Top 10 scenes of claustrophobic horror in the movies
|LISTS - MOVIE LISTS|
If you spurn the elevator for the stairs, don't read this...
If you're not bothered when the elevator that you're in breaks down, this list will be meaningless to you. If, on the other hand, your heart skips a beat when the rear doors of your taxi auto-lock, you might need a Valium before embarking on what follows…
10: Fantastic Voyage (1966)
Early on in the miniaturisation process for the Proteus, Donald Pleasance's sweaty traitor reveals that he is claustrophobic due to being trapped in bomb wreckage in London during the blitz in WWII. Fitting then, his end, having betrayed all his comrades and his country, as the antibodies of the man he is inside smother him to death.
9: Star Wars (1977)
Any claustrophobic who has been trapped in an enclosed space will recognise the feeling of the walls gradually closing in on them. It's all in their mind of course, but no figment of imagination for Luke Skywalker and Co. in A New Hope, when the trash compactor they have sought refuge in begins to live up to its name.
8: Ben-Hur (1959)
The true horror of the unjust imprisonment of Charlton Heston's mother and sister in this classic sword and sandals epic is driven home not only by how far the prison guards have to descend into the prison to check on their wards (for the first time in many years), but by the fact that the cell door has not been opened in so long that it is practically sealed shut with rust and grime. Like that wasn't bad enough, its innocent occupants have caught leprosy in the intervening period.
7: Demolition Man (1993)
There's nothing in itself terribly claustrophobic about the notion of suspended animation, so frequently used in films such as Planet Of The Apes (1968) and the same year's 2001: A Space Odyssey. You're out cold anyway, right? The horror of unjustly-imprisoned cop Sly Stallone in Demolition Man is that he later recounts that he was conscious throughout the many decades of his aspic imprisonment.
6: Superman (1978)
The death of Lois Lane had to be something pretty gruelling for the character (and, as Richard Donner recounts in his commentary, the actress Margot Kidder), to really give Supes something to rail against and turn back time for at the end of the late 70s blockbuster. It's a spectacularly ghastly death by burial, but luckily her boyfriend is on hand to reverse events in a fit of rage against dad's edicts about not interfering in human history.
5: Das Boot (1981)
Erwin Leder is Jürgen Prochnow's 'Scotty' on the fate-bestrewn submarine of the production that truly launched Wolfgang Petersen's career. When the German sub is at an almost fatal pressure of 150 metres and being depth-charged to boot, the normally reliable engineer flips his lid in a way that Mr. Scott would aim a Celtic 'tut' at, having been in many a similar predicament. But look at the man's expression - this is the true face of the nightmare of claustrophobia. Brrrr…
4: The Abyss (1989)
We've already seen depth-batty marine Michael Biehn slicing his arm up to try and stay sane on his mad military mission in James Cameron's under-regarded aquatic epic, but in The Abyss he finally goes over the edge in every possible way, experiencing the kind of dread in his last moments that would send the average claustrophobe behind the sofa.
3: Tank Girl (1995)
Now we're getting serious. The only thing remotely worse than being stuck down a long and ever-narrowing pipe is the kind of ordeal that Bishop went through in Aliens or Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption. But at least they had a mission. Here our heroine is merely being tortured for the amusement of regular movie villain Malcolm McDowell. The horror…
2: Spoorloos (aka 'The Vanishing', 1988)
George Sluizer's original tale of being buried alive draws on some severely Poe-esque material, and gives the viewer no easy way out as our hero faces possibly the ghastliest nightmare of any claustrophobe - waking up in a buried coffin. Sluizer's hard-hitting conclusion was toned down in his 1993 US remake with Kiefer Sutherland, though.
1: The Descent (2005)
You will have guessed by now that I'm no fan of enclosed spaces. The scene where Shauna Macdonald gets stuck in a rapidly-collapsing pot-holing tunnel in Neil Marshall's all-girl horror-fest is just about the nadir of my deepest nightmare - the hardest thing I have ever had to try and watch without the intervention of all five fingers. Not just the horror - but the horror…the horror…
IF YOU ENJOYED THIS ARTICLE, PLEASE HELP SUPPORT OUR SITE, AT NO COST WITH ONE CLICK ON THE FACEBOOK 'LIKE' BUTTON BELOW:
If you're interested in writing for Shadowlocked (disc and screening reviews, etc, or just getting some extra coverage for your extraordinary writing talent, get in touch with us.