Fear roller coaster scene

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Roxana Hadadi

Women orgasming in movies remains rare enough to be a thing. These scenes can be played for laughs (When Harry Met Sally, Easy A, The To Do List), or communicate secret passion (The Miseducation of Cameron Post, But I’m a Cheerleader, Ammonite), or mark a coming of age (Premature). They can manifest as cries of desperation (Monster’s Ball), or declarations of servitude (Mary Queen of Scots), or even as malevolent warnings (The Counselor, Black Swan, Showgirls). But cumulatively? Still few and far between, especially in contrast to the decades during which the sex comedy genre has been feeding and fueling men’s fantasies. 

You can blame puritanical, evangelist America and its aversion to any sexual expression but that of white, cis-het men for this, of course. It took 20 years to get from Cameron Diaz unknowingly using Ben Stiller’s semen as hair gel in There’s Something About Mary to Juliette Binoche writhing herself to completion in the fuck box of Claire Denis’s High Life. Moments of female pleasure were so long frowned upon by the Motion Picture Association of America’s ratings system that filmmaker Derek Cianfrance had to fight the organization in October 2010 on its initial NC-17 designation for Blue Valentine, caused by a scene in which Ryan Gosling’s Dean performs oral sex on Michelle Williams’s Cindy. Two months later, the MPAA blinked, and the film received an R rating without Cianfrance having to make any cuts. Meanwhile, primarily male-driven sex comedies like Porky’s, American Pie, and Hall Pass had no problem securing R ratings. (Meaning, as the New York Times discussed in an anxious piece about Porky’s in 1982, that children under 17 years old could still see the films in theaters with adult supervision, an accommodation that NC-17 ratings do not allow. )

All of this is to say: It still feels special to watch a movie in which a woman’s orgasm is given narrative primacy. Why is why 1996’s Fear, inarguably a Very Bad Movie, is also inarguably a Very Perfect Movie in one respect: that roller coaster sex scene. Reese Witherspoon’s breathy sighs! Mark Wahlberg’s smug smile! The very thoughtful use of The Sundays’ cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses” (three years before Buffy the Vampire Slayer used the song in season three episode “The Prom”)! Those diffused neon carnival lights, and that extremely on-the-nose plummet down the coaster track, and director James Foley’s return, over and over again, to Witherspoon’s and Wahlberg’s fingers entwined together under her miniskirt. “I definitely never felt it before,” Witherspoon’s Nicole says afterward to her friend Gary (Todd Caldecott), who Wahlberg’s David will eventually kill in a fit of explosive, unhinged jealousy. I’ll have what she’s having, except for, you know, the whole lying-and-murder-and-cheating-and-home-invasion thing. One orgasm, please! 

Fear hit theaters in 1996, at a time when Hollywood was committed to the sexy thriller, and the genre itself was committed to inadvertent campiness. There was Kathryn Bigelow’s 1990 film Blue Steel, in which Jamie Lee Curtis’s cop protagonist Megan Turner chases a serial killer she’s actually unknowingly dating, the Gordon Gekko type Eugene Hunt (Ron Silver). There was Paul Verhoeven’s Basic Instinct, and the Wachowskis’s 1996 directorial debut, the neo-noir Bound. And there was a mini-trend, too, in which female teen protagonists experienced their sexual awakening and became unrecognizable either to themselves or others around them. Katt Shea’s Poison Ivy, with Drew Barrymore as a low-brow young woman trying to ingratiate herself with Sara Gilbert’s wealthy family; Alan Shapiro’s The Crush, with Alicia Silverstone in her feature film debut as a Lolita-like teen obsessed with her neighbor; and John McNaughton’s Wild Things starring Neve Campbell and Denise Richards, which Roger Ebert so accurately described as “lurid trash. ” 

Foley’s Fear, despite also centering a teen girl, is practically the inverse of Poison Ivy, The Crush, and Wild Things, in which duplicitous, lecherous, and lewd young women were the focus. Instead, you can’t get more all-American, naïve, or virginal than Witherspoon as 16-year-old Nicole Walker, a character who Foley and screenwriter Christopher Crowe sexualize, but never patronize. We see Nicole in steamy showers inside her family’s privately guarded wood-and-stone mansion, and we see her underwear peeking out from underneath too-short minis, and we see her in a frilly floral dress complete with white bobby socks and patent-leather Mary Janes. Nicole is fully in charge of how she presents herself, though, refusing to acquiesce to either her father Steven’s (William Petersen) babying or her stepmother Laura’s (Amy Brenneman) shaming, and also not entirely willing to go full bad girl like best friend Margo (Alyssa Milano, all midriff). (In Nicole’s bursts of spiky directness, we see the actress Witherspoon would become; a defiant, leg-askew stance seems like an early version of Madeline Mackenzie’s sarcastic shrug in Big Little Lies. ) Nicole is sometimes tip-toeing toward adulthood, sometimes sprinting toward it, and the latter method picks up steam when she meets the soft-spoken, hunky David (Wahlberg), who can fill out a black thermal but who also asks Nicole about her feelings. He doesn’t seem quite real, and of course, he isn’t.  

Where is the camp in all this? In her seminal 1964 essay, “Notes on ‘Camp,’” writer and filmmaker Susan Sontag described “the essence of Camp” as “its love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration … To perceive Camp in objects and persons is to understand Being-as-Playing-a-Role. It is the farthest extension, in sensibility, of the metaphor of life as theater.” To view Fear through a camp lens, then, is to pinpoint instances where character behaviors are pointedly performative, and where an emphasis on inflated style overtakes narrative particulars. Which is so goddamn often! Crowe’s script literally has David say that Nicole is the one who seems too good to be true, and the essential quality here is not just the fact that David is lying, but how he lies. How Wahlberg’s voice goes an octave or so higher while dropping into a whisper; how his smile always seems a little bit off; how he befriends Nicole’s little brother and her dog and her disapproving stepmother, all in one fell swoop; how he sleeps under a self-made shrine of Nicole, with a picture of her face taped over a portrait of the Virgin Mary; how he beats his fist to his chest in a scene that’s been widely mimicked in a variety of subsequent pop culture, most hilariously in the sitcom It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Conversely, there’s camp in Petersen’s dad character, too. He practically drools over teenage Margo’s ass when she bends over, wordlessly admitting to David that all his money and prestige haven’t wiped away an inherent male skeeziness. His best threat during a fight with David involves ripped-off testicles stuffed into mouths. How passe. Stephen’s attempts at masculine posturing are so amateurish as to be embarrassing, and yet he and David serve as two poles of influence for Nicole, with her stuck in the middle between their crossed arms and clenched jaws.  

Which is again why that roller-coaster scene is so important: It’s the only moment in Fear that is purely about Nicole, what she wants, and what her desire transforms within her. Campiness falls away as Foley presents this carnival date like a gauzy, edgy-meets-romantic dream. “Wild Horses” starts to play, David and Nicole are unabashedly making out, and when they climb onto the ride together and David’s hand ends up between her legs, Nicole holds it there. She takes a big gulp of air, closes her eyes, and mimics the action of the roller coaster—up and up and up until her whole body is gyrating, she throws her head back, and the car plummets downward. With her eyes closed, Nicole misses David’s reaction (his licked lips, his slight squint), and in that way, the film rejects any reading of her sexual gratification as anything but genuine. David and Stephen are pantomiming versions of “the good boyfriend” and “the good dad” in fighting over her, but Nicole is never anything but herself, and her satisfaction is pure and without pretense.  

As Sontag wrote, “intending to be campy is always harmful,” and the reason Fear is still a perfectly watchable bad movie 25 years later is thanks to the appreciable contrast between the sincerity of that roller coaster scene and the unintentional absurdity of so much else. The brief glimpse we see of David’s self-administered “NICOLE 4 EVA” tattoo on those famed Wahlberg abs, or his screaming delivery of “Let me in the fucking house!” into the Walkers’ front-door peephole. Nicole stabbing David in the back with the peace pipe he won for her at the carnival after their roller coaster rendezvous (symbolism!), and Stephen defying all rules of physics and gravity to throw David hundreds of feet out of Nicole’s bedroom window to land on a rock formation below. Fear envelops its goofy elements with utter seriousness, and that makes it a camp delight; Fear gives primacy to a young woman’s sexual awakening, and that makes it a pleasure, no guilt involved.  

“Fear” is currently streaming on HBO Max.

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Roxana Hadadi

Roxana Hadadi writes about film, television, and culture with sides of judgment and thirst. She is a Tomatometer-approved critic on Rotten Tomatoes and a member of the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association, the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, and the Online Film Critics Society. She holds an MA in literature and lives outside Baltimore, Maryland.

99 Thoughts Every '90s Girl Had During The Roller Coaster Scene In "Fear"

~Mood music~

1. Reese Witherspoon is so pretty.

2. OMG he's touching her lips.

3. That is so hot.

4. I want someone to touch my lips like that.



7. OMG.

8. OMG.

9. Oh hello boobs.

10. I want boobs like that.

11. I would also like her red jacket.

12. She looks so cute.

13. What is he whispering in her ear?

14. Whatever it is it's making her smile.

15. I want a guy to whisper things in my ear and make me smile like that.

16. My tummy feels funny.

17. Oh they're getting on a roller coaster.

18. This is so romantic.

19. This song is so pretty.

20. Siiiigh.

21. OMG Reese is wearing thigh-high stockings.

22. I want some.

23. I would never be allowed to wear them.

24. Whoa his hand is really high up there.

25. Ohhh the way they're looking at each other is so romantic.

26. Oh but this movie is called Fear.

27. He's not a good guy is he?

28. But he's so dreeeeamy.

29. I feel all tingly.




33. WHAT.


35. HE JUST.

36. HE IS.

37. OMG.


39. IS HE.

40. OMG.

41. OMG.

42. OMG.

43. Uhhhhhhhhhhnnnnnnfff.

44. But.

45. They're on a roller coaster?

46. How does this even work?

47. It looks kinda awkward?

48. But sexy?

49. Can't the people behind them see this?

50. Doesn't a roller coaster like, jolt you around a bit more?

51. How do they even have time for this when roller coasters go so fast?

52. Do people actually do this on roller coasters?

53. I've never had a roller coaster ride like this.

54. I think I'd be too scared.

55. Like, literally, roller coasters are scary.

56. Wow they're really going at it.

57. What does this feel like?

58. She is really enjoying it.

59. This is really… something.

60. Uhhhhhhnnnnn the way he's looking at her.

61. And swoooon the way his hair is blowing in the wind.

62. He's so dreeeeeeaaamy.

63. OMG the way he just licked his lips.

64. Is this what horny feels like?

65. I think I am horny?

66. Ummmmmmmmmmm.

67. WHOA.

68. WHOA.

69. OMG.

70. HE JUST.



73. WHOA.

74. WHOA.

75. OMG.


77. This looks so exhilarating.

78. But dangerous?

79. Are his fingers OK?

80. Couldn't he break them?

81. His fingers must be OK.

82. Coz he's like YEAH THAT'S RIGHT.

83. And she's like woooooooooooaaaaaah.

84. And I'm like ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

85. Wiiiiiiiiiiild horseees.

86. Wiiiiiiiild wiiiiiiiild horseeees.

87. I'm so thirsty.

88. My heart is pounding.

89. They're really going fast right now.

90. In so many ways.

91. Wiiiiiiiiiild wiiiiiiiiiild horseeees.

92. Oh it's over?

93. What just happened?

94. Did she?

95. That was over so quick?

96. Is that how it happens in real life?

97. And they're still on the roller coaster?

98. I am so confused right now.

99. I need to watch that again.

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1.19. Fear and horror in the amusement park. New physical fireworks

Why do we feel fear when we ride roller coasters? Of course, this is due to the height of the attraction, the speed and the illusion of falling, but you can also experience the same sensations in a high-speed outdoor elevator with glass walls. However, no one lines up and pays for the opportunity to ride on such an elevator.

What about rides that throw you from side to side when riding? Why on such rides do you want to cling to something, and sometimes even scream?

Roller coasters are built to give us the illusion of danger (this is what attracts the public to them), but the engineers did everything possible to make them absolutely safe. Despite this, every year among the millions of visitors there are several poor fellows for whom such entertainment ends with a visit to the doctor. This malaise is called - rollercoaster migraine . Its symptoms - dizziness and headache - may not appear immediately, but after a few days. They are so strong that medical attention is required. What is the cause of a rollercoaster migraine?

ANSWER • Some rides tickle your nerves due to height, speed or high acceleration (on roller coasters it sometimes reaches 4 g ), and others due to the rapid rotation, which generates centrifugal (outward) force. But usually the most intimidating rides are the ones where you suddenly find yourself under the influence of rapidly and unexpectedly changing forces. If you have constant force and constant acceleration, you feel like you have everything under control. A subconscious sense of danger arises when the magnitude or direction of a force suddenly changes. The element of surprise provokes on a subconscious level an existential feeling of playing with death.

Conventional roller coaster. Takes the breath away from both height and high speeds, when you rush with a roar along the old, shaking wooden roller coaster. When you quickly jump over the lower curved section, it seems that the centrifugal force of inertia is pressing you into the seat; when you get to the upper strongly curved area, it seems that you are torn off the seat with force. When you fly over the top of the first and highest hill, it seems that you are falling. If, moreover, you sit in the first trailer and almost do not see the rails in front of you, there is a complete illusion of falling. However, in my opinion, it is even scarier to sit at the very end of the train. When you approach the top of the hill, and most of the trailers have already begun to descend, a force pushes you in the back, growing slowly at first, and then faster (it increases exponentially), but as soon as you reach the top of the hill, the force disappears instantly. It seems that someone's evil will pushes you to the edge of the abyss, and then throws you down.

Wild Mouse roller coaster. Trailers on rails move one by one. Each booth is mounted on an axle above a wheeled frame that slides along rails; the axle is located at the rear of the trailer. On a sharp turn, the frame obediently turns along the rails, but the trailer itself continues to move straight ahead and only then turns. At such moments, there is an illusion that the trailer has flown off the rails.

Modern roller coaster. Vertical hinges and helical sections create the feeling that the centrifugal force quickly changes magnitude and direction, and you yourself are turned upside down. All this is terrifying. As you slow down as you ascend the vertical loop, the centrifugal force should decrease. To prevent this from happening, the curvature of the track increases dramatically. It is even worse if you sit with your back to the direction of motion and cannot know in advance that there will be a change in force, speed or acceleration. Or if you are racing in the dark, then you also don’t know in advance what awaits you in the next moment.

Rotating drum. Standing near the inner wall of a large rotating cylinder, you feel as if pressed against it by a powerful centrifugal force (Fig. 1.4a). Such force can change the idea of ​​where the bottom is and create the illusion that the body is tilted back. If this force is strong enough, the floor can be removed altogether, and the force of friction between the back and the wall will keep from falling. While the feeling that the force is directed outward is very plausible, what actually keeps you from falling is the force directed inward: the wall pushes you towards the center so that you continue to move in a circle. Since you are not sliding down the wall, the friction force must be directed upward and equal to your weight.

Fig. 1.4 / Task 1.19. Forces acting on a person on attractions: a) in a rotating drum and b) on a carousel.

Ferris wheel, carousel and swing. On such attractions, the sensations from the impact of centrifugal force are not so sharp. As the car rotates through the highest point of the ferris wheel, this force seems to lift you up. At the lowest point of the circle, it sort of presses you into the seat. On carousels, it seems that the centrifugal force is about to throw you off (Fig. 1.4b). This feeling is stronger if your horse "jumps" near the edge of the carousel: it moves around the circle faster than the horse closer to the center. When you ride a chain swing, the chains rotating around the central post deviate from the vertical, as if centrifugal force is pushing you out. In fact, there is no centrifugal force on all three rides. On the contrary, there is a centripetal force (it acts from the side of the seat on the ferris wheel, from the side of the horse on the carousel or the chains on the swing). It is she who makes rotation possible.

Rides with rotating arms. You sit in a booth attached to the outer end of an arm that pivots around the end of another arm closer to the center. If the arms are hinged in the same direction, you feel the most centrifugal force and move at maximum speed, passing through the point furthest from the center. When the levers rotate in different directions, the speed at the most distant point is the smallest (because the rotations are counter), but the force acting at this point changes as quickly as possible, because there your cabin passes the most curved section of the trajectory.

Free fall tower. You are sitting in a cabin at a height of about 40 m, at some point the cabin is suddenly released and sent almost into free fall. There is a feeling of weightlessness, because both you and the seat under you fall at the same speed and there is no longer a feeling that the seat is holding you. Some fans of attractions such sensations give pleasure.

Roller coaster migraine can occur on any ride where a person experiences a large and rapidly changing acceleration. Due to the large acceleration in the brain, tension arises, and a sharp change in the direction of acceleration leads to a displacement of the brain relative to the skull, which can cause a concussion and damage to the blood vessels in the meninges.

How the rollercoaster became a cult place / Recreation / Guides / To whom on the Volga

About 15 years ago it was one of the cult places in Samara. Giant queues lined up on the roller coaster in Friendship Park. Concerts and festivals were held nearby. The once noisy and lively location has now turned into an abandoned place, a kind of monument to the early 2000s. The attraction is permanently closed. Together with eyewitnesses, we recall the two-hour queues, falling phones, performances by the Brothers Grimm and night discos.

Designing slides in Friendship Park began in 1994. This was done by a private trader - the Mavi company. The entertainment part of the park was eventually called "Mavi Land". When roller coasters were still being tested, sandbags were “planted” in trailers. So, there were rumors that some of them fell out during the tests.

In addition to roller coasters, several attractions have been installed here: "Bull", trampolines, swings. At the opening in 1996, the then popular group "Dune" performed.

Ildar M.:

– I was 11 years old then. I remember huge speakers, such were only at this concert. Then different groups constantly performed in the park: "Tea for Two", "Mango", Show of Twins. “Tea for Two” after the concert in the house near the parking lot threw their autographed photos from above.

A few years later, Russian bands were replaced by local bands: The Stationmaster, The Brothers Grimm. Then they had not yet released their main hit and few people knew them.

There was always a disco after the concerts. A crowd of people walked, drunken youth. I had my own company. My friends and I hung out there all the time. We were constantly on the hills. And for money, and won counter marks. They could be obtained for winning competitions during concerts and sessions. We had a big company, somebody won.

Maria Ivanova (name changed at the request of the hero) :

I rode the roller coaster for the first time when they first opened. The lines were literally miles long. I remember we stood for about two hours with my cousin. But we had no idea what was waiting for us. Crazy speed, wind in the face and animal fear. My sister was already on the rise screaming and yelling until I calmed her down.

On this day, the group "Dune" performed, there were still a couple of hours before the concert. My friends and I walked past the stage. I noticed a young man dressed in a T-shirt and tights. He smiled kindly at us. All evening I puzzled over who it was. I was sure that I knew this person. And only at the concert, when I saw Viktor Rybin on stage, I realized that it was him.

The slides have become the center of attraction. My friends, for example, made appointments near them. Part of my youth was definitely spent here. We used to hang out with our friends all the time. From the age of 15 I went to discos almost every weekend.

Veronika Prazdnikova-Veremey:

I lived with my parents not far from Friendship Park. At one time it was heavily abandoned, and when they began to build hills there, to improve the territory, we were curious. For that time, it was an unprecedented miracle Yudo. Everyone has seen this except in American films. Nearby, a large and comfortable area for recreation was designed. People flocked from all sides. There were always a lot of people resting - adults and children. I remember balls, souvenirs, someone drank beer on the benches.

Tickets at the time felt insanely expensive. But despite this, the queues for the slides lined up gigantic. While they were standing, they looked at the skaters with their heads up. I rode for the first time in 1996. It was scary. It seemed that we had risen above the high-rise building opposite. The second time was in the 2000s, and then I thought more about security. There were thoughts about how worn out the equipment of the attraction was.

During the entire time of the roller coaster, no serious incidents were recorded here. Former amusement park employees said that the most serious losses of visitors were phones that fell out while driving.

The roller coaster stopped running in the year the coronavirus pandemic began. The last time they rolled people in 2019. Now it is already known that the attraction will no longer be launched - the equipment is outdated.

What will happen to Mavi Land in the future is still unclear. In August 2020, public hearings were held on the fate of the land under the hills. The Standard company proposed to build a sports and health center on this site. But this idea was not supported at the hearings.

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