Thursday, August 4, 2011

Horror Enlightenment

See?  Horror end lights...
Not to be confused with Horrible Enlightenment or Horror Endlights...


erm...


So what is it I mean exactly? Lemme e'splain...


Last weekend we got the next Netflix movie on the list... The Strangers... and I read the cover. I hadn't ordered it, but the premise sounded pretty good... and it had Liv Tyler in it... Now I don't know that I think Liv is a fabulous actress, but I really like her anyway. Because she's Steven Tyler's daughter, for one, and I love Steven Tyler... and she is Arwen... and I love Aragorn *shifty*

So I asked my son (he didn't order it either—she of the ordering had a date that night, being more popular and teenagerly than the other members of my home) and he agreed to watch it with me...


And darned it if I didn't learn something about myself.



The Strangers is about a couple who has been to a wedding. He's proposed and she's said no, but they are sort of drunk and it's too far to drive, so they are staying at his parents' vacation house... that he has all decorated for the celebration that is now very awkward... they are both there, but a little estranged and sad...

Yeah, crack the curtain and see THAT...
Someone knocks—a woman, looking for someone... “not here” they send her away... and then it begins with a trickle of slow creeps, bumps, things moved, cell phone destroyed, car tires flat... they can't communicate, they can't get away... and they are basically terrified bit by painful bit...

And it was definitely scarey.


Now I am definitely a horror READER, and sometimes I love horror movies... but I'd never stopped to think about the WHY of it before. I didn't LIKE this one... WHY NOT???

This wasn't unduly gory, which is one of my reasons I was already aware of.
The victims weren't idiots doing stupid stuff that made me want to scream at them (another tried and true irritant)

Then what?



I WANT SOME FREAKING DENIABILITY!!!

*cough*

This scared the poo outa me (not literally, thankfully) because IT COULD HAPPEN and I couldn't say to myself, “well there aren't really sickos out there who might put masks on”.

I thought about horror movies I DO like, and they all involve a suspension of belief... maybe it's something I sort of believe in (ghosts, psychic powers, telepathy) but there is a level of deniability... I would have a legitimate, non-nonsensical claim to say 'that's not real'.

It just isn't possible to say there is no such thing as sociopaths.  Or Masks don't exist.

The suspension of belief allows me to turn the dumb thing OFF when I am ready to not be scared any more.


It leaves me with some CONTROL.


And you know what I remembered... My favorite horror author is Peter Straub. I especially love his mind-bendy time-jump stuff... and I like his spirits that seem to jump bodies through time... His only book I really didn't like was an abduction/rape plot... because it could have happened... it was too horrible...

My favorite scary book
In Mr. X there is a person who freaking MELTS other people with his mind, but that was okay... what bothers me is the rape...

This is a little ironic, as I've written rape scenes, but not in books that are sustained constant horror...


So there you have it... My limit to horror love... I need to be able, on some level, to say 'that couldn't really happen'... which even in something like The Blair Witch Project, as much as I sort of believe that's possible, I can still allow that it's POSSIBLE that it's NOT possible..,

So there you have it. Me being schizophrenic on delusional Thursday.

What about you?  Are you a horror fan?  All of it? Some of it? None of it? Books but not movies? Movies but not books?

19 comments:

Ted Cross said...

I LOVE horror and suspense movies (as long as they are well done). I have no problem with them, because I know that it is simply a movie. I don't like to see anything horrible happen in real life. It seems strange to me that people have difficulty separating fiction from reality in some ways.

Cold As Heaven said...

Liv Tyler is a good reason for watching a movie, and her father's band used to be quite good too >:)

Cold As Heaven

Siv Maria said...

Love Peter Straud and Steven King, still waiting for a horror movie though that scares me. Think I am immune.

lynnrush said...

I so do NOT love horror. My poor hubby is like, "Let's go see ..." and I'm like, "Um. No." Now, I can tolerate scary movie's more at home in the safety of my house. but in a big, dark movie theatre surrounded my strangers.....not so much. LOL

Old Kitty said...

My bestest horror flick so far is The Others. No blood, gore, torture scenes - just good ol fashioned ghost stories where the horror is all in the mind!

I do remember reading Salem's Lot very very slowly. I had to keep stopping cos I was terrified! I couldn't read continuously. Yikes!

Yay!! It's Naked Thursday!! Take care
x

Lisa said...

I used to watch horror movies, but now I'm more a fan of suspense. I like my fear delivered with some subtlety.

Hart Johnson said...

Ted-that is why I think it finally hit me with this one--it actually WAS well done. Before, when I didn't like something, I could always peg something else (usually the stupid people thing)

CaH--yes, I love classic Aerosmith. Some of their later stuff is fine, but their early stuff is FABULOUS. (and Liv is very pretty; I agree)

Siv-I love both those authors, too. Interesting that the movies don't scare you, though!

Lyn--teehee--I figured there'd be a wimp or two around here!

Jenny-The Others sounds great! I love ghost stories. And I liked Salem's lot, but ALSO found it pretty scary. (I think that is the only King I read AFTER seeing the movie, though)

Lisa-see, that's me, too, really--I definitely like suspense better--and largely, that is what Blair Witch Project is--you never actually see ANYTHING. It is just freaking scary because of the suspense.

Connie J Jasperson said...

That is so true! That must be why I generally don't like horror movies, but can read some horror and love it!

Shelly said...

Still the scariest thing to me is Stephen King's The Shining. I don't know why, but all the years later it still gives me the willies.

L.G.Smith said...

That's why Silence of the Lambs scared the crap out of me. People get held captive in creepy basements before turning up dead all the time. Serial killers are out there.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I'm with you. The only horror I like is the kind that clearly *couldn't* happen. Even some of King's stuff crosses the line into things that *could* happen...which is what makes it so terrifying.

Teresa said...

I love suspense but not horror. I love to be on the edge of my seat with what could happen.

There are a couple of (horror) movies and or books that I watched/read years ago that I still can't get out of my mind.

Dawn Ius said...

I am ordering this movie right away. I LOVE horror and suspense - books, movies, plays, short stories...whatever - but I have yet to be truly scared. Well, AFRAID by J.A. Konrath creeped me out. And the first SAW kind of scared me. And the Collector, oh God, the Collector was freaky....

Dawn Ius said...

PS - I also LOVE Stephen Tyler. Like, obsessively. I watched Idol just to see his smile. Love <3

Hart Johnson said...

Connie-I think a TON of horror movies are really poorly done, so I pretty much agree with you.

Shelly-yeah---the Shining was a good one, both ways--though I read the book first and was a little disgruntled at differences, so it wasn't as scary. But years later, I love it. (but yes... scary)--but in a way I can leave it there...

LG-Oh, see, now you've hit an exception for me. I adore Silence of the Lambs--I think it is Lecter's charm--he does horrible things, but he has some fascinating counter-points.

Elizabeth-sounds like we're very much on the same page!

Teresa-I actually have some that have stuck with me, too, but they tend to bee OFF--like I still shiver walking past a big bunch of birds because of The Birds (which I love, but it has STUCK)

Dawn-HA! A taker! And I almost gave up my 'NO REALITY TV EVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES' for Steven Tyler on Idol. Probably I would have if I knew when it was on...

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm a big horror fan, but I prefer stories that aren't real. There's enough scary stuff in the world. I don't want it invading my movies, which I watch to escape. And I really don't like torture porn.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Even the stuff that's not real freaks me out, because what if it IS real? My husband won't let me watch werewolf movies anymore. I mean, what if they're real, and one got into our house?

Hart Johnson said...

Alex-I know, right? Enough reality in life! Who needs it in their entertainment?

Diane-BWUaHAHAHAHAHAHA--too funny.

LTM said...

oh, MAN! You know--me, too! me, too!

I can't remember if I told you how JRM insisted we watch Manhunter (the first Hannibal film, made in like the 80s), and then he was out of town for work for like a WEEK. A week in which I did not sleep.

If you know anything about that film, you'll understand why--our house had windows all across the back that faced a densely wooded, empty lot...

I still get a little creeped out just talking about it!!! :D <3