This weekend, I discovered a journal that I kept in college. In those pages, I wrote brief descriptions of my favorite big-screen moments, much the way the critics who write for FilmComment have done in their annual year-end issue.

It was inspiring to read back through pages of pages of great moments from movies that range from great to disposable.

I was inspired to spend more time inquiring about your own favorite moments.

So, from time to time I’m going to post “Today’s Favorite”, and ask you to share the most memorable moments that fit that particular category.

Let’s start off with TWO SUBJECTS:

FAVORITE SPINE-TINGLING PLACES

Which onscreen environment creeps you out the most? And why?

Last night, I was writing a particularly spooky scene in Cal-raven’s Ladder, the third book in The Auralia Thread. I spent a lot of time constructing the environment for the scene, paying close attention to the details of a physical space that can set a reader (or a listener) to twitching in discomfort or dread. I found myself replaying some of the creepiest moments I’ve seen at the movies, paying attention to the details of the physical space in which the scenes played out.

Here are a few that came to mind:

  • The unnaturally sterile environments on the spaceship in Alien always bother me… the visual equivalent of fingernails on a chalkboard.
  • The hotel room in Barton Fink makes me feel as if there are cockroaches everywhere, even though I don’t remember seeing cockroaches. Maybe it’s that melting wallpaper glue.
  • The big tree in the foggy woods in Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow comes to mind. Maybe it’s the green fog that slimes the air, or the way the tree looks like a contorted corpse.

What are some of your favorites?

FAVORITE SCENES IN BARS

What’s your favorite scene set in a pub, tavern, or alehouse?

I’m also working on a scene set in an inn late at night. The ale is flowing, there’s raucous singing, and hushed conversations are happening over shadowy tables in the corners.

This has me thinking back through all of my favorite “pub scenes”:

  • The hobbits stirring up trouble in Bree in The Fellowship of the Ring.
  • Obi-Wan striking a deal with Solo at Mos Eisley in Star Wars.
  • The Three Amigos singing “My Little Buttercup.”
  • The hellish Roadhouse in Twin Peaks, where Laura Palmer and her friends keep getting into trouble.
  • Steven Rea is served by Jim Broadbent, who introduces him to an enigmatic beauty in The Crying Game.
  • Nicolas Cage gets into the beginnings of trouble in Red Rock West.
  • The love monologue at the conclusion of Wings of Desire.

Where would you like to go for a nightcap? What bars would you like to avoid?

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