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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

As Long As The Title Doesn’t Have A Number After It

My father cannot bear to watch horror movies, particularly where the devil, anything that looks demonic, or snakes are concerned.

I understand his trepidation. He, after all, actually believes that there are such things as devils, demons, and snakes.

Me? I’m not so sure. Oh, I’ll give you the snakes. Seems those things actually exist. But having grown up without organized religion, the devil remains a lower-case entity for me, something in the abstract, while the devil in my father‘s head is capitalized.

So while I may not be afraid of devils, demons, or giant snakes, there are people out there in the world that certainly inspire fear in me: people who steal children, people who try to blow up airplanes with devices hidden in their underpants.

I think that’s why I enjoy horror movies so much.

Horror movies, for me, are a way of alleviating that fear – a controlled burn of sorts.

Now let me be clear. I’m not talking about slasher movies. There’s nothing scary about buckets of blood thrown at the camera.

Blood in and of itself is not scary. It’s just not hygienic once outside of the body.

Which is its own kind of scary.

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a decent horror flick. Too much now relies on computer-generated images, leading to whispered comments in the theater like “pshhh! That’s not what werewolves look like!” or my personal favorite: “That severed head looks totally fake.”

Of course it looks fake. Those real severed heads can ruin a film’s budget.

I like my horror movies to have a tinge of realism, with just a touch of end-of-the-worldism.

My liking them, however, does not keep me from watching them from between the fingers clamped over my eyes. Because while I want to be scared, I also want to be comforted by the image of my own capable fingers standing between me and the screen.

“But you’re missing it!” people will say.

Ah, but it’s all part of the experience, isn’t it? I’ll watch the movie through my fingers and buy the Raisinettes, you buy the popcorn, and we’ll both look at the parking lot differently when we leave the theater.

Because horror movies aren’t real.

35 comments:

Ms Sparrow said...

I haven't seen a good horror film for ages. They keep falling back on such trite devices as the companion's hand reaching out and grabbing the protagonist's shoulder or the cat coming out of nowhere. Or, the woman alone in her bathroom looks into the mirror to see someone behind her... It's all been done to death!

Pearl said...

Cheap tricks!

Golden To Silver Val said...

I'm with you on the gore. A little bit of blood is ok, but buckets of it is ridiculous. I haven't seen a really good horror movie in a long time just because of that reason. I think the last good one (for me) was War of the Worlds and a lot of people criticized it....but I liked it, especially the ending. I will have to say I did like Van Helsing from years ago also. The tongue in cheek humor here and there, plus excellent special effects really made the movie a good one for me.

Secretia said...

I always said it would have been too expensive to use real dinosaurs in Jurassic Park too.

Secretia

...Greenfingers said...

I'm with you on this Pearl. I rarely see horror films any more which push boundaries and leave me thinking 'What the Hell!'

Except for a French film that came out a couple of years ago called Martyrs. Certainly not everybodys cup of tea but a film that certainly had me recoiling!

Charlotte Ann said...

I can't watch horror movies. I hate to beg people to walk me to the bathroom for months afterwards and sitting up all night watching for monsters is totally out of the question.

BugginWord said...

"Of course it looks fake. Those real severed heads can ruin a film’s budget."

If I had a nickle...

Joanie M said...

I'm with Dad. No horror flicks for me... or demonic ones. I slept with my light on for a year after watching The Exorcist. I was 19 at the time. I won't even let that movie into my house!

Gigi said...

I hadn't watched a scary movie in years - until a couple of weeks ago. I rented Paranormal Activity and although the first bit dragged I stuck it out and scared the beejeeebies out of me! Good thing I watched it during the day....

Shieldmaiden96 said...

I will always maintain that the scariest movie I ever saw was 'The Birds'. Sure, I've seen scarier 'horror' movies, but there was one night when I was home alone and watched the Birds and it struck me just so....just the way Hitchcock intended...and it was both thrilling and terrifying.

I too watch parts of movies through my hands, and I always will. Himself laughed at me just last night when we watched 'The Wrestler'. Staple gun. 'Nuff said.

Sweet Cheeks said...

I love scary movies! They aren't actually scary...I usually laugh through them.

What I enjoy most is suspense films...the movie that makes me think...'Don't pull back the shower curtain lady...don't do it!'

That's a great movie. =]
xxx

sage said...

I thought scary movies were good date movies--who cared what was on the screen as long as your date held you tight... but then we all graduated and became responsible.

The Good Cook said...

I hate scary movies. I hate scary movies. I hate scary movies. Nuff said?

Kurt said...

The best kind of horror movie is the one where my landlord tries to get in and make me pay rent, but too bad, landlord! I have an ax!

Okay. That's more of a pipe dream than a movie.

justsomethoughts... said...

i'll pass on bathtubs full of blood

MamaOtwins+1 said...

SO I'm not the only one who watches with my hands over my eyes!

Roshni said...

Can't stand horror movies...I mean, as in can't stand coz my skin is crawling and I am going into shock type.

Patricia said...

I have never been a fan of scarey movies. I just close my eyes anyway so I miss everything. Sometimes I even have to plug my ears. I don't recall ever having nightmares so much as I just can't stand the sight/sound of yukkiness.

Debbie(singlemom;complicatedworld) said...

Don't like scary! BUT will do utterly bizarre, psychological thrillers!! some how that does not seem like the same thing? hmmmm!!

Molly Potter said...

I cannot do horror movies at all. The one I did watch when I was 15 resulted in a broken bone as I leapt up onto the sofa and my little toe snapped on its firm edge. I had my own little horror scene.

And now you have informed me that they are not real. Several years and a deformation too late I'd say. Pearl -where were you in my youth?

Lynn said...

"Those real severed heads can mess up a film's budget." Veerrry funny!

The Retired One said...

Me? Not so much.

I'll take a comedy and a depends please. We'll just skip the soft drinks. Because then, I'd only need more depends...

mapstew said...

Snakes?

There are SNAKES?

Come to Ireland. No Snakes.

(Feckin' place is wall to wall FULL of divils and demons though!) :¬)

xxx

darsden said...

I am 100% with your dad!

Fragrant Liar said...

Me no likey scary. Especially an Exorcist kind of scary, which I watched at the tender age of 17 and which ruined me for horror flicks for the next . . . er, till I die. I do love me some Underworld, but that's because I make allowances for buff vamps and beefy lycans. The rest of it, like you, gets filtered through my fingers or turned away by my sensibilities. If you can't find me, I'll be in the next theater watching the rom-coms. With Red Vines.

CatLadyLarew said...

Vlad makes me watch mad slasher movies with him regularly... the things I do for that boy! And I watch between my fingers... I'm not proud!

Cloudia said...

Great post!
I'd love to go to the movies with you, Pearl.



Aloha, Friend!


Comfort Spiral

Marla said...

Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? Now, that's a horror movie.

Jayne Martin said...

I don't like scary movies because... well.. they scare me. But when I do see one, I'm right there with you on the fingers-placed-strategically across-the-eyes AND thumbs in the ears 'cause the damn music is what really gets you.

Suzanne said...

not a horror film fan (to be honest i don't watch many movies but i read stephen king novels for the same reason.

when that touch of 'it could happen' gets too real for me, i can put the book down, go walk it off, and then come back and continue reading.

Tempo said...

I used to like horror flicks when it meant the girl I was with snuggled up closer... Hmm, so long ago now!
Life moves on and things change...these days there's nothing scary in my underpants.. :-)

Gadjo Dilo said...

Hmm, I can't stomach horror films - I still having recurring nightmares from when I watched Bambi as a 5-year-old.

My name is PJ. said...

When people share similar thoughts or ideas, there's almost always a connection.

When people can take those thoughts and write them down in an articulate way, there's almost always a good blog post.

Well done, Pearl.

Irisheyes said...

Ch, Ch, Ch, Ha, Ha, Ha....that is how I spell the scary noises of Friday the 13th fame. And I can promise you if I hear that noise, I will NOT run UPSTAIRS, whereas common sense would tell you, I would be cornered.

jules said...

"Real severed heads ruin the films budget." HA HA HA HA HA!!! Excellent point!