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GreenCine Movie Talk
Horror
Check out the latest in horror news and discussion, if you dare!
50

Earliest Scares
Topic by: ScottWeinberg
Posted: February 2, 2008 - 2:17 AM PST
Last Reply: February 5, 2008 - 5:39 PM PST

author topic: Earliest Scares
ScottWeinberg
post #1  on February 2, 2008 - 2:17 AM PST  
For most horror fans there are a few formative moments: The scenes, the characters, the hazy yet creepy memories of something that spooked you as a kid. Not just spooked you, but fascinated you.

For me it was a lot of the darker stuff in The Exorcist, particularly when I was old enough to "get" most of it. Before I was properly educated enough to describe it, I was chilled to the bone by Kubrick's usage of empty space, sound design, and lighting in The Shining. (I'm still barely able to explain it.)

The ferocity of The Evil Dead was a revelatory experience, and for some reason the scariest stuff in Halloween was that collection of "empty locations" that Carpenter uses after the carnage is complete. I never thought any of the Fridays were all that scary, but I remember enjoying the slight suspense (and yes, the gore) of those flicks.

The only horror movie that ever gave me NASTY nightmares? Hooper's original Chainsaw, god bless its nasty little heart.

Oh, and the way the girl gasps in the opening of Jaws. There's something so primal about it. Yikes.

So, short version: What scared you as a kid? Scared you enough to turn you into a horror fan, that is?
DLeonard
post #2  on February 2, 2008 - 7:06 PM PST  
Great topic.

I've been a fan of horror and monster movies as far back as I can remember. For some reason Godzilla vs The Sea Monster is the one that I recall as being THE movie experience that got my little head spinning.

There were three movies that I saw quite young that really freaked me, two I'm embarrassed to admit.

The Navy vs the Night Monsters??
A scene involving someone getting their arm ripped off did me in.

Horror at Party Beach was another film too intense for this 8 year old. I remember going over to a friend's house a couple years later and that movie was on TV. I wouldn't watch it.

And Night of the Living Dead was one I tried to watch about 5 times but usually couldn't make it as far as the point where the folks in the basement appear. That half eaten corpse upstairs was usually enough to scare me off. Once I hit age 14 or so, it practically become a test of will power or a rite of passage to finally watch the movie all the way through.
Vanamonde
post #3  on February 2, 2008 - 11:51 PM PST  
About 1962, I was about 9, my parental would drop me off at the local cinema on Saturday with two quarters, one for admission and one for the snack bar. I would enjoy a double feature and about three cartoons.

One weekend, there was a post-nuclear war flick with this strange alien creature that appears after the war to take over the survivors - oppuntunistic bastrads. It was a b&w flick and they looked like burnt potatoes with just two eyes and it scared the "pee-waddling" out of me. That was one of my mother's favorite expression.

I got nine kinds of riducle from some high school boys for my tears for my fears. I can't remember the name of the flick and I have never seen it since.

The next year, the parentals went out on a Saturday night and left me to care for my eight yo brother and we turned on the "Twilight Zone". It was the original showing of "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet", October 11, 1963, and starred this unknown actor named William Shanter.

There is a scene when he slides open the window after seeing a shadowy figure out on the wing a couple of times and BLAM, the ugliest face you ever saw in black and white fills the screen (I think we had a 13").

I scared the hell out of me and my brother. I dived at the TV and unplugged and we ran to out bed and cried ourselves to sleep, cursing our parents for leaving us alone.

Great childhood!

Oh, I got to mention that prayer that was so popular in the Protestant church for little kids...

"Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
and if I DIE BEFORE I AWAKE..."

WHOA! Who the hell thought up this little bit of child terror-inducing crap was not what I would call a Christian!.
kaream
post #4  on February 3, 2008 - 2:26 PM PST  
What worked for me -- probably because I was a little too young for it at the time -- was Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948).

Even now in our age of jaded sophistication, this is still a great movie, just because of the constant tension between laughter and fright. Sure, it's innocent and silly, with a lot of eye-rolling slow places, but one-note horror and/or splatter gets awfully old very quickly for me, no matter how much it gets ratcheted up.

Watching a scary movie, you react not only to the situation itself, but at least as much to the reactions of the characters onscreen; and nobody has ever done this better than Lou Costello.
Vanamonde
post #5  on February 3, 2008 - 11:52 PM PST  
> On February 3, 2008 - 2:26 PM PST kaream wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> What worked for me -- probably because I was a little too young for it at the time -- was Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948).
>
I remember being *very* scared by the cameo at the end with the "Invisible Man", for some dumb reason. I saw it on teevee, in the late 50's, i think.
doozer
post #6  on February 4, 2008 - 1:52 AM PST  
I was raised on horror joints which I'm sure is a double edged sword. I grew up on your typical Friday the 13th and Halloween movies.

You wont find many pictures of me with Santa in the family photo album because I caught this one at a very young age.

I always found silent characters to be quite creepy, I think because of the silent woman in The Abominable Dr. Phibes. This is at least the first movie where I remember that giving me chills.

I was raised Catholic so was always captivated by horror movies involving the Catholic church such as The Exorcist and The Omen (but not the remake).

The first movie I recall giving me nightmares as a little girl was Don't Look Now - (this link is to a review that doesn't contain spoilers) and to this day is still one of my favorite psychological horror flicks. Unfortunately I don't believe we carry it.

As always, I remain a long time fan of Creepshow and Creepshow 2. The latter kept me out of lakes for awhile, which was significant being that I grew up on a farm.

Other than that, I was raised healthily on episodes of The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, and both episodes and comics of Tales from the Crypt and anticipated watching these at their scheduled times.


I'm pretty sure all of this is what made me turn out to be the nice well adjusted woman I am today!
underdog
post #7  on February 4, 2008 - 10:39 AM PST  
I may have mentioned this here before, but the movie that first scared the bejeezus out of me was The Changeling. I was ten years old, which was too young to see a creepy film about a ghost of a child! So creeped out was I that I had to leave the theater and sit in the lobby, where I sat next to a lady who was much older but just as scared. Very effective ghost movie though.

Then a bit later, Poltergeist was my favorite scary movie - it also balanced the chills with some humor, but still quite scary.

My dad was especially too lenient when it came to taking me to movies I was probably too young for: I also saw one I believe Scott is familiar with, not too long after it came out: Alien.

Aaahhhhhhh! Traumatizing. But even then I knew how great that film was.


shiftless
post #8  on February 4, 2008 - 12:37 PM PST  
My earliest memory of being scared of a film is The Wizard of Oz. The wicked Witch of the West terrified me. I can't remember how young I was, maybe 5 or 6. Also her flying monkey henchmen were disturbing to me.

After that it was a while before my older brother dared me to watch Psycho on TV by myself in the basement. I think I was 10 or so and arrogantly believed that no black and white movie could be scary. I made it through, but was a nervous mess by the end.

The Exorcist also scared the crap out of me when I saw it on TV a couple years later. The Friday the 13th movies were fun to some degree but they didn't scare me much after the fact.

2 other early scary movies for me that I saw in the theater were Poltergeist and A Nightmare on Elm Street (the first and only one worth watching). I think I was 14 for NoES and I got be a kid again that night cause it scared the crap out of me a number of times. Hmmm, I hope I get a good horror flick from my queue soo...:)
Battie
post #9  on February 4, 2008 - 6:16 PM PST  
Predator and Return of the Living Dead. With Predator, I think it was just the chase through the jungle as the alien cut one after another down. With RotLD...totally the scene where the oily zombie is trying to get the 'cute' girl out of the lockers. *shudder*

I finally have RotLD on DVD. :D
Battie
post #10  on February 4, 2008 - 6:23 PM PST  
Nightmare on Elm Street IV was another for me. The scene where he turns that girl into roach...her arms coming apart just..*shudder* Maybe that's why I have such issues with roaches now, heh.
Cinenaut
post #11  on February 5, 2008 - 8:29 AM PST  
When I was seven or so, I saw The Raven in the theater. It's a comedy, but it left a big horror impression on my young mind, particularly the scene in which a deep voice from a coffin intones the word "BEWARE."
manuelvillanueva
post #12  on February 5, 2008 - 11:29 AM PST  
Alien. I'm surprised Scott didn't mention that one. Sitting in front of the theater instead of the back with my parents was a mistake. Giger's alien is the most realistic monster I've seen to date.
Vanamonde
post #13  on February 5, 2008 - 11:31 AM PST  
> On February 5, 2008 - 8:29 AM PST Cinenaut wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> When I was seven or so, I saw The Raven in the theater. It's a comedy, but it left a big horror impression on my young mind, particularly the scene in which a deep voice from a coffin intones the word "BEWARE."
> ---------------------------------

This is so way cool! I saw the "Raven" in my early, early teens and I have NEVER seen any mention it since! Now it is in my queue! I wonder if everything looks smaller now.

I remember it was all lot fun, except that it had NOTHING to do with Poe's poem. I love Poe.

Someone needs to be making some modern movies of Poe's work that truly do the man justice.

BTW, I love getting "recommendations" this way, rapping with the community rather than some damn computer program spitting out what was one the Hit Parade related to my last rental. It is so more human.

Does anyone REALLY have any trouble filling up the rental queue? My problem is keeping management to less DVD that I can watch for the next century.

troublemaker
post #14  on February 5, 2008 - 2:24 PM PST  
I was always a bit of a pansy growing up, and for whatever reason my parents always let me stay up way longer than I ever should have. Somehow I would always end up watching episodes of Tales from the Crypt or The Outer Limits which would end up being my main source for not being able to go to sleep at night.
weezy
post #15  on February 5, 2008 - 5:39 PM PST  
The scene in Who Framed Roger Rabbit where Judge Doom disintegrates into a pool of slime is my first fright. The shriek still haunts me to this day... ack!


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