I was watching The Shining on DVD the other night and it occurred to me that one of the reasons the film worked was because it didn’t spend all of its time trying to scare me (in the audience), but rather it showed a completely hysterical Shelley Duvall. She was sobbing, crying, screaming, hyperventilating–the whole nine yards. And I think it was contagious. When you see someone that freaked-out it’s hard to stay calm yourself, even if you’re just watching a movie.
But you don’t see a lot of actors or actresses who go all out into total uncontrollable crying jags too often. It’s not surprising, I suppose. It’s got to be hard on the actor or actress and, let’s face it, what Hollywood star wants to be seen with running mascara, a red nose, and tears and snot all over her face?
So my nominations for best hysterics are:
I swear, I thought she was about to hyperventilate and pass out when she was waving that bat at Jack Nicholson in The Shining.
A veteran character actress with a knack for really turning on the waterworks. Watching Alien, you knew things were bad when you saw her character have a breakdown. She’s been crying her eyes out in all sorts of movies and television before and since. A real trouper.
Any other nominations?