John and I got into a LONG talk on Tuesday night about scary movies. There is a lot to say about scary movies.
I remember seeing a small bit of Poltergeist when I was a kid -- the scene where the clown doll attacks from under the bed. That frigtened me for years when I would think about it while trying to go to sleep.
But I didn't watch many true horror films when I was a kid or teenager. When I was REALLY young Dad and I would stay up late on Friday nights watching "Freaky Friday" when one of our local stations would weekly show one of the OLD classic horror films -- Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy, etc. I loved Hitchcock films and suspense thrillers, especially something like Silence of the Lambs. Scorsese's Cape Fear put me in a fetal position in the theatre. But except for the occasional -- Pet Cemetary, The Shining, etc., I didn't watch horror films.
Not really until living in the Dorothy house. Scream had been such a sensation, and I watched that and loved it. It made me want to go watch all the 70's & 80's horror films I hadn't seen when younger. The late-Jason McNerney and I would rent them and watch them. Halloween is such an well-done film. Children of the Corn scared the crap out of me because the kids in black walking through the corn is just frightening. But so many horror films are so campy that they are more silly than scary.
The films that usually get me are the simpler ones, without lots of effects. The ones where you can imagine yourself being involved.
Have you ever seen the VERY creepy Robert Mitchum/Lillian Gish film The Night of the Hunter? Watched that one with Marty & Arlene about 5 years ago and we were creeped out.
There is also a huge difference between being scared and being startled. I hate it when I jump in a movie and someone says, "That scared you." "No, it startled me." There is a difference. To be scared, to be afraid is more an enduring state of mind. It is apprehensive, anxious. At its extreme end you feel terrorized or horrified.
John and I were talking about The Grudge. He said that it had done a great job of building one startling moment after another. I said that it had so many startles that I had become completely anxious, therefore that film moved over into the arena of scary.
Now then. There are TWO types of people in this world. And these two groups are completely prejudiced against one another. The two types speak completely different languages and cannot even begin to understand where folk in the other group are coming from. Group One are those who found The Blair Witch Project the most horrifying thing they'd ever seen. And Group Two are those who found it silly and not scary in the least. I am in Group One, and I think you Group Two people must be an alien species, lacking some important brain function, or something.
I have only seen The Blair Witch Project once and only need to see it that one time. I liked it as a movie, but will never see it again because I don't want to be that frightened again. I saw it with Marty at Quail Springs Mall the first week it was out. We had all been anticipating it for weeks as we had read about it and seen things about it. The audience was packed. This was Marty's second time to see it. He thought if he saw it a second time he'd be able to convince himself it was a movie and the nightmares he was having would end. No such luck.
We were both so frightened driving home that when an American flag waved in the wind on the side of the road we jumped out of fear. Just driving was itself an act of courage. I went home alone and didn't sleep hardly at all that night. I hardly got any sleep for the next week. And for weeks everytime I brought the final image to my mind, I shuddered in fear. It still bothers me to this day. And if I'm home alone and it's dark, I can't think about that image at all.
Why is this film so horrifying? Because it was so realistic. Because you could picture yourself being terrorized in such a manner. That there is never any explanation adds to the fear. I don't imagine it is ghosts at all, but sickos who are terrorizing these kids. And it feels like something that could happen to me.
Okay, there are my musings on scary films. Any thoughts?