|Moments before the gory scene in Damien: Omen II.|
When I think of horror movies I think of the immediate side effects—cold sweat, dry mouth, palpitation, tingling, loss of appetite, insomnia, tremors, and irrational behaviour. No, I didn't have an anxiety attack but it'd be the sum total of how I felt when I watched scary movies in my youth, and I saw quite a few of them including such absurd films like Evil Dead. I no longer have the stomach or the enthusiasm for horror flicks. That's not entirely true. I might have seen a couple of them over the past fourteen years, in broad daylight and in my living room, surrounded by family and friends, and a plate of chocolate cake and a glass of cold lemon iced tea.
Now, as I grow older, I'm afraid I'll scare to death easily.
I see enough horror in real life, as it were. One morning, a couple of years ago, I was taking the suburban train to work when I saw four porters running along a parallel track, carrying a dirty stretcher between them. I knew what was coming. Instead of turning my face away I looked out of the window just in time to see the porters haul a pair of bloody legs by the ankles and dump it on the aluminium stretcher. Crows circled above. The limbs were sliced at the waist and the innards were spilling out. The legs wore blue jeans. The rest of the dismembered body, which belonged to a young migrant from north of the country, was found half a mile away to where it was dragged by the express train. I read that in the papers the next day.
In Bombay, fatalities due to track-crossing are routine. They run into thousands every year. I don't blame Indian Railways. I blame commuters who cross the tracks as a shortcut. The only shortcut they take is to death's door.
If horror movies don’t kill me, morbid curiosity will.
The Exorcist was the scariest horror film I saw. As a westerner might say, it scared the crap outta me. Young Indians use that a lot now. The Entity and The Omen trilogy didn’t have a hideous face on a rotating head but I still found them disturbing. Perhaps, it was the music that freaked me out. Every time it played you knew something was coming, from somewhere behind you. Remember Jaws?
Which brings me to the purpose of this hellish post: which scene in a horror flick do you remember well?
I can recall many but one that comes to mind, for no apparent reason other than that Satan put it there, is the raven scene in Damien: Omen II. There is this woman in red who is wise to young Damien Thorn’s terrifying identity. After meeting the handsome boy on a football field and seeing the devil in his eyes, she hurriedly gets into her car and drives away. But then, her car breaks down on a long and deserted stretch of the road. She gets out of the car and looks right into the shining black eyes of a raven perched on the roof. The bird attacks her, scratches up her face and claws her eyes out, and in her blind moment of pain and panic, she stumbles onto the road and right into the path of a speeding truck that blows her away. Hazy memory but that is how I remember it.