Reporting Karl Smallwood
Movies are pretty rad; you can watch people fight wars, in the stars…how cool is that? The thing is, though, so many are released these days that’s it’s hard to get excited about them. By the time you’ve got yourself hyped up for The Avengers, they go right ahead and release The Dark Knight Rises.
With that firmly in mind, here are three movies that people did get super excited about…if by excitement we mean pant-moisteningly terrified, which of course, we do.
Jaws – People never stopped screaming
Contrary to popular belief, Jaws is a film all about how awesome sharks are. Some claim that there’s a social commentary on man vs nature in there somewhere, but these claims have been routinely dismissed as what’s known in the movie business as, the ramblings of total wussbags.
Although the film is several decades old, it’s still consistently ranked as one of the scariest films of all time: impressive, considering that its main antagonist is an animal that only poses a threat to people who jet-ski in a t-shirt that has been soaked in ham.
The film is so ingrained in pop-culture today though that all the real scares in the film are too well-known, for example, one the scariest scenes in the film originally, is now simply known for the line it spawned, “you’re gonna need a bigger boat“. However on some of its very first screenings test audiences literally did not stop screaming while the shark was on-screen. As this video explains, Spielberg was so hungry for one more scare that he went back and filmed the Ben Gardner’s boat scene again, in his pool, because he knew if he timed it right, he could cause women in the audience to scream loud enough to power his scream-a-copter, a patented device he used extensively to film the aerial shots of Jurassic Park.
Alien – People ran out of the cinema
Alien is one of those rare films, by which we mean it’s actually got a half decent rating on RottenTomatoes.com. Come on critics, why no love for White Chicks? But we digress.
Although critics have fawned over the film for years, commenting on its musical score and set pieces, we suspect it has been received so well simply because it delivers exactly what it promises, a giant goddamned alien torn straight from the part of your brain that creates nightmares and makes you forget why you walked into a room.
Although the Alien franchise has been greatly expanded upon in recent years, it’s important to note that back in the ’80s no one, anywhere had seen anything like it. In fact, when the film was first premiered in America, it’s reported that religious zealots tried to burn down a statue of a Space Jockey, believing it to be the work of the Devil. Because when you think something is evil and league with Satan, fire is exactly the kind of thing that will damage it and not make it look awesome as all hell (pun intended).
Now the very first screening of the film went…well, terribly. The sound was awful and the audience reaction suffered as a result. However, on the second, much better screening, the audience ran out of the cinema crying and yelling, as you can see detailed in this video. Rumours of this diabolical film sent straight from the bowels of hell itself resulted in a whole pile of good PR, the end result being that the film ran for 24 hours a day with lines never once not being all the way around the block.
Though to be fair, if you saw a queue from which people would occasionally run away screaming and flailing their arms, you’d join the hell out of it just to see what was going on.
Paranormal Activity – The French wet themselves
If you went to see any movie at all during 2009 you probably saw the Paranormal Activity trailer, in which it cleverly and rather lazily used footage of an early test audience totally flipping their lid over the film. Well, French audiences topped that and the previous things on this list by being French.
As detailed here, French moviegoers never got to see the film first time round, so it was only very recently (like, 2012 recently) screened there. This was apparently for a very, very good reason, since audiences completely lost it–and by “it” we mean bladder control. Seriously. They urinated on the seats, looted the confectionary counter and insulted the cashiers, because if you’re going to play up to a French stereotype, you play up go all of ze French stereotypes.
We mean, whoa. People joke all the time about things being so scary that you’ll wet your pants and make your smartphones screen moist, but we never though it would actually happen, and just knowing that it did makes us very happy.
Karl Smallwood is a freelance comedy writer you can hire! His work has been featured on Cracked, Toptenz and Gunaxin. You should probably click those links to make sure he isn’t lying. He also runs his own website where he responds to the various pieces of hate-mail he’s gotten over the years, in fact, he got so much hate-mail that he wrote a book about it that you can buy on Amazon. When he isn’t writing, Karl also Tweets and uploads pictures of himself drinking on Facebook.
Find out The Creepiest Ways Movie Theaters are Silencing Audiences, and then realize there’s no such thing as overreaction when cringing at The Ten Worst Times the Avengers Appeared on Film.