The Wizard of Oz has been a personal film favorite since I first saw it at the age of four. It is absolutely timeless, one hell of a production, and it still blows my mind to think that this movie came out in 1939. It's the weird and #scary scenes that always intrigued me the most, along with the fantastic set pieces, storytelling, singing and dancing. But there are five #WizardofOz scenes in particular that are most memorable because of the oddness and fear they induced.
5. The Wizard's Voice — No, Not The Man Behind The Curtain
The voice of the Wizard startled the hell out of me when I was a kid. Loud, booming pipes are intimidating, and the addition of the visual element of fire sure was unnerving. The appearance of the Wizard was a bit more imaginative to me back then compared to now, but I can still remember how it made me feel.
He certainly shook Dorothy, #TinMan, Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion, and who could blame them for being scared? Thankfully, the Cowardly Lion was around to lighten the tension by hauling ass out the door in a bid to escape from the voice and fire. The jump out the window was a bit extreme, but the comic relief was necessary and appreciated. It still is.
4. The House Spinning
The scene featuring the spinning house sure was trippy. It's bad enough watching #Dorothy frantically trying and failing to get to her family and a safe place during the tornado. Of course, shit is going to get strange when you're stuck in an airborne house during an storm.
When Dorothy finally comes to following a bump to her head, she glances out the window and sees farm animals whirling around, then Aunt Em in her rocking chair, which is weird and concerning. Things start to get stranger still when we see the guys rowing past in a boat, and Dorothy looks down to see that she is indeed up in the shaft of the tornado. Then there's a floating cow and Dorothy is relaying to Toto what is happening. But the scariest part of this whole scenario is when nasty Miss Gulch, riding her bicycle, morphs into a cackling, maniacal witch. What a great way to introduce the #WickedWitch.
3. Cantankerous Trees!
These grumpy trees still creep me out. It looks so painful, even to this day, when Dorothy is slapped by the apple tree as it snatches the fruit out of her hand. These leafy freaks are much too violent and aggressive to be forest dwellers, but what's perhaps more disturbing is when the one tree is throwing a fit at Dorothy and the #Scarecrow for picking its apples, then decides to pick them off itself in order to throw at them. Talk about cutting off one's branch to spite its trunk.
2. The Flying Monkeys
Holy crap, these winged simian creatures are the most terrifying things ever. Most of the costumes in The Wizard of Oz are impressive, but none more so than that of the #flyingmonkeys. Their intimidating swarm attack still fills me with foreboding fear. Poor Scarecrow really gets his ass handed to him during this scene. The monkeys threw his innards all over the place, then stole poor little Toto, flying off with Dorothy's bestie.
1. The Wicked Witch
There is no way that I could not give the Wicked Witch the No. 1 spot on this list. Her performance horrified children for generations. The pitch and inflection of her voice, along with her believable hatred of Dorothy and #Toto, made for a downright menacing Big Bad.
Former schoolteacher Margaret Hamilton, the actress who played the witch, used to have children come up to her asking why she was so mean to Dorothy, which apparently broke her heart. Later, she'd attend school assemblies, trying to convince kids she wasn't nasty in real life, but she'd scare them again whenever they'd ask her to do her familiar witch cackle. That evil laugh is truly terrifying.
The Wicked Witch always offered audiences the element of surprise, which only made her all the more frightening. She'd startle us and go full-on evil within seconds of flashing onto the screen. Just watch her introduction scene here:
Even today I can appreciate how well-crafted this performance was. I knew as a kid, too, but I couldn't get past the nightmares she gave me. But something about those night terrors and scaring me senseless always had me coming back for more. I will never tire of this film.
What scenes frightened you the most from The Wizard of Oz? Sound off in the comments section below.