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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Jesus Wept! The Ten Most Infamous Lines in Horror Movie History

Everyone loves a list. And while I usually restrict my horror movie list-making activities to Bloody Disgusting, I've decided to throw the Vault Dwellers a bone tonight. And so I give you the ten most infamous lines in horror movie history. Now, I'm thinking a little more off the beaten path here. Usually a list like this might include such gems as "We all go a little mad sometimes" (Psycho), "I never drink...wine" (Dracula) or "They're coming to get you, Barbara!" (Night of the Living Dead). But I decided (for once!) to be a little less obvious here. And so, these are ten ominous and extremely memorable lines that have stuck with me over the years, despite not being as terribly famous as most of the lines everyone remembers. So here goes, and by all means, feel free to pitch in with your own!

"Now I know what it feels like to be God!"
Frankenstein (1931; scr: John L. Balderston)
Most people would go with "It's alive!" of course, but for me, this line epitomizes the daring of this horror milestone. Spoken by Dr. Frankenstein right after that other line, it was removed from most prints of the movie in subsequent releases, but thankfully restored on DVD.

"Leave the charnel house and follow the lead of nature--or of God, if you like your Bible stories."
Bride of Frankenstein (1935; scr: William Hurlbut)
Dr. Pretorius' borderline blasphemous aside was actually an amended version of the original line, which read "if you like your fairy stories." If anything, the edited version may be even more subversive.

"Your mother sucks cocks in hell!"
The Exorcist (1973; scr: William Peter Blatty)
The fall of the Hays Code really changed things, didn't it? Can you imagine the shock of an audience listening to a little girl saying something like this, when a mere eight years earlier they were listening to Julie Andrews singing about whiskers on kittens?

"It's not my fault if Christ and the saints are out fashion."
The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue (1974; scr: Sandro Continenza & Marcello Coscia)
A fantastic line from a criminally overlooked horror film. Has the drastic shift in the genre (hell, in culture) during the 1960s and '70s ever been so succinctly expressed?

"I see you, chocolate man!"
Dawn of the Dead (1978; scr: George A. Romero)
How well written is a flick like Dawn of the Dead, when even the throwaway lines are this classic? DOTD is chock full of goodies like "We got this by the ass!" and of course, "When there's no more room in hell..." But there's just something about the matter-of-fact racism of Tom Savini's Blades that makes this line so unforgettable.

"I...corrected her."
The Shining (1980; scr: Stanley Kubrick)
You want to talk chilling? It just doesn't get any chillier than Philip Stone's speech to Jack Nicholson in the men's room at the Overlook Hotel. Plus all that garish red paneling. Damn, Kubrick was a bizarre individual. And brilliant for it.

"You mean the movie lied?!"
The Return of the Living Dead (1985; scr: Dan O'Bannon)
The brilliance of O'Bannon's script is that a line like this, delivered with such wide-eyed innocence by Thom "Freddy" Matthews, can perfectly cut the grim horror of a scene involving zombie dismemberment. A microcosm of what make the movie such a classic.

"Give me the amulet, you bitch!"
The Monster Squad (1987; scr: Shane Black & Fred Dekker)
Yeah, I know everybody quotes that line about the Wolf Man ad nauseum, but how shocking was it to hear Dracula scream this to a little girl? Pretty harsh stuff for a relatively family friendly flick--still not sure if the line really fits the movie. Ah, the '80s--what a perplexing era!

"Jesus wept!"
Hellraiser (1987; scr: Clive Barker)
As a kid of 12 in Brooklyn, I had never even heard this expression before, so it was just some real creepy weirdness to me, in a movie full of real creepy weirdness. Now that I know it's a common--if somewhat archaic--blasphemy, it only adds to my appreciation of Barker's layered use of religious themes.

"Take it! Take the fucking elephant!"
Darkman (1990; scr: Chuck Pfarrer & Sam Raimi)
This one's just such a perverse favorite of mine, I had to include it. When I think of the countless hours my friends I spent quoting and laughing our asses off at this immortally ludicrous line--spoken by a man who would star three years later in Schindler's List, no less!
I'm still not sure if I actually prefer the "edited for TV" version of the line--"Take the fuzzy elephant!"

12 comments:

CRwM said...

The "Jesus wept" line was, I thought, a direct reference to the Bible. Those two words are notably the shortest sentence in the whole book. I remember this Sunday school factoid mainly because it pops up on Jeopardy every once and a while.

B-Sol said...

The line does originate in the Bible, but it's also used as a swear, like saying "Jesus Christ!"

cinderelly said...

we often use that line, "i...corrected her." from the shining! it cracks me up!

B-Sol said...

Yeah, I'm guilt of that, too.

Anonymous said...

RayRay - Great list, B-Sol. "Jesus wept," was a deep cut, IMO. Of course, I can probably think of a million lines from horror movies. But just not at this second, dammit!! In lieu of wracking my brains for the next several hours, I submit from The Thing, Clark's: "I dunno what the hell's in there, but it's weird and pissed off, whatever it is."

B-Sol said...

I'll have to go with another line, from the same scene:

"You gotta be fuckin' kidding me!"

Hilarious in context.

Jonathan said...

My favorite line in "Monster Squad" was always: "I'm in the Goddamn Club aren't I?" But you pulled another great one out I've never really paid much attention to.

Jonathan "JR" said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jonathan "JR" said...

OK, second try:

I've heard that "Jesus wept" was an ad-lib by Andrew Robinson.

I was thinking about that carnival scene from Darkman the other day! That close-up when he breaks the guy's fingers - yow!!

Anonymous said...

Evil Dead right before final finish of the mother i think...
She was like : "I'll eat your soul" and guy told her : "Eat this" and fired with shotgun...

B-Sol said...

Yep, that's Evil Dead II. Another good one.

Anonymous said...

^^

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