12 Startling Moments In Cinema

Everyone likes a good cinematic shock but these choices go beyond that...

Everyone likes a good cinematic shock. The cinema is a safe way in which we can live out our fears and horrors vicariously - all of the "what if?" scenarios us gloomy people ponder at night. There are an awful amount of movies that set out to intentionally startle the bejaysus out of us - from high art like Salo or on a lower scale - Slaughtered Vomit Dolls. The most fascinating kinds of startling moments are those that come out of nowhere and catch the viewer unawares. There are film makers out there like Gaspar Noé and Alexandre Aja who thrive on shocking and appalling cinema - just think of the sequence in Noé's Seul Contre Tous in which the Butcher snaps and kicks and punches his pregnant girlfriend's stomach and later the implied rape of his autistic daughter. I have chosen a few moments of startling cinema for you below. Obviously there are many such moments in cinema and people's tastes will differ so please add yours below. Spoilers follows...

12. Max & Lucia Lock Eyes - The Night Porter (1974)

Max is a quiet man with a humble job as a night porter in a hotel in post World War Two Vienna. He leads this quiet existence because he is an ex-Nazi and concentration camp guard. Max belongs to a sleeper cell of ex-Nazis and he is terrified of exposure, when one day an ex-concentration camp inmate called Lucia comes into the hotel and to her and his mutual astonishment, they clap eyes on each other. This is a startling moment because we do not know yet of their sadomasochistic relationship in the camp. They lock eyes and you can tell that there is water under the bridge with them and the film then skilfully treats us to what happened between the pair using flashbacks and beautiful opera music (Mozart's The Magic Flute). We see horrible scenes of abuse and dereliction of duty on Max's behalf. But it is the moment of coming face to face again after 13 years that makes an impact on the viewer. It is an electric moment.

My first film watched was Carrie aged 2 on my dad's knee. Educated at The University of St Andrews and Trinity College Dublin. Fan of Arthouse, Exploitation, Horror, Euro Trash, Giallo, New French Extremism. Weaned at the bosom of a Russ Meyer starlet. The bleaker, artier or sleazier the better!