What’s the scariest expertise you’ve had in a movie theater?


Graphic: Natalie Peeples

This week’s AVQ&A is in honor of Halloween Kills, the 2d movie in David Gordon Green’s Halloween reboot/sequel trilogy, hitting theaters this weekend:

What’s the scariest expertise you’ve had in a movie theater?

Paranormal Exercise

In 2007, I pulled myself out of bed for a 10 a.m. screening of Paranormal Exercise. I undoubtedly didn’t know significant about it, however I used to be an gargantuan fan of The Blair Witch Challenge on the time and conception this would scratch that itch. Cramped did I know that I’d affirm the final movie wondering if I must factual ride away because I used to be so unnerved. Then the ending happened. I spent the final ten minutes harassed out of my mind, reflexively striking my head in my hands for security. When the movie ended, I joined the relief of the audience in refusing to win up till the lights came on. [Matt Schimkowitz]

3 / 9

Clicking in the lobby of the Music Box

Clicking in the lobby of the Music Box

My scariest 2d in a movie theater is slightly of a cheat, since it took space in a theater lobby. The Music Box in Chicago is famously unnerved, however I by no methodology believed in any of that. That is, till 2019, after I used to be standing in the lobby perusing the flyers that pile up in the corners of venues relish this one. Then, accurate now in the abet of my comely ear, I heard a loud, particular tongue click—reflect Charlie in Hereditary. I jumped and circled, however there used to be no person within 15 feet. Does the Music Box ghost sit down in on dread movies, taking notes on unique techniques to freak out theatergoers? Or did my ear factual pop, and I made a connection that wasn’t there? Both methodology, it made my belly fall to my ankles. [Katie Rife]


At any time after I reflect of Rango, I hear the screams of childhood. Gore Verbinski’s though-provoking western isn’t especially horrifying (despite the indisputable truth that its artistic persona assemble is upsetting factual), however instances made this theatergoing expertise specifically traumatizing. A friend and I went to detect the movie on opening weekend in 2011, factual as a big thunderstorm used to be rolling thru town. Merely earlier than Rango’s climactic showdown with Rattlesnake Jake, the theater’s energy decrease out—accompanied by a convey of converse—plunging us into darkness. Evidently, the kid-heavy audience used to be vexed. A swirling chaos of shouts and wails lasted for at least a minute earlier than a abet-up generator kicked in, after which we had been promptly asked to head away the theater to head looking for out safer safe haven from the storm. Now that I reflect about it, I peaceful haven’t considered the stop of Rango. [Cameron Scheetz]

The Invisible Man

Perchance it’s recency bias, however the scariest expertise that comes to mind is for the length of 2020’s The Invisible Man. It’s the final movie I saw on the gargantuan cloak cloak earlier than the pandemic. I went on my break day for a midday trace, which explains why the theater used to be nearly empty. The single other audience member walked out after 20 minutes. The movie itself wasn’t horrifying and I undoubtedly enjoyed it, however it completely positively wasn’t supposed to be considered on my own. I didn’t mark how significant the isolation spooked me till halfway thru, after I used to be nervously biting my nails and making particular no person used to be around. I additionally appreciated exiting the theater to appropriate daylight hours. [Saloni Gajjar]

The Ring

My first conception used to be additionally Hereditary, which chilled me to my very core after I saw it at Sundance; I used to be so freaked out by it that I undoubtedly conception of fleeing the theater—a truly rare sensation for me, and one which I tried to honor after I sat down to write about it later that night. (On some diploma, I enact reflect that I fed this movie’s hype machine with that dispatch, which the trailer quoted, and undoubtedly feel—doubtless moderately arrogantly—slightly accountable for the preference of americans that later reported that it wasn’t so upsetting, what used to be the final fuss about?) But if I’m comely, there used to be no single 2d in Hereditary that shook me as speedy and forcefully as a two-2d shot from the American version of The Ring. It’s the 2d when we detect, very temporarily, what Samara did to the girl in the outlet scene. That decrease to the closet, and accurate into a shut-up of the tiring girl internal of it, used to be so surprising and so horrifying that I spent the relief of the movie in a bid of sweaty terror, convinced they had been going to drag the trick on me again, that it used to be only a topic of time earlier than we’d win one more shock decrease to one more pasty, grimacing corpse. It unnerved me. Now no longer execrable for a PG-13 Hollywood remake. [A.A. Dowd]

The Grudge

Aid in mind me amongst the others who would happily mosey their Hereditary expertise into the stop location here. (I saw a hour of darkness screening earlier than it came out, and used to be additionally doubtlessly responsible of serving to to feed the hype machine, what with my dispatch bearing the headline, “Imagine the hype.”) But since it’s already taken, I will ride with one more formative dread expertise, one which forced me to confront my very own deep-seated issues with the genre. Sitting down to behold The Grudge home off off a significant internal dread alert, one which made me win out of my very own bed at 5 a.m. the subsequent morning and power around till the espresso stores opened, so terrorized used to be I to be on my own in a bed. (If you happen to’ve considered that movie, you admire why lifting up the covers is the very final thing you need to to enact.) Fortunately, despite the indisputable truth that, it ended in my thoroughly reevaluating my relationship with dread; I went from warding off it relish the plague to changing accurate into a die-entertaining upsetting-movie fanatic, so I wager I owe Sarah Michelle Gellar and that J-dread remake a debt of gratitude. [Alex McLevy]

Accumulate Out

I don’t detect dread movies in theaters time and again. If I’m going to be unnerved by a movie, I take to be unnerved in the consolation of my very own home, damnit. But on the rare occasion I’ve deviated from that space, I’ve been greeted with a few of worst scares of my movie-staring at occupation. Coincidentally ample, one such scare used to be from the very best doable scene Paranormal Exercise 4—that movie that isn’t vastly upsetting as a complete however those witches freaked me the hell out. Extra currently, I undergo in mind being stuffed with dread in the very best doable moments of Accumulate Out. Seeing those pink and blue police sirens flash while Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) is strangling the life out of Rose (Allison Williams) sent my belly dropping thru the floor. Couple that with the indisputable truth that I used to be seeing this movie on the used ArcLight Cinemas (RIP) in a essentially white Chicago neighborhood, with a essentially white audience, and it with out affirm turns into one in every of doubtlessly the most dismay-inducing theater experiences I’ve ever had. [Baraka Kaseko]

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