31 Days of Scares- #11 ‘Terminator’ I’ll Be Back

Jason McDonald

The 31 Days of Scares isn’t a countdown of the best horror movies.  In fact, it’s not even about the best movies. It’s simply about some of my favorite “scares” or scenes from horror movies and they’re in no particular order.  So there’s no need to debate countdown order. It’s pretty random.  With that said: on to the countdown!

In honor of “Back to the Future” (it being October 21, 2015 and all) we’re taking a trip through time for our 11th scare. Today we’re looking at the “Terminator” and the scene that truly made Arnold Schwarzenegger a terrifying figure.

The original “Terminator” was like a slasher film on steroids.  Imagine if instead of having a machete Jason Voorhees was armed with an arsenal of firearms and had a nearly indestructible body.  We’ve seen Jason take some serious damage, but not only can the Terminator take infinitely more he can deal it out in greater extremes.

Case in point, the scene in which the Terminators storms the police station to try and retrieve Sarah Connor.  This is also the iconic scene where he first utters the words “I’ll be back.”  After which he proceeds to drive a car into the police station and just murder every cop in there.

In a horror movie there are certain sanctuary places that are supposed to feel like the ultimate safe places.  Places like your home, the hospital, and the police station.  In horror, though, the common trope is that these places are often a hotbed for disaster.  And that is certainly the case in “Terminator.”  Sarah is surrounded by a well armed police force, she should be perfectly safe and secure, but the Terminator burns that sanctuary down and sends her running.

And that’s why I’m including the police shootout scene in my number 11 spot. Check it out below and if you have a recommendation for the rest of the countdown be sure to let us know in the comments.


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      1. Midnight Marauder October 24, 2015 at 3:28 pm

        I actually like your narrative, but I have to respectfully disagree with this particular scene. It is a suspenseful full throttle action sequence that doesn’t really give the viewer any fright or scare, perhaps to Sarah Conner, but not so much to the moviegoer here. There’s the ending where the Terminator is revealed and pursues Sarah & Kyle into the factory, where the awkward stop motion movement and continual pursuit looks fairly menacing, which could be considered frightening; or even the graphically disturbing sequence when the Terminator tries to repair himself in the motel room inside the bathroom that provide much more ample horror for the eyes. Just that this current scene is your typical hit ’em up, shoot ’em up, bust ’em up trope that was very common in 80’s action cinema — fairly well done and definitely iconic due to Arnold’s infamous one-liner, but no real scares here IMO.

        • Jason McDonald October 25, 2015 at 2:36 am

          I agree with you, I dropped the ball on this one. I definitely should’ve gone with the scene where he’s repairing himself. That’s a greater “shock” scare. But ultimately “Terminator” was probably a poor choice. I was trying to pick a horror movie with time travel elements to match up with “Back to the Future” day and I couldn’t think of a good one beyond this.