It's happened to all of us, I'm sure. You're sitting there, watching a truly terrible movie when right out of nowhere comes a scene that, for just a moment, makes you think you haven't totally wasted the past 90 minutes of your life. Maybe the 2nd Unit Director was at the helm that day, or the makeup department brought their A-game. Whatever the reason, some god-awful movies feature some mind-blowing scenes of pure genius.
Monster in the woods in The Village
I liked The Village up to a point. And that point is when I figured out the idyllic village couldn't survive past a few generations without some serious inbreeding. The premise sort of fell apart for me after that. But anyway, there's a moment in the film when all thoughts of social organization and stability are superseeded by the very real possibility of monsters in the woods. Fucking monsters!
It only lasts a minute, but it's a minute that makes you second guess yourself and doubt the truth. Nevermind the fact that the film straight up tells you the monsters are just a pacifying fantasy dreamed up by the village elders. That doesn't matter because when Ivy enters the woods, sure enough there's a great, scary monster in there, following her around. Of course, it turns out to be fake but for one terrifying moment monsters are real and they're coming for you.
Face peeling in Dagon and Hostel III
Lady Dinwhistle and I rented Dagon on the strenght of employee recommendation. Big mistake. Hostel III I watched for an episode of TheAvod. Regrettable decision--I blame Count Vardulon. But both films feature a scene in which a man has his skin peeled right off his face. In Hostel III the face lift is telegraphed, but in Dagon you don't see it coming. In both it's equal parts awesome and disgusting.
Samara crawling out of the TV in The Ring
The Ring scared the crap out of audiences across North America and I'm not ashamed to say the movie made me jump. It also made me confused, upset, and a little tired. I didn't like it very much, and though it's a better American adaptation than The Grudge, it's entirely overrated as a horror movie.
That scene has to be one of the creepiest moments in 21st century horror. Taken out of context, it's still weird enough to wig you out, which is saying something. The Ring, on the whole, doesn't make a ton of sense and its internal logic fails to hold up under scrutiny, but goddamn I was afraid of my TV for a while there.
Alien caught on tape in Signs
Signs may not be the best alien invasion movie out there, but it's one of the most suspenseful. Shyalaman delays payoff of getting an eyeful of aliens, so that when we finally get to see what the invaders look like, we can barely stand to watch. In a genius bit of scripting, our first good look at the aliens is already a few generations removed from us, as it comes in the form of a newscast that features a home movie of the aliens. Not only is the audience terrified and excited to finally catch a glimpse of the alien menace, so too is the Hess family as well as the people in video. This layering of fear and desire enhances the scene's suspense and increases the audience's emotional reaction.
Jason's biology in Jason X
The tenth movie in the Friday the 13th franchise is, without any qualification, the worst of the lot. Worse even than part 9 which exists so far outside canon as to hardly be a Jason movie at all. And yet the movie features one of the greatest franchise jokes ever written. After Jason is killed, the computerized medical lab attempts to heal him, using nanotech to rebuild and repair his body. The computer assess that Jason is over 50% metal because of all the lead present in his body--the result of having been shot countless times over nine movies--and remakes him as a metallic Uber Jason. It's freaking brilliant! Unfortunately, the rest of the movie stinks, which diminishes the humour somewhat.