Wednesday, June 26, 2013

THE TOP 13 HORROR MOVIE MONOLOGUES

This isn't on the list, but it deserves mention. Yay, Jack!
Throughout my collegiate career as a Theatre major, I was forced to perform and memorize more monologues than I thought was humanly possible.  In a world full of shortened textspeak and quick paced dialogue, the long winded monologue isn't utilized nearly as much as it once was.  Despite popular belief, monologues aren't exclusive to Shakespearean tragedies.  In fact, horror movies have provided us with some of best monologues in cinematic history.  There's something unnerving about listening to someone talk for long periods of time in a movie that at any moment could jump in our face and make us pee the seat.  Some monologues are meant to terrify, some are meant to make us laugh, some set the tone, and others tell us the truth all along.

(NOTE: some of the monologues contain spoilers about the film, but if you haven't seen these films by now, you are bad and you should feel bad. If you see a photo of a film you haven't seen, scroll past it. You've been warned.) 


13)"Innocent? Is that supposed to be funny?" -SE7EN
Kevin Spacey, you are one creepy bastard.  Se7en was the film that proved the terrors of real life are just as horrific as the fictional.  Crossing the line from crime thriller to bonafide horror film, Kevin Spacey's "John Doe" put his Academy Award winning acting chops to work with his confession (and defense) to his crimes.  John Doe is a psychologists wet dream, but this confession speech let us all peer into the psychotic mind of a serial killer who finds his actions completely justified.


12)"Have you never wanted to do anything that was dangerous?" - FRANKENSTEIN
Henry Frankenstein was already off his rocker with his desire to reanimate the dead, but this God complex ridden scientist was not only proud of his life's work, but rather defensive.  After Waldman tells Dr. Frankenstein that his creature will prove dangerous, the good doctor quickly retorts with a monologue explaining the method to his madness.  More importantly, it's the moment that we realize Henry Frankenstein has completely lost his touch with reality. Call him crazy all you want, at this point of the film, Dr. Frankenstein is fresh out of fucks to give.


11)"His name was Jason." - FRIDAY THE 13TH
It has been said that nothing compares to the love a mother has for her child, and Pamela Voorhees loved her son more than any other cable knitted sweater wearing mother ever has.  Friday the 13th is synonymous with the hockey mask wearing Jason Voorhees, but the original villain of the freshman installment of the franchise was Jason's darling Mommy Dearest.  The manic monologue delivered expressed not only her sheer insanity, but the unconditional love only a mother could possess.


10)"My name is Ash, and I'm a slave."-ARMY OF DARKNESS
Praised for his iconic one-liner delivery, some forget that Ashley J. Williams is also one hell of a storyteller. After the events of Evil Dead I & II we needed a quick recap to catch up with our favorite boomstick wielding hero.  I could have very well chosen the boomstick monologue, but because that monologue is known more for the initial line, I wanted to shed light on the more unappreciated of the two.  Shop smart, shop S-Mart.

 09) "I'm so scared." -THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT
It was the snot bubble heard round the world.  Before it became the central focus of many parody skits in films, The Blair Witch Project was a horrifying found footage film that had audiences genuinely convinced that they were watching the real deal.  What could be argued as one of the best showcases of a viral marketing campaign, this heartbroken confession of a filmmaker realizing she's gotten in too deep with her project was the pivotal moment where we genuinely became concerned about these people.  For me, it's when she starts apologizing to the parents of her film crew. That moment breaks my heart and forces me to become emotionally invested. Snot bubbles and all.

08)"I've killed a lot of people!"-AMERICAN PSYCHO
Christian Bale's Patrick Bateman is one of my favorite characters in horror history, and with good reason.  Straying away from typical horror movie formula, Bale actually delivers a lot of incredible monologues throughout the film.  The opening sequence of his daily routine, the inner monologue about business cards, his love of Phil Collins and Genesis, his explanation as to why "Hip to be Square" is so catchy, are all memorable and quoteworthy.  However, it is when Patrick Bateman calls his lawyer that we truly understand just how insane (and talented) he really is. In complete hysterics, Bateman's emotional shifts from panic, sorrow, remorse, hatred, disgust, worry, and an eerie sense of calm.  Every single moment in this monologue is sheer brilliance.
07)"The devil's eyes." - HALLOWEEN
The fact that when I google "Dr. Loomis," Malcolm McDowell shows up first should be illegal in the lawbooks of the Internet.  Don't get me wrong, I love me some Malcolm McDowell, but Donald Pleasence IS Dr. Loomis.  When Michael Myers first haunted the psyche of every girl that ever babysat, there were questions about who this white-masked, silent killer was all about.  Dr. Loomis introduced us to the inhuman monster that is Michael Myers.  The strength in his words and the look in his eye while he recalls the horrific interactions he shared with The Shape is conviction in its truest form.


06)"I'm here to destroy them."-NIGHTBREED
Dr. Decker's speech perfectly embodies the necessity to kill. Not the desire, the perverted justification of ritual, but the cold, hard truth of necessity. Life is wasted, squandered by those that simply do little more than procreate because they can. Decker's Zipperface exists to remind the exponentially expanding virus of humanity that there is always something in the darkness to keep the balance, to force the hand of death when the Grim Reaper's scythe grows heavy. Killing isn't a ritual, it's a duty, a service to mankind. How could anyone possibly question the motives of these actions? Oh, that's right. He's batshit insane and like stabbing people. Still an amazing speech though.


05)"They were screaming." -THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS
Jodie. Foster. There's a reason this film won the big five with the Academy, and the epic "silence of the lambs" monologue given from Jodie Foster recalling her childhood after having the memories pulled out of her through the persuasion of Dr. Hannibal Lecter has a lot to do with the results.  Playing opposite a man who won Best Actor for a performance with the same amount of screen time as an episode of Adventure Time, Jodie Foster is absolutely captivating.  You can almost feel the pain leave her lips and spread into your body with every heartbreaking word.

04)"It's gonna be all my fault. - FROZEN
 When we die, we leave behind absolutely everything we have.  In the wake of our passing, we must realize that forever alone will be our material possessions, our loved ones, our friends...and our pets.  Considering we're a society that will walk out of a theater if a dog dies before we'll riot over a man getting eaten by wolves, it's safe to say that we're entirely consumed with our furry friends. I'll admit it, I totally am. I love my Napoleon complex having dog and wouldn't change him for the world.  The fact of the matter is, pets are a major part of our lives and the "dog monologue" from Frozen is one of the most brilliantly written (and performed) monologues addressing that issue. This monologue completely nails what would happen to a dog had the owner died somewhere out of the house, and I become immediately depressed every time I hear it. I would have ranked this a lot higher, because it's easily my second favorite horror movie monologue of all time, but I tried to make this list as subjective as possible.


03)"She wouldn't even harm a fly."-PSYCHO
If you even need a reason why this monologue is on this list, you can kick rocks. Norman Bates (played by the incredible Anthony Perkins) doesn't say a single word throughout this entire scene, but rather, is narrated by the voice of "Mother."  As unsettling as her words are, watching Norman look around the room and finally into the camera is the perfection combination to make your skin crawl off of your skeleton and run for the hills.


02)"I'll never put on a life jacket again." - JAWS
Sometimes, an actor knows his character better than a writer ever could. This famous monologue was re-written and performed by Robert Shaw.  As Quint tells his "origin story," so to speak, the tragic truth behind his burning hatred for sharks is revealed through recalling graphic imagery. The entire film is centered around a man-eating shark, but Bruce's fear doesn't come close to the horrific story as told by Quint.

01) "The worst thing that ever happened to me was on Christmas" -GREMLINS
Oh, yes. I went there.  Santa Claus is a universal symbol of joy for almost all children, but the sickos behind Gremlins managed to turn one of the happiest fictional characters into a tragedy even Lifetime wouldn't make a movie out of.  What I always loved about this monologue was not only the content, but the fact Phoebe Cates delivers it so matter-of-factly.  Something tragic happened to her, but she doesn't break down and cry or start throwing a tantrum, she tells it as if she was giving her lunch order to an intern.  The pacing developed from the intentional wording makes the monologue somewhat hard to predict with its irregular rhythm, which keeps audiences feeling unsettled and unsure of what will come after it.  This damn monologue is without a doubt the greatest monologue of horror movie history.

8 comment(s):

Chris said...

These were all some really great choices! I loved the inclusion of Quint, definitely one of the best scenes in Jaws!

JP Wendel said...

Not a single entry I don't completely agree with, excellent!

Grimm said...

This post is brilliant! I love it! I agree on all levels. Kick-ass page you got here. I just followed you!

Swing by and talk more horror sometime.

http://grimmreviewz.blogspot.com/

The Curious Cat said...

Glad to see Jaws and Gremlins in there. I was talking to someone the other day about how Speilberg has these little monologues in his films which tell a story within a story and they can often be the most powerful parts of the film. He does it in most of his films that I can recall if you look hard enough - Richard Attenborough with the flea circus in Jurassic Park for instance and ET - when Eliot recalls his father.

I think Quint's story is what Jaws is all about. If you notice Quint deliberately sabotages the mission - bashing in the radio, burning out the motor. He hands Brody a life-jacket but he's seeking out that moment to have it out face to face with the shark. He's heading towards his fate which should have been when he delivered the bomb...all his guilt is packed in there...

Well...that is my take on it anyway.

Kaijinu said...

my God, these choices! Prime Cuts, mate! I can't choose just one, or two! I love all of them!

Mr. E said...

Absolutely excellent choices. One of my favorites from a terrific, but lesser-known film is Brigitte's "best case scenario" monologue from the group therapy session in "Ginger Snaps 2". Dr. Brookner's reaction is priceless.

Luxury Jets said...

Frankenstein would get my vote every time.

Pearce said...

Great list! The only one I can think of that might be missing is John Houseman's ghost story at the start of The Fog, but that would mean removing one of the other perfect choices...

I read an interview with Joe Dante which said that Spielberg hated the Santa Claus monologue in Gremlins, but argued with studio execs who wanted to cut it out of support for Joe Dante.

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