I'm a horror fan. A huge horror fan. From video games, to books, to movies, to comics. I want to focus on something in the movie realm this time though; big surprise right? So after seeing a horror movie, many friends, Mr. White included, ask me "so was it scary?" Now that is a weird question to me, because I don't go to horror films to get "scared."
Films don't scare me, and haven't since I was little kid and it was hard to know for sure if what I was seeing could or would really happen to me. Do they give me a feeling of dread or remorse at times? Sure, but I don't sit in the theater seat afraid for my life and dwell on it later that night worrying that the killer will break into my house.
I watch horror for the themes, the mood, the settings. I enjoy old creepy houses, blood and guts, revenge, and the supernatural. I like the macabre. I like monsters and devils and evil sleeping gods just waiting for that cult to awaken them. I have a smile on my face more times than not when watching these films.
A smile? Mr. White thinks I'm a sick bastard because I like films like Hostel, or Frontiers. If these were documentaries I would be a sick bastard, but they're not, they're fiction. They are just an idea of reality. And I think when you know this, no matter how real it looks, you don't get bothered by it. Now don't get me wrong, if someone is getting their finger nails pulled out or their nut sac chopped off, I will cringe. But I won't go home and let it ruin my day.
I'm not saying horror films can't affect certain people. Mr. White has told me that after we saw Hostel, it fucked him up for a week. And that's fine, everyone is affected differently by content. Some people are more easily able to separate themselves from what they are seeing, then some dwell on the fact that this could be happening right now in the world today.
My main point is that I don't see horror movies to scare me. Horror films don't exist only to scare. They exist to explore the darker sides of humanity and to see just how far our sick imaginations can take us. They exist to evoke other emotions that fright, such as remorse, dread, and even promote contemplation. Hopefully you'll get a little more out of good horror films now.
Well usually when I ask if a movie is scary I'm not really asking if it will give me nightmares or make me jump into Mr. Blacks arms.
For me, horror is about invoking a feeling of tension or dread that is more cerebral than the typical orchestra-hit-psycho-jumping-out-of-the-closet cliche. I want to feel what I imagine the main characters are feeling.
I'm not a huge fan of today's horror though so I've stayed away from it. I think we've gotten away from what makes horror good. But lucky for me I've got Mr. Black to point me in the right direction.
I think a good example of what I'm talking about when I say cerebral is Quarantine. Here's a movie that doesn't lead you by the hand or try to force a jump from your couch. You feel like you're stuck in that building with the rest of the cast with no idea what the hell is going to happen next.
I just enjoy the rush of fear. It reminds me of how I felt when Mr. Black and I were kids and we would ask his dad to scare us. He would usually wait until we forgot and then the next time we got up for a Pepsi we found our ankles grabbed by some demon pig.