Name That Trauma:: Reader Lorraine: on a Lady Running Around Screaming While Burning Alive

This has been driving me nuts. It’s been practically forever, and I still cannot find what movie this scene was from. It’s the only scene I remember from the movie. I don’t remember being scared to the point of crying or running to one of my parents, but it did deeply disturb me. It’s one of those things that gives you a weird, uncomfortable feeling in your chest, you know?

I was born in ’94 and saw this as a little kid. I want to say that I saw it on TV. With that in mind, I know that the movie can’t be any more recent than the 90s. In the scene, a building is burning. Outside the building a woman is running around screaming as she burns alive. A kid is watching this all unfold from a car, very nonchalantly and uncaring, too. If I remember correctly, an adult, a woman I think, joins the kid in the car. I think this scene took place at the very end of the movie.

Can anybody tell me what movie this is? Thanks!

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4 years ago

OK, this is most certainly of no help to you, but I can’t resist mentioning that reading this post conjured up my 25+year-old memory of the visually striking end met by Miss Havisham (Joan Hickson) in the BBC’s Great Expectations (1981).

4 years ago

Might be Canada’s low-budget turkey City on Fire! (1979), one of the last weak hurrahs of the ’70s disaster genre (and not to be confused with the 1987 Hong Kong cop flick of the same title).

There’s a notable scene in which a disoriented woman runs out of a hospital in the center of a metropolitan firestorm and almost immediately catches alight, staggering forward bellowing her lungs out for several seconds before succumbing. A kid witnesses this from the lobby doors.

Only recently released to DVD/BD, City on Fire! was a regular staple of local TV stations and was also one of the first films riffed by MST3K in its ultra-primitive first season:

The scene in question occurs at around the 1:15:03 mark. Let me know if this is the one!