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

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