age. Yet for all the love that goes down the wrong way in the film, the friendship between Karras and Dyer is very palpable, very local, very real… and it breaks me to pieces to see Dyer weeping* as he blesses his dying friend and Karras’ bloody fingers curling slightly in his hand to show he’s still there and to say, in his extremely diminished capacity, goodbye. You just don’t get that kind of emotional layering in horror movies most of the time.
*Yes, I know director William Friedkin bitch slapped first-time actor William O’Mally before they shot the scene but the moment transcends the trivia.
It’s weird, as I think back, I’m realizing that horror films don’t usually bring that type of emotion out of me. I have been moved by films, but they’re usually from other genres. When I try to think of emotional endings, I keep coming back to “The Descent”, and the way the ending that film completely rips your guts out. I speak, of course, of the ACTUAL ending, not the slightly rosier one from the American release. Even then, it’s not as much sadness as it is pure terror.
What immediately comes to mind is the blind hermit scene from Bride of Frankenstein. It is truly rare to find such depth of emotion in a horror film, especially one made during the 1930s, an era when much of genre entertainment was considered strictly for kids. By the end of the scene, as the hermit declares his friendship for a teary-eyed monster with Ave Maria playing in the background, I will confess to occasionally getting a little misty myself. It’s scenes like this one that place James Whales’ Frankenstein films head and shoulders above almost anything else in the Universal canon.
I can’t pinpoint one scene, but 2003’s “May” haunts me. Angela Bettis, as the title character, is terrifying, but she’s so beautiful, and so sad. She’s all alone, and all she wants is to find some happiness for herself, but she doesn’t know how. You can’t help but fall in love with her, just a little bit. And as you watch May slide further down towards her inevitable self-destruction, you wonder if maybe, just maybe, you would have been strong enough to rescue her, or if you too would just end up as a couple of extra parts in her collection. In the end, you mourn.
Close to tears? Hell I cry all the time. Making me cry is hardly a feat. But the first sort of random example that sprung to mind here was the end of Ginger Snaps, a film I seem to love much more than most people I’ve spoken to. I just found the central relationship between the two sisters really effective, and I thought the actresses really sold those final moments, in which Bridget has to come to terms with her sister’s changes, really well.
What does it say about me when I say the final moments of THE DEVIL’S REJECTS, when the Fireflys are gunned down to the tune of “Free Bird”, actually did make me well up?
All of I Am Legend, particularly the ending and anytime Will Smith was dropping one-liners or talking about how Shrek is his favourite film. The stink lines emanating from that awful movie actually scratched my corneas and brought me to tears.
It’s O.K. Let it all out. Thanks to everyone who contributed to this week’s group hug. if you’d like to share your own sob story, please do so in the comments below. We’re here for you.