The Thing - amidst all the horror that’s unfolding in the dog kennel, a single, human eyeball appears on the fleshy creature that’s growing in the corner. Suddenly, it’s not just a horrible mass of writhing tentacles, now it’s watching you. Brrrr.
Total Recall - apparently your eyeballs pop out on stalks if you go outside on Mars. The result of Rob Bottin being given 30 seconds to go nuts.
The Twilight Zone - the giant eyeball behind the door in Joe Dante’s segment. It’s just a cheap blue-screen effect, but it gave me nightmares as a kid.
The panopticon security system in Duck Dodgers in the 24th and a Half Century. Ain’t nobody sneaking past that thing.
I was traveling when I saw Oliver Stone’s Any Given Sunday. I was exhausted and maybe a little homesick, but Hollywood was universal. So we caught the football movie in a theater in Zurich. There were some cultural differences. The theater threw up German subtitles and stuck an intermission in the middle. I was excited to see Al Pacino chew scenery and Cameron Diaz live up to the “real actor” reputation she had started developing in Being John Malkovich. The football was secondary. Anyway, the movie progressed, building towards the Big Game. It arrives, brutally. Cameron Diaz’s character, sitting in a ritzy skybox, realized she had to care about the quality of her players’ lives, and she had to respect the beauty of this greatest sport ever conceived. (At this point, I realized I was tearing up.) The bad guys’ team were the Knights, and their logo was an incredibly stylized Eye In The Pyramid. One bad guy takes a bad hit, and, shockingly, his eye pops out of his head. Right there on the field! Stone intercuts shots of the disembodied eye and the team’s logo, as if to solemnly intone, those that live by the logo die by the logo. After the movie, I asked my friends, who knew more about football than me, if such an injury had ever happened. No, they said, that was ridiculous. And to this day that’s all I remember of the movie: the eye thing and getting weepy over Cameron Diaz’s emotional awakening.
Young Frankenstein. “Damn your eyes!” snapped the young doctor.
“Too late,” grinned his hunchbacked, popeyed lab assistant.
Runner Up: Phil Hartman’s monologue as a tour guide on Alcatraz prison in So I Married An Axe Murderer.