So I like creepy things. Not like gnats and perverts who steal your underwear, but scary things – the things that go bump in the night (admittedly underwear stealing perverts are terrifying, but in a totally different way). There’s something spectacular about movies that make you tingle all over; that make you think the walls have eyes. I love that feeling of huddling down in a couch staring at a TV screen with a pillow to my chest, my breath coming fast, and my heart pounding in my ears. I like thinking the shadows flicker and that the bathroom mirror is watching me.
I never claimed to be normal, people.
I want to tip my hat to those movies that get my blood pumping. I want to give props to the flicks that give my imagination seizures and inspire me to write my own spooky tales. Something worth noting? My list has all different kinds of horror. Not everything is a big honking monster trying to eat you. Sometimes, it’s a slow-building mood movie. Sometimes it’s a concept that’s just so surreal, you brain goes wild and you’re freaked out for days (weeks – years in some cases) afterward. Some movies lull you into a false sense of security before they explode in a spray of gore and violence that make you dive into your friend’s shoulder. I touch on a little bit of everything because horror is a much wider net than a lot of people give it credit for.
From the moment an old friend showed me the “haunted video” preview of The Ring, I knew I wanted to see this flick. Lots of blue filter, and some blatantly telegraphed scares, but The Ring is one of my all time favorite horror movies. It goes beyond the creepy chick in the well and the haunted TVs. Why? STORY TIME. So Dave, me, Lauren, and Greg all went to check out the late movie. It was an eleven o’clock show. We were the only ones in the theater. We only quasi-knew what we were getting into because our friend Chuck had shown us the preview video I linked above. We sat, we watched, and we climbed out of our skin. We were tweaked to all Hell by the time we left the theater. It got so bad, we decided none of us would sleep so we went to an all-night restaurant and ordered some coffee. After about two hours of just sitting around being traumatized together, we went our separate ways.
Greg refused to sleep. Lauren made the mistake of passing out on the couch downstairs. Greg didn’t want to pass the TV to wake her up, so he left her there all night.
Dave and I went to bed. I asked if he’d locked the front door, he said no. He abjectly refused to get out of bed to lock it because that’d require him to walk past the television. Which forced me to do it. Asshole.
I don’t know what it is about this movie that’s so goddamned freaky. Maybe it’s that mirrors are evil. Maybe it’s that Bette Davis’s voice is enough to make a normal, sane person climb the walls. Maybe it’s because this is the only movie I can recall that tackles a fourth dimension and actually makes that dimension terrifying. Whatever the case, we watched this quasi-recently, and even though I didn’t have the same visceral terror reaction of childhood, I still found myself discomfited by the girl trapped in the mirror, by the camerawork that let you know the main characters are being watched, and by NAREK. Thanks for making me pee my pants, Disney.
(Note: Do yourself a favor and don’t watch the alternate ending for this movie. Cause it’s just dumb, y’all. Seriously. I’m so glad they went with the ending they did.)
Se7en was a movie that made me feel dirty after I watched it. Like, it was so intense, so “grab you by the nuts and shake you” that I wanted to shower when it was over. The only other movie I’ve ever seen to skeeve me out that much? Requiem for a Dream. But Se7en predated Requiem by five years, and for it, it goes on my list. Kevin Spacey’s villain is terrifying and believable. He’s this ordinary little man who just so happens to be NUCKING FUTS and wants to punish people for their vices. He does it with almost zero expression. The crimes themselves are all hideous, but the ones that stay with me are Lust and Sloth. And of course wrath, because WHAT’S IN THE BOX?!
We know what’s in the box, Kevin Spacey, and you’re a dickhead. This is my sad face.
So you’ll notice the cover art for Audition has a beautiful Japanese woman with a piano wire. I’m not going to tell you what she wants to do to you with that wire because I don’t want to ruin it for you. Because ruination is what that psycho is after. She ruins everything ever, including appetites. Audition starts off as a love story between an older man and a sweet, unassuming girl. Halfway through the movie, things go very, very wrong. By the end of the movie, you’ll be writhing and — if you’re me? — walking out of the room because you can’t TAKE the fucked up stuff going on. I’ve never bailed on a movie before, but this one made me tap out.
The best part? It’s worse for dudes to watch than chicks. You’ll get why.
Guillermo del Toro brings us The Orphanage, which is a classic, moody mystery/ghost story offering. The strength of this movie is atmosphere – the cinematography is beautiful, the score haunting. Everything is so very clean, and I know what a weird adjective that is to use, but watch the movie and you’ll see what I mean. There’s a crispness and precision to the visuals you don’t see in a lot of movies. It’s art, but the quality doesn’t end there! The story is strong, building in intensity and providing a few solid scares thanks to a creepy little kid (and as we all know, creepy kids are the worst. Which brings us to . . . )
The beauty of Trick ‘r Treat is it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s Creepshow style horror, which means it’s over the top, campy, and aware of its limitations. There are as many funny moments in the movie as there are scares. The thing I probably enjoyed most about Trick ‘r Treat is how it weaves four or five concurrent story lines together almost seamlessly. Each vignette feeds the next which is — again — very Creepshow style. It’s clear someone in production was a big fan of the horror comics of yesteryear. You’ll see some big names in the cast, namely Anna Paquin and Brian Cox, but the ones who steal the show are the little kids who venture into the ravine. It’s awful and scary and those little bastards will make you jump.
Plus, you know. There’s this kid:
Part Two coming soon!