Wednesday, 18 July 2012

# 99 A Not So Scary Movie

I set myself a challenge this week to find the scariest movies I could. I don't mean blood, gore and violence. There will never be anything better than the Aliens trilogy for me in that respect. No, I was looking for psychologically scary. The kind of films that, even as an adult, have you sleeping with the light on. I love to be genuinely scared, for my mind to play tricks on me. That's the only thing that really scares me these days. But it rarely happens and it's getting increasingly hard to find movies which capture my imagination. Perhaps it's me, perhaps it's the movie makers. I'm not sure.

I was impressed by productions like the original 'Amityville Horror' and 'The Blair Witch Project'. Both these films were billed with 'real life stories behind them' hype. Amityville was supposed to be based on a true account and everyone believed that and The Blair Witch Project was cleverly marketed with an online website style build up that gave it an authentic edge and left viewers guessing as to its origins. If a film can convince you that it might actually be true, there's an added edge that potentially can have you scared out of your wits.

The Blair Witch Project played on its documentary style filming 
to convince its viewers it might not be a made up film (source)

'The Others' was a good one for keeping you guessing and 'The Ring' was just plain freaky but it did the trick. But what's out there now to impress? And I wondered whether it was because films just weren't that good anymore, or that we had become so desensitised to violence, fear and out of the ordinary that the movies just didn't cut it anymore.

I do have a soft spot for documentary style films where you don't necessarily see anything leaving your imagination to do most of the work. Blair Witch kind of started it for me, but 'Catfish' is another good one. It's not that scary but it certainly makes you think, and it definitely had an eerie element to it. Both these films went through the 'were they fake' style debates because the filming style was 'POV'.

The stars of 'Catfish' who showed us how vulnerable we are when 
we expose ourselves to social media (source)

'Paranormal Activity' was another one to to use this style although they used the medium of CCTV footage and camcorder style family shooting to give their film a new perspective. It works well because the CCTV action whilst mostly mundane is the stuff you need to watch. Every time you see it you're expecting something to happen, and rarely does it, but you are constantly left on edge expecting something to occur. When it does of course, like the family you find reasons to justify what's happened. Most of the time.....

Paranormal Activity used the medium of home movies and CCTV to create 
a movie. The night time CCTV imagery is a powerful tool

I've tried a number of films this week but none of them have really inspired me despite the recommendations. I'm beginning to think there is something rather warped about me. I am not easily impressed! I've been advised to watch some Japanese horror. Their films are less violent and far more psychological so I'll be giving them a go. Hopefully I'll find what I'm looking for. Watch out for part two of this blog, coming soon.....

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