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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > The Next Generation

The Next Generation All Good Things come to an end...but not here.

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Old October 11 2013, 05:54 AM   #46
GalaxyX
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Re: The scary/creepy moments of TNG

Hmm, interesting thread.

To answer the OP, I think the difference between Trek horror and your normal derivative "saw" style horror, is that Trek horror, for the most part works great at being psychologically terrifying.

You standard slasher film usually is more worried about how much it can gross you out.

There is a huge difference IMO. The morgue scene in Night Terrors is terrifying because the scene just gives you enough thread to tangle your brain in a "WTF is happening" thought. You see the bodies sitting upright, but still covered under the sheets. What's underneath? are the cadavers wide eyed open? Staring at Beverly? Are they all going to get up at the same time?

That's some scary shit.

Most horror movies now are just about how can we top the previous scene of a very brutal and gory torture scene, like how much more detail can we get to see of some guy's intestines being ripped open while he's alive or some shit.

That is not psychological at all. It's meant to trigger intense disgust and gross you the fuck out.
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Old October 11 2013, 08:43 PM   #47
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Re: The scary/creepy moments of TNG

The morgue scene in Night Terrors is a good shock moment.

For creepiness, Geordi's brainwashing by the Tal Shiar... and now if you play a Romulan character in STO, you get to be put through it yourself!
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Old October 11 2013, 09:12 PM   #48
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Re: The scary/creepy moments of TNG

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Catspaw did not have moments, it had strings
Jeff Tracy and the members of International Rescue would like to have a word with you.
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Old October 11 2013, 09:55 PM   #49
USS Excelsior
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Re: The scary/creepy moments of TNG

There was that poor woman that fell through the floor and got embedded in it after that scream.
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Old October 11 2013, 11:08 PM   #50
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Re: The scary/creepy moments of TNG

USS Excelsior wrote: View Post
There was that poor woman that fell through the floor and got embedded in it after that scream.
That alone wasn't so bad, but the blood trickling from the nose? Yeeeeeesh.
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Old October 15 2013, 05:42 PM   #51
Strange Citizen
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Re: The scary/creepy moments of TNG

Some really good responses here; this thread is getting very interesting! Keep them coming guys. As I said, do elaborate further on your thoughts. It's all well and good giving examples, and that's great, but a really, deep, intriguing debate will come when we find something really powerful to discuss. Let's take this thread to the next level!

GalaxyX wrote: View Post
Hmm, interesting thread.

To answer the OP, I think the difference between Trek horror and your normal derivative "saw" style horror, is that Trek horror, for the most part works great at being psychologically terrifying.

You standard slasher film usually is more worried about how much it can gross you out.

There is a huge difference IMO. The morgue scene in Night Terrors is terrifying because the scene just gives you enough thread to tangle your brain in a "WTF is happening" thought. You see the bodies sitting upright, but still covered under the sheets. What's underneath? are the cadavers wide eyed open? Staring at Beverly? Are they all going to get up at the same time?

That's some scary shit.

Most horror movies now are just about how can we top the previous scene of a very brutal and gory torture scene, like how much more detail can we get to see of some guy's intestines being ripped open while he's alive or some shit.

That is not psychological at all. It's meant to trigger intense disgust and gross you the fuck out.
Well said! That is exactly the kind of thing I was getting at: psychological horror will always be scarier on a deeper level than the stuff which is simply gory. That may not be a fact per se - it's simply an opinion. But what if it is? Don't all the best horror films, including those with a really disturbing gory element, also have a strong psychological undertone or overtone? Is it not, perhaps, actually a fact that all horror, even the kind which is less psychologically slanted, still has a strong psychological bent? What would horror be without the psychology behind it?

These are the kinds of questions which I'm asking primarily because, as I said, it's fascinating how the more low-key and less cheesy or over the top something scary is - especially in TV Programs such as Star Trek - the more genuinely frightening and disturbing it seems to become. Again, should "Identity Crisis", an episode mentioned by several here, be scary? Well, thematically it's not far off from a cross between Alien, The Thing and some ultra-freaky human-becomes-animal (or in this case alien with the brain-power of an non-sentient beast) story. By itself, that should indeed be scary, and as an idea, it certainly is. But atmosphere is key in making this episode disturbing and uncomfortable to watch. It's played seriously, it's not over the top enough to be silly, and it builds slowly, so there is genuine tension, eerie tones and creepiness as Geordi slowly transforms into one of those creatures.

Any thoughts on why science fiction seems to be one of the best mediums for surprisingly subtle (sometimes), often low-key stories with a strong undercurrent and/or element of horror? You'd think sci-fi would be better at the more ridiculous and cheesy monsters, and it does that well, too - but, when it plays things more subtly, it can become really powerful and affecting.

Also, one other thing about Night Terrors: the morgue scene is horrible, but it wouldn't be so horrible in isolation. It's truly disturbing because it's one of the moments where (as with the snakes in Riker's bed, though that was significantly less freaky by a long, long way IMO) the viewer realises what the real horror is here: that the crew of the Enterprise are not only trapped by a strange rift with a ghost ship full of corpses for company - and whose people went mad and killed each other and themselves - but that they, too, will suffer the same fate. Dr. Crusher seeing the corpses sitting up as one, all covered in their death-shrouds, is awful, awful, awful. But that they don't do anything is even worse. Why? Because it's at this moment that we realise just how far the Enterprise crew have already gone. If, in such a short space of time, your crew is already hearing weird things, seeing ghosts, imagining snakes, and imagining the dead...well, moving...then how much worse could it get?

We don't see any hallucinations of a much worse nature than this, not after that moment at least. The point, however, is that because they can't sleep, the crew will lose their minds...imagine terrifying and bizarre things...and eventually go completely nuts and become psychotic. Worse of all, they're in space, adrift...so there's no escape. Imagine if the Enterprise crew had failed to escape, and then indeed suffered the same fate as the Brattain's crew, but one of them had survived...let's say Troi. Trapped alone, in deep space, aboard a ship full of your friends' and colleagues' corpses, with nowhere to go, no chance to escape...and your own mind will eventually drive you insane, too.

Permanent or near-permanent isolation is a scary thought as well. How many episodes across all the different Star Trek series, from TOS all the way to Enterprise, played with this concept? I'm pretty sure it was a hell of a lot...and yet they all worked, and felt neither derivative nor tacked-on, IMO.

Edit: One last addition: the scene where Worf is about to kill himself earns extra points for being, in and out of itself, one of the best examples of a scene in which nothing scary actually happens, but is still incredibly creepy and disturbing...precisely because nothing happens, ironically. Think about it: If Worf, of all people, the big Klingon guy (who himself is pretty scary in some ways) can be nearly driven to kill himself because he is terrified of something, but a something which is actually nothing, then you have to ask the question: what's scarier, a really dangerous thing which actually exists, or the idea that one of the toughest people aboard Starfleet's flagship can be scared of...nothing? The realisation here is a really uncomfortable one: here, all the monsters are within ourselves. The danger is losing our own minds because of what we fear might be out there...even if what's actually out there doesn't mean any harm. We don't know...it might do. It might be terrifying. And if it isn't, what do we have to fear most? Our own minds. Yeah, I'm pleased I wasn't aboard the Enterprise during that mission!
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Old October 19 2013, 09:47 AM   #52
IzzyAtWarp9
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Re: The scary/creepy moments of TNG

I think quite a few Data moments are pretty scary just because he's generally so nice and logical and wouldn't do anything freaky (like stab Troi. Repeatedly.)
E.g. 'Geordi, what... does it feel like when a person is losing his mind?'
Pn a similar note - Data's head in Time's Arrow I first saw a picture on the internet, in the dark, in bed when I was scrolling through some stuff about Data and I jumped about a metre it really freaked me out.

One of the few moments I have actually screamed while watching TV would be in Sub Rosa when the ghost appears in the mirror. That was just unexpected for me.

Also just remembered what I think is actually the freakiest, most unnerving part in all of TNG. In Parallels when there's all the ships at the end and suddenly we see Riker from another universe who says that the Federation is gone and the Borg have taken over. This is Riker, who is willing to kill Worf and endanger thousands of universes just to get out of his. That really sent shivers down my spine. After the episode finished I just sat there feeling really weird for ages like when you have a weird dream and you can't function all the next day. Even though it's not our universe or even 'our' Star Trek universe I couldn't get it out of my head that it did exist where the Borg won. *shivers*
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Old October 19 2013, 09:58 AM   #53
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Re: The scary/creepy moments of TNG

IzzyMarriedDracula wrote: View Post
That really sent shivers down my spine. After the episode finished I just sat there feeling really weird for ages like when you have a weird dream and you can't function all the next day.
That's really well-put, and also drives home the idea of psychological terror being the worst of all. I mean, such disturbing imagery we can have in our dreams is entirely a product of our own minds, yet...exists outside of our conscious selves. Makes you wonder what else chews away at us, all the while we're not even aware of it!
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Old October 22 2013, 09:31 PM   #54
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Re: The scary/creepy moments of TNG

If Trek ever makes it back to TV many of the episodes mentioned here are episodes i'd love to see the writers take a look back at and reinject that deep sense of mind bending into the stories. Not all the time, but they make for good seasoning. Some nice Twilight Zone/Outer Limits inspired stuff. The Cosmos is vast, mysterious and unnerving as much as it is wondrous, majestic and beautiful.
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Old October 22 2013, 10:42 PM   #55
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Re: The scary/creepy moments of TNG

One scene that always scared me was when Troi was realizing she was hallucinating in Eye of the Beholder. You walks in, see's Worf and the other commender hugging, Peirce comes and says "You know what you have to do" (And is really creepy) and then she's about to commit suicide. I think I had nightmares about that scene for a good week. Really psychologically disturbing.
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Old October 29 2013, 06:34 PM   #56
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Re: The scary/creepy moments of TNG

Great posts guys! Anything else? I'm sure there's loads more to potentially discuss, analyse and debate. So many episodes of TNG are scary, without often even seeming that way from the outset. Here's an idea: Watch every episode that has anything even remotely scary or weird in it, and make notes. You'll be surprised at how many of these episodes there actually are - it's a lot more than simply the really outright horror, terrifying, spooky as hell perfect for Halloween episodes like Night Terrors, Schisms, Frame of Mind and Phantasms.

One which comes to mind is an incredibly eerie episode from Season 2: Where Silence Has Lease. It's not really horrifying most of the time (although there are moments), even though the idea is kind of disturbing. But it's so moody, and it builds slowly enough that, like most of the scarier episodes of Star Trek, it becomes very psychological in tone.

OpenMaw wrote: View Post
If Trek ever makes it back to TV many of the episodes mentioned here are episodes i'd love to see the writers take a look back at and reinject that deep sense of mind bending into the stories. Not all the time, but they make for good seasoning. Some nice Twilight Zone/Outer Limits inspired stuff. The Cosmos is vast, mysterious and unnerving as much as it is wondrous, majestic and beautiful.
Well said. This made me think of another episode which isn't commonly remembered as creepy, although I have no idea why: Remember Me. That is pure psychological terror of the worst kind. Ok, so what if you're all alone on your starship by the end of it, and the last person you spoke to simply doesn't remember all the others and thinks it makes sense to roam the galaxy in a starship meant to hold over 1000 people with just 2 people? It's not as if there are any monsters out there. It's not as if you're hallucinating or going to be abducted.

The terror here is even subtler, in the vein of Frame of Mind: it's about the fear of losing control of your mind and your life. None of what is happening makes sense, and worse still, everyone around you thinks nothing is happening or even changing, but you know it is! And then you find out that the universe is a spherical body 700 metres long (or something along those lines), and you realise you're trapped somewhere which isn't supposed to exist...and if you don't escape soon, you'll vanish from existence entirely. Yep...that's more existential, but still really scary in some ways.

On the other hand, there was the odd episode of TNG which actually tried too hard to be scary, and ended up laughable. "Imaginary Friend", is what I'm thinking of here. Also, while it was scary in some ways, an episode like "Sub Rosa" ended up being too cliched and silly to be genuinely psychologically terrifying or even seriously spooky or eerie. It was mildly creepy and disturbing in some moments, but that was about it. Then you look at an episode in which nothing real which is scary actually happens at all - Night Terrors - and yet because of the fear of going nuts and losing your mind and hallucinating, it's absolutely horrific. Just goes to show that trying too hard is almost always going to be less genuinely scary than being more subtle and spooky.
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Old October 29 2013, 09:51 PM   #57
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Re: The scary/creepy moments of TNG

I really need to purchase this series. There are so many episodes I haven't seen in nearly twenty years, so I'm really unqualified to speak of them right now.

When you folks speak of the 'quiet horrors' of space, I agree enthusiastically. One of the things I really liked about the first season of Space:1999 is that they were able to convey very scary moods with little more than a few words, or just a weird event, which would plant in my mind really creepy, unsettling feelings. I looked forward to the scariness of it all, minus depressing morbidity. As you say, psychological terror is the worst of all...yet in cases like these it's really the best of all!
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Old October 29 2013, 10:55 PM   #58
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Re: The scary/creepy moments of TNG

One that I don't recall being mentioned yet comes ftom I Borg. When Picard finally meets Hugh and Hugh exclaims "Locutus!" I literally shouted "Oh shit!" The few seconds that Picard played along, I had to hold my breath.
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Old October 31 2013, 02:22 PM   #59
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Re: The scary/creepy moments of TNG

Mutai Sho-Rin wrote: View Post
One that I don't recall being mentioned yet comes ftom I Borg. When Picard finally meets Hugh and Hugh exclaims "Locutus!" I literally shouted "Oh shit!" The few seconds that Picard played along, I had to hold my breath.
The early Borg brought out some of the best in Picard in TNG. To me one of the most powerful scenes in the entire series is the final scene in BOBW when Picard goes to take a sip of tea and stops to stare out the window. You knew that he was a somewhat damaged person that just experienced a life changing event. The follow up in "Family" and "I, Borg" is great. I especially liked the somewhat frantic way Picard gave his orders at the beginning of "I, Borg."
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Old October 31 2013, 06:03 PM   #60
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Re: The scary/creepy moments of TNG

There was that one scene in Power Play where O'Brien was on the verge of trying to rape Keiko. O'Brien's animalistic behavior in that episode was seriously creepy, when he looks at Molly, gets this intentful look in his eye and says "I gave you this."
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