Well, to be fair, we didn't see the results of that transporter accident...but that "shriek"! BRRRRR!!!!! I don't know how they did it, but something about that sound worked its way to the fear centers of my reptilian "hind brain" to TOTALLY freak me out! Even today as I'm nearing my 50th birthday, I will mute the sound when it reaches that moment in the film. Strange as this may read, I find that "scream" far more unnerving than the chest bursting sequence in "Alien"!
That sound for me warrants an "R" rating!
Indeed! That awful shriek and distorted face was far more gruesome that anything else I can remember in Star Trek, let a lone a g movie. This bothered me when i rented this film as a child on VHS at maybe 12 years old, and it has also frightened, well maybe not frightened but at least made me very uncomfortable. I think its because the people are aware in transport and being put back together in a horribly wrong way. The line "Enterprise what got back didn't live long fortuinetly.." gave me a mental image of those melted looking people shimmering back on the spacedock transporter pad being re-assembled all mismatched and inside out; ; melted twisted faced locked in a emotional state of suprise, confusion, and horror as to what exactly was happening to them as they were gasping for air, which possibly could have been impossible in that state. Being put back together wrong at the molecular level It seems a worse death than just being lost in transport.
The sound along with the image in my own mind, even thought it appears nowhere on screen, still it appears, is very scary indeed!
It's interesting that I should see this, because I was just reading Memory's Alpha's article about the late Commander Sonak, who perished in that accident. It was mentioned in the TMP novelization that the transporter accident actually inverted the bodies of Sonak and Admiral Lori Ciana, so that their internal organs were actually outside
of their bodies when they rematerialized at Starfleet Headquarters. Not exactly the view I'd want to have were I working the transporter console that day.
While I wouldn't go so far as to say I can't watch it today, I say this much; As kid of proabably eleven first watching this, I have three recollections:
While not being frightened to the point of tears, nightmares, bedwetting, turning the movie off, or even averting my eyes, I remember being unsettled by that distorted scream, to the point of being relieved
when the unfortunate pair vanished from the pad and it finally stopped. (In retrospect I wouldn't dare imagine what it must've been like for that guy at the other end who says "fortunately").
My other two recollections were 1) really
liking Ilia in that skimpy bathrobe and being a bit disappointed at her disappearing at the end, and 2) "My God, these ship shots go on forever! Get on with it, already!!!"
Actually, in the intervening years, I wasn't entirely sure which of them that distorted scream belonged to. There's something eerie about the idea of a stoic Vulcan being driven to scream like that. (I know it was the female victim now).
As a side note, I prefer Robert Wise's assumption that the female victim was the ship's original navigator, rather than some admiral that Kirk was screwing. The crew's surprised reaction to Ilia's arrival (especially Decker) makes far more sense if she was a last-minute replacement.