Sunday, September 30, 2012

Top 10 Scariest Horror Film Scenes of All Time

It wasn't too long ago that I compiled a list of the top 10 scariest scenes that are NOT from horror films. Well, it's time I revealed my personal picks for the scariest scenes from films that DO belong to the horror genre. I have seen A LOT of horror films in my life to date. The first film I saw at a cinema was Bride of Chucky when I was five or six years old (with my parents, of course!). Sure, that's technically a comedy-horror, but there are still plenty of intense scenes. I developed a taste for horror very early in my childhood, and with the amount of films I've seen from the genre, it was rather difficult to narrow down ten scenes that I think are the scariest. I don't think this is a definitive list. In fact, I have omitted some scenes from this list simply because they could not be found on YouTube (they were from The Blair Witch Project and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre - 2003). So, think of these scenes as ten of the scariest I have seen, but not necessarily THE ten scariest I have scene. Also, some of these films may not be horror films, first and foremost. They may be thrillers, but many of the elements overlap with horror so I have included them. Time to begin the countdown...hope I don't scare you too much!

10. Michael traps Laurie in the closet (Halloween, John Carpenter, 1978)

Halloween is regarded as a hallmark of slasher horror. Like Hitchcock's Psycho, it showed that gore is not necessary to heighten the realism of murder. In this scene, protagonist Laurie Strode hides in a closet to escape from Michael Myers. Michael doesn't find it difficult to deduce where Laurie is, and begins breaking down the closet door. It's a very nifty touch for Michael to turn the closet light on. The scene just would not be the same without that light bulb. What scares me the most about this scene is the way Laurie's demise seems inevitable. She's cornered in a closet with a strong man seeking to kill her. She has NO hope, right? Well, thanks to a makeshift coathanger weapon, she overcomes her attacker. 

9. The murder of Casey Becker (Scream, Wes Craven, 1996)

If someone was to ask me why I like horror movies, this is the scene I would refer them to. It was one of the first murders I ever saw in a film, and it has left a lasting impression on me. I think this scene alone could constitute a short film. It's one of most perfect opening scenes of a film you could ask for. This wouldn't have been the same if it had occurred in the middle of the film. We begin with a phone call, and because it's the first scene in the entire Scream franchise, we have no way of deciding who the caller could be. It's a stranger. I love the notion of the home—the place where we should feel most secure—being turned into a danger zone. Ghostface (the killer) knows Casey's house like the back of his hand. This film is an absolute treat for horror buffs, who will especially love this scene because Ghostface quizzes Casey on plot elements of classic horror films. But I will remember this scene mostly because of Casey's murder. Seeing the knife penetrate her chest terrified me as a kid, and I'll never be able to shake that image of Casey Becker's dead body hanging from a tree branch, with her mother screaming in sheer terror. 

8. Tina's death (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Wes Craven, 1984)

Tina Gray is the first person to fall victim to Freddy Krueger. Her death is shocking and strangely mesmerising, but it is the way Craven builds suspense that makes this scene something special. It is the chirping crickets as she exits from the back door of her house. The rolling trashcan lid. Krueger's shadow. These things put us in the mood for something ominous. When Krueger's arms elongate, we sense he is more supernatural than flesh, and when he holds up a razor-fingered glove and proclaims " God," we realise there's no point in Tina praying. I think a crucial component to this scene is that Krueger catches Tina BEFORE she makes it back into the house. Most horror films allow the pursued to at least reach their safe haven first...not this one. Of course, Tina never even left her house. She was dreaming all along, but in the Elm Street films, dreams are where Freddy comes alive. We see Tina gravitate towards the ceiling, bleeding profusely. Ignore how noticeably fake it looks when she is sliced open. This was 1984. It's terrifying to put yourself in the shoes of Tina's boyfriend, Rod (Nick Corri). What must he be thinking? If Craven wanted to make an impression with the character of Krueger by filming a strong first murder, he achieved his goal, and then some.

7. Billy sees Santa kill his parents (Silent Night, Deadly Night, Charles Sellier, 1984)

Watch from 8:47 to 13:16. This is one of the darkest scenes I have seen in any film. It doesn't hold all! A guy dressed in a Santa costume robs a store and kills the clerk, before making a quick getaway. Billy Chapman and younger brother Ricky are in the back seat of their parents' car. The Chapmans see the same man in the Santa suit pulled over on the side of the road. They ask him if he needs any help, and he draws a gun from his pocket, killing Mr Chapman. He pulls Mrs Chapman out of the car, slitting her throat and almost raping her. All this time, Billy has been cowering behind some bushes, watching through parted fingers. This is the set-up for a very macabre film, wherein Billy himself will don a Santa suit and murder people for fun. This scene is terrifying because of its uncompromising nature. It feels uncomfortably real. I imagine something like this has happened before. Most of us would trust someone in a Santa suit, because most people who wear them get paid to do it in shopping malls. People trust them enough to have their kids be photographed with them. But this film, and this scene in particular, subverts every cheery preconception we have about people who dress as Santa. It's incredibly frightening. 

6. Hooper explores Ben Gardner's boat (Jaws, Steven Spielberg, 1975)

When it comes to Jaws, everyone talks about how ferocious the shark is. A lot of people forget about this scene, where oceanographer Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) dives underwater to explore the half-sunken boat of Ben Gardner, a local fisherman. Hooper finds a large shark's tooth lodged in the boat's hull and extracts it. He sees there is a gaping hole in the hull, but as he swims towards it, the head of Ben Gardner tumbles out, making for arguably the greatest jump scene in the history of cinema. John Williams' chilling score accentuates this scare perfectly. 

5. Arbogast is killed (Psycho, Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)

Depending on your sensibilities, you will either find this scene incredibly cheesy or downright petrifying. I would like to think most people are scared by it, because it is executed rather expertly. The suspense is thrilling, largely in part to Bernard Herrmann's score. I'm not even going to explain how Arbogast is killed, just in case you're one of those readers who ignores watching the clips. You're not getting away with it this time. I'm TELLING you. Watch the above clip...and if you value your heart, make sure the volume's not too loud.

4. Cole meets Kyra (The Sixth Sense, M. Night Shyamalan, 1999)

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I first watched The Sixth Sense with my mum at the movies in 1999, when I was six years old. I remember loving it and telling all my friends about it when I got to school on Monday. I have watched it three times since then, I think. For some reason, after all those viewings, the film still isn't clear in my head. When I try to replay the events in my mind, I can't get anything in order. I'm pretty sure this scene occurs after some pivotal moment, but I really don't know. Cole (Haley Joel Osment) gets into the tent in his room, and I just love how he breathes heavily and his breath fogs up. A very iconic cinematic image. Then, the pegs keeping his tent together loosen on their own, and the camera pans to Kyra (Mischa Barton), a girl who died via deliberate poisoning by her mother. Kyra's ghost is vomiting profusely, and Cole hurriedly leaves his tent. I remember describing the vomit as looking like Weet-Bix when I first saw the film. I even told my mum the day we saw it. This scene blurs the line between a child's imagination and the supernatural, which is why it has always creeped me out.

3. Bathtub scene (The Shining, Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

We enter room 237 from the point of view of Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson). The score is ominous. A nude attractive woman (Lia Beldam) steps out of the bath and seduces Jack. He hugs the young woman and begins to kiss her, but notices in the mirror that her soft skin has turned to decomposing flesh. This ghost ridicules Jack with scorning laughter, and this moment is intercut with shots of Jack's son, Danny, who is trembling as he remembers a similar encounter with a cadaver in the bathtub. This is the stuff nightmares are made of. Kudos to production designer Roy Walker for fashioning such an eerie bathroom. 

2. Nurse station scene (The Exorcist III, William Peter Blatty, 1990)

It's a shame the whole scene isn't available on YouTube, but this clip is still pretty scary. Like I did with the Psycho clip, I'm not going to explain what happens here. This gets my vote as the most suspenseful scene in any film I have ever seen. It's extremely quiet. You could hear a pin drop. I had heard about this scene before I watched The Exorcist III, so my eyes were scanning all over the screen when this scene arrived. I KNEW something terrifying was going to happen, but I wasn't sure WHAT would happen or WHEN it would happen. It's a really different scene that goes against the grain of traditional jump scenes. I admire it for its style. 

1. Crucifix masturbation scene (The Exorcist, William Friedkin, 1973)

I just watched it again to confirm if it deserves the spot for scariest scene. It does. Every single time, this scene makes me uncomfortable as hell. A lot of people say they find The Exorcist funny. I'll admit there are some scenes I giggle at now and again, but I've never laughed during this one. Never made a joke; never felt anything except absolute fear. Regan (Linda Blair) is powerless to the devil inside her. It's sad and horrifying to see her do what she's doing, knowing an innocent, cheerful little girl is somewhere in that body. Her mother (Ellen Burstyn) is petrified. There's a scene in the film where she refers to Regan as "that thing upstairs." This scene justifies that label. How anyone can watch this scene without feelings of repulsion is beyond me. Just for the record, I'm not offended that she uses a crucifix. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

20 Movie Villains Out of Character: A Pictorial Post

I'm about to ruin your perception of characters you thought were the most merciless, unforgiving souls who ever walked the planet. Underneath every character is an actor who just wants to make some money and have fun. It's wonderful when an actor can perform in a way that makes villainy seem legitimate, but at the end of the day, the bulk of movies are fictitious. Here are 20 photographs that prove my previous sentence.

P.S. Some of these may not be obvious villains, and may be closer to antiheroes. Some were listed on AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes and Villains list. Also, some may not be obviously "out of character", so for the sake of this post, I will interpret "out of character" as synonymous with "not looking like they want to kill someone." Some of these photos could also have been added to my previous pictorial post.

Robert Englund with Heather Langenkamp, Jsu Garcia, Amanda Wyss and Johnny Depp on the set of A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Nick Castle giving Michael Myers a sip of Dr Pepper on the set of Halloween (1978). 

Anthony Hopkins pretending to take a bite out of director Jonathan Demme on the set of The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh receive a visit from Steve McQueen on the set of Psycho (1960). In the film, Perkins murders Leigh in the shower.

Linda Blair with director William Friedkin on the set of The Exorcist (1973). Technically, the villain is the demon Pazuzu, which of course possesses the body of Regan (Blair).

Malcolm McDowell chatting to a caffeinated Stanley Kubrick on the set of A Clockwork Orange (1971)

Jack Nicholson reading the newspaper alongside co-star Philip Stone on the set of The Shining (1980)

Robert De Niro with director Martin Scorsese on the set of Taxi Driver (1976) 
Robert Walker with director Alfred Hitchcock and co-star Farley Granger on the set of Strangers on a Train (1951)

Skeet Ulrich and Neve Campbell take instructions from director Wes Craven on the set of Scream (1996)

Rutger Hauer posing with Sean Young on the set of Blade Runner (1982). Young took a series of polaroid pictures on the set, available here.


Edward Norton, David Fincher and Brad Pitt grabbing their respective balls. (On the set of Fight Club)
Brad Pitt, Edward Norton and director David Fincher grabbing their crotches on the set of Fight Club (1999)

John Cassavetes lounging around on the set of Rosemary's Baby (1968). Am I being too lenient with the term 'villain'?

Jennifer Jason Leigh and Bridget Fonda looking sexy together on the set of Single White Female (1992)  

Rutger Hauer taking instructions from director Robert Harmon, and looking uncharacteristically fatigued on the set of The Hitcher (1986)

Tobin Bell with writer/actor Leigh Whannell and actor Michael Emerson on the set of Saw (2004)

Unreleased Set Photos of Heath Ledger as Joker in The Dark Knight 
Heath Ledger on the set of The Dark Knight (2008)

Marlon Brando on the set of Apocalypse Now (1979)

Louise Fletcher with director Milos Forman on the set of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) 


Robert Taylor visiting wife, Barbara Stanwyck, on the set of “Double Indemnity” (1944)
Barbara Stanwyck receiving a visit from husband Robert Taylor on the set of Double Indemnity (1944)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I Like These Films, But One Viewing is Sufficient

Every now and then, I'll watch a film that is well executed and captivating, but is too intense for multiple viewings. The end credits will roll, and I'll just stare at the screen perplexedly—a voice in my head telling me "Don't you EVER watch that again!" You see, a film can be painstakingly good, but if it is emotionally taxing, highly disturbing, or just very long and exhausting, there's a good chance I will never revisit it again. I find there's something romantic about vowing to only ever watch a film once. You're placing trust in your instincts that you got everything out of the film that you could have hoped for. Missed a tiny plot detail? Bad luck. You had your chance. You must try and find it in the Wikipedia plot synopsis instead. So here are 10 films that I enjoyed—no—appreciated, but don't think I could experience ever again. Let's begin the countdown.

10. The Elephant Man (David Lynch, 1980)


The Elephant Man is based on the true story of Joseph Merrick (or John Merrick, as he's known in the film). Merrick was a severely disfigured man, and was exploited as a human curiosity in a Victorian freak show. The film details Merrick's interactions with the townspeople of 19th century London, and in particular, the efforts of Frederick Treves (Anthony Hopkins), who rescues Merrick from a life of harsh treatment and sees him as more than just a marvel of anatomical deformity. So why could I only ever watch this once? Well, first of all, I'm bending the rules here. I have seen this film twice. However, the first time was at the age of five or six (I got it on VHS as a Christmas gift; my parents knew me well), so I obviously could not grapple with the themes back then. I watched it again earlier this year, and though I found it to be a deep, complex work, an atmosphere of sadness hangs over the entire film. It's just not pleasant seeing Merrick being ridiculed. I dare you to not be moved when Merrick, cornered by an angry mob, proclaims "I am not an animal; I am a human being!" There are very few happy moments in this film, and when they do come, I'll admit they come off as moments of forced crowd-pleasing. On a side note, this is the most straightforward Lynch film I've seen to date.

9. Taste of Cherry (Abbas Kiarostami, 1997)

The plot is simple: a middle-aged man drives around Tehran looking for someone to help him commit suicide. The film moves at a leisurely pace. Kiarostami makes heavy use of long takes, and we see many overhead shots of Mr. Badii's (Homayoun Ershadi) car zigzagging through the hills of the city. A large portion of the film comprises Mr. Badii conversing with a prospective suicide assistant, who is seated in the passenger seat of his car. We rarely see the two characters in the same frame, as Kiarostami shot these scenes while sitting in the car's passenger seat. It's one of the most quiet films I've ever seen, and it's excellent if you need something to meditate over. The film has its critics, including Roger Ebert, who gave the film one out of four stars and labelled it as "excruciatingly boring." I realise this is not for everybody, and I imagine there would have been quite a few walkouts at screenings of the film. I loved the film, although I strongly objected to the ending. This only requires one viewing not because it is boring, but because of its stylistic devices. It almost feels like it was shot in real time, and if it were possible to revisit moments from our own lives, they wouldn't have the same vividness that made them so special to begin with.

8. The Girl Next Door (Gregory Wilson, 2007)

In case the above image doesn't make it clear, this is NOT The Girl Next Door starring Elisha Cuthbert and Emile Hirsch. Oh no...this is something a million times as macabre. It's a shame that not many people have heard of this film. It is deeply disturbing and for that reason, one viewing is all I needed. As disturbing as it is, it's also very compelling and it has all the ingredients of a great horror film. The gorgeously demure Blythe Auffarth plays Meg, a girl who, along with her sister, is sent to live with her sadistic Aunt Ruth (chillingly played by Blanche Baker, of Sixteen Candles fame) after the death of her parents. Meg soon discovers that Ruth and her three sons are sick and twisted, and once Meg is bound and gagged in Aunt Ruth's cellar, the film becomes very difficult to watch. She becomes a plaything for this family of psychopaths, who beat, cut and burn her. She is raped and given a clitorectomy. It's just horrible, and if the film set out to be ugly and morose, then it gets 11 out of 10 on that front. This is one of those films that unquestionably deserves its R18+ rating. I've never seen a woman undergo so much torture in a film since Jennifer in Meir Zarchi's 'video nasty', I Spit on Your Grave (1978). At least in that film, the lead eventually got her revenge.  

7. 127 Hours (Danny Boyle, 2010)

For those unfamiliar with the story 127 Hours is based on, let me take a moment to fill you in. In 2003, canyoneer Aron Ralston was hiking through Blue John Canyon in Utah. While descending a slot canyon, a boulder dislodged and crushed his right hand, pinning it against the canyon wall. Ralston remained trapped for five days and seven hours. He was all alone. No one was around to hear his cries for help. It took a feat of instinctual self-sufficiency and sheer bravery to set himself free. This is one of those films where you really have to appreciate the breezy preamble because once tragedy strikes, it's pretty dour viewing. If you're claustrophobic, you may want to skip this film altogether. If may be too much to endure. It's no surprise to learn that people fainted during the film. Other than the unpleasant nature of Ralston's (James Franco) predicament, a reason this only requires one viewing is because it's a biopic. You see it once and you get what happened. If you want to know more, you can read Ralston's autobiography (poignantly titled Between a Rock and a Hard Place) or do a YouTube search for interviews he has done.

6. Boys Don't Cry (Kimberly Peirce, 1999)

Hilary Swank's performance as Brandon Teena in Boys Don't Cry is one of the best performances I have seen in any film, period. You can quote me on that. Here's another film that is based on a real event or person. Brandon Teena was a female-to-male [non-operative] transgender man who was tragically beaten, raped and murdered by his male acquaintances after they discovered he was born biologically female. You may think I just spoiled the movie for you, but I don't believe in spoilers when it comes to biopics. I think we should pay respect to the people these films are based on by not interpreting their life events as secrets. Besides, Boys Don't Cry is less about what happens to Brandon, and more about how he internalises these situations. The relationship between Brandon and Lana (Chloë Sevigny) is beautiful, and provides the film with its happiest moments. The abuse that Brandon receives in this film looks frighteningly realistic—a lot more believable than the torture in The Girl Next Door. This is further testament to Swank's bravery in accepting the role, which she deservedly won the Best Actress Oscar for. 

5. The Passion of the Christ (Mel Gibson, 2004)

I remember watching The Passion of the Christ as an 11 year-old boy with my father at Wetherill Park cinemas. It was on a rainy Sunday afternoon, and it will go down as one of the most emotionally intense viewing experiences I have ever endured. I was baptised as a Roman Catholic. All my years of schooling were completed at Catholic schools. Today, I call myself an atheist, but as an 11 year-old, I was still coming to terms with my faith, or lack thereof. I've never truly believed in a god, but as a child, I entertained the idea that there could be one. Of course, the teachers at school drilled it into us that there was undoubtedly a god; that everything about Christianity is rainbows and sunshine. They were paid to do that. I guess that's why my reaction to this film was so strong. Here's a man who I'd learnt so much about at school. Jesus was a good man. Even if I didn't take everything I was taught as the gospel truth, I still had some attachment to the ethos of Jesus Christ. I liked what he stood for. That's why I cried during this film. I cried because it hurt to see someone go through so much pain, when he didn't actually do anything to deserve it. It was tough seeing him reduced to a bloody pulp, and this is one of the only movies that forced me to look away from the screen. Everything felt so real. Jim Caviezel is phenomenal as Jesus. He doesn't really perform in his role. He simply reacts, but he does it so well. Plenty of people detest this film, be it for the excessive violence or perceived anti-Semitism, but I think it's a powerful film that deserves to be seen...but only once.

4. Funny Games (Michael Haneke, 1997)

Despite the fact that this comes in at #4 on the list, I regard it as the most disturbing film I have ever seen. It doesn't come in at #1 because I can think of three other films that are less absorbing than this one. As disturbing as it is, the two leads (Arno Frisch and Frank Giering) managed to keep me hooked, and I never got bored. The film begins with a wealthy German couple (Susanne Lothar and Ulrich Mühe) who, along with their son (Stefan Clapczynski) and pet dog, arrive at their Austrian lake house. Slowly but surely, two young men named Peter and Paul weasel their way into the lives of the family. Peter asks Anna (Lothar) if he can borrow some eggs, but he has ulterior motives of getting inside the family's home. Paul kills the family's dog, and Peter strikes Georg (Mühe) with a golf club. From this point on, the film is an absolute nightmare to sit through. Peter and Paul hold the family hostage, and 'play' with them through a series of sadistic mind games. This is scarier than most films that identify as 'horror'. Families have their homes invaded all the time, so a very real fear is being toyed with. As much as it frightens and unnerves me, I admire the film for how uncompromising it is. Haneke has said that he intended this film to be a comment on the way violence is dealt with in the movies. There are scenes where Paul breaks the fourth wall, and Haneke wants us to become his accomplice so we feel reproached for his actions at the end of the film. This film will leave a sour taste in your mouth. You will feel horrible for watching it. It's a work of grim hopelessness, with no emotional reprieve. Haneke made a shot-for-shot remake of the film in 2007, intended for American audiences. I've seen that too, so have I technically seen Funny Games twice? I don't know. That's a matter of debate. An 18-minute interview with Haneke about the film is available here.

3. Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1975)

Salo is one of the most misunderstood films I've ever seen. Plenty dismiss it as vulgar trash without any substance. Sure, it didn't have to be made, but I think we can understand life under fascist rule more vivdly because of it. In the film, four wealthy fascist libertines round up 18 teenage boys and girls and subject them to four months of sadistic violence and sexual abuse. It doesn't sound pretty, and that's because it's not. Inspired by Dante's Inferno, the film is divided into four sections: the Anteinferno, the Circle of Manias, the Circle of Shit, and the Circle of Blood. Despite the disturbing subject matter, some of the dialogue is actually sort of funny, and there are parts of the film that are easier to endure than others. If you're going to watch this, it's best you do it on an empty stomach. It's not exactly pleasant to see people eat faeces, although just remember that what they're really eating is chocolate mixed with orange marmalade. It's the dehumanisation of the teenage subjects that makes this so disturbing. They are walked on leashes like dogs, and are expected to attend to any sexual needs the libertines may have. It's a film that will imprint itself on your mind, so that's why you only need to see it once.

2. Sick: The Life & Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist (Kirby Dick, 1997)

Ugh. I don't like talking about this film or even thinking about it, but here goes. This documentary focuses on the life of Bob Flanagan, an American performance artist who had cystic fibrosis. Bob wasn't just any performance artist. He was a sadomasochist always willing to push the boundaries of what was socially acceptable. We learn of his philosophy on life, which is closely tied to his partner, Sheree Rose. Bob consented to be Sheree's property by drawing up the following contract:

Of my own free will, I, Bob Flanagan, grant you, Sheree Rose, full
ownership and use of my mind and body. I will obey you at all times and
will wholeheartedly seek your pleasure and well being above all other
considerations. I renounce all rights to my own pleasure, comfort or
gratification, except so far as you desire or permit them. I renounce all
rights to privacy or concealment from you. I will answer truthfully and
completely to the best of my knowledge any and all questions you might
ask. I understand and agree that any failure by me to comply fully with
your desires shall be regarded as sufficient cause for severe punishment. I
otherwise unconditionally accept as your prerogative anything you may
choose to do with me whether as punishment for your amusement or for
whatever purpose no matter how painful or humiliating to myself.

He lived for pain. For Bob, carving his skin with a knife or nailing his penis to a wooden plank was nothing compared to the pain of cystic fibrosis. Flanagan agreed to be in the film on the condition that his death be included in the final product. Indeed, we see Bob Flanagan withering away on his deathbed. We see him take his last breaths, and we see photos of his body that were taken just after he died. I didn't cry when I saw those sequences. I was sad, but I was too shocked to cry. I was reminded of my own mortality. "That could be me one day," I thought. It was powerful and I'll never forget it. The film ends with one of Bob's spoken-word poems, called Why. If you choose not to watch the film, I urge you to at least listen to this.

1. Dancer in the Dark (Lars von Trier, 2000)

This is an affecting concoction of music and drama, and I felt really uncomfortable throughout the whole thing. It was a real mission to watch. The fact that it was shot with a handheld camera gives it the feel of a documentary. Selma (Björk) does not seem fictitious in the slightest. The pacing is painfully slow, and I couldn't wait for it to be over. Conversely, I knew the ending would be hard to watch, and so I was prepared for the worst. In the end, I gave it 5 out of 5. It's one of those films that reveals its greatness not through its content, but through the way it makes you feel. When the end credits rolled, I knew I had witnessed something that would stay with me. So far, it has. You'll notice I haven't mentioned any plot details, and I'm not going to. In the scheme of things, the plot is just a conduit for posing questions of morality. I have never seen anything else like Dancer in the Dark, and I don't think I ever will. In fact, I don't want to.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Directors on the Sets of My Favourite Films

I was bored, so I thought I'd whip up a quick pictorial post. I abandoned the task of maintaining a definitive 'top 10 favourite films' list a while ago. With the amount of movies I watch, it's hard to narrow down my favourites, let alone order them. So here are some pictures from the sets of 20 of my absolute favourite films, in no particular order. Every picture contains the director of that film, with at least one actor in the frame, too.

Sam Mendes with Annette Bening and Kevin Spacey on the set of American Beauty (1999)

Stanley Kubrick posing with daughter Vivian, with Jack Nicholson in front (The Shining, 1980) 
Alfred Hitchcock with James Stewart on the set of Rear Window (1954) 

John Hughes with Anthony Michael Hall and Molly Ringwald on the set of The Breakfast Club (1985)

Left to right, Mia Farrow, Robert Evans, and Roman Polanski during production on ROSEMARY'S BABY, 1968. Digital Id: 1083_012484 
Roman Polanski with Mia Farrow and developer Robert Evans on the set of Rosemary's Baby (1968) 

 Alexander Payne with Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church on the set of Sideways (2004)

William Friedkin with Linda Blair on the set of The Exorcist (1973)

David Lynch with Naomi Watts on the set of Mulholland Dr. (2001)

Sofia Coppola with Bill Murray on the set of Lost in Translation (2003)

Stanley Kubrick with Tom Cruise and Sydney Pollack on the set of Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

Gus Van Sant with Minnie Driver and Matt Damon on the set of Good Will Hunting (1997)

Alfred Hitchcock with Anthony Perkins on the set of Psycho (1960)

Terry Zwigoff with Thora Birch and Steve Buscemi on the set of Ghost World (2001)

Wes Craven with Drew Barrymore on the set of Scream (1996)

Woody Allen with Scarlett Johansson on the set of Match Point (2005)

Paul Thomas Anderson with Heather Graham on the set of Boogie Nights (1997)

Michael Cimino with Robert De Niro and Meryl Streep on the set of The Deer Hunter (1978)

Cameron Crowe with Billy Crudup and Patrick Fugit on the set of Almost Famous (2000)

François Truffaut with Jean-Pierre Léaud on the set of The 400 Blows (1959)

Barry Levinson with Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman on the set of Rain Man (1988)