Horror Tropes We Love
It’s spectacular how such an intimate experience, can be turned into something so unforgettable.
The bathroom is our sanctuary, the place we go for time alone, sinking into a hot bath to console our thoughts, to shower away a hard days work, or to feel the simple relief of relieving ourselves.
A place where we are inevitably alone, defenceless, at our most vulnerable. Maybe that is why horror is so effective at turning something so natural, something we have to do everyday, into the stuff of nightmares.
Fear is such a powerful emotion, and our mortality the very centre of our being. Combining the two creates such a force for cinematic illusion. You never really forget those scenes, where the victim dies in the shower, or the perpetrator covers their tracks hidden within the stream of water, in thrillers such as Gone Girl. The shower, that innocent necessity can become a stage for fear. Let’s take a look at some of the most noteworthy moments of bathroom murders.
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This is the creme de la creme of horrific shower deaths. The first staged in cinema in 1960, this is THE SCENE that usually comes to mind when you think of being murdered in a shower. Subtle as the extremely censored death scene was, it is one of the most poignant, not least because of genius involved in filming, back in the day of cut paste editing and the feel of realness in the black and white film, bringing it closer to the heart, making it more real.
Nightmare on Elm Street 2
Freddy Krueger and The Elm Street series has stayed with me as the most effective horror series. Playing on the impossible, the victims only ever being murdered once asleep. The one natural process we require to function on a daily basis. At the times in our life when we can’t sleep, crippled by insomnia due to an emotional or internal stress, fear becomes compounded. So the bathroom scene in nightmare 2 used both techniques, against our very nature not to do, against us. When she falls asleep in the bath and Freddys knifed glove raises up between her legs, my stomach tightens in a grip that won’t release. Spoiler though, she escapes her watery grave, at first…
More thriller than horror, the ending to Fatal Attraction where Alex’s suffering leads her to murdering her amour doesn’t follow the books ending. It was added to the story as a test shoot, becoming an absolute hit in previews. Cinematic gold as that final bathroom scene plays out it’s unexpected best, another unforeseen consequence to actions that play very close to our hearts.
You know the one, he’s busting to go to the toilet, and everyone that he’s waiting to finish is wearing the masks. He’s a little frustrated and goes to the end stall to pee, but hearing what he thinks may be some flirty action in the locked stall next door leans in to better hear it, and a knife goes straight through his head. I wouldn’t want to clean that up!
With death itself the sneaky killer in this series, it comes up with some very intriguing ideas to make the murders look like accidents. The bathroom scene where the boy is shaving and narrowly missing on the small attempts death offers him as he goes about his daily cleaning routine, makes you think he may almost make it out of there. But he doesn’t. As a good horror be fits.