|8. The Crying Game (1992)|
|Shock moment: She's a he! (63.57): It's the moment that fooled everyone and shocked the world. A tough IRA agent (Stephen Rea) watches as his girlfriend (Jaye Davidson) slips off her kimono and reveals — up close and full frontal — she's been a he all along! Stanley Kubrick told director Neil Jordan that the transgender role was "uncastable", but when Jordan found Davidson at a party, he had his dude that looked like a lady. Despite being a non-actor, Davidson was Oscar nominated for the revealing performance.|
Scary fact: Davidson only took the role to pay for a pair of handmade leather riding boots he’d seen in Vogue. He wore them to the Oscars.
|7. Misery (1990)|
|Shock moment: The hobbling scene (77.33): When injured author Paul Sheldon (James Caan) tries to escape the clutches of his number one fan Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates), she teaches him a lesson by strapping him to his bed and calmly telling him about the practice of “hobbling”. Annie places a block of wood between Paul’s ankles, raises a sledgehammer and says: “Trust me, it’s for the best”. She swings it and — crunch — snaps Paul’s foot. In Stephen King’s book, she uses an axe to chop it off. Much nicer.|
Scary fact: When King was hospitalised after a road accident, Bates left him flowers with a note which read “From your number one fan.”
|6. Jaws (1975)|
|Shock moment: “We’re gonna need a bigger boat” (80:47): Because of the malfunctioning mechanical shark, Steven Spielberg couldn’t give us a good look at the Great White stalking Amity Island until late in the film, when Brody (Roy Scheider), Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and Quint (Robert Shaw) are on the Orca. While shovelling chum into the sea, Brody looks away and the beast rears its ugly head. Brody looks back, sees its gaping maw up close and turns pale. He backs up and mumbles “We’re gonna need a bigger boat” (Schneider improvised the line. Bigger boat? Try the QEII).|
Scary fact: After researching shark attacks, Spielberg vowed never to go back in the water.
|5. Alien (1979)|
|Shock moment: The chest burster (52.22): As the crew aboard the starship Nostromo chat during dinner, something doesn’t agree with Kane (John Hurt). He begins to choke, convulse and writhe violently. They lay him on the table. Without warning, blood spurts from Kane’s stomach, spraying his crewmates, and a baby alien bursts through his bare belly. It makes a piercing screech, leaps from Kane’s lifeless body and disappears. Ripley and co are so shocked they can only stare silently. It’s still one of cinema’s most inventively shocking and stomach-turning moments. |
Scary fact: Director Ridley Scott told John Hurt to over-act the scene in order to provoke a truly shocked reaction from his co-stars. It worked.
|4. Carrie (1976)|
|Shock moment: The hand from the grave (94:20): In the climax of Brian de Palma’s adaptation of Stephen King’s novel, Carrie (Sissy Spacek) is named prom queen only for John Travolta and Amy Irving to douse her in pig’s blood. But if you think that cruel prank or the telekinetic massacre that follows is the shock moment of this creepshow, think again. In the film’s deceptively calm coda, a remorseful Irving bends to lay flowers on Carrie’s grave. Carrie’s dead hand shoots up from the ground and grabs her. Gotcha! |
Scary fact: De Palma shot the scene in reverse to make it look more dream-like. You can see a red car going in reverse in the background.
|3. Psycho (1960)|
|Shock moment: The shower scene (42.23): Director Alfred Hitchcock shocked everyone when he killed off his leading lady in the first third of his acclaimed horror film. It was the way he dispatched her that really made people squeal. As Janet Leigh takes a shower in the Bates Motel, we see a silhouetted figure approach through the shower curtain, raise a huge knife, throw back the curtain and BAM! BAM! BAM! It was said to be the most shocking scene put to screen at the time, and still hits the mark today.|
Scary fact: In a sad case of life imitating art, Leigh’s stand-in for the shower scene (actress Myra Jones) was fatally stabbed by a mentally disturbed handyman in 1988.
|2. The Godfather (1972)|
|Shock moment: Horse head in the bed (32:30): Not far into the revered Godfather trilogy, director Francis Ford Coppola delivers its most shocking moment. After a Hollywood producer and race-horse owner brazenly refuses to give the Don’s godson a movie role, Coppola cuts to the producer waking in his palatial bed. He feels something warm and wet on his silk sheets. He throws them back to reveal his prized thoroughbred’s severed head! He screams loudly and repeatedly — “argh” “arghhh” “ARGHHHH!” Never go against the family! |
Scary fact: A fake head was used for rehearsals, but Coppola replaced it with a real horse’s head from the slaughterhouse to give actor John Marley a real scare.
|1. The Exorcist (1973)|
|Shock moment: Pea soup projectile vomit (73:20): It’s still shocking to watch today, so you can imagine how it was for audiences in 1973. There were wide reports of people passing out in cinemas, with one poor soul fainting and breaking his jaw on the seat in front. But which scene shocks most? Linda Blair’s 360deg. head spin? Her spider walk downstairs? The foul language spewing from her mouth? No, it’s the spew gushing from her mouth. Projectile pea soup spew, to be exact, all over Father Karras. Director William Friedkin tried Campbell’s pea soup but didn’t like the effect and used Andersen’s brand instead. Well, the devil is in the detail.|
Scary fact: Linda Blair’s body double in the scene sued for a puking credit (unsuccessfully).
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