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DID YOU READ

Five movies guaranteed to freak out anyone with a fear of heights

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Acrophobics beware! Stay far, far away from Brad Bird‘s “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,” especially the scene where Tom Cruise dangles precariously off the top of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. The Burj is over 2700 feet and 160 stories high, and Cruise actually hung from its windowed exterior.

In the ultra-large IMAX format, it really feels like you’re up on the edge of that building with Cruise. It’s a thrilling sensation for your average moviegoer, and a sickening one for anyone afraid of heights. Which got us thinking: what are the other worst movies for acrophobics?

Here’s the five we picked, complete with stomach-churning video of their ickiest moments. There are plenty of other choices, of course; you can leave yours in the comments below. But remember: whatever you do, don’t look down.


“Mission: Impossible II” (2000)
Directed by John Woo

“Ghost Protocol” isn’t Cruise’s first ride on the crazy heights rodeo. He famously kicked off the first “Mission: Impossible” sequel with an equally vertiginous sequence atop Utah’s Dead Horse Point. Why is anyone surprised when this man has a mild freakout on a talk show couch? I’m pretty sure this sequence, performed with cables and stunt doubles but no safety net, conclusively proves he’s insane. The shot where he willingly takes his left hand off the ledge and leans back over the yawning expanse makes me legitimately nauseous.


“Man on Wire” (2008)
Directed by James Marsh

“Death is very close,” says Philippe Petit as he describes the sensation of peering over the edge of the World Trade Center on August 7, 1974. Yeah, no shit man! You walked on a high wire between the tallest buildings in the world! It is very hard to watch this footage — even if you’re not afraid of heights — without your palms starting to sweat.


“Cliffhanger” (1993)

Directed by Renny Harlin

The breathtaking cinematography high atop the Rocky Mountains is bad enough. But then you add in a terrifying scenario for anyone afraid of heights — a climber’s gear breaks in the middle of precarious crossing between two peaks — and you’ve got some serious nightmare fuel. The rest of “Cliffhanger” is fairly silly; it involves suitcases of stolen cash and John Lithgow with an outrageously haughty British accent. But this opening scene cuts to the bone. Stallone screams “You’re not gonna die!” and then drops this poor woman anyway. Absolutely heartbreaking.


“Eraser” (1996)
Directed by Chuck Russell

Just remember, guys: if you ever find yourself in a plane with the engine on fire and the door open, just hold on reeeeeeally tight. Grunting seems to help as well. Oh, and if you drop a parachute out of an airplane, you can totally catch up to it if you just aim your body carefully.


“Saboteur” (1942)
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

This one doesn’t just make you afraid of heights, it also makes you afraid of shoddy textiles. Hitchcock wraps up “Saboteur”‘s movie-long chase at the Statue of Liberty, where the hero (Robert Cummings) chases a Nazi saboteur (Norman Lloyd) out onto the Statue’s torch. The saboteur slips and the hero catches him by his jacket sleeve. But then the sleeve slowly starts to rip at the seam. And rip a little more. And then…well, you know.


What movie scenes make you afraid of heights? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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Final Countdown

The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com

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Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…