Halloween is soon upon us, so as I have done before, I will attempt to review a different horror movie until the end of the month.
Most of these will not be mainstream scary movies, some might be ones that failed at the box office but were still well done, and others will most definitely be total pulp, like last years Killer Klowns From Outer Space.
I'll take suggestions, but availability will control what I watch. Largely it will be Netflix, and if I get a chance I'll go down to Pick A Flick and check out one of their 8,000 selection (of just horror).
This is a new tradition with myself, since I started it last year out of boredom. I had to be away from my family for several months and missed spending Halloween with them for the second time (this will be my first with all of them, YAY). While I sat alone in my room I watched the worst movies I knew I couldn't watch at home, due either to inappropriate material for little children to accidentally see, or the missus being completely disinterested.
My time with Kay is precious so I may not end up reviewing a movie every night. I don't want to force her to sit through the most amazing drek, or effective nightmare inducer when I could be talking to her.
Why do we watch horror movies? I personally think that it is necessary for what we are as a species: survivalists. Ask anyone or listen to people watching a scary movie and you'll always hear someone say “Don't go through that door/woods at night/haunted house. I would never do that.” In effect, the person is learning, from a certain perspective. We watch disasters on the news and pay attention to how those people dealt with the situation. We listen to people who survived horrible experiences, are fascinated at car accidents (everyone slows down on a highway).
By watching these scary movies, we're allowing ourselves to positively deal with what is perceived as a negative motion. It is a fear we can control, that doesn't control us.
And like most things, it should definitely be done in moderation. We don't want to become so inured to the violence and terror that we don't react to it in real life. Like a marijuana experiment I read about a while ago: mice were given pot and then left in a cage with a cat added to it. They were given the standard set up of food and water, this time the water was in a dish instead of from a bottle.
The control group of mice reacted in fear towards the cat (it had been fed and wasn't an actual threat to the mice, don't worry), and avoided getting too close to the water. The “high” mice ignored the cat and even climbed on it, also, they played in the water, something that mice don't do because they drown so easily. (Bringing up the argument that pot does impair critical judgement skills).
Panic is essential to our survival, and while unpleasant, is easier to take than injury or death. Panic triggers our fight or flight function in the brain, and when this panic is engaged for too long it developes into fear and anxiety, and while fear can be a healthy thing to help us avoid dangerous situations, anxiety is not, because we feel that fight or flight when there is no appropriate trigger.
As writers I think it is something we should pay attention to. How much more terrifying would our horror or thriller books be if we knew the specific short term triggers that scared our readers, and thusly, profitable! Much like one of the key words in a soft core adult book is “tastes” because it makes the reader think about one of the five senses, and looks like testes.
I use the sense of smell often in my stories because I have a powerful sniffer, and certain smells trigger thoughts or memories in me. For me, a writer describing the smell of a monster dog from hell would get more of a reaction from me than if they wrote about its glistening fangs. That's me, and I don't expect the same reaction out of someone reading my book as I feel writing it.
I think I'm descending into babble, so I'll cut this one short. I haven't been sleeping well lately, and it's nauseating writing on a moving bus.
Thank you, Cult of Machine followers.
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