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16 May 2004 @ 04:59 pm
Scary Movie  
This discussion of the relative merits of Undead has made me think about the whole horror genre.

Last week I wrote a post criticising the Japanese film Ring, saying that it was over-hyped and not very scary (unfortunately, the post was destroyed by the stupid TAFE computer).

Anyway, it made me think: Is there really such a thing as a scary movie?

So I throw a challenge out to all you people in LJ land:

What films can you recommend that will scare me?

Bearing in mind that I don't scare easily (except by sudden, loud noises, which is a cheap scare-tactic too often employed by horror films lacking any real scares). I grew up watching horror films, and most notably saw the extremely graphic film Hellraiser when I was eight or nine. Violence and gore are fairly unlikely to scare me.

Now, Stanley Kubrick's The Shining I have usually considered to be relatively scary, and I think the key here is the psychological thriller aspect. What little violence is in the film is not what scares me, it is the transformation of Jack Nicholson's character into a stark-raving loony.

Anyway, I have thrown down the gauntlet. I will be eternally grateful, not to mention surprised, if anyone can find a film that really scares the wits out of me.
Current Mood: calmcalm
Xhanthilast_reprise on May 16th, 2004 12:42 am (UTC)
At your age, if you want to be legitimately scared, drop a tab of acid and watch anything.

Well, it's fifty/fifty I guess. Either you'll shit your pants or laugh your guts up.

Jacobyak_boy on May 16th, 2004 02:40 am (UTC)
Well, the only time I have dropped acid, I was going to Melbourne Uni Student Union Night, which involved a large number of security guards and a bag search on entry. Yes, I was absolutely shitting myself.

Internal monologue:

"They know, man. They can tell. They can see it in your eyes. They're calling the cops right now."
Xhanthilast_reprise on May 16th, 2004 06:40 am (UTC)
Was coming down one morning and watched some kids show about giant bears. Swear I almost crapped my pants.
Jacobyak_boy on May 16th, 2004 02:46 am (UTC)
Actually, strangely enough, watching 'The Goodies' after leaving Melbourne Uni was very helpful in grounding myself back in reality.

Watching something funny whilst acid-tripping is probably an excellent way to spend your time.
Watching something "scary" whilst acid-tripping is probably an excellent way to end up with permanent psychosis.
Jessjess2903 on May 16th, 2004 02:34 am (UTC)
The films that have most scared me are 'The Ring' (American version) and 'Gothika' but I doubt they would scare you... But they are both good movies if you haven't seen them yet.
Jacobyak_boy on May 16th, 2004 02:47 am (UTC)
I am interested in comparing The Ring to the Japanese original. Maybe the remake is better. I wasn't overly impressed by the original, but it wasn't awful either.
Robet Éivaayvah on May 16th, 2004 06:39 pm (UTC)
I saw the Japanese version. I didn't find it that particularly scary either, but I loved the plot, and the ending was just soooo cruel (though I didn't get it the first time -- I think it would have been more obvious in the remake). It's the best "horror" movie I've ever seen.

I think that generally though, thriller movies are scarier than horror movies. It's difficult for me to name something now though. Do you want something that'll give you nightmares? I'm sure you'd be more likely to find it in a book, to be honest. Novel characters are a lot easier to care about, because you have so much more time to get close to them.

Another possibility would be a TV series. Perhaps Serial Experiments Lain (I haven't seen it, but it sounds like it has potential). and you know, I think that Berserk would have a chance if they hadn't shitted it up.

I really don't think many TV series take advantage of all of their time to work on character development and empathy.
Jacob: animeyak_boy on May 17th, 2004 08:06 pm (UTC)
Actually, you've hit on a really good point there, perhaps without meaning to.

That is, that generally we are afraid for the characters rather than for ourselves.

Why is it then that some people (claim to) get nightmares from scary movies?
Robet Éivaayvah on May 18th, 2004 04:46 pm (UTC)
I think it has to do with the whole process of separating fiction from reality. I guess that the flaw with horror movies is that their aim is to say, "This could happen to you!"

Which is why sometimes fantasy is more effective (because magic is the unknown) and sometimes less (because it's less believable).

While other people don't automatically relate it to reality, so we don't get the fear to start off with.

Also, the cruel thing about a novel or TV series is that you can be left on a cliff-hanger and have to wait to find the resolution -- when it's a character you really care about, it can give you nightmares.
Jacob: explicityak_boy on May 17th, 2004 08:19 pm (UTC)
I thought the plot of Ring was painfully contrived.



The concept of the killer video was okay, but the actual plot of two people running around Japan following "clues" (these were actually guesses or, if you prefer, insights, as there was very little actual evidence) was pretty crap, IMO.

Especially considering the whole race-against-time thing meant a lot of these insights happened just-in-time or just-too-late. Contrived with a capital "C".

The ending was okay, I guess, but it certainly didn't make me go "wow".

My biggest problem with this film, however, was the supposedly horrific faces of the victims. Sometimes they looked like a silent scream (which works), but a lot of the time, particularly with the last death (presumably meant to be the scariest), it looked like the victims were pulling a silly face ala Harpo Marx. Laughing out loud at a scary movie's scary climax is a bit of a let down.
Robet Éivaayvah on May 18th, 2004 04:48 pm (UTC)
Perhaps -- but I've yet to see a better plot for a horror movie.
Jacobyak_boy on May 19th, 2004 12:25 am (UTC)
I guess it depends on if/where you draw the line between horror and thriller.

There are plenty of good thrillers.

See almost any film by Alfred Hitchcock.