Horror Roundtable Week Eighty-Six

Describe a scene in a horror film that brought you to close to tears.

Sean – Attentiondeficitdisorderly Too Flat

The climax of Heavenly Creatures is one of the most affecting, disturbing, unforgettable sequences in any movie ever.

Retropoliltan – Tales To Astonish

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.

Arbogast on Film

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.

Eric – Bloody Good Horror

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.

B-Sol – Vault of Horror

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.

Nathan – MicroHorror

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.

JA – My New Plaid Pants

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.

Louis – Damaged 2.0

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?

Dave – Rue Morgue’s The Abbatoir

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.

10 Responses to “Horror Roundtable Week Eighty-Six”

  1. Sam J. Miller Says:

    Alien 3: i find this film very moving, and not just because i have your standard gay boy crush on ellen ripley. the ending makes me weep. Also her speech to the prisoners, where the film’s AIDS metaphor becomes most explicit… “they don’t give a fuck about one friend of yours that’s died.”

  2. Jeff Allard Says:

    Hey, I’ll cop to some real blubbering here. The Exorcist is a real tear-jerker for me. Besides the scene already mentioned by Arbogast with Dyer reading Karras his last rites, the scene that always destroys me is when Dyer comes by to say goodbye to the MacNeils. Chris McNeil tells Father Dyer that Regan has mercifully forgotten about her entire ordeal but when Chris introduces Regan to Father Dyer, Regan looks at the crucifx around Dyer’s neck and immediately embraces him without knowing why. Even though Dyer is devestated by the loss of his friend, Regan’s impulsive show of gratitude is touching proof that in some deep part of her mind, she will always know that someone of faith made a sacrifice on her behalf.

    Another scene that never fails to leave me in tears is from The Birds, when Mitch and Melanie go to get Cathy from Annie Hayworth’s house. As they pull up, they see Annie’s lifeless body on the front steps of her house (just the way Annie’s body is sprawled out is overwhelmingly sad to me – like Marion Crane in Psycho slumped over the side of the tub, there’s just something so heart-breakingly real and vulnerable about her body’s pose in death). Mitch rushes over and sees Cathy inside the house, crying. He retrieves her and leads her out to Melanie, steering the sobbing child around Annie’s body.

    Despite the looming threat of the birds, Melanie begs Mitch to move Annie’s body into the house (“Please Mitch, don’t leave her like that.”), which would be enough to break me down but it’s Cathy’s tearful account of Annie’s final gesture that gives this scene so much emotion, as she can barely get out the words – “When we got back from taking Michelle home, we heard the explosion and went outside to see what it was. All at once, the birds were everywhere. All at once, she pushed me inside and they covered her. Annie…she pushed me inside!”

  3. Steve Says:

    This week’s participants were all men. Very ’90s. We should start a drum circle in the woods and get in touch with our feelings.

    Mine is King Kong. The ending wrecked me as a kid. Non-horror would include Captains Courageous and assorted Canadian Heritage Minutes.

    I really enjoyed Ginger Snaps right up the ending, which ruined the entire movie for me to the point that I’m still building up the strength to give it another crack. Sorry, JA.

  4. Gary Wintle Says:

    Why do always think of an answer for these after the fact?

    The Fly (w/ the Goldblum). When he gets all extra fly-like at the end and leads the shotgun being held by his woman to his noggin. Those puppy-dog fly eyes always get me. Now I’m kinda sad… the Goldblume…

    Oh hey, anyone else see the slashdot.org article about China banning horror movies? I smell forbidden fruit!

  5. pax romano Says:

    In the film Carrie. When Tommy and Carrie are dancing at the prom, and the camera just spins around them and it is obvious they are falling in love with each other.

    That scene always gets me, because the viewer understands that this happy moment is shortly going to go to hell.

  6. lancifer Says:

    The ending of CANDYMAN made me cry but hard and I think more than once and It will happen again the next time I watch it. The score is relentlessly beautiful and If Virginia Madsen crawling out of the bonfire all burnt up with the baby was not enough all the folks appearing at her grave in an endless line is like a 2X4 to the heart. Jeez, I’m ferklempt just thinking about it!!!

  7. Neil Says:

    In Return of the Living Dead, James Karen in the crematorium, Roky Erickson playing. The care with which it all plays out. Him taking off his wedding ring and setting it aside…

  8. Kimberly Says:

    A minor computer meltdown stopped me from sending my response in earlier but I wanted to say that I would have mentioned the dramatic opening of Don’t Look Now, which always manages to shake me up. The child’s death is really handled well. Sad and very moving, as well as deeply disturbing.

  9. Ivan Lerner Says:

    The Bride of Frankenstein, when Elsa rejects Boris. Umphf! It gets you right in the heart, that look on Boris’ face…

  10. The Mutt Says:

    When Shaun’s mum died in Shaun of the Dead, it just tore me up.

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