Thinking Movies

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As is her way, the Zen master who is my wife challenged me after writing yesterday’s post to consider what it is I want from a movie – and in particular a horror movie – when I watch one.

I had to consider.  I’ve been disappointed by a lot of things I’ve seen over the last several years, and I don’t know if I ever stopped to think about what movies I liked and what it was I liked about them.

So I started taking inventory, in an attempt to identify what makes a horror movie enjoyable to me.  It’s not as easy as it sounds, at least not for me.

First, when I think of horror movies, the first one that leaps into my mind is The Exorcist.  That movie scared the daylights out of me.  Sleep-with-the-lights-on scared me.  Bad-dreams scared me.  Give-up-my-sinful-ways scared me.  I mean, I was nine or ten when I saw it, but it scared me into praying for a long time.  The idea of an intelligent, powerful supernatural entity taking possession of someone against their will really shook me.  (Never mind the theological issues with that idea; I know better now, but not so then.)  I like the movie even now, and I always list it as the top of my favorite scary movies, but am even now hesitant to watch it again.  It planted a deep, frightening, visceral seed of terror in my brain, and the roots of that weed still reside.

I also think of Jaws when I think of scary movies.  A lot of elements came together in that one – great acting, a unique premise, the alien-yet-familiar environment of the ocean, and the ageless fear of being food for something else all converge to provide a powerful source of fear.  The story of the town underlying the tension of the prowling rogue shark is only an accent to that fear.  Throw in a few comic moments and it’s a great movie.

Same type of thing with An American Werewolf in London.  A great movie, from the acting to the comedy to the scary elements.  And it was bleeding edge for special effects at the time, which was great.  Around that same time came The Howling (give or take a year or so between them, I think), and it was also a unique take on an old story.  At least, it seemed to me.  That franchise has been run into the ground too, regrettably, but it started well.  They had good, scary things about them.  I’ve long been a werewolf fan, maybe because those movies frightened me so much as a kid (until The Exorcist came along).  I’m not sure, but werewolf movies now seem to really stink.  I saw one a few months ago called Ginger Snaps II which made me regret the 90 lost minutes of my life and glad I hadn’t seen the original.  Ugh.


6 thoughts on “Thinking Movies

  1. The Exorcist was the finest horror movie I’ve ever seen. It did lack one thing though, screaming naked chick who gets killed for being loose. Pretty much every formulaic horror movie has a slutty chick getting killed. And for some sick reason I can’t really explain, I like seeing those sluts getting their fatal punishment for a hedonistic lifestyle.

    You’re right; part of the reason it’s not in the movie is, it’s not a typical, formulaic movie. But a naked chick jiggling never hurts a movie, does it?

  2. I am not a big fan of slasher horror over all

    Here is my list of recent and past classics


    Wanna see that, yeah.


    Never even heard of it.


    Seriously?? Is that the one with the five hot chicks going spelunking?



    Never heard of either of those. Hm.


    I thought this came to cable a while back but I didn’t see it. Darn.


    Liked that one, yeah.



    Two more I’ve never heard of.

    even the video game adaption SILENT HILL has value in my opinion.

    It was … interesting. I’ll give it that.

    On the low budget end you might want to try THE KING IN YELLOW, OUT OF MIND: THE STORIES OF HP LOVECRAFT and STRANGE AEONS.

    I have no idea about those. Maybe I can find them online?

    I would also recommend all and anything of the classic NIGHT STALKER telemovies and TV series. It still holds up today.

    I loved NIGHT STALKER. Great stuff.

    On the classics front try watching all the Peter Cushing Hammer Frankenstien movies back to back and see how the good doctor goes steadily madder and madder.

    Oh, been there, done that, bud. Those were still being made when I was a kid.

  3. Hmmm

    my links did not show up… sorry… I don’t deserve to be in the Internet.

    More than 2 links turns you into spam here in DarcLand. Those particular links screwed up WordPress something fierce, too, so I had to blow it away. Sorry, dude.

  4. My favourite scary movie is… not watching a scary movie.

    Aw, that’s cheating. You must’ve seen ONE you sorta like kinda more than the others? No? BTW, I hope you’re feeling better and enjoying your honeymoon.

  5. To this day my sister can’t wear striped shirts due to the horror instilled in her by the first NoES movie. It terrified the bejesus out of me too. No waterbeds for me!

    Ah, youth! So wasted on the young.

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