Sometimes horrific moments happen in movies outside the horror genre. Moments that stick with you forever. In this three part series I’m going to talk about horror within non-horror movies. I’ve asked around and came up with a list of only the most dark and disturbing.
- Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971)
This cult classic seems innocent enough. A contest with golden tickets won by five children across the world who become lucky enough to visit and tour the elusive Willy Wonka candy factory; PLUS a lifetime supply of chocolate. It’s a fantasy movie, a musical even. I watched this the first time at school in our gymnasium as a fourth grader.
What we expected was a whimsical musical. What we got was a terrifyingly creepy acid trip that left all the little kids at school screaming. Little girls turning blue and blowing up? People who hadn’t left their beds in 20 years? Devious little minions who sang songs of doom and life lessons. I didn’t know what the hell I was watching! I knew I liked it though. Needless to say the movie was never screened again at school. It remains one of the only musicals I’ll actually sit through to this day.
I mean, convince me Wonka WASN’T a child murderer. I dare you.
2. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
It was around this time that movies and TV shows about the Vietnam war were ubiquitous. Platoon took home the Oscar but I always go back to Full Metal Jacket. Sure, I may be biased as a Kubrick fan and the latter half of the film doesn’t maintain the same pacing as the first half. But man, that first half! Watching the sadistic drill sergeant single out the slow witted Leonard Lawrence who the sergeant nicknames Gomer Pyle is heartbreaking. Flawlessly portrayed by Vincent D’Onofrio, the character suffers some horrific abuses at the hands of his platoon at the encouragement of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman. Hartman thinks his brutal methods will bring out the toughest in his soldiers but what he doesn’t count on is the erosion of Leonard’s sanity. Being pushed too far he takes his frustrations out on the hard-ass drill sergeant and then ultimately himself. This scene stands out as one of the most shocking and violent scenes I had scene up until that point.
Another note: Everyone talks about Nicholson’s Kubrick stare… I’m sorry, but Vincent D’Onofrio NAILED it. Chillingly.
3. Trainspotting (1996)
How many times have you watched this one? You know the scene I’m going to talk about don’t you? This movie outlined the consequences of ignorance, addictions and overall reckless behavior. An instant cult classic, this film went places no other movie dared to go. The climbing out of the nasty toilet scene, the accident in the sheets scene. The neglect and ultimate death of an infant due to heroin addicted parents. The horrific, and preventable death of Tommy. So many awful scenes made this a raw and honest movie. Still one of my all time faves. One of, if not THE most ghastly scene many of us were left traumatized by was “the baby scene”.
As Renton forces himself to detox at his parent’s home, he falls into painful withdrawals, fevers and hauntingly chilling hallucinations. Everything Renton feels guilty about from the addiction itself, to how he’s treated others, to how he stood by and watched a neglected baby die at the hands of his “friends” unravels. Still reeling from the unexpected and tragic death of Tommy, his many regrets make for an uncomfortably disturbing scene.
Next week we’ll look at few more examples of horror scenes in non-horror movies. I hope you’ll join me!
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