Friday, January 12, 2007

Scary / Not Scary

Frankenstein's Monster - NOT SCARY

No disrespect to Shelley's original tale, which I'm sure raised quite a few goosebumps in it's day, but in the year 2007, the whole "mad scientist-created dude on a rampage" just doesn't have that much oomph. Even when the original Karloff-played monster came out, I don't think people were ever that scared of him; it's a classic because it's a good movie, not because it made people wet their era-appropriate slacks. The tide really turned on Frankie's kid when Peter Boyle (may he rest in peace) lampooned him in Young Frankenstein; after that, nobody could take the bolt-necked bastard seriously. There have been a few attempts to breath fresh life into the idea... that one movie with DeNiro as the Monster (which sucked) and I think there was a Buffy episode in the first season that was kind of the same story, to name two... but they all ended up in a big pile of stitched-on body parts and apathetic yawns. There's just nothing scary about lumbering half-wits.

Zombies - SCARY

The living dead, with their mass numbers and insatiable craving for human flesh, scare the crap out of me. Hell, this very site is an homage to their presence (albeit by way of an admittedly shit-tastic movie). Romero's original Night of the Living Dead, the one that's in black and white and doesn't have that bullshit added footage in it, was one of the first horror movies I saw during my formative years and it fucked me up right proper. The images of the walking dead emerging from the woods, swarming around the farmhouse, constantly chewing, are forever burned on my brain. And while the modern take on zombies might be a bit more adrenaline-jacked and "extreme" (the Dawn of the Dead remake, for example), it still hits the same panic button in my brain, big time. To me, there is nothing more terrifying than an enemy that isn't afraid of anything, that only gets larger with time, that is basically an endless, sucking wall of teeth and hands that wants nothing more than simply to consume you. Yeesh... and I've creeped myself out. Wonderful.

Vampires - NOT SCARY

Vampires used to be scary. They used to be mysterious and weird and full of a hot menace that was all their own. Then Anne Rice came along. Her psycho-sexual take on the genre drained them of their mojo; made the thing that vampirism was always about (i.e. sex) too obvious. And, worse, she opened the floodgates for a generation of lonely men and women to over-romanticize the genre's mythology, to blend it with their own Gothic tendencies, and finally, to turn into something that's just... well... a bit silly. Even the brilliant Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which (at least at first) was nominally about vampires, couldn't do all that much with the creatures themselves over the long haul. If you're a fan of the show, you'll know what I mean; all of the scariest moments came from other creatures, almost never from the vamps; by the last couple of seasons, they'd pretty much disappeared altogether, save for the main characters that already were vampires to begin with. It's too bad, really. There was and, probably, still is a lot of potential in the idea of vampires. And occasionally a movie or a TV show will come along that does something interesting with the concept (Near Dark and the BBC's Ultraviolet, respectively). But by and large, I'm going to have to label this a dead genre. Oh, and the less said about Lestat: The Musical, the better.

Cannibals - SCARY

It all goes back to that whole "consuming human flesh" thing. Some of the old adventure movies from the 30's and 40's mentioned cannibals as a general concept, but it was the gore-lovin' Italians that blew up the concept first, making a lot of movies in the 70's about jungle tribes eating explorers, all of them full of explicit torture and most of them being nearly unwatchable (should you be curious, a few titles of note: Cannibal Holocaust, Cannibal Ferox and Cannibal Apocalypse). Off hand, the only title worth watching from that era was the recently released Man From Deep River, which had a certain class to it, even when they start cutting out peoples tongues and whatnot. Anyway, the idea made it to American soil eventually, most notably with Wes Craven's original The Hills Have Eyes. Since we're a little light on the jungle in these parts, the action has been transplanted to the deserts in the aforementioned movie, and to the back woods of various Southern states for other films. Really, and this is probably why it's scary, it's just a permutation of the whole zombie idea. It's tempered with a bit of survialistic humanism, and it relies much more on the isolation of the locale to instill it's fear, but the essentials are still there. There's still the "we're going to eat you" thing, the "terror in numbers" thing (rarely is there ever just one cannibal; it's usually a clan), and the "we won't stop until there's nothing left" thing. Otherwise known as the perfect equation to scare the shit out of me.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like watching scary movies and horror movies so when I watching that with my girlfriend I like to take generic viagra because my girlfriend scares a lot and I try to support her, and you know what the final result is.

12:49 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home