This just in! From the "Well, duh" department we've got a little article courtesy of The Boston Herald, telling us what horror audiences are afraid of and why.
The usual suspects are listed: The Exorcist, Jaws, When A Stranger Calls...wait- huh? When A Stranger Calls? Oh yeah, the remake is due in theatres any second now. Sure, everyone is familiar with the whole "The call is coming from inside the house!" bit, but I always thought that the movie itself flew under the radar for most people. Even if you know that line, do you remember the rest of the movie? Hmm? Do you?! I haven't seen it in a while and it took a review by Warrenzone to refresh my memory, but that famous line happens quite early on in the story. Don't get me wrong- I think it's a great flick. The first fifteen to twenty minutes are about as good as a horror movie can get, really. From that point, though, it evolves into more of a thriller- still above-average, but now it's a horror classic because it's been remade? You're putting it alongside The Exorcist? Girl, please.
Sorry. I shouldn't get worked up over some little blow-off article in a newspaper (or on a newspaper's website) timed to run with a movie release, but I have a headache.
So why do certain movies scare us, according to The Boston Herald? It depends, first of all, at what age you're exposed to scary movies. There was a nice little "conversation" concerning that very topic in the comments section for yesterday's post. The younger you are, the more imagination you've got (unless you're Johnny Depp in that whimsical Benny & Joon and you're forever filled with childlike wonder or some shit), and the more susceptible you are to the movie's charms, as it were. I buy that theory. As a kid, I'd stare out my bedroom window, imagining a backyard full of yucky Romero zombies or Michael Myers scaling the walls of our house. Yeah, I know that's stupid; but don't make fun of the children, for they are our future. That's what I believe, anyway. I've still got an imagination and I still play the "what if?" game with myself, and I still get scared. I don't simply blow off zombies because they don't exist- I'm able to say "imagine if they did exist". Be in the moment, people! Fill yourselves with childlike wonder and rejoice! Let's be whimsical together...let us be like unto Benny & Joon. OK, so I've never seen Benny & Joon, but I've seen the ads where Johnny Depp is wearing an amazing technicolor dreamcoat and is playing with his dinner rolls and frankly, it makes me want to puke and/or pull an Oedipus on my eyes.
But I digress.
Location and life also play a role in determining the scariness factor in a movie, sayeth the article. In other words, how does this movie relate to me? Me? ME?! A horror film that can make the familiar suddenly unfamiliar is a successful horror film. Good horror movies can affect your everday life: you're suddenly afraid to open your closet door, you dive into bed from ten feet away, the sound of TV static gives you pause...now that's impressive. Critics can deride the worth of the horror film all they want, but Halloween has had a much larger impact on my life than The Remains of the Day has.
In other news, Jaws can kiss my ass. Yeah, you heard me. That's right, I said it. Yes, it's a good movie. Yes, I like it. Yes, people were afraid to go in the water after seeing it. I just don't think it's the greatest horror film of all time. It may start out pretty fucking amazingly- the first time you hear that music and the girl getting pulled underwater can't be beat. Eventually, though, it evolves into an action movie, a man-vs-beast thing. Can't you see Sylvester Stallone in the Roy Scheider role? Yes, you can. Admit it.
Hey, you know that girl I meant, right? The one at the beginning of Jaws who gets pulled underwater and eaten up? It turns out she had dandruff...you know how the cops figured that out? They found her head and shoulders on the beach! Ha haha haaa!
Shut up, I have a headache. And just to refresh: