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5 Creepy Scenes in the Lord of the Rings Films

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Over the past several days the internet has been abuzz with the news that Amazon would be creating a multi-season adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings series. For many there was serious hesitation and consternation. After all, why would anyone want to mess with Peter Jackson’s trilogy that borders on cinematic perfection? For others, however, there was a sense of unbridled excitement as the movies, for as wonderful as they are, left out a lot of scenes and details from the books. This, many believe, is a chance for those stories to not only be told but to be fleshed out and given rich backstories of their own.

As a child, I was besotted with the world of fantasy. I devoured the books of David Eddings, I spent countless hours playing Lunar the Silver Star on my Sega CD (yes, I was the weird kid who had one of those), and my favorite childhood film was Ridley Scott’s Legend. While I’ve since mostly left that world behind, there is still a part of me that is always going to be entranced by that genre.

To that end, I thought it’d be fun to recognize that horror and fantasy often go hand-in-hand; and Peter Jackson, who brought us films like Dead Alive and The Frighteners, brought us some truly eerie and sinister moments in his Lord of the Rings trilogy. Below are five picks that immediately came to my mind.

Shelob

Look, I hate spiders and I’ve made that very clear. I have absolutely no shame in admitting my arachnophobia so trust me when I say that this scene had me basically in a panic attack in theaters.

My own fears aside, let’s look at this scene with a horror lens: It takes place in a dark cave where countless creatures have been ensnared by Shelob, the giant spider, and fed upon. Smeagol has deceived Frodo by leading him into her lair, leaving him completely unaware, lost, and basically helpless. Every turn brings him across more death and into greater peril. If that’s not pure horror, I don’t know what is.

Smeagol’s Transformation Into Gollum

One of the most memorable characters from the series, Gollum wasn’t always the emaciated deceiver we all know. Originally a hobbit by the name of Smeagol, he killed his best friend and cousin, Déagol, to take the One Ring from him after a fishing trip. His horrific act, coupled with the Ring’s manipulative powers, transformed his body and mind, twisting them to suit its nefarious needs, breaking him down completely and utterly. This metamorphosis is horrifying because it’s rooted in the purest of evils.

The Army of the Dead

Peter Jackson looked at haunted house movies, scoffed, and brought us a freaking castle that holds an army of ghosts! Each one desiccated and gruesome, the soldiers that seek to regain their honor so as to break their curse are eerie specters befitting any horror film.

Plus, how badass are they?

The Mouth of Sauron

We all agree that Guillermo del Toro brings us some of the most inventive and wondrous creatures in cinema these days, right? With all due respect, something about the Mouth of Sauron is just so damn cool. Looking like a fantasy version of a Cenobite, and certainly speaking in similar mannerisms, the giant rotten teeth, the cracked and exposed flesh around the lips, and the lack of eyes make this character as mesmerizing as it is loathsome.

Saruman vs. Gandalf

This one may seem strange, but hear me out, okay? Saruman is Gandalf’s trusted friend and his mentor. In this scene, not only does he learn of Saruman’s betrayal, he is faced with the realization that Mordor has the ability to corrupt those closest to him, those who are powerful beyond words. Then, just moments after this unveiling, he must fight against a person he called friend. Set against the stark, cold, and unfeeling backdrop of Saruman’s tower, the fight ends with Gandalf spinning on the floor (I’ve always adored that visual) before being banished into the darkness of the spire. Without Gandalf, everything seems bleak and hopeless.

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