Saturday, August 12, 2006

Movie Musings: Horror Movies

Last night I was having one of my familiar "dark nighttime of the soul" evenings. I had just seen "The Descent" which I really enjoyed. It's ridiculous, but I had fun screaming and applauding, plus watching those women hanging from rocks was amazing even if it was a set. The plot is six women go caving and get trapped deep underground. Not only do they have to find another way out (it's a new cave system), but there may also be something else down there. Something really, really hungry.

I have a tough time watching horror movies. I seem to be better now than I was years ago, but since I sleep alone I generally avoid them. Last night, I was up late at night looking up plot spoilers for movies I've never seen such as "Tale of Two Sisters," "Hellraiser I-IV," "Skeleton Key," "The Grudge" and "Silent Hill." "Tale of Two Sisters" sounds scary and fascinating. The others seem okay for horror movies although "Silent Hill" sounds like a big mess. I was reading the plot spoiler and trying to figure out what was going on there. The movie must be over three hours long.

My cousins were fond of watching "Chiller Diller Matinee" on channel 2 and "Creature Features" on channel 44 when I was growing up. Both featured bad low grade horror and monster movies. I was so impressionable that I couldn't watch anything scary at all because I would have terrible nightmares afterwards.

On the other hand, sometimes both shows would feature Godzilla movies which were my favorites when I was growing up. I was never afraid of the big lizard since I love dinosaurs so much.

My breakthrough movie came when I watched "Creature from the Black Lagoon" for the first time. I was really scared at first, but ended up glued to the couch. I was so riveted that by the time the movie was over, I didn't realize I was the only one still watching it.

I managed to avoid horror after that until my best friend insisted we watch the first "Friday the 13th." Bad dreams ensued. Later, at our neighborhood movie theater, they showed a double feature of "Altered States" and "The Shining." I saw both movies nine times in nine weeks. "The Shining" gave me the SCREAMING horrors so much that my mother called my friends and told them I couldn't watch that movie anymore. I would get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and walk down the hallway in the dark. When I looked towards my parents' bedroom, I'd see those two creepy little girls standing at the end of the hallway. They would say "forever and ever and ever." Things got so bad that for a short time my parents took to giving me a quarter of Valium so I could sleep at night.

Now that I'm a little less impressionable, I think "The Shining" is one of the all time great movies. The images are iconic, the sets stunning, the cinematography, music and sound are all phenomenal. Shelly is great with her wide-eyed rabbit terror and Jack, of course, with his carefully plucked eyebrows, is amazing. I love the dialog too, especially between Jack and Delbert Grady in the bathroom ("I corrected them") and between Jack and the Satanic looking bartender (Joe Turkel). Great stuff.

A young friend of mine begged me to take her to see "The Ring" on opening weekend. She was into all things anime and Japanese at the time and wanted to see it before her friends did (some of her friends weren't allowed to see it). We had such a grand time. We hid under my coat and spend a lot of time screaming. I think I missed a good quarter of the movie that first time because either had my eyes shut or was hiding under my coat. I was most impressed with "The Ring." It was a very interesting movie.

That's a wonderful memory.

I must be out of my "dark nightime of the soul" place. No weird thoughts. No potential for bad dreams. It's a lovely, foggy summer day here in San Francisco and I just remembered I need to add "Saw II" to my Netflix queue.

1 comment:

Reel Fanatic said...

I think a double feature of "Altered States" and "The Shining" would have just freaked me out too much! .. As for "The Descent," I haven't seen it yet, but plan to before it leaves the multiplex (so it will have to be next weekend, probably)