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The Chosen: Top Left Alone Moments

Finding oneself utterly alone is a common horror theme. Whether you have strayed off in the catacombs, become disoriented in a dark forest, or found yourself stranded on an uncharted island or hostile planet, the challenges of being alone can be found in more movies than could ever be listed here.

Instead, this week's The Chosen selects five movies and one television show that aren't about becoming separated from the pack. These are about the pack going away.

In no particular order, here are Fear with Beer's Top Left Alone Moments.

"Where is Everybody?" The Twilight Zone (1959)

A man wanders down an empty road and into a deserted diner, where signs of life exist, but no people -- anywhere. This debut episode of The Twilight Zone nails that fear of loneliness. The man, played by Earl Holliman, doesn't even have the company of his own identity as he is unable to remember his name or who he is.

True story: In 2nd grade I got my first pair of glasses and missed the first part of the school day. My parents dropped me off at school, and the office sent me to my classroom. I went in, but nobody was there. Books were on the desks, the light were on, but no kids, no teacher. I panicked. I walked out in the hallway, but all the classroom doors were closed.  I wandered the halls, freaked out, my little second grade brain trying to make sense of the surreal situation. The world already looking strangely distorted as I had never worn glasses before nor had I ever seen things in focus before that day. Terrifying.

What happened? Turns out class was held outside that day. I remember that strange day, and that long-ago experience helps me connect to that Twilight Zone episode, and our next selection.

28 Days Later (2002)

Almost all zombie movies are types of "left alone" movies, if not on the individual than at least the small group level. Danny Boyle's zombie movie 28 Days Later made the list because of the sense of isolation, confusion and fear conveyed when Jim (played by Cillian Murphy) wakes up alone in a hospital bed and everyone is gone. The long shots of Jim wandering the empty London streets are priceless.

I'm not foolin'. That's how I felt in second grade, at least without the cool soundtrack.

The Last Man on Earth (1964)

This classic starring Vincent Price is based on Richard Matheson's 1954 novel I Am Legend. Matheson worked on this screenplay, and two other adaptations came out for which he didn't -- The Omega Man (1975) with Charleton Heston and I Am Legend (2007) with Will Smith. There is a resolved loneliness to this version captured by the routines Dr. Morgan uses to deal with solitude. He he even puts on a sports jacket everyday, looking great when dealing with mutant zombie vampires. While he does find another human relatively early in the movie, the opening scenes and voice over create a perfect "left alone" melancholy.

The Earth Dies Screaming (1964)

Also from 1964 is this odd and poorly named movie about an end-of-the-world scenario. A lone man (played by Willard Parker) drives into a town to find everyone dead, with no explanation. For the first eight minutes, there is no speech as the man attempts to discover what happened, strangely calm and somewhat matter-of-fact  -- perhaps that is the English way. He meets with a few other lone survivors, and then it goes full camp with robot aliens and resurrected dead. For the first eight minutes, though, it's full-tilt "left alone". Not much screaming, though. 

The Quiet Earth (1985)

Not so much a horror movie as a sci-fi with relationship troubles, this New Zealand gem features Zac Hobson, a scientist who wakes up at 6:12 a.m. to find he appears to be the only man alive. This melancholic tonal piece watches Zac descend into near madness as he searches for life. Eventually he meets two others, the beautiful Joanne and tough guy Api. A love triangle with the last three people on Earth. What could possibly go wrong? BTW, this was the same year that The Smith's put out the song "How Soon Is Now?" on Meat Is Murder. This movie is like that. Cool, moody and very 80s.

Don't Blink (2014)

This final pick isn't about inexplicably finding oneself alone, but the fear of arriving at that situation. In Don't Blink, ten people converge on an abandoned lodge, and without discernible reason, begin to disappear. Not psycho killer disappear, just *poof* -- vanish. As fewer remain, the tension of being left alone weighs heavy. Not a lot of content in this movie, but you might react if you ever were sent to an empty classroom as a kid.

Honorable Mention:

For sheer weirdness, I have to give a shout out to "SB-129", that bizarro Spongebob Squarepants episode where Squidward shows up in a nowhere land by way of a time machine. Alone ... Alone... Alone....

This post first appeared on Fear, With Beer, please read the originial post: here

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The Chosen: Top Left Alone Moments


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