The abduction is the cornerstone of many a frightening horror film and February 24th marks the theatrical release of the latest film fueled by a kidnapping – Gone. Starring Amanda Seyfried, Jennifer Carpenter, and Wes Bentley, Gone centers on a young girl named Jill (Seyfried) who is convinced that her sister has been taken by the serial killer who kidnapped her a year ago. While it remains to be seen how Gone holds up, the film's arrival gives us good reason to break down five horrifying horror movie abductions and relive some of the most memorable cinematic kidnappings.
Imagine you're Paul Sheldon (James Caan) and you've just finished your last Misery Chastain novel. You hightail it out of Silver Creek, Colorado in your classic '65 Mustang, music blaring as you head down the mountain, and you feeling on top of the world. Then you hit the blizzard, your car goes veering off the road and you're knocked out cold with your ride on top of you. The next time you wake up, you're lying in bed with an IV in your arm and adorable, loving Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates) hovering above you. "I guess it was kind of a miracle you finding me," you say. And it sure as hell seems like a miracle. Only, it's not. It's Hell. Actually, you might be better off if you'd died and gone to Hell. But you didn't. You lived (thanks to good old Annie!) and you're about to go through a torturous ordeal at the hands of the psychotic, nurse and super fan that rescued you. You see, she's pretty pissed off that you decided to kill off her favorite character (and the subject of your series of Misery books). Now she's not only abducted you, but she's going to drug you, hobble you, introduce you to her pet pig (named Misery, of course), and ultimately try to kill you. Welcome to your nightmare, Paul Sheldon. Next time maybe you'll drive down the mountain, through a blizzard, in a vehicle that has four-wheel drive.
The Silence of the Lambs
You know you're in trouble when your cross-dressing captor starts yelling at you to "put the lotion in the basket" while rocking out naked to "Goodbye, Horses." At least if you're Catherine Martin, you do. That's about the time that you desperately rack your brain to come up with some crazy plan that just might work – like luring Buffalo Bill's adorable pooch into a bucket with a chicken bone. Catherine Martin probably saved her own life by pulling Precious into the pit with her. She delayed Buffalo Bill's plans to skin her just long enough for Clarice Starling to come to the rescue. Martin's abduction in The Silence of the Lambs, however, is one of the most memorable in cinematic history. Here she is driving home to her apartment, singing along to Tom Petty's "American Girl" and having a great time. She's about to walk up to her building when she sees a supposedly injured man trying to lift a couch into his van. Turns out it's Buffalo Bill feigning injury (a trick the real life serial killer Ted Bundy often used) and, as Catherine helps him shove the couch inside the van, he asks "Say, are you about a size 14?" before knocking her out cold. The next thing she knows, Catherine Martin's at the bottom of a dirty pit in a dark basement screaming for her life.
Who doesn't love a good Christmas story, right? I'll tell you who: Angela Bridges (Rachel Nichols), that's who. The young businesswoman in Franck Khalfoun's underrated 2007 film P2 has her holiday spoiled when she's held captive in the parking garage underneath her office building by Thomas (Wes Bentley), the psychotic security guard who's been stalking her for quite some time. So how's he do it? Thomas chloroforms her and brings her to his office. When Angela wakes up, she's chained to a table and wearing a white, revealing dress and high heels. She looks like she's headed out for a night on the town with her girlfriends. Newsflash: she's not. Instead, Angela's holiday plans are as follows: Listen to Thomas explain his undying love for her and try to get her to enjoy Christmas dinner with him (still chained to that table). Try to escape before realizing it's nearly impossible thanks to the enormous Rottweiler that Thomas is keeping in his office. Watch Thomas viciously murder her co-worker Jim because he once hit on Angela during a drunken office party. Use Jim's murder as a chance to escape from Thomas. If you think it's over there, it's not. P2 is a relentless assault on Angela and by the end she's beaten, bloody, and exhausted. What a way to spread the holiday cheer, right?
If you think Anthony Hopkins' Oscar-winning performance as Dr. Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs is the first time the evil psychiatrist has graced the silver screen, you clearly don't know your Lecter trivia. Nope, the first person to don the white t-shirt while locked away in an insane asylum was Brian Cox in Michael Mann's 1986 film Manhunter (though they, inexplicably, changed the spelling of Lecter's last name to "Lecktor" for the film). Manhunter tells basically the same tale as Brett Ratner's 2002 film Red Dragon (they're both based on the novel "Red Dragon" by Thomas Harris), but with a bit more style and a lot more stylized 80's coloring. The abduction here comes courtesy of "The Tooth Fairy" (Tom Noonan) and it's not even the main character that gets the great kidnapping treatment in the film. No, it's sleazy tabloid journalist Freddy Lounds (Stephen Lang). After purposely running an inaccurate and derogatory profile of the Tooth Fairy, to draw him out, he's kidnapped by the serial killer. The Tooth Fairy glues him to a wheelchair, makes him to watch a slideshow of William Blake's The Great Red Dragon paintings and slides of his previous (and future) kills, and forces him to record a statement. All before setting Lounds and wheelchair on fire and rolling him straight into the parking garage of the National Tattler. Marshmallows anyone?
The Last House on the Left
Listen, if you're going to head into the seedy part of the city with your friend to attend a concert and celebrate your seventeenth birthday, don't go wandering around looking for someone to sell you marijuana first. And even if you do go that route and you find someone, don't go back to their apartment to buy it! Sigh. Mari Collingwood (Sandra Cassel) and Phyllis Stone (Lucy Grantham) obviously didn't get the memo because this is exactly what they do and not only does it lead them straight into the kidnapping arms of Krug (David Hess) and his psychotic gang of prison escapees, but it also ultimately leads them into the trunk of his car and out into the woods where they'll be subjected to more torture, rape, and depravity than you'd wish on your worst enemy. What kind of depravity, you ask? The very worst kind. First Phyllis urinates on herself before her and Mari are forced to have sex with each other. Then Krug's sadistic friend Sadie performs oral sex on Mari. Phyllis tries to run away but she's stabbed in the back, falls to the ground, and is stabbed numerous times before Sadie reaches into her and pulls out her insides. Then the gang amputates her hand and forearm. After showing the severed bits to Mari, Krug carves his name in her chest then turns her over and brutally rapes her. After they've finally had enough, they shoot Mari and toss her into the lake. It's a relentless scene that's tough to watch, but don't worry. Krug and his crazy buddies get what's coming to them after they head over to the Collingswood home. Courtesy of Dr. Collingswood's nice, big chainsaw.