Tuesday, October 30, 2007

FEAR ON FILM

at times, i wonder whether anyone makes real scary movies any more. most of the newer flicks are outlandish ghost stories and monster movies or, worst of all, remakes of classic horror movies. they just go for the cheap reaction. an onslaught of blood and guts. a dark figure jumping out of the bushes. some sort of beast springing suddenly into frame. its not scary, its startling. real scary movies should actually scare you. leave you nervous and weary well after the credits roll. leave you awake at night wondering about every creak and shadow.

terror to me is reality. its hard for me to have any lasting after effects over the supernatural. Frankenstein and Dracula, though great books, fail for me in that they don't cross over to a real world possibility. the same goes for Freddy and Jason. the scariest thing for me is the human mind. not just the character's, but the viewer's own imagination.

i was about 10 when i first attempted to watch The Shining. i was staying over at my friend's house. his dad had rented it and sent us to bed early because it was "too scary for us". that's like telling a kid he can't have the candy on the table because its just too delicious. we went upstairs and laid on the floor at the top, poking our heads down just low enough to see the TV through the top railing posts. i could only make it about half way through. i wasn't even sure what i was scared of. the monster wasn't tangible. really, it was just a damaged psyche mixed with isolation. there's nothing really supernatural, which makes it all the more terrifying. its all much easier to accept as reality. i tried watching it a few more times as i got older. it wasn't until my junior year of college before i could watch it by myself.

a young woman on the run seeking shelter stops at the bates motel. so begins Psycho. Hitchcock really is a master when it comes to thrillers and storytelling. again, the monster isn't some science fiction, but the madness of a man. a man in a disguise, hiding in a silhouette, who stabs his victims to death when they're most vulnerable. insanity can't be reasoned with and it can't be dealt with logically. its the unknown and unexpected personified.

about the only ghost story that every really frightened me was The Amityville Horror. mainly because it was a true story, or based off of one. again, though this add a bit of a poltergeist twist, its the possession of the fathers mind amidst his helpless family that's the most chilling. there are ghost and demons, but they're never seen. they're presences. that's why they're scary. there's nowhere to direct the terror.

the first Alien movie was pretty scary when i first saw it. this one has a legit monster, but the danger of it is in the viewer's own mind. its minimal and quiet and secluded in the emptiness of space. you never really see the alien until the end. that's what makes it scary. you create a monster in your mind that's specific to your fears. when the slick, reptilian alien finally gets some camera time, its not a disappointment.

the Twin Peaks series. two season of television that is as chilling as it is addictive. i've watched the them all twice. the first time, i watched every episode over the course of a week (29 45-minute episodes). its mysterious and creepy and intriguing. mainly creepy. possible the best drama on television, ever.

what do you think?
what flicks scare you?
do they still make scary movies?

1 comment:

Monica said...

"We fear that which we do not understand"

Since we understand more and more everyday, we fear less and less.

Example: When I was a wee little girl I feared "chuckie" and "the wax museum"(still a good old flick). Seen it?
Now a days movies like "we own the night" make me bite my nails. If you haven't seen it, the car chash and shot out will have you fearing for the lives of the "innocent".

So I guess they do still make scary movies, its just that our fears have changed over the years. Instead of being afraid that "gremlins" are going to grow wings and take over a tv station, we fear being shot in the face during a drug mishap or having the back of our ankles slit with a knife (Hostel).

You asked.