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Chilled Out

Friday 24 February 2012, 18:07

Mark Kermode Mark Kermode

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A while back I asked you to tell me which film scenes really gave you the chills - here I pick out some of the scariest suggestions.

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    Comment number 1.

    I've seen a lot of horror movies in my time - the local rental shop paid no heed to the video nasty furore of the 80s (the long tentacles of the classification board didn't seem to reach as far as urban N. Ireland - I suppose they figured that if we wanted to see bloodshed, murder and apocalytic massacre we only had to turn on the local news), so I got to see all the so-called corrupting classics on an almost daily basis - but nothing - neither zombie, cannibal nor serial killer - compared to the debilitating fright I got as a six-year-old upon seeing Disney's live action classic(?) 'Darby O'Gill & the Little People'! There was a banshee, a ghostly coach with spectral attendees - not to mention Sean Connery's Irish accent! I was absolutely petrified and had to be carried home in a big blanket.

    If you're talking about more adult stuff - it has to be the old Nigel Kneale classic from 1972 'The Stone Tape'. There's something about those old BBC studio-bound chillers - even the stagey stuff - that makes your blood run that wee bit colder. Probably why all those Blair Witch-type-things are so successful, because VT gives spooky stuff a 'realistic' edge.

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    Comment number 2.

    Most of the films mentioned have definitely chiled me, but as I'm nineteen, most of them I've seen on DVD or on TV. So I'm very, very glad that I've finally seen something in the cinema for the first time that has chilled me to the bone: Martha Marcy May Marlene.

    I still haven't quite got over the sheer creeping horror of it.

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    Comment number 3.

    Seeing all those old black-and-white movies has put me in mind of an old film I saw on telly about 13-15 years ago. I can't remember the name and have been frantically trying to track it down to see if it's as creepy as I remember it being when I was ten.

    In case there are any good Samaritan film buffs out there, the film is about a wealthy industrialist who is blinded in an industrial accident. As he adjusts to his disability he becomes increasingly convinced that his wife is trying to kill him, and he generally spirals into madness. I don't think I saw it all the way through to the end, but I'll always remember how strange and frightening that concept was: paranoia and self-doubt in the aftermath of a crippling, life-changing event. Brr...

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    Comment number 4.

    That's not Grady, that's Lloyd the bartender!

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    Comment number 5.

    NO HOMEWORK?!?!?!?!

    How about chilling soundtracks?

    Ennio Morricone's OST to the Thing ranks as a high fave for me but not so much the heart beating BOM BOM... BOM BOM... but more of the incidental music.

    Then, still in the 80s, we have Mark Isham's 'at the time underated' soundtrack to The Hitcher. The atmosphere alone that it created almost made me say "I WANNA DIE".

    The great Bernard Herman composed many fine OSTs but his work on The Ghost and Mrs Muir - though not a horror, still sends an air of chill up my spine.

    Jerry Goldsmith, sorry, the late Jerry Goldsmith did for me twice, 1) Logan's Run, again, often missed as a classic OST but excellent use of synthiziers setting my teeth on edge. Then 2) Planet of the Apes. Disguarded by many for having no real melodies, what a load of tosh! There are melodies a plenty, with the "The Hunt" scaring the crap out of me, (although saying that, very little beats the sound of ocean waves and no OST as the titles rise).

    Miklos Rozsa also did it for me in Hitchcock's Spellbound as the same melody is played over and over again everytime Gregory Peck remembered something, (or misremembered).

    Finally, Allan Gray and the melody which occured whenever Conductor 71 ever appeared in A matter of Life and Death!

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    Comment number 6.

    P.S. Who on earth is moderating these posts at 23pm? Good work who ever it is!

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    Comment number 7.

    I've just been DM'd on another internet social media service which happens to have a bluebird as its symbol that I had forgotten Goblin's theme to Dawn of the Dead.

    No I didn't.

    hence why I didn't include it.

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    Comment number 8.

    What makes you think I have better things to do? Just carry on as long as you like.

    Silent Running was pretty chilling for me. The murders were just practical but the idea of the dead, corporate-owned Earth with just humans (and cockroaches?) that those spaceships represented throughout the film left me hopelessly despairing.

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    Comment number 9.

    @1 Phud "If you're talking about more adult stuff - it has to be the old Nigel Kneale classic from 1972 'The Stone Tape'. There's something about those old BBC studio-bound chillers - even the stagey stuff - that makes your blood run that wee bit colder. Probably why all those Blair Witch-type-things are so successful, because VT gives spooky stuff a 'realistic' edge."

    I completely agree with Phud, The Stone Tape is a brilliant, chilling play (as is the black and white version of Whistle and I'lle Come to You. As for the colour remake with John Hurt - that is about as scary as wet weekend in Penge). To this I would add The Signalman (the other Christmas ghost story written by Charles Dickens, adapted by Andrew Davis and starring a brilliant Denholm Elliot who goes quietly round the twist for 40 minutes).

    I'm also surprised nobody has mentioned Ghostwatch which has only been shown once on TV in 1994 and caused such a stink that the BBC have not shown it since.

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    Comment number 10.

    I`m with you on dog face. EEbbeeggeeebbeeezzz

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    Comment number 11.

    I realise its technically a TV movie. But The Signalman, with a stark, ghostly image of a gaping mouthed face waving in horror. Well that was literally the stuff of my nightmares as a kid. Its such a simple image. Its bizarre that the most chilling cinematic images tend to be someone standing, staring...and us not knowing why.

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    Comment number 12.

    Goodness me, no mention at all of the 1980 film 'The Changeling' starring George C Scott? There's a number of chilling moments in that, but the most effective one is very simple ......... a red ball bouncing down some stairs. Watch it and you'll see. It's very, very effective.

    I'd also nominate the 1989 TV movie of The Woman in Black - some very good moments in that too, but the most effective has to be THAT bedroom scene (I won't spoil it) as well as the nursey scene.

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    Comment number 13.

    And of course, as mentioned by Browncoat1013, the excellent BBC TV version of The Signalman - some great moments in that. There's 'the face' of course, but I also found the woman falling out of the train very chilling. You'll need to see it to understand (maybe!).

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    Comment number 14.

    homework for this week:

    watch the oscars ceremony from start to finish without falling asleep

    AND

    watch football factory and the business without doing silly danny dyer impressions

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    Comment number 15.

    By coincidence, last night I saw a 20th anniversary screening of Fire Walk With Me - one of the last remaining 35mm prints. As a huge Twin Peaks fan I remember not really warming to the film the first time around, but I have to say I am still completely creeped out today and can't stop thinking about it. I think the worst thing about it is that it is not just terrifying (but possibly not as terrifying as Pierce Brosnan's singing) but it also has a devastating emotional depth which makes it relatable despite the supernatural elements. Just great stuff.

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    Comment number 16.

    Talking of scary films - just got back from Woman in Black, some good scares, but film ruined by noisy s*dding kids - screaming at every little thing! Staff couldn't really do anything with so many, but I now have 5 free tickets!

    Who says the English don't complain!

    Why did the BBFC knock it down to a 12A by tampering with noise volume, sound effects, what have you? A 15 certficate MIGHT have prevented little kiddies getting in!

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    Comment number 17.

    No mention of Blatty's Exorcist III? That film has at least two of the most spinechilling scenes ever

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    Comment number 18.

    I had forgotten about that part of Darby O'Gill and the Little People, but you are right: that terrified me. Now the film just makes me sad that Janet Munro didn't have a better life.

    Mark went through a lot of Lynch films, but I want to hear what people said about Dune.

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    Comment number 19.

    Gee Mark, thanks a bundle! I really think Pazuzu should have a warning. (Look away now...) Will get precisely no sleep tonight. That darn face.... scariest of them all :(

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    Comment number 20.

    OFF TOPic. I`m seriously hopeing for Chico and Rita tonight at the Oscars. One of the animators teaches my son media studie. It was very long hours and very hard work! but boy did that pay off, its a lovely story ,wonderfully told particularly if you like Jazz.

 

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Outspoken, opinionated and never lost for words, Mark is the UK's leading film critic.

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