Halloween is right around the corner, which means its time to get the sh*t scared out of you. Though we all have those movies we watch every Halloween, fear isn't restricted to just Halloween. Throughout the history of cinema, there have been many, many characters and performances that left us horrified. You might not associate Halloween with them, but you do associate fear with them. Today, we are going to look at five of the most scary performances to ever hit the silver screen.
5. Andrew Neiman (Whiplash)
This may not be a conventional choice, but here me out on this. When we see first see Neiman, we see that he is passionate about music and wants to be a successful musician. When he meets Fletcher, the strict (to put it nicely) instructor of his school band, that desire quickly turns into an obsession. Neiman starts to push his training to extreme levels, isolates himself from his friends and family, and even rushes to a competition after getting into a car crash. Neiman is very similar to the main character in Black Swan, as he represents how the pursuit of excellence can lead to someone losing their humanity. What makes Neiman scarier is that he is a young college student (as opposed to a grown woman like Natalie Portman). When Neiman has his big moment at the end of the film, it looks less like a feel good victory and more like the completion of his sacrificed humanity. If you're looking for an unexpectedly disturbing performance, you'll find this one to be quite your tempo.
4. Lou Bloom (Nightcrawler)
Some of scariest performances you'll ever see come from actors you wouldn't expect. That's what makes Jake Gyllenhaal's performance in Nightcrawler so unsettling. To see such a charming actor play such a despicable character is quite off putting. Bloom is pretty much a textbook sociopath, as does horrible things with little care in order to further his goals. What makes this even more scary, is that we (as the audience) identify with why he is doing these things. We may disagree with his actions, but we can't fully fault him for doing everything within his power to make a living. Gyllenhaal brings a lot of intensity to this role, as we see a quite reserved man occasionally showing the monster within.
3. Pennywise (It 2017)
This may be a very recent performance, but its worth talking about. Truth be told, I didn't find Tim Curry as the original Pennywise that scary. He was definitely creepy, but that quickly goes away when you realize that the main characters are being chased by Nigel Thornberry. It also didn't help that he didn't really try to kill the children that much, as opposed to just trolling them. With Bill Skarsgard's version, you know that he wants to kill these kids. The movie's R rating helps, as we able to see Pennywise as the violent monster that he is. Though he's not in the movie as much as Curry was in the mini-series, it makes the scenes that he's not in more scary than they should be (since you get the feeling he could pop out at any moment). Even Skarsgard's most meme worthy moment is terrifying to some degree. If you watch this horrifying performance, you'll float too.
2. Tommy DeVito (Goodfellas)
When you first see Tommy DeVito in Goodfellas, you would think you'd be getting a typical Joe Pesci performance. At first, it seems that its going at that direction. In his first scene, Tommy (like most Pesci performances) comes across as loud, vulgar, fast-talking, and funny. Funny? Funny how?! The scene where Tommy demands to know whats so "funny" about him shows just how intimidating this man is. If a pen dropped in that scene, you would be able to hear it. That scene sets the tone for Pesci's performance, as you that even the smallest thing can set him off. You don't whether to laugh at his one liners, or worry if he gonna go off the rails. If you think you would never be scared of someone like Joe Pesci, you will find out you're wrong after watching this movie. By the way, don't tell him to go get his shine box.
1. Norman Bates (Psycho)
Remember when I said that some of the scariest performances come from the most unexpected of actors? Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates is the king of those performances. When you first see, he looks like the last person you would ever expect to be a psychotic killer with an Oedipus complex. As the film goes on, you start to wonder if this man is either a a tortured soul or a sick mastermind. This performance not only provides one of cinema's classic scenes, but also its greatest twist. After you watch this movie, you will that this guy would most certainly harm a fly.