Candyman. Candyman. Candyman. Candyman. I could go on for the whole five but I might bore you. What do you mean – ‘Chicken!’? The most memorable bathroom scenes tend to be in horror films if you exclude comedies such as There’s Something about Mary. So why are bathrooms such a worrisome location?
After all, the bathroom is a haven of peace and quiet after a stressful day. Wallowing in a hot, steamy bubble-filled bath, a candle or two flickering in the corner, perhaps a glass of wine/mug of tea at your side; your eyes close and you feel your aches and tensions soaking away. Relaxing isn’t it? Wake up! Wake up! This isn’t a safe place. You’re naked, you’re vulnerable and you don’t know who’s watching you or what’s lurking beneath the plughole or beyond the u-bend! Here are the top 10 most famous spooky, traumatic, or otherwise uncomfortable movie bathroom scenes – and no, we’re not counting Dumb and Dumber. We’re sticking to horror, sci fi, suspense, etc.
If you’ve never seen ‘Candyman’ then you’ll not know why Virginia Madsen is looking scared. Well after you get the fifth utterance out, you’ve just summoned the scary guy with a hook for a hand and a strange case of bee-halitosis and he’s out to get you.
It’s almost as if every bathroom in that movie was horrifying. Think about the one at Cabrini Green…
Back in the 1970s a young David Cronenberg directed a film that was to typify his liking for ‘body horror’. Get past the disturbing images like the two girls on leashes panting like dogs and stop at the scene in the bathroom. Horror favorite, Barbara Steele, lies naked in a bath, legs apart. The parasitic worm creature makes its way from the plughole towards her joy department and you can guess the rest…it is a horror movie after all!
8. Jurassic Park
When you gotta go, you gotta go. Just think twice if you happen to be on a lush jungle island in the middle of the night when you’re surrounded by dinosaurs. Those little wooden WC shacks are just not T-Rex proof. It’s my top tip of today.
7. What Lies Beneath
The opening sequence uses a classic mise-en-scene, a film-maker’s technique, where what you see on screen should give you enough visual and audio cues to give you the background to the setting and tell the story. It empowers the watcher to use his deductive skills and enjoy the rewards of his discoveries. There’s something in the water all right when we fade in and out of the dark depths and merge into Michelle Pfeiffer’s fresh, clean bathwater.
Long trailer, eh?
6. The Fly
Poor Jeff Goldblum, it’s not good when you get old and feel like you’re dropping to pieces, but if you’re a physicist in a David Cronenberg film it’s going to happen to you literally. In this scene, Goldblum peels off fingernails, gets an involuntary bad nose job and examines what has already dropped off, stored in his bathroom cabinet.
Don’t you miss that guy who used to talk on all the movie trailers?
5. The Terminator
Merciless killing machine, the T-800, suffers damage to his fleshy covering and we see him carrying out surgery on himself. The removal of his human eye is often edited out of television broadcasts but, far from being gratuitous, it served to emphasise the inhumanity of the protagonist.
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As a nipper, this scene freaked me out. Before this film I had somehow managed to miss any movie that used a dream sequence. The stressed head of the household was checking his reflection in the bathroom mirror when he suddenly gets itchy and scratches his flesh off.
3. A Nightmare on Elm Street
Before Wes Craven went the way of John Carpenter, he was a true horror auteur. This film propelled Robert Englund from nice alien Visitor in ‘V’ to brutal pizza-faced supernatural murderer with a bladed glove and spawned many sequels and a 2010 remake. In a scene reminiscent of ‘Shivers’ the fantastical Freddy Kreuger’s bladed hand rises from beneath the bubbles of Heather Langenkamp’s bath to terrorize her.
What more can be said about Alfred Hitchcock’s most famous film other than to reaffirm its place as one of the most unsettling films of all time? Without the infamous shower scene its reputation would have undoubtedly suffered. The graphic violence of the stabbing focused mainly on the stabbing actions and Vivien Leigh’s facial reactions coupled with that music serves to sell the situation much more effectively than any gorefest ever could.
Brian De Palma’s film has several shocking sequences but, for me, the infamous opening scene is the most disturbing and sets you up for an uncomfortable experience. Never has a girl’s coming of age been done more powerfully on screen as Sissy Spacek’s terror pulls you in.
Guest blogger, Greg Coltman, writes prolifically about films and the entertainment industry usually, when he’s not doing a bit of DIY. His plumbing skills are on the increase and he’s already working on cool bathroom designs. He finds that choosing bathroom cabinets can be a worrying prospect.