Monday, September 05, 2022

The 101 Scariest Horror Movie Moments of All Time: 101-89

Perhaps the shower scene in Hitchcock’s Psycho was the first single horror movie scene to inspire an entire documentary analyzing its cultural legacy: Alexandre O. Philippe’s 78/52. There was still a lot more genius to the Hitchcock classic, but horror films are often defined by particular scenes, often those that are notable controversial or transgressive. Shudder counts them down listical-style in The 101 Scariest Horror Movie Moments of All Time, which premieres Wednesday on the streamer.

Right off the bat, the opening episode raises questions about methodology. Is this really about the 101 “scariest moments” or is that just another way of saying the scariest movies. Could some films appear multiple times in the series, for different scenes? Not in the first episode. However, the curation is surprisingly thoughtful, showing an awareness of the entire history of horror films.

The first episode touches a lot of old school fan bases, including a classic Universal monster movie (
The Wolf Man), a Hammer horror film, Val Lewton’s original Cat People, Mario Bava’s Black Sabbath, Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Pulse, and Hitchcock’s The Birds. It is a bit of a head-scratcher to see Bryan Bertino’s The Strangers make the cut, but Tobe Hooper’s Salem’s Lot was a worthy call, especially since it is often unfairly overlooked as a TV-movie.

To a large degree,
The 101 is similar in tone and execution to the In Search of Darkness documentaries, which isn’t a bad thing. There are some decent expert commentators, perhaps most notably including the director Mike Flanagan (whose Doctor Sleep will obviously come up later).

There are a few dubious selections in the first episode, but by and large, it provides a handy and relatively adventurous list for future viewing, as well as grist for debate—at least so far. It is especially nice to see Christopher Lee, Val Lewton, and Lon Chaney Jr. get some love. Recommended to the fans for whom it was intended, the first installment of
The 101 Scariest Horror Movie Moments of All Time starts streaming Wednesday (9/7), on Shudder.