The Line: “I met this 6-year-old child, with this blank, pale, emotionless face and the blackest eyes… the devil’s eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realized what was living behind that boy’s eyes was purely and simply…evil.”
Context: Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasance) explains to the police his history with the child turned adult mass murderer, “boogeyman” Michael Myers.
Why is it great: Loomis’s fortitude and conviction in pursuit of Myers is one of the elements of “Halloween” which is so compelling coupled with the fact that it was hard to believe a child could end up being this evil.
The Line: “I’m your number one fan.”
Context: After crashing his car during a blizzard, novelist Paul Sheldon (James Caan) finds himself in the care of mysterious woman Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates). Her intent is to nurse him back to health – among other things.
Why is it great: The phrase “number one fan” was changed forever after this film was released to infer someone is your “stalker” if they utter the phrase even when being sincere. This was due, in great part, to Bates and her Academy Award winning performance.
18. Friday the 13th
The Line: 20. “Ch Ch Ch, Ah Ah Ah”
Context: The echoing voice Jason theme sound was actually written by film composer Harry Manfredini as “Ki Ki Ki Ma Ma Ma”. It is supposed to be an echo of the line “kill her mommy” in which Jason’s mother says several times within the last act of the original, but has changed over the years to a different sound.
Why is it great: Even nonfans of Friday the 13th or horror movies in general recognize the sound as Jason’s theme making it extremely recognizable. The sound has transcended itself and become a bit of pop culture on its own.
17. Evil Dead 2
The Line: “Groovy!”
Context: In preparation for his onslaught against the undead horde, our hero Ash (Bruce Campbell) readies himself by entering a wood shed full of garden implements. He proceeds to fashion a chainsaw and harness for his missing right hand. Then he uses his new tool to saw off the end of a shotgun and prepare for battle.
Why is it great: The word “Groovy” ended up becoming not only synonymous with the character of Ash and the Evil Dead films in general, but Campbell embraced it as well and has enjoyed using it throughout his life. It also embraced the throwback camp nature of the trilogy not ever taking itself too seriously.
16. Night of the Living Dead
The Line: “They’re coming to get you, Barbra!”
Context: Siblings Johnny and Barbra (Russell Streiner and Judith O’Dea) are visiting their father’s grave at the beginning of the film when Johnny decides to tease his sister. He remembers she feels uneasy being at a cemetery and decides to have some fun not knowing their first encounter with the undead would be forthcoming very soon.
Why is it great: The line sets up the rest of the film as Barbra is on the run for her life as she meets hordes of zombies aching for human flesh.
Severely pale by comparison to modern zombie efforts like “The Walking Dead” and “World War Z’”, “Night of the Living Dead” started it all in terms of zombie films. Romero was a zombie pioneer and capitalized on the zombie craze with additional films ending with “Survival of the Dead” in 2009.
15. Rosemary’s Baby
The Line: “What have you done to him? What have you done to his eyes, you maniacs!”
Context: After a series of mysterious and confusing events involving Rosemary (Mia Farrow), her husband Guy (director John Cassavetes), her weird neighbors the Castevet’s (Ruth Gordon and Sidney Blackmer) and her pregnancy, Rosemary finally gives birth and is then told her son has died. She wanders in to her neighbor’s apartment after hearing crying and discovers her baby is alive and being worshipped by a satanic cult comprised of her “friends”.
Why is it great: The entire plot of “Rosemary’s Baby” is a slow burn that gradually builds toward the climax of Rosemary discovering her child is being worshipped as the Son of Satan. Her realization and subsequent reaction of utter disbelief makes the film’s entire journey worthwhile.
The Line: “They’re all gonna laugh at you.”
Context: In preparation for her upcoming prom date, Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) is fending off criticism, verbal attacks and outright pleading from her overbearing deeply religious mother (Piper Laurie) to stay home instead. Her mother insists something bad will happen and doesn’t want her daughter to attend wearing her revealing gown.
Why is it great: Emotions from the scene escalate quickly as Carrie becomes more and more frustrated disobeying her mother’s wishes. Neither of them is aware of the deeply embarrassing and destructive climax about to occur at school.
13. The Omen
The Line: “Look at me, Damien! It’s all for you.”
Context: It’s birthday party time for everyone’s favorite child, Damien (Harvey Stephens), when a woman jumps from the roof of the Thorn mansion in Damien’s honor and happily hangs herself, her body slamming and shattering a glass window as a result. His parents and partygoers are mortified.
Why is it great: The death scene is brutal, violent and totally unexpected to moviegoers in 1976. The set up for the character of Damien being the devil’s child was chilling especially since it was a young child being blamed for multiple horrific events throughout the film.
12. A Nightmare on Elm Street
The Line: “Whatever you do, don’t fall asleep.”
Context: Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) is having a phone conversation with her across-the-street boyfriend, Glen (Introducing Johnny Depp!). During the conversation she asks if he will meet her at midnight to help her defeat the evil realm menace, Freddy Krueger.
Why is it great: Obviously, since Freddy haunts and kills people in their dreams, staying awake would be preferred. It is also mentioned if you die in your dream then you die in real life so staying risen becomes even more imperative.
The Line: “What’s your favorite scary movie?”
Context: During the initial “teen alone in her big home” scene, unsuspecting young girl, Casey (Drew Barrymore), is making popcorn in anticipation of her night at home curled in front of the television when she receives a phone call with a voice asking her a bunch of increasingly creepy questions.
Why is it great: The Casey scene which begins “Scream” marveled in the surprise it gave audiences as we were not expecting an “A” list actor like Barrymore to be slain so violently within the first 10 minutes of the film.
Director Wes Craven and screenwriter Kevin Williamson deserved credit for revitalizing the teen horror genre in the mid-1990s.