Subway Horrors!

Did I mention we moved? Poor me, I’m no longer a hop, skip and a unicycle ride from the places I need to be. That is why I have been forced by fate to acquaint myself with a place that smells an awful lot like pee…the subway. I know most of my (dwindling) friends who live in the city think nothing about jumping down some stairs and zooming underground to their destination but I’ve always made a point of walking everywhere I could. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve needed to use the subway over the last 20 or so years. The thing is; I’m really cheap! And I could use that money for Necco Wafers! Plus c’mon people! Public transportation is ripe for disaster and you know it! I don’t want anybody taking my Pelham 1, 2 or 3, thank you very much.

Actually the subway is not so bad. It’s convenient, it’s speedy and you can meet some really interesting people there (especially when you live close to a methadone clinic.) Take for example, the nice old man who chose to sit next to me the other day even though there were thousands of empty seats everywhere. Doing his best impersonation of Crazy Ralph from FRIDAY THE 13TH, he informed me that the previous day a woman came up to him, ripped off her face and revealed that she was a monster. “What is happening to us?” he asked me, switching his impersonation to a spot on KEVIN MCCARTHY in INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, “We are ALL turning into monsters!” I didn’t exactly disagree with him and I admired his ability to cut to the chase but…Oh look, it’s my stop! As I exited, the kindly stranger said that he “hoped nobody ripped my face off” which is a nice sentiment if you think about it, although you’re unlikely to ever find it in a Hallmark card. Again, we were in agreement, I hoped nobody ripped my face off too! If I had to choose though, I’d prefer my mindset earlier in the day when it wasn’t on my list of things to concern myself with. My theory is that old guy was just me from the future screwing with me from the past so I tried not to let future-me see me sweat.

So anyway all this subway travel has gotten me thinking about all the movies I know that have subways in them. Here are some scary movie subways! Please enjoy and as always, I hope nobody rips your face off!


This movie freaks me out because I know in my heart of hearts that Martians really do look like grasshoppers! If you watch it back to back with LIFEFORCE (1985) you can witness the destruction of London twice!


Subway cannibals are the worst. I can’t decide what recommends this seventies gem better, the fact that Legends DONALD PLEASENCE and CHRISTOPHER LEE are in it or the fact that the movie shares the same father (GARY SHERMAN) as two of my favorite babies, DEAD & BURIED and the goofy/spectacular POLTERGEIST III!

MIMIC (1997)

Any bug that doesn’t fit under your shoe is a bad bug in my book! Alternate title: Romy and Roachy’s Subway Reunion! Note: Director GUILLERMO DEL TORO would later go on to use a subway platform as a place of peril for a box of kittens in HELLBOY (2004).


The tube chase scene in AAWIN might have been the scariest bit in the movie if the movie did not also feature Nazi werewolves machine gunning children while they watch THE MUPPET SHOW.


Writer BRUCE JOEL RUBIN clearly understands the scare-potential of subways. Both of these 1990 flicks he penned feature a pivotal and/or creepy scene in one!


Aw, remember when Jason decided to take Manhattan? And by “take” I mean stroll through it for ten minutes, drink some toxic sewage and turn into child. Worst itinerary ever, at least stop for a knish!

MANIAC (1980)

JOE SPINELL is here to tell you that there is something scarier than a subway station at night and that is a public restroom in a subway station at night.


I put this on here because I clearly remember ISABELLE ADJANI gorgeously loosing her mind (among other things) in a subway station. I didn’t realize somebody also stole her banana.


Last thing I’d want to bump into on a subway is a neon maniac! Unless of course I had some water with me in which case I’d just throw water on them and they’d die. What more can I say about this incredible movie that I did not say HERE?

THE WIZ (1978)

So clearly there is no way to visit Oz without something totally traumatic happening. Oh God those horrible marionettes! More on this trauma-scene HERE.


This one didn’t work for me as well as it should have and I think it’s because I somehow find BRADLEY COOPER more unnerving than VINNIE JONES.


Congratulations FINAL DESTINATION series! You systematically ruined every possible means of transportation besides jetpack for me.

CREEP (2004)

This feature debut from CHRISTOPHER SMITH (SEVERANCE, TRIANGLE, BLACK DEATH) is as underrated as he is versatile. My only complaint is that the same titled RADIOHEAD song doesn’t play over the closing credits. Run FRANKA run!


Growing up a sheltered suburbanite, I was quit convinced that THE WARRIORS was an absolutely accurate depiction of life in the big city. What a disappointment! (Not that I would have joined “the warriors” anyway, I would have to go with the “punks” on account of the overalls.)


I swear this list is not in any order but that doesn’t mean I didn’t save the best for last. It doesn’t matter how many times I see this movie, it seems to get more suspenseful with every view. In addition, this allows me to close on a positive note because if the subway is a place where you might bump into NANCY ALLEN than it must not be so bad after all.

UPDATE: Oh great! Where I used to find a soothing poster of IDRIS ELBA drinking gin (above), I know find this…

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8 years ago

I know what you mean. For the past couple of years, after two episodes of getting really sick because the MTA doesn’t clean their air conditioning vents, I’ve been taking the bus to work. But if I’m running late, I’ll chance it and take the train. Grrr!

Nice collection of movies. The Warriors really show off some of the best subway scenes. I think C.H.U.D. has some as well but now I’m not sure.

8 years ago

Pretty darned comprehensive list ya got there Unk. Three things:

1. NECCO wafers? Wat? I did not think that anyone under the age of 70 was allowed to eat them.

2. Cleanest subway ever – the MRT in Singapore. Seriously – its like some Utopian super-subway.

3. Not sure if it counts, but a notable subway scene:

Brother Bill
8 years ago

Consider adding The Incident (1967) (which I believe you covered recently….?) and this may be out of scope, but the videogame Silent Hill 3 has a level where you must work your way through a creepy moving subway train full of monsters.

8 years ago

Is the Necco Wafers thing a reference to their use as slugs when the NYC subway system still used tokens? If so, GREAT ironic reference!

Have you seen Tetsuo: The Iron Man? Freakiest subway scene ever, in my opinion.

8 years ago

Nice list!

My favorite subway horror, “End of the Line(2007).”

If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it!!

8 years ago

The scene that got next to me in Midnight Meat Train, was the bodies being “prepared” for the monsters discerning palate. And the car pulling up with the bodies swinging like, well, meat. ———-urp—
If I saw that pig face poster on the subway, I think I’d turn around and call it a day, eeeek!

8 years ago

Of course the movie BRAIN DAMAGE promises that riding the subway could lead to a celebrity sighting — Duane and Belial Bradley!

8 years ago

p.s. Have you seen the video series FUN CITY ? There’s a 30 minute montage of the “dirty old New York subway” — it’s mesmerizing and beautifully edited.