Usually on Halloween, we think of what currently sends shivers down our spines. But sometimes I like to take a look back at the weird things in my childhood that truly made me scream in fear. This was a time when loud noises seemed louder, monsters seemed bigger, and shadows were darker. Everything was just a little more intense when you were younger, and thus I wanted to pay tribute to those moments. In fact, let’s take a look at 5 scenes that, at 5 years old (and slightly older) gave me the heebie jeebies. Here are my Top 5 Scariest Movie Moments, brought to you by nostalgia and its many spooks.
Slight Spoilers Of Movies 15/20 Years Old Ahead
5) The Aliens in Mars Attacks!
Okay, I am totally cheating on this one, since this isn’t a moment. But if I was to tell you the aliens from Mars Attacks! don’t freak me out anymore, I’d be lying to you. Yeah, I know they’re supposed to be used for comedic effect, and that it is an homage to ’50s and ’60s B-movies, but I still found these visitors from another planet to be way too creepy for my taste, especially when I was younger. Whenever we’d pass by a poster for the movie, I’d bury my head in the arm of a Mom or Dad, until we passed by. Sorry Tim, these little guys still aren’t my cup of tea.
4) The Death of Captain Amazing from Mystery Men
Yeah, I love Mystery Men. There I said it, you happy? I know this movie gets a bad rap, but during my younger years, it was one of the first films to get me heavily into the comic book genre, a new topic that was still developing into the pop culture obsession it is today. Yet, many will find it surprising that this comedy about a group of wannabe superheroes has some of the weirdest and creepiest images I had seen at the time. Particularly the one that stands out, that I always had to cover my eyes when watching, was the death of Captain Amazing (Greg Kinnear).
At this point, the movie had some slight spooky moments–the villain had creepy nails, there was a lot of dramatic close-ups with ’90s-approved fish eye lenses, and a skull inside a bowling ball (which is actually, in hindsight, the coolest thing ever). But there really hadn’t been any big dramatic, gory deaths. That is, until this scene, in which the “hero” Captain Amazing gets his body fried to a crisp by Casanova Frankenstein’s (Geoffery Rush) machine. If this didn’t scar you as a child, then you have some serious will power.
3) Artax’s Death in The Neverending Story
If you were a kid of the ’80s and ’90s, some scene from The Neverending Story is bound to end up on your personal list. Out of the array of terrifying sequences, this one takes the cake. For being both sad, scary, and everything in between, the death of Artax, Atreyu’s horse, is what I’m pretty sure made me into a claustrophobe. If you’ve never seen this movie, beware, watching this requires some serious tissues and courage.
2) The White Blood Cell Scene from The Fantastic Voyage
One night, while adventuring through the isles of Blockbuster in the ’90s, my father decided to pick up a copy of a movie he watched as a kid called The Fantastic Voyage. What seemed like a cool premise–where a group of doctors and scientists go inside the human body through shrinking technology–became one of the most terrifying movie watching experiences of my entire life. To this day, I can’t sit and watch this film, even though the technology in it is dated beyond belief, and many of its “special effects” are hilarious by today’s standards.
But, because of one particular sequence, where the female doctor ventures through a section of the body and gets attacked by white blood cells that think she is a germ, I truly cannot get through this film. Nope, sorry. Can’t do it.
1) Movie Theater Policy Trailers/Feature Presentation Trailers
Let me cut to the chase: this is gonna be a weird one. I’m not sure how many of you grew up going to movie theaters in the 90’s, but the pre-show clips that many chains in the USA used were quite bizarre, sometimes downright intense. The ones that always stuck out in my mind came from United Artists, a now dwindling company that used to be my local movie spot for years as a kid. But this wouldn’t always be a pleasant experience, at least, until the actual movie started.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of seeing these pre-show trailers, take a look at the one above. Though this one wasn’t the scariest of the many I saw throughout my adventures at United Artists, this was definitely in the top 3. The weird choice of quiet moments, extremely happy creepy faces on the various screens, and the almost Blade Runner looking buildings, added to the intense factor for me as a little one. And it has stuck with me throughout the years.
And in case you’re wondering what the creepiest one was, in my opinion, it involved a body-less hand and a top hat popping out various things like popcorn and magic, but somehow at one point it had a weird voice and a face. Think The Master Hand from Super Smash Bros. but taken to a new, heightened, creepy level.
So what are the scariest movie-related things from your childhood? Are they a movie scene, a song, a character, or even something that happened in the theater? Comment below and tell us the spooky details. And have a Happy Halloween at the movies!