FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Feb 2, 2006

You Big Chicken!

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 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 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:



Gene Shalit hates you!


John Barleycorn said...

I'd have to disagree on two points.

1) Jaws is scarier and better than The Exorcist.

2) The Exorcist isn't scary. It isn't interesting. It's dull, dated, overlong, meandering, and poorly paced.

And one more point: Being from Boston, and being familiar with The Boston Herald, you'd best take anything they write with a truckload of salt and sixteen gallons of margaritas. It's a staunch, tabloidic, Republican newspaper more interested in calling Democrats idiot pigs than reporting real news. The Herald is a townie joke. Just so you know.

Stacie Ponder said...

Don't you dare disagree with me! I won't stand for it. Get out of my blog!

"It's dull, dated, overlong, meandering, and poorly paced."

Well, so am I, but who cares? Nyuk, nyuk. But really, there are plenty of people who think The Exorcist isn't scary. I disagree, but whatevs. Yay, opinions!

And yeah, I know about The Herald (I lived outside Boston for a while)...I think the same criticisms can be launched at virtually any smaller, local newspaper. I loathe the local rag, The Columbus Dispatch, for all the same reasons you cited for the Herald.

Des said...

"Hey yo! Eat lead, Fishface!"


Anonymous said...

I saw 'Poltergeist' in the theater when I was six and I thought that I would go insane with fear.

I felt the same way about a 'Facts of Life' Halloween episode, around that same time.

That's why horror is so much better across the board when you're under 10.

John Barleycorn said...

Sorry, but Gene Shalit totally scares the shit out of me.

Anonymous said...

I think Jaws IS one of the best horror movies ever made and the Exorcist bites ass.

However, Exorcist 3 rocks my ass and Jaws 3 just ain't that hot, so I guess that evens out the franchises anyway.

I just love Jaws, but I've always been obsessed with sharks. For as long as I can remember, I've just loved to look at the Great White. It elicits fear and fascination. It's also one of the most beautiful creatures ever created. It's sleek, and has hardly evolved in the millions of years since it came to be. Virtually perfect. But this ain't the discovery channel, I also like when Jaws goes chomp on little boys and shit. That crap is scary. I do see some people approaching Jaws as a drama though, because it's really about facing fear and redemption too. It's an amazing character study as well as a horrifying work of art.

And Jaws 2 is like a slasher film with a shark as Jason Vorhees...

Amanda By Night