I find it difficult to compile greatest hits lists of anything.
This is because: 1) My memory is pretty shitty 2) My taste is ever-changing, and 3) My memory is pretty shitty.
So this list before you will probably change in the next 10 minutes – and that’s being optimistic. But whatever, here we go. Here’s my list of some of the most emotional, inspirational and thought provoking moments that I can think up in cinematic history. So, in no particular order:
HAN SOLO IN CARBONITE Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980) This was probably the foundation to my attempts at sequential storytelling. I’m pretty sure I cried, so hard in fact, that the tears formed a salty river straight to the toy box where I spent endless hours trying to figure out ways to keep the Star Wars cool guy alive for many more adventures to come.
E.T. POPS OUT OF THE CORNFIELD E.T. – The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) Anyone who knows me, knows I have a love for fear. I love to watch people react to it. The simple scare for some reason never gets old to me. Now, that’s not to say I don’t get scared. Quite the contrary, I’m just ensuring that I am the terroriser and never the terrified. Whereever that need comes from requires a deeper excavation of the subconscious, but the simple love and joy of it is rooted in Steven Spielberg’s classic E.T., which I had the pleasure of seeing this film in the theatre. When E.T. jumps out of the cornfield, the shrieks and cries, accompanied by the adult-escorted exodus from the theatre, was fear I had never witnessed before. And I loved it.
“IT’S OUR TIME DOWN HERE…” The Goonies (1985) I still remember seeing this movie with my summer camp. I was about 5 or 6, a fresh-faced child with no concept of what real change felt like. Mikey’s monologue in The Goonies was so heartfelt. The end of innocence. For the first time, I realised that at any moment my life too was susceptible to change. Of course, that didn’t stop the entire camp from dancing to Cindy Lauper at the end of the film like a bunch of prison escapees.
GLEN’S BED SCENE A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984) Glen Lantz was the attractive character [played by Johnny Depp]. One would assume that he would survive the horrors of the film, being the knight-in-shining armour. The cool guy boyfriend with his perfect hair and carefree demeanour. Then, Glen is propelled to the ceiling in a fountain of his own blood. No-one and nothing in this life is safe, folks.
THE CHARLES BRONSON HARMONICA SCENE Once Upon A Time In The West (1968) This is the foundation for the character from my zombie apocalypse story Key of Z. His use of the harmonica was so iconic. Singularly powerful and foreboding. I take a lot of influence from westerns, but this is definitely my favourite.
PETER VENKMAN AND RAY STANTZ START THEIR COMPANY Ghostbusters (1984) “Call it faith. Call it luck. Call it karma. I believe everything happens for a reason.” The exchange here is so melodic in my opinion and has always been the most quotable scene in Ghostbusters, even though many would disagree. Watching Peter and Ray opened my eyes to how exposition and dialogue can be almost musically written. It left an impression.
THE DEATH OF FREDO The Godfather Part II (1974) The Michael Corleone ‘kiss of death’ is one of the most powerful moments in cinema. Few things are scarier than the idea that business is stronger than blood. As far as storytelling goes, it had never occurred to me that family could be a threat to each other. In retrospect, this may have been the moment that influenced the title characters Coheed And Cambria to kill their children in The Amory Wars.
THE MOLA RAM HEART SCENE Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) I picked this scene, because a heart gets ripped out of a person’s chest. It’s a visceral image. Indiana Jones is one of my favourite franchises in the history of cinema and this was the darkest moment during the entire thing. To this day, I find myself singing the chants of the sacrificed… ‘Aum Namah Shivaya…’
RUTGER HAUER’S C-BEAMS SPEECH Blade Runner (1982) A robotic cybernetic being begging to understand more about the human experience. This concept of technology meeting humanity has always resonated with me and was certainly the foundation to the All-Mother character in [Coheed And Cambria’s two-part album] The Afterman.
THE PARTY MAN Batman (1989) I loved seeing a movie depict my favourite hero and villain together in this way. It was dark but still so fun. Lines like, ‘This town needs an enema!’ and ‘… Beauty and the Beast. Of course, if anyone else calls you beast, I’ll rip their lungs out’ helped paint the picture of a Joker I could get behind. I might get flak for it but Jack Nicholson is my favourite Joker. Plus – and I might also get flak for this – the soundtrack by Prince is awesome.
Coheed And Cambria will release their new album, The Color Before The Sun on October 9 through 300 Entertainment. The band will headline Hevy Fest on August 14 and play their 2003 album In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth: 3 in its entirety. Click here for more details.