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Date Posted: 03:44:40 09/16/20 Wed
Author: River Acheron
Subject: "What's Your Favorite Scary Movie?" (E)
Happy Halloween everyone! This month, I thought I would do something a little different. So far, we talked about fictional characters coming to life and parallel universes, we pondered our own inspiration, we debated sex, and even delved into COVID. Pretty deep stuff! However, to help us all get into the holiday spirit, I wanted to dial it back a bit and talk about something a bit more light-hearted: HORROR MOVIES! It seems that this year, all of our holidays will be more or less abbreviated due to the state of the world right now, but that does not mean we can't get into the spirit of things and keep Halloween alive.
It would probably come to no one's surprise that I am a huge fan of the horror genre. I had a babysitter when I was six years old who showed me the first Nightmare on Elm Street movie and have been hooked into the genre ever since. Now, 20 years later, aside from seeing all the classics, I have delved into the obscure, with movies like 'Death Bed: The Bed that Eats', 'Antfarm Dickhole', 'Bunnyman', 'Violent Shit', 'Night of the Lepus', and of course 'Weasels Rip My Flesh' which was made by a 15 year old boy (Nathan Schiff) in 1979 on Super 8 with a $400 dollar budget! It has since become somewhat of a cult so-bad-it's-good Z-Grade movie. I also recently expanded beyond the U.S. and got deep into Italian horror, checking out directors such as Mario Bava ('Blood and Black Lace'), Dario Argento ('Suspiria'), Lucio Fulci ('The Beyond'), Bruno Mattei, ('SS Girls'), Joe D'Amato ('Porno Holocaust'), Ruggero Deodato ('Cannibal Holocaust'), Claudio Fragasso ('Hell of the Living Dead')
Horror has always been an outlet for me. There's a certain comforting escapism in it, that I think resonates with a lot of people. I use it to reference a lot of my topics here, because horror - along with science ficion) - is influenced by the state of the world, more than any other genre. It acts as a lens for the world we are currently living in. It's always been this way, too. Take Dante, for example. Sure, he had his Purgatorio, and his Paradiso, but it's the Inferno that hit well with readers in the 1300's. It's in Hell that Dante used the most political allegory, while allowing himself to explore the darker side of the human nature (the two are not mutually exclusive! lol). Horror has also been the genre that lets the truly creative have fun with what they are best at...set designs, cinematography, lighting, and ESPECIALLY makeup! This is why I adore gore in horror films, especially if it's practical effects. The problem now, with computers and CGI, is everything can be done with the click of a button and it looks AWFUL! It's a sad state of affairs that a movie like 'Hellraiser' (1987) done on one million dollar budget - using all practical effects and stop-motion...most of which could be done with makeup, a few neat camera tricks, TALENT, and things you can find in your kitchen - looks SPECTACULAR compared with the laughably abysmal Mummy' (2017) on a 195 million dollar budget which was nothing but a CGI crap-fest made by people who obviously have no talent as actual FILM-makers!!
However, I digress. This is an outlet that is based on stories. So, I want to streamline my question this month. What is your favorite horror movie, based on the STORY ALONE? Where it really counts. The tale the author or screenwriter is trying to tell you. We can of course debate the visuals and techniques, but for the sake of this venue I want to concentrate on the tale. So, for now, take the look of the movie out of it, forget cinematography, forget the effects. Think about the best story in a horror movie (or book!) that comes to mind. For me, it's very difficult. It might even be more difficult than being asked to pick my favorite song of all time. In fact, I know it is. However, in the here and now, I would have to say, JUST based on the story - the tale -, taking into account the characters and their development, as well all the mythos that was created along the way, and intended from the start..I'd have to go with Clive Barker's 'The Hellbound Heart' (the Hellraiser mythos). It's easily one of the most disturbing books I have ever read. In terms of the movies, the first two are phenomenal, and captures the mood of the novella exactly. The subsequent sequels after the second movie are hit and miss, as the franchise changed hands many MANY times over the years, and more than once bastardized Clive Barkers vision. (I will post a link of one scene from Hellraiser 3 that still resonates with me, and is DEFINITELY something that one cannot do today! lol).
I'm curious as to what fascinates you about the genre, especially the STORY! That doesn't mean your favorite horror movie needs to be based on a book, no not at all, but focus for a moment on the STORY. What is it that you love? What stays with you? Maybe it's something you saw or read as a child that still sends chills down your spine, or maybe it's a new tale that you cannot stop thinking about, for whatever reason.
Horror is a genre that not only lets us play in the furthest reaches of our imagination, but also one that allows us to tap into dark areas of our psyches that may be considered taboo by societies social norms. This is not new. Our counterparts in the Middle Ages (and even prior!) up to the Modern Era understood this. Horror lies on the fringes of social acceptability. Horror fans have been called anti-social for centuries, but in the way that term is used, it need not be a bad thing. Do not be afraid of your own dark side, because it is within that shadow (to reference Jung) that we may find aspects of our self that we keep hidden...that we HAVE kept hidden since childhood. This fascination, and fear is perfectly normal. I hope all of you have a fantastic Halloween. As a suggestion, if you never have seen it, I would like to share with you (IMO) the best Halloween-themed horror movie ever made. It puts you into the spirit of the holiday moreso than any movie I have ever seen, and it's gory, and messed up, and all that fun stuff too! Check out 2007's Trick 'r Treat, directed by Michael Dougherty. It just may be your new holiday favorite! All of that said, my only question for October is this:
....what's YOUR favorite scary movie?
Scene from Hellraiser 3:
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