Terror in cinema outside of horror

Horror is an art form devised as a way to scare people, while there is much more under the surface, in the likes of social commentary, at it’s surface it’s all about getting scared. But horror isn’t the only place we can go to get scared, some times the most terrifying scenes pop up in anything from Disney flicks, to war movies, so let’s take a look at a few of these scenes.

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory
The Tunnel.

We all know the scene, in this happy family friendly film we’re enjoying a tour of this mystical chocolate factory, with it’s candy park, and chocolate river, it’s a happy time. But when it comes time to hop a boat ride through the tunnel, with images of a chicken being decapitated, and the song, oh god the song. But when it’s over, it’ll never be mentioned again.
“Round the world and home again
That’s the sailor’s way
Faster faster, faster faster
There’s no earthly way of knowing
Which direction we are going
There’s no knowing where we’re rowing
Or which way the river’s flowing
Is it raining, is it snowing
Is a hurricane a-blowing
Not a speck of light is showing
So the danger must be growing
Are the fires of Hell a-glowing
Is the grisly reaper mowing
Yes, the danger must be growing
For the rowers keep on rowing
And they’re certainly not showing
Any signs that they are slowing ”

Pleasure Island

Pleasure Island will haunt my nightmares for many a year to come. As a child watching Pinocchio, it’s a fun journey with a animated wooden boy who wants nothing more than to be a real boy. Simple enough. When Pinocchio goes for his vacation on Pleasure Island, he starts drinking and smoking, but shortly after we get treated with the truth of Pleasure Island, in what I still think may be the most terrifying transformation scene of all time. Remember kids, stay away from alcohol, and cigars, you can just send them my way.

Raiders Of The Lost Ark
Opening the Ark.

Indiana Jones is one of the classic film series that everyone should see, up there with Die Hard, and Star Wars. The first Indiana had some great scenes, including the plane propeller death scene, which took a note from the Texas Chainsaw school of ‘let their mind fill in the rest’. By the end of the film, we’re ready to open the Ark, and one of the most gruesome scenes of our childhood comes out, watched mostly from under blankets, and between spread fingers, this one was sure to give you nightmares.

Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure
Large Marge

Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure is the story of the world told through a man-child’s eye. Part way through the film really goes off the tracks when Pee-Wee gets ride with Large Marge, who decides to treat her new driving partner with a story of the worst accident she has ever seen. She does more than just tell him though, she shows him what the body looked like in horrifying claymation.

I decided to mostly stick with movies accessible for kids while writing this, as when a scary scene shows up in a children’s film, it always seems to come completely out of left field. There are of course scary scenes in non-horror films that aren’t aimed at kids, such as the suicide scene in Full Metal Jacket, or the bottle/face scene in Pans Labyrinth. The one scene that gets to me most of all though, I’m not sure if the film it’s from would be considered horror, as it balances on that tiny line between horror and thriller. It would be the death following the air plane crash in The Grey.


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