Top 5 Scary Moments From Non-Horror Films

Picking scary moments from horror movies is like shooting the proverbial fish in the barrel. By their nature Horror Films lend themselves, if done correctly, to many scary moments. But every once in a while a movie not considered a genre or horror film will have a scary moment or two. At times these moments can leave an even deeper impression because of their uniqueness. Lets look at some of those indelible moments:

As a note, I'm not including movies that may be considered "thrillers." You may feel that "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle" has plenty of great scares, and it does, but it's supposed to. I'm looking at films that despite the one or two scary moments in them are still agreed upon to be wholly part of another genre.

Honorable Mentions:

The Princess Bride: Fezzik is The Dread Pirate Roberts - Its a very short scene, 15 seconds at the most. Fezzik the giant, is dressed as the mythical Dread Pirate Roberts to help disburse the 60 castle guards protecting Prince Humperdink and Buttercups wedding. Fezzik is lit a fire and bellows "I am the Dread Pirate Roberts. I have come for your souls!" Andre the Giant, who plays Fezzik hits the last word so hard and Director Rob Reiner frames his face so tight, the moment is a terrifying in an otherwise light hearted romp.

The Goonies: Mikey Meets One-Eyed Willie - Another moment that's very brief. It's created almost exclusively by the musical cue and quick camera move that accompanies Mikey's first view of the mythical pirate. Director Chris Columbus pulls a rapid zoom into Willies skeletal, yet somehow smiling face. Composer Dave Grusin layers in a quick thump-thump meant to mimic Mikeys heartbeat and a horrific moment is born. It's simple yet extremely effective.

And now the main course...

The Top 5 Scary moments in Non-Horror Films

5. Raiders Of The Lost Ark - Nazi Face Melt

Raiders is fairly straight forward adventure film. Our protagonist, Indiana Jones, is a teacher/treasure hunter who gets himself wrapped up in something bigger than he ever could have dreamed. Throughout the film there are some creepy moments, some close calls, some fun comedy and a dead monkey. None of that could prepare anyone for what happens after Belloq opens the ark of the covenant. Angels quickly become demons and the major Tohts face literally melts off. Belloq will get his a few moments later when his head explodes. But it's the face melt people remember and for obvious reasons. Its pretty damn graphic, especially for a pg-13 movie. These types of effects would become common place eventually, but special effects was a pretty neophyte discipline back in 1981. To pull something cray like this out of left field was pretty damn cool and dare I say it, scary, at the time.

4. Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan - Terrell and Chekov meet Khan

I'm a "Wars" guy, not a "Trek" guy. I make no illusions about it. I don't try to hide it. I'm a card carrying member of the Rebel Alliance, and could (for the most part) care less about The Federation. That being said, Wrath of Khan kicks ass five ways from Sunday. Everything about it, from Kirks mid-life crisis to Ricardo Montalbans fake, plastic chest, to Spock buying the big farm in the nebula, is just awesome. Then there is this scene. I have a thing against creepy crawlies. I also have a thing against body horror, call it my Cronenberg syndrome. Combine these two, plus the absolutely menacing performance by Montalban (he's just so calm while threatening their lives) and you get a scene that I still cannot watch all the way through to this very day. I tries to watch it for this column and still can't make it through it. Brilliant.

3. The Wizard of Oz - The Flying Monkeys

I am not a fan of this film. I know somehow that makes me unAmerican. I just feel like it has too much of a chick flick type of quality to it. Not in that girl meets boy type but Dorothy is just so damn innocent its maddening. Then the monkeys show up and all hell breaks loose. I don't know what it is about them. The fact hey have wings? Maybe it's because they follow directions so well. Or perhaps it's their perfectly painted faces. Whatever the reason, if I'm flipping through the channels and the monkeys are on, my day is ruined.

2. Ghostbusters - The Librarian

Here is a fun little comedy with Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, and an 80 foot tall marshmallow man. nothing to be afraid of right? Wrong. At the very beginning of the film, I'm thinking the first 15 minutes, our heroes are investigating a disturbance at the New York Public library. As usual they are joking around, except for Egon, he's always serious. Then they meet the librarian. Shes stocking shelves innocently. Ray tries to communicate with her. She warns him to be quiet. Then Venkman gives it a shot. The results are not as pleasant. I remember being scared out of my mind when I saw this the first time. It's just so sudden, so unexpected. She just leaps right at you, and she looks horrific. Now when I watch the film, it's the anticipation that scares me. I know its coming. I want to laugh at the sponge migration joke, but I can't because I know that the librarian is right around the corner. Great stuff.

1. Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory - The Boat Ride

We're talking the original here, not that abortion that Tim Burton tried to pass our way a few years ago. Johnny Depp in white face does not a good movie make, no matter how many times Burton does it (like 30 by now I think). No, fun loving Gene Wilder takes the kids into his mysterious chocolate factory for a once in a life time tour (and more!). Sure we've seen Augustus get sucked up the fudge tunnel, but he's German and well, after WWII that's acceptable. Wonka loads everyone onto his boat. Then things get weird. Really weird. He starts to sing. Not a sea chanty or some Everly Brothers mind you, but a deep disturbing song about being lost and confused. The tunnel lights up, there are all kinds of images on the wall. Everything from bugs and raw meat to chickens getting their heads cut off. This childrens story just veered into Texas Chainsaw Massacre country. The tension builds. Wonka starts yelling. The kids begin to scream. And like that - it's over. Noone speaks a word of it after. It's like it never happened. Scary shit. Awesome, scary shit.

That's it. My top 5 Scary moments in non-horror films. Agree? Disagree? think I missed something let me know. As always....thanks for reading...

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