What Goes Bump in the Night

I love most all types of horror movies. Recently I have been pulled toward zombie, and the more specific infection, stories. I liked I am Legend (2009) – an infection movie starring Will Smith – the first time I saw it. Then the second time I watched it (with Kari) we made fun of the whole movie. This tends to happen when I watch movies with Kari. We almost got kicked out of Cold Manor Creek (2003) when Kari, Ward, Johannah and I made up dialogue during the film while watching the movie in the theater. Loudly. It was obnoxious to be sure but our movie was better.

Back to my new found love of zombies. I have to thank the AMC series The Walking Dead (2010 -). I have been hankering for a good group dynamic story since Lost ended last year and I think I found it. If you haven’t checked it out the first season is playing on demand right now. The new season begins Octobe 16. Great flesh eating noises and really good ‘what comes next after the apocalypse’. Short answer is the same as before. Humans, come to find out, like structure. And hierarchy. And if you were a douche bag before the catastrophic event that precipitates the zombies then chances are you are still a douche bag a few months into the aftermath.

A cable network called Chiller exists. Most of the movie scenarios begin with “A group of college students withstand…” and then fill in the blank. If Sasquatch or Bigfoot ends this sentence I most likely will take a look. Typically these college student type movies:

A.   Do not take place at a college campus but oddly enough in the woods. It isn’t important to the story that they be college students. Really the demographic for this type of slasher movie should include woodsmen. Loggers at risk movies could be a new genre of horror films.

B.    Always, always includes a scene where now the numbers of this group are down to the “smarties”.  And what do they decide? They decide unanimously to separate. A scene begins in some sort of makeshift safe house and one of the surviving good looking people says something like “Okay, we’ve got to separate to stay alive”. And everyone agrees. When did safety in numbers as a basic survival skill stop being taught in our society? The Buddy System?!

C.    There is always time for sex. I’m a fan but if someone is slashing their way through my group of peers I would abstain.

In the 1970s Wes Craven’s (The Last House on the Left – 1972 and The Hills Have Eyes1977) and Tobe Hooper’s (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre – 1974) films built upon the horror classics that came before and rather than aliens or storybook monsters they heralded in a new batch of boogeymen. Call them the in-bred mutant hill people. I felt like these folks could actually exist. I slept with my lights on for weeks after watching these movies.

Craven and Hooper with the help of Japanese porn horror gave birth to an unwatchable genre of American movies that can be found in the Hostel and Saw franchises. Call me a wimp but I don’t like extended torture scenes that last upwards of 90 minutes. To be fair I have not seen any of these movies, nor have I seen any of Rob Zombie’s movies (although I love that he employs Sid Haig of the Ed Hill/Pam Grier collaborations of the 1970s). But…yuck.

The movie The Strangers (2007) scared the piss out of me. Spoiler alert. No hope in this movie. But it isn’t horror porn either. It is a direct link to the early Hooper and Craven movies with a little Scandinavian horror thrown in. Sad and scary and you know how it will end and so do the characters and yet they fight until they are resolved with the inevitable. Wow, this is some scary shit. Disaffected youth thrill killers always prove scary. Check out the movie if you want legitimate heebie-jeebies.

I also want to go on record stating The Blair Witch Project (1999) also scared me senseless and I came to the epiphany that one of the reasons I instinctively hate camping is the simple fact: nature is scary. Especially in the dark and only a thin layer of nylon protects me from whatever the hell that was in the movie. The scene when the walls of the tent are punched in, all the while hearing creepy disembodied children’s voices, still gives me the chills.

Horror has many faces. What scares you might not scare me (although doubtful because at this point in October I jump at every little shadow). Our mom’s first memory of being scared at a movie was The Wizard of Oz (1939). She cried when the witch melted. That’s our mom! Always for the misunderstood.

Our question to you this month is: What was the first movie that scared the piss out of you? Comments made on the blog welcomed!

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6 Responses to What Goes Bump in the Night

  1. Suki Yamaguchi says:

    If you liked “The Strangers” and haven’t seen “Ils” (“Them” in English), I heartily recommend. It’s the film the other is based on and, as usual, when Americans re-make Euro horror, it’s much scarier and less obvious.

  2. Jennifer! says:

    Children of the Corn!!! And The Legacy with the bloody shower.

  3. Kelly Fernald says:

    THough I’ve attempted it several times, I’ve never been quite able to make it through “The Shining”. Those kids in the hallway, the 3 wheeler, red carpet… I just can’t deal.

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