Movies

One of the Creepiest Scenes in TV History Is Actually Based on a Simple Trick

Image credit: Legion-Media

While some may rightly consider the iconic scene from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre to be the scariest scene of all time, there's one that's just as terrifying – or at least it was when we were all kids.

The Salem's Lot bedroom window floating boy is still capable of sending shivers down just about anyone's spine.

The scene is absolutely terrifying, even though all you see is a floating little boy with strange eyes scratching at the window trying to get into his big brother's room. There is no blood in the scene, no one screams or says anything – but it scares the hell out of you.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, the actors who played the Glick brothers in Tobe Hooper's 1979 horror classic shared their memories of the shoot and how the director created the floating trick.

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Ron Scribner was only 13 years old when he played Ralphie Glick, a boy who suddenly disappears in the woods. He said the iconic levitation was made possible by a special body suit attached to a crane behind the actor. So no wires, as you might have thought.

Brad Savage played the older brother Danny, who would also become a vampire after being bitten by Ralphie. One of the unusual techniques was shooting the window scene in reverse.

"I remember we did the bite shots backwards. So you'd start with the fangs in the neck and then he'd pull back and then float around a little bit," Savage recalls.

Even the smallest details were done backwards, down to the scratching. For the actor, it was like this: he actually had to put his hands, his fingernails, on the window and then lift them up.

"It was an unnatural move for me, and Tobe Hooper guided me every single step of the way. I mean he just gave me direction. He would do what he wanted and then ask me to repeat it, then he would look at it and give his approval or, 'Hey, let's try it again. Let's try it a different way. Go slower.'"

Then they played it backwards in the movie. When you watch it, you can feel in your skin that there's something wrong, even if you can't put your finger on it. There's a certain stiltedness, and the way things move doesn't seem natural. That makes it uncanny for the viewer.

The actors also recalled the discomfort of the vampire's eyes. Scribner told Vanity Fair that it was painful because the contact lenses "were digging into my eyeballs. One of the lenses rolled into the back of Scribner's eye, and the on-set doctor had to massage it back into the front. Still, as Brad Savage put it, filming Salem's Lot was a scary good time – "Like camp!"

The 1979 film was based on Stephen King's 1975 novel of the same name about a friendly community gradually overrun by monsters. The film was nominated for three Primetime Emmy Awards and an Edgar Award.

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