Horror Movies–Whattaya WANT?

When you go into a horror movie, do you want everything explained?  Do you want the stereotypical doctor in the labcoat with the pipe to come out and say in some odd pseudoEinsteinian accent, “Ah!  You hef come abot the creee-ture.  I vill explain everyting vit da help uv dese handy charts, vich I hed made fur yust such an occasion az DIS!  End, if you use dis compound X28-9Z, DAT vill take care uv da WHOLE ting fur you.”  Or, do you want to go in, have crap coming out at you wanting to eat your head and you don’t REALLY know what the hell you’re looking at?  “What’s THAT?”  “Dunno, but it’s gonna eat our heads!  RUN!”  At which point, the second person takes two steps, trips, lands on whatever it is, head promptly and neatly eaten.  Or, do you want to be somewhere in the middle, a semiomniscient observer, “Yeah, the vampire’s gonna getcha, yeah, YOU’RE toast, and HOLY CRAP, I didn’t know they could project their teeth out that far and bite you across the ROOM!” 

So, what works for you?  I don’t CARE what the critics say about Horror Movie X and why it works or doesn’t work.  I wanna know what the critic inside your head says.  And if anybody’s scared by the thought of an animated Jon Lovitz in the back of your head, well, so much the better. 


~ by Sean on June 14, 2008.

6 Responses to “Horror Movies–Whattaya WANT?”

  1. I don’t want my intelligence insulted and I don’t want a movie where the studio thought that 55 minutes of state of the art CGI was an acceptable substitute for a plot. That’s about it.

    It’s easier saying that than compiling a list of what I “want” from a movie since what I’d tell you I wanted from one movie might seem to contradict what I might tell you that I wanted from another film. Everything I loved about the original haunting is absent from the original Dawn of the Dead that I love as much. Everything that I love in that is absent from the remake of Dawn of the Dead that I also love. Almost everything that I loved in those films isn’t applicable when discussing my much loved JC’s Vampires. And, well, then there’s my goofy fave, Lair of the White Worm…

    And I won’t even begin to discuss 28 Days Later… Philistine.

    If the people doing the film do it well then you have something that affects the viewer in the way that they were meant to be. If you have Uwe Boll doing a film, nothing can save it.

  2. All right, line in the sand time, Weeks I felt was structured better and had more of a story to it. Philistine, indeed!

    JC’s Vampires…ah, the memories, Stace and I saw that the night before we moved in together. Even the stereotypical things in there WORK. Why? Carpenter’s style? Caan’s cool? I don’t know. CGI has it’s place, but unless it’s the Matrix, or Independence Day, it should be subtle. You shouldn’t think first”There’s the coolest effects sequence ever!” You SHOULD be so wrapped up in the story that you don’t get out of it. That’s one of the reason the first Blair Witch worked for me. Subtle, not showing anything TOO much, leaving it up to your imagination. To paraphrase Ian Malcolm, the special effects crews are so worried about whether or not they could, they didn’t worry about whether or not they SHOULD.

    So, you don’t wanna be Bolled over, Jerry?

  3. “Even the stereotypical things in there WORK. Why? Carpenter’s style?”

    Yeah, I think that was it. He did a vampire western and the thing just worked on so many levels. It’s one of the few movies where I didn’t like the book better.

    “That’s one of the reason the first Blair Witch worked for me.”

    I agree. That film is so much better than a lot of people say it is. It almost seems like people slag on it just because it’s somehow become cool to do so.

    “So, you don’t wanna be Bolled over, Jerry?”

    Make me see his films and I may have to go postal.

  4. Just a short list.


  5. I like horror movies where very little is explained. It’s the reactions of the characters to the situation that is interesting, not how the situation got that way. Who cares whate the CLOVERFIELD monster was or how he got there? Why are the dead rising in NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD? WHo cares? Will knowing in any way mitigate the fact that something is chewing on your throat?

    What I WANT is better characters. I want to care whether or not character A lives or dies. I always point out BATTLE ROYALE–40, count ’em, 40 kids get offed and damned if you don’t care about most of them, even some of the ones who have all of 30 seconds of actual screen time.

  6. See, that’s where I am with the one movie. I know how the Darks scare the pants off you. I know how the Lights scare the pants off you. I don’t know that I want to let YOU know, though.

    Characters that you care about, THAT’s the real trick to write.

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