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General discussion about what's out for the couch.
274

Halloween HORROR
Topic by: Bowwow
Posted: October 31, 2004 - 7:58 AM PST
Last Reply: November 2, 2004 - 10:36 AM PST

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author topic: Halloween HORROR
Bowwow
post #1  on October 31, 2004 - 7:58 AM PST  
I am not a fan of the genre in any sense of the word. Oh, I can handle a good thriller now and then but generally, I don't like to feel scared. So I was wondering if some fans of the genre would explain to me what they get out of it. Not so much because I want to be converted, mind you, but more because I wonder about such things....

So, what are your favorite horror movies and why do you like them?
hamano
post #2  on October 31, 2004 - 9:06 AM PST  
What, you didn't see The Sixth Sense? That's a pretty good one. The first Alien film is a kind of horror film. I like Pet Sematary as an example of a pure genre American horror film done well. Rosemary's Baby is a classic. The Others was pretty good if you wanna see ghosts.

Try to see The Spirit of the Beehive... it's about the ghost of a movie.
woozy
post #3  on October 31, 2004 - 10:31 AM PST  
I'm not a fan of horror because I don't like being scared either, but I know the feeling. There's theories that being scared is a reconfirmation of being alive but I think it's not so obscure. There's different reasons for different horror fans. There's those who like the adreni..., addrenal.., adrennal..., the thrill of being shocked (similar to the thrill of a roller coaste [I abhor and despise roller coasters by the way} and this is matched in slasher or zombie movies. Others just like the appeal of the excess, the ewwww gross factor. This is related to the lover of the fart joke and the gross body anomolies, but mixed with a feeling of excitement. Then there's the fascination of the odd and slightly not right feeling.
Then there's an appreciation of an external impersonal object, such as a movie, evoking feelings of actual emotion. Perhaps I'm cynical but I've never fallen in love with a movie character, grieved when ones died, and the most moving films in the world only effect me at the "high drama" scenes. However fear is a very primal and immediate emotion; perhaps the most primative and most immediate. So a horror movie can set you up immediately into a sense of unease and maintain a guenuine emotion throughout the course of the movie. The movie, the Ring, was in my opinion really not very good but the creepy mood of the video with "disturbing" images and the quite creeping pace of the story emotionally kept "my skin crawling" and "teeth on edge". This isn't a particular pleasant emotion but it's not entirely unpleasant either and the idea of a movie evoking a mood was a little like the attraction of a drug. Every now and then at the "scary parts" it gave a jolt and I didn't particularly care for them but the overall emotion is impressive. I'd like a horror movie where nothing scary or shocking happens but where there is always a sense of unease. If there were any other genre of movie that could sustain another emotion as long and engagingly that'd be fantastic. Imagine a porn movie that actually arouses you. Or a luscious joyous movie where the scenes of beauty seem splendifourous for 20 minutes rather than just 30 seconds. Only the emotion fear can be maintained that long before we remember it is only an illusion.

Course the B-and low budget horror movies have a greater probability of showing boobies.
Bowwow
post #4  on October 31, 2004 - 10:44 AM PST  
> On October 31, 2004 - 9:06 AM PST hamano wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> What, you didn't see The Sixth Sense? That's a pretty good one. The first Alien film is a kind of horror film. I like Pet Sematary as an example of a pure genre American horror film done well. Rosemary's Baby is a classic. The Others was pretty good if you wanna see ghosts.
>
> Try to see The Spirit of the Beehive... it's about the ghost of a movie.
> ---------------------------------

I did see The Sixth Sense and I loved it. But it didn't really scare me. I actually am more scared by movies like Friday 13th and other slasher type movies even though they usually are quite badly made.

Oh man. I had a boyfriend who insisted that we go see the original Alien when it was playing at the local "art house" giant theater thing. I spent almost the whole evening sitting alone in the bathroom crying because I was so scared. I wonder why I got so scared?


Bowwow
post #5  on October 31, 2004 - 10:46 AM PST  
That is an interesting idea woozy. The truth is that other movies do sustain certain emotions in me for long periods of time. I love weepy movies and sometimes will feel weepy for long after the movie is over. I love DVD's because sometimes with a particularly weepy movie, I can pause it and go cry for an hour or so and then start the movie up again.

woozy
post #6  on October 31, 2004 - 10:50 AM PST  
> On October 31, 2004 - 10:46 AM PST Bowwow wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> That is an interesting idea woozy. The truth is that other movies do sustain certain emotions in me for long periods of time. I love weepy movies and sometimes will feel weepy for long after the movie is over. I love DVD's because sometimes with a particularly weepy movie, I can pause it and go cry for an hour or so and then start the movie up again.
>
>
> ---------------------------------

You *should* see The Ring. The creepy and eerie pacing are scarier and more moving than the actual scary jolting parts.

But horror is not for you. I don't really like it either.
hamano
post #7  on October 31, 2004 - 12:21 PM PST  
> On October 31, 2004 - 10:44 AM PST Bowwow wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Oh man. I had a boyfriend who insisted that we go see the original Alien when it was playing at the local "art house" giant theater thing. I spent almost the whole evening sitting alone in the bathroom crying because I was so scared. I wonder why I got so scared?

Somebody should've reported him to the ASPCA! The first Alien film is more like a scary horror film than a science fictions film. The whole story is structured around a monster in the dark that jumps out and goes BOO! Ridley Scott does a great job of adapting horror film suspense/shock tactics throughout. The second Alien film is more like a good ol' sci-fi action shoot'em up. I think you'll both like The Spirit of the Beehive... too bad it's not out on DVD....
hamano
post #8  on October 31, 2004 - 12:23 PM PST  
> On October 31, 2004 - 10:46 AM PST Bowwow wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> I love DVD's because sometimes with a particularly weepy movie, I can pause it and go cry for an hour or so and then start the movie up again.

The dogs in OUR neighborhood just start howling loudly when the sirens go off at the local firehouse. I haven't heard about any of them breaking down in the middle of a weepie.
Bowwow
post #9  on October 31, 2004 - 2:12 PM PST  
> On October 31, 2004 - 10:50 AM PST woozy wrote:
> ---------------------------------
>
> You *should* see The Ring. The creepy and eerie pacing are scarier and more moving than the actual scary jolting parts.
>
> But horror is not for you. I don't really like it either.
> ---------------------------------

I don't mind sustaining an emotion for a long period of time if it is a pleasant one or if it is like sadness or anger where getting it out can be cathartic. But fear and uneasiness? That doesn't sound good to me.
Bowwow
post #10  on October 31, 2004 - 2:13 PM PST  
> On October 31, 2004 - 12:23 PM PST hamano wrote:

>
> The dogs in OUR neighborhood just start howling loudly when the sirens go off at the local firehouse. I haven't heard about any of them breaking down in the middle of a weepie.
> ---------------------------------


I know. I am an unusual dog. I pretty much ignore the fire trucks but sometimes I will bark at cars that go by.


woozy
post #11  on October 31, 2004 - 4:02 PM PST  
As I said, I don't like horror. But I sat down this afternoon and started to read a graphic novel (comic book, really, I never saw anything wrong or embarrassing about liking comic books) Swamp Thing: Love and Death and I started thinking about discussions here and this comic book is "creepy" but not scary and came up with another appeal of horror.

There's a fascination with the idea that things may not be what they appear on the surface; that there is another world we see the surface of. Some of us are utterly fascinated by this idea (I am, I think about all the time). The recent "discovery" of the "God lobe", a section of our brain that makes us seek out higher meaning and makes us have spiritual and religious beliefs kind of confirms that. The sense that knowing things are what they are and the walls of your house are the walls of you house, the husband in the bed with you is them man you know and understand, is a sense of confirmation and comfort. But the idea that all you know and trust may not be what it seems, that there's something different is both very creepy but also incrediably compelling. Horror frequently explores these ideas but in an emotional basic way rather than an intellectual way. (David Lynch movies are classics at these.)

There are other methods and genres. The other of my graphic novel, Alan Moore, also wrote a series of comic books called Promethea that I liked a lot. The premise of Promethea is that the "real" universe of which we are only the material manifestation is one of meaning and metaphor (a rather old idea) and the "super hero" Promethea (sort of a new-age metaphysical Wonder Woman) is half material half meaning (a story made flesh; a manifestation of human imagination) and can travel through and draw upon these universes. (It's really a play on the idea of comic book super-heros where the modern super-heros, pulp fiction heros, romance poet subjects, mythic heros, all play the same role and as a post-modern joke, this super-hero, Promethea's, super power is that she is literally a story). The appeal of this to me and the reason I buy the comic month after month despite the fact that it's mostly claptrap by a comic author playing mental masturbatory games with himself, is because it is *cool* claptrap by a comic author playing *cool* mental masturbatory games with himself. It's utterly fascinating to pretend there is something "else" out there. But the first thing about thinking there is something "else" out there is a realization that all you take for granted and all that is comforting might not be what it seems and this can be very discomforting. So the first aspect is fear.

Good horror can play on this fear and sense of something else but rather than saying "screw this. This is scary" it draws you in because the idea of something "else" is so very appealing.
Bowwow
post #12  on October 31, 2004 - 4:45 PM PST  
I do really like stories that are about certain things that don't seem like they appear. I catch myself thinking and daydreaming along those lines quite often myself. And the truth is that somewhere in the back of my mind, I don't think of movies that engage me like that as "horror." Probably because I am too interested in the story to be afraid?

hamano
post #13  on October 31, 2004 - 5:41 PM PST  
I think David Lynch films are mostly hor or.... <-- do you like the ghost "r"? At least I think he's interested most in the part of the brain that thinks about horror and feels horror...
Bowwow
post #14  on October 31, 2004 - 5:46 PM PST  
> On October 31, 2004 - 5:41 PM PST hamano wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> I think David Lynch films are mostly hor or.... <-- do you like the ghost "r"? At least I think he's interested most in the part of the brain that thinks about horror and feels horror...
> ---------------------------------


Maybe that is why I have never particularly liked David Lynch films.
hmagana
post #15  on November 1, 2004 - 11:53 AM PST  
controlled fear. thats what its all about. fear is an INTENSE emotion that unfortunatly, all must feel at one point or another in thier lives. subject yourself to it enough in controlled environments and sooner or later you begin to controll it and not th other way around.
Bowwow
post #16  on November 1, 2004 - 12:14 PM PST  
> On November 1, 2004 - 11:53 AM PST hmagana wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> controlled fear. thats what its all about. fear is an INTENSE emotion that unfortunatly, all must feel at one point or another in thier lives. subject yourself to it enough in controlled environments and sooner or later you begin to controll it and not th other way around.
> ---------------------------------


That is an interesting way of looking at it and is very much like certain therapy techniques for people with anxiety disorders. You very well may have something there.
woozy
post #17  on November 1, 2004 - 1:27 PM PST  
> On November 1, 2004 - 11:53 AM PST hmagana wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> controlled fear. thats what its all about. fear is an INTENSE emotion that unfortunatly, all must feel at one point or another in thier lives. subject yourself to it enough in controlled environments and sooner or later you begin to controll it and not th other way around.
> ---------------------------------

At the risk of appearing attacking or critical, which I am not at all, I'd be curious to ask hmagana if he has an theory for why controlled fear would be *enjoyable* to people and people would actively seek it out.

Often when I ask this sort of questions, people think I am disagreeing with them or being argumentative. I'm not. I'm just interested in expanding a discussion. I want to point out that I think hmagana is absolutely correct about the appeal of controlled fear. I just want to know if he'd like to expand on why horror fans (and bungee jumpers) *enjoy* it and seek it out while other people such as Bowwow dislike being afraid and would avoid being afraid if possible and wouldn't ever find being afraid *fun*. I'm somewhere in the middle. I like having emotions heightened and I like feeling on edge but I dislike being shocked.

Then again I like "serious" movies that often involve emotional conflict that aren't "pleasant". But I believe such movies open my mind to human situations and improve me. It's not about having *fun*. What do you think?


hamano
post #18  on November 1, 2004 - 2:32 PM PST  
An informative and easy to understand explanation from a psychotherapist.

The people at How Stuff Works has also tackled this question.

Even if you're not afraid of scary movies, this might still help you...

Personally, I also think there's some testing dynamics involved. Some of us like being tested, although generally one thinks of being tested as stressful. Of course you have to have some confidence that you won't fail miserably at the test... Seeing a scary movie, seeing a morally challenging film... these test your faith in reality, and test your faith in your own courage, test your sense of morality. For example, horror movies test your own moral standards by transgressing on taboo subjects like matricide and desecration of the dead (Pet Sematary). When you undergo the intended catharsis by the end of the film, you've "passed" the test, and you can feel good about yourself and your world.
hamano
post #19  on November 1, 2004 - 2:36 PM PST  
5 minute break from the horrors of Horror
woozy
post #20  on November 1, 2004 - 2:51 PM PST  
> On November 1, 2004 - 2:36 PM PST hamano wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> 5 minute break from the horrors of Horror
> ---------------------------------

Awww. IronS would starve of Iron Deficiency if she had been an aboriginal australian.

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