Slow motion ( or “slowmo“ if you‘re cool like that) was invented by an Austrian priest named August Musger in the early 20th century. Over the decades we have seen slow motion used to awesome and memorable effects (2001: A Space Odyssey, Raging Bull, etc) and we’ve also seen some blunders. A few weeks ago, we shared with you the ten greatest slow motion scenes in comic book movie history; this included Quicksilver in X-Men: Days Of Future Past and Nightcrawler attacking the White House in X2: X-Men United.
Today we are going to be looking at another movie genre, our favorite genre, horror. These are the ten greatest horror movie slow motion scenes of all time.
10. Pancakes Kid – Cabin Fever (2002)
Hands down, the greatest out of nowhere moments in horror history has to go the infamous “pancakes” scene in Eli Roth’s directorial debut. The scene in question finds a mentally unstable young boy named Dennis who, out of nowhere, begins doing karate and then proceeds to bite one of the film’s characters in the hand. The fact that the entire thing is in slow motion makes it all the more surreal. What’s the explanation for this scene? According to Roth, this scene wasn’t in the original script but he quickly wrote it into the story when he auditioned the kid who would play the pancake craving kid. The young actor, quite randomly, knew kung-fu and showed some of his moves for the director. As far as the pancakes? Well, kids do love pancakes.
9. Prologue – Antichrist (2009)
This controversial film starts off contrasting a sexual act – a married man and woman having loving sex with a violent act – a toddler falling to his death out of the window. In slow motion we watch as the nameless couple (played by Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg) have sex in the shower and the bedroom as their son accidentally falls from a window to his death. The scene is beautifully shot, and sets the tone perfectly for the rest of the sexual violence to come.
8. Casey Becker’s Death – Scream (1996)
When Drew Barrymore signed on to play Casey Becker in Wes Craven’s slasher film Scream, nobody expected her to get killed within the first few minutes. Nevertheless that’s exactly what happened. During the opening of the film we see a cat and mouse game between the character and our villain Ghostface. This ultimately ends with our villain chasing Casey and stabbing her from the back in slow motion. Still, the greatest kill from the Scream movie franchise.
7. The Jump Rope Song – A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
The ending of A Nightmare On Elm Street leaves on a somewhat ambiguous note. After Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) defeats the man of her dreams Freddy Krueger, we cut to the next day where everything seems to be peaceful. All of her friends and family that Freddy had killed are shown to not be dead at all as they prepare to drive off to school. Suddenly, the roof of their car clamps shut—the material an exact match to the pattern of Freddy’s sweater—and the car starts moving of its own accord. As the car drives away we see a group of young girls singing the infamous “One, Two, Freddy’s Coming For You” song and jumping rope in eerie slow motion. What’s most effective about this scene is the fact that it actually merges slow motion into normal speed without the viewer even noticing.
6. The Death Of Jason Voorhees – Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
Aside from Jason Voorhees himself, the Friday the 13th franchise was always lacking in the memorable characters category. That is, until young Tommy Jarvis came around. Tommy (played by Corey Feldman) is a nerdy young boy with an affinity for making masks and make-up effects. During the finale of the “Final Chapter” Jason has murdered just about everybody and has his sights set on the Jarvis family. Tommy isn’t having any of this, he promptly shaves his head (to look like a young Jason) and basically takes a butcher knife to Jason’s cranium over AND OVER again in slow motion. Obviously Jason doesn’t stay dead, but this was still a nice (temporary) sendoff for one of our favorite slasher icons.
5. Mrs. Voorhees’ Death – Friday the 13th (1980)
Before Jason Voorhees donned his burlap sack mask and started slaying sexually promiscuous teenagers, his mother Pamela (played by Betsy Palmer) was showing horror antagonists how it was done. In the original Friday the 13th, after being distraught by the death of her son Jason, Pamela goes on a bloody killing spree. She takes out nearly everybody at her ex-workplace Camp Crystal Lake before she herself is killed in slow motion in one of the greatest decapitation scenes ever put to film.
4. The Opening Credits – Zombieland (2009)
The opening credits of this modern zombie comedy classic set the tone for the film perfectly. We get to witness the effects of the zombie apocalypse that has taken over. This includes zombie strippers and fat guys running for their lives. With Metallica’s “For Whom The Bell Tolls” playing in the background, these slow motion blood-soaked opening credits are beyond epic!
3. Free Bird Shootout – The Devil’s Rejects (2005)
In Rob Zombie’s greatest film, we follow the murderous exploits of Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig), Otis Driftwood (Bill Moseley) and Vera-Ellen “Baby” Firefly (Sheri Moon Zombie). After escaping the clutches of a vengeful police sheriff it looks like smooth sailing for the titular criminals. Over Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Free Bird loudly blasting in the background, the trio drive off in their 1972 Cadillac Eldorado. Things come to a boil when they run into a heavily armed police barricade. The trio go out in a blaze of glory in super motion detailing every bloody gun-wound. The odd thing, this scene actually made us feel sorry for these sadistic bastards. Quite impressive!
2. Elevator Of Blood – The Shining (1980)
Even though Stephen King ultimately hated how much the big-screen adaptation of his novel deviated from his original story, Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is still regarded as a true horror masterpiece. One of the major factors that contributed to this consensus is the absolutely creepy atmosphere it exudes. Early in the film we see one of our main character’s Danny having a vision of an elevator that is filled with blood. We see this blood pour out of the elevator doors in slow motion, and disturbing doesn’t even begin to describe it. There have been many debates about what this scene means or what’s in the elevator but it’s much more frightening if it’s left to your imagination.
1. Prom Blood Bath – Carrie (1976)
In the ultimate prank gone wrong, the awkward and telekinetically gifted Carrie White gets revenge on an entire auditorium filled with people laughing at her. Carrie is an outcast, loathed and taunted by her fellow students and constantly scolded by her religious mother. After some of her fellow classmates get banned from the prom for harassing her they decide to humiliate Carrie at the event, pouring pigs blood on her head after she wins prom queen. This scene is drawn out for nearly five minutes in slow motion showing every detail. Oh, by the way, the 2013 rebooted version of the scene isn’t nearly as good.
What was your favorite slow motion scene in a horror film? Let us know in the comment sections below.