One of the great things about being a creative type is the ability to take inspiration from pretty much everything. From music to paintings to movies, all of it can be an inspiration. In the first of an ongoing series, here are my five horror movies that have inspired me. Just as a sidenote, these aren’t necessarily my favorite movies, but had the most impact.
1. Horrors of the Black Museum
One of the first movies I remember seeing, what sticks out (no pun intended) was an early scene in which this poor woman picks up a pair of binoculars only to have her eyes pierced by spikes hidden within. While tame by today’s standards, this 1959 release was shocking and visceral to me. I was very young when I saw this (less than 10) and more than 35 years later it still remains one of the most horrifying scenes in my memory. The problem is, it was so well done, I don’t remember anything else about the movie!
I was 10 years old the summer this came out and at my one and only times at Camp (Camp LaSalle – a military academy in Oakdale NY, though there was little of the military aspect, just your basic camp activities). I remember everyone talking about having seen it, and how scary it was. I don’t remember when I actually saw it for the first time (probably on cable) but it wasn’t that summer. What I do remember is in the opening scenes the head of a corpse that seems to pop out of nowhere. I think it was the eyes of the corpse, white and blind and loose in their sockets that got me. There are of course many other memorable scenes in Jaws, but that one image also has stuck with me-and started my lifelong hatred for jump scares.
The above picture says it all. Nearly 40 (40! holy shit!) years later, this still scares me silly, and I’ve seen it more times than I can count. While it may not have aged well, it still packs a punch, and Sissy Spacek gave one of horror’s best performances ever recorded. The killing of the pigs, the buckets of blood, the carnage and mayhem. Horror at its finest.
Hellraiser happens to be one of the crossovers of inspiring me and being one of my all time favorite movies (horror and others). The way Clive Barker was able to weave a tale of love, sex, obsession, death and rebirth is still nothing short of amazing. I remember seeing this with a friend who had no interest in horror at all (but being a good friend he still went with me) and the still above was the scene that made him walk out. I of course stayed, and made him wait until it was over and I still don’t think he’s ever forgiven me for that.
5. John Carpenter’s The Thing
There’s not much I can say with this one. Perhaps the pinnacle of ’80s horror, The Thing was so intense and edge of your seat, pants shitting scary, I spilled all my popcorn and soda. Even 31 years later, the make up effects and puppets haven’t been surpassed. The scene where the petri dishes with blood samples are being tested is still so terrifying, I’m amazed I haven’t had a heart attack yet. Fantastic performances, monsters, and a great ambiguous ending makes The Thing stand the test of time.
If there’s one thing all these movies have in common is the idea that anything can happen at anytime and no one is safe.