Horror Scenes That I Love: The Opening of House on Haunted Hill

Today’s horror scene that I love comes from 1959’s House on Haunted Hill.  As the film opens, Vincent Price takes a moment to speak directly to the audience and introduce the characters who are coming to spend the night at the house.  Price, who is one of the patron saints of October, delivers his lines with such relish that it’s impossible not to stick around to see who survives the night.

Horror Scenes That I Love: Swimming With The Creature From The Black Lagoon

Today’s horror scene that I love comes from one of my favorite films, 1953’s Creature From The Black Lagoon.  In this scene, Julia Adams goes for a swim.  Little does she realize that, under the water, the Creature is following her every move.  Wonderfully directed by Jack Arnold, this creepy yet oddly lovely scene is one of the best of the 50s.

Horror Scenes That I Love: The Martians Attack In The War Of The Worlds

Today’s horror scene that I love comes from the 1953 film, The War of the Worlds.

Now, it’s probably not quite correct to say that I love this scene.  This is a scary scene and not necessairly one that you’ll want to revisit a hundred times.  Instead, this is a scene that I think is extremely well-done.  It’s a scene that perfectly establishes the fact that, in this film, humanity has no hope when it comes to defeating the Martians.  Trying to reason with them, as Uncle Matthew does, is useless.  Trying to fight them, as the army does, is useless.  Matthew is atomized as he approaches in peace.  The tough and plain-spoken military man — a reassuring authority figure in so many 50s films — is destroyed as he orders everyone out of the bunker.  The Martians, meanwhile, are unstoppable and, even worse, they are without mercy or concern for the people that they are destroying.

Seriously, this is a frightening scene when viewed today!  I can only imagine how it traumatized audiences in 1953.  If you need evidence of this fact, just consider that YouTube actually put a warning on the video that it might be too traumatic for some viewers.

After watching this scene, all I can say is Thank God for the common cold.

Horror Scenes That I Love: Lon Chaney Transforms Into The Wolfman

Today’s horror scene that I love comes from 1941’s The Wolf Man.  Watch as poor Larry Talbot transforms, for the first time, into The Wolf Man!  I’ll be the first to admit that, in the past, I’ve been pretty critical of Larry as a character and Lon Chaney, Jr.’s performance in the role.  But, in this scene, Chaney does an excellent job of capturing Larry’s helplessness as the curse takes effect for the first time.

Horror Scenes That I Love: Edward Van Sloan Introduces Frankenstein

For our first Scene that I love for this year’s Horrorthon, I’m sharing the opening of the 1931 classic, Frankenstein.  The scene below features neither Colin Clive or Boris Karloff.  Instead, Edward Van Sloan breaks the fourth wall and, in his humorously avuncular way, lets the audience know what’s in store for them.

Today, of course, we all know the story of Frankenstein and his monster.  However, imagine how audiences in 1931, many of whom probably knew nothing about the story they were about to watch, must have felt when Edward Van Sloan specifically took a minute to warn them that they were about to see something terrifying.  You have to remember that Van Sloan was talking to the first generation of regular filmgoers and he was introducing them to one of the first true horror films of the sound era.  Today, it’s easy to smile when Van Sloan says, “You can’t say we didn’t warn you.”  In 1931, I imagine it probably sounded more like a dare.  Van Sloan was asking, “Do you have the courage to stay in theater?”  It’s kind of charming, isn’t it?

Edward Van Sloan was a bit of fixture when it came to the early Universal horror films.  Not only did he play Henry Frankenstein’s mentor but, in the same year, he played Prof. Van Helsing in Dracula.  He also had a key supporting role in The Mummy.  When it came to explaining the supernatural and the undead, no one else did it with quite the class of Edward Van Sloan.

Scenes That I Love: The Conclusion of The Passenger

Today’s scene that I love comes from 1975’s The Passenger, a film directed by Michelangelo Antonioni.  Antonioni was born 110 years ago today, in what was then the “Kingdom of Italy.”

In The Passenger, Jack Nicholson plays a journalist who, because he’s bored with his life, impulsively assumes the identity of a deceased American businessman.  What he discovers is that the businessman was an arms dealer and that the people that the arms dealer were doing business with still expect to get their weapons.  Despite the fact that he knows that it might cost him his life, Nicholson is still drawn to see just how far he can take his new existence.

The film’s enigmatic final scene, in which Nicholson goes to a hotel to wait as both the people who double-crossed and his wife search for him, is Antonioni at his best.

Scenes That I Love: Coyote Shivers and Renee Zellweger perform “Sugar High” in Empire Records

It’s not Rex Manning Day but it is Coyote Shivers’s birthday!

Here, he and Renee Zellweger do their part to save the store by performing Sugar High on the roof.

Scenes That I Love: Giovanni Lombardo Radice Dances in The House on The Edge of the Park

Today, the Shattered Lens wishes a happy 68th birthday to the great Italian actor, Giovanni Lombardo Radice!

I’ve shared this scene before but I’ll happily share it again.  In Ruggero Deodato’s The House On The Edge of the Park, Giovanni Lombardo Radice shows a bunch of rich jerks how he can dance.  Dancing with Radice is his frequent co-star, Lorraine De Selle.  And, wearing the yellow suit, is David Hess.

Scenes That I Love: Bill Murray in Zombieland

He’s not a zombie!

He’s Bill Murray!

And today is Bill Murray’s birthday so it seems like a good time to share a scene that I love.  In this scene from 2009’s Zombieland, Bill Murray proves that not even the zombie apocalypse can stop the Murraycane.

(Unfortunately, Bill comes to a tragic end in Zombieland but at least he gets to enjoy himself for a while.)