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Commentary, Lead Commentary

Terrifying Elevator Scenes, Part II

To prepare for M. Night Shyamalan flick “Devil” which follows the plight of four strangers trapped in an elevator as they play a game of guess who’s the Prince of Darkness, feast your pupils on these terrifying elevator scenes from movie history.

Where’s Lecter? (“Silence of the Lambs”)

After making a deal with in training FBI Agent Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster), infamous serial killer Dr Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) is moved to a special cell in the Tennessee courthouse. During an elaborate and well orchestrated escape, Dr Lecter severely injures two cops and eludes the rest of the ill equipped police force. Unknown to them, and in true Lecter style, there is a much more sinister edge to his disappearance than they first thought. As one of the ‘guards’ is being stretchered out of the building in the elevator, blood begins to drip from the ceiling. Suspecting that he is hiding on top they move in to investigate. On opening the hatch it is not Lecter who falls out but a disfigured and bloody cop. Meanwhile, the ambulance containing the serial killer speeds away from the scene.

Jack (“Mission: Impossible”)

Blink and you’ll miss it: probably the quickest terrifying elevator scene in this two parter. On a seemingly standard mission in Prague, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his crack team of expert IMF agents are sent to recover a list of all covert agents working in Europe (the NOC list). During the mission each member of Hunts team are violently wiped out. This scene concerns Jack Harmon (Emilio Estevez) who is positioned on top of an elevator inside the shaft, hooked up to control and monitor who goes in and out. When a system error causes him to lose control it rushes up towards the ceiling carrying him with it. Amid desperate cries from Hunt to ‘cut the power’ Jack is violently impaled in the face with a spike.

Give Me Your Hand (“Speed”)

Keanu Reeves takes center stage with Sandra Bullock as they race against time to stop a bomb exploding on a city bus. Before the main ordeal gets going this high action movie opens with a tense, nail biting rescue of thirteen office workers trapped in an express elevator. Dennis Hopper plays the classic disgruntled worker turned bad guy who’s rigged the whole thing. Sensing that his plans are being interfered with he sets off a bomb early, sending the elevator into free fall. Luckily the brakes kick in just in time for Reeves’ character Officer Jack Travern and his sidekick Det. Harry Temple (Jeff Daniels) to save all the hostages. Unfortunately for them they lose the bad guy whose free to wreak havoc over Los Angeles.

Race for Life (“Aliens”)

James Cameron takes the helm in this sequel full of high end action and gun toting colonial marines. After they’re all picked off, only Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is left to rescue pseudo daughter and lone survivor of the human holocaust Newt (Carrie Henn) and attempt a desperate escape from LV-426. In a final break for freedom they come face to face with the Queen herself, seriously pissed at the devastation Ripley’s left in her wake. On escaping to the top level of the compound via elevator they are seemingly free of her sticky clutches. That is until she emerges from the other elevator, somehow overcoming a lack of opposable thumbs to press the button for the top level. Not a moment too soon android Bishop (Lance Henriksen) carries them away in the drop ship and they escape.

For God’s Sake Take the Stairs! (“The Lift/“De Lift”)

Last but by no means least, feast your eyes on the crazy shenanigans in this dutch flick from director Dick Maas. Strange occurrences in an elevator in an office tower named ‘Icarus’ are stepped up a notch or ten when a group of party goers are trapped and almost suffocated and then a security guard is decapitated. Mechanic Felix Adelaar (Huub Stapel) and a reporter set about investigating the strange goings on and find that dodgy experiments involving microchips are to blame for this elevator’s evil antics. You’ll never want to take the elevator again!

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8 Responses to “Terrifying Elevator Scenes, Part II”

  1. Brad H. says:

    Okay, just the preview pic above for The Lift looks creepy. If the movie can live up to that picture, it takes my vote. Though I’ve seen the rest of these movies, the only scene I vividly remember is the one from Mission: Impossible. Sad.

  2. Jenn says:

    I’ve had a fear of an elevator opening halfway between floors and then either climbing up or jumping down to get to the floor intended.

  3. Karen Cohn says:

    I have always had a fear that when the elevator door opened up that there would be no floor and I would fall down the shaft! Monsters popping out is good too!

  4. Zoe Chapman says:

    I only watched the elevator scene in Silence of the Lambs whilst writing this commentary. It was only when I viewed the entire film that I realised it is probably the scariest scene in the whole film! And the only bit where you see Hannibal in action. Becky I would advise not watching Devil it’ll make all your fears come true!

  5. phil says:

    i withdraw my comment. you guys put the REAL deal scary shit on Part 1 of your list…..

  6. phil says:

    WHAT?! what about the elevator seen in the original "The Eye". I’m almost completely desensitized and it creeped me the hell out!!

  7. I personally thought the Hanibal Lecter was probably one of the best listed!!! Also not listed was the Clint Eastwood movie In the Line of Fire not terrifying but suspensful??? Grwoing up in Detroit the Ren Cen had a glass elevator where you could see out and this terrified my mother!!!

  8. This is not a good site for me to comment on because riding elevators, a necessity, is also one of my biggest fears. Whether riding alone or with a group of people, I always breathe a sigh of relief when the doors open. I am always afraid the cable will break or the door will jam or the elevator will be stuck in between floors when I am on the elevator!