When you get frightened, adrenaline is pumped into your blood stream as a reflex. So why the hell do I love finding movies that scare the bajeezus outta me? I’ma blame it on the a-a-adrenaline, I guess.
You know that feeling after you watch a super scary movie and you’re so scared you don’t want to even go to the bathroom cuz of the newly realized probability of ghosts lurking in the darkness outside the bathroom window? Ahhhh I miss that.
I haven’t been able to find a single movie in years that’s given me that feeling. I suspect this is another one on the Reasons Why Growing Up Is Such A Kakki list. A side effect of growing up I guess, for most people, is skepticism about things that aren’t tangible completely proven fact (eg. santa, ghosts, god etc.) and a consequent decrease in irrational fears, all inclusive of contemplating ghosts in the bathroomy darkness and the chance that the girl from The Exorcist will sneak up behind you as you look in the mirror. Scary movies just aren’t believable anymore when you grow up and learn that the boogyman’s existence is not, in fact, fact.
Why couldn’t my parents just let me believe ghosts are real the way some parents let their kids believe santa is real! Can somebody please say killjoy!
However, I must admit, that my relationship with reality – as part and parcel of being a creative writer – is not a very stable one, so sometimes, yes, I do get that feeling in the darkness that ‘oh shit there’s a spooky pedo demon hiding in that shady spot next to the closet.’ Of course it may or may not turn out to be the clothes rack when I switch the lights on but this is irrelevant.
So with my imagination’s feet in running shoes, there have been one or two movies that have managed to get me all-
and then all-
That mitten in front of my face is my hand by the way. And no I don’t actually wear mittens, I just suck at drawing fingers. My fingers always come out looking like squiggly little worms. The ones I draw I mean, not my real fingers, that would be weird.
But I digress.
Little boys are not scary. I don’t get these horror movies that feature small ghost boys. The Grudge for example, which was lame in Japanese and intolerable in English (though many people
claimed LIED TO ME prior to watching it that it would be scary, including my brother who is a stupid little girl for thinking this), features a small boy (dead by tragic circumstances of course) with white skin and big eyes who makes this sound before he kills you (or something) which I thought sounded hilarious. If a kid turned up in my room making that noise, I’d just pull him by the collar and kick him out with a ‘don’t gargle your spit, it sounds disgusting and it’s very rude.’ I mean they’re short and they have babyfaces, how can this be scary even?
Haunted houses are not scary either. Neither are literal red-colour demons with tails and horns. Because these just aren’t credible – nobody can make that red-colour demon not look like a man in plastic covering, and the chandelier swaying and objects floating around just fail at being convincing (unless Nicole Kidman’s in the movie, a la The Others) because of the generally lousy actors made to act in haunted-house-movies, who just get all ‘Oh kevin! I can’t live in this house anymore! It’s tearing us apart!’ WELL BOO HOO, LADY.
Immobile people are scary. Like that one scene in Paranormal Activity where she just stands there for hours. Immobile people who are little girls or women in white dresses with long hair are scarier.
Exhibit A, The Ring or its Japanese original Ringu. The Ring 2 scared me somewhat, and one scene in the Ringu was pretty damn creepy. There’s something about damp long hair falling over the face of a dead girl you know?
Clowns are scary. They’re always laughing and they wear too much make up and big shoes. It’s just very suspicious. But for me, scary in real life and not so much in movies like It.
On the top of my list is The Exorcist – I watched it when I was only about 10. Satan possesses girl, girl’s voice is that of an angry black man, green vomit and swear words, based on true story – it’s got all the stuff of a classically successful horror movie. Needless to say, I slept in my parents’ room for a whole week afterwards.
The possessed face of the girl in the movie still freaks me out. I guess it was extra special scary for me because as someone who believes in a religion, I actually did believe in satan too, so it was that much more real. The countless records of so-called ‘demon possessions’ and ‘exorcisms’ across the world add to the effect.
REC 2, a Spanish movie (original of the english Quarantine–which sucks) was pretty scary in one main scene featuring a demon-possessed man. Mostly because he was laughing madly.
Possessed people laughing, man. That is the killer right there.
However today similar demon-possession movies like remakes of The Exorcist and this year’s The Rite just fail at giving audiences anything new (though I felt Anthony Hopkins in the latter channeled a bit of creepyass Hannibal Lecter). Horror-movie/scary-movie makers just aren’t trying hard enough at churning out fresh new plots and special effects. It’s all in the plot. Get a convincing plot and feature a cackling possessed person and you’ve got a box office success.
I’ll end this post with a story.
When my aunt was about 9 years old, she came home to my grandma’s house and sat next to her while my grandma kindled some soup on the fire. ‘What’s for lunch, umma?’ she asked my grandmother in Tamil. Her mother replied, ‘What do you want for lunch?’ without looking away from the stove. Then she heard her 9 year old daughter babble nonsense words to herself. She turned around to tell her off – when she saw her daughter, my aunt, sitting on the floor, her eyes rolling back into their sockets, and her voice deepened into baritone like an adult man’s as she said ‘enakku pachcha erachchi vaynum, umma!’ (I want raw meat). My grandmother was fixed to the spot in horror. Her daughter then started scraping the floor with her nails, and then started scraping her own face, hard, making marks on her skin, repeating ‘pachcha erachchi thaa!’ (give me raw meat!) the masculine voice getting louder and angrier. My grandmother — instead of getting the hell out of that kitchen like I would have done — picked up her child and ran outside, yelling for help; her daughter scratched and clawed and screamed and twisted, as the people in their village carried her off to the local mosque. The priest there recited over her as she lashed out and yelled and swore and spoke unfamiliar words, and allegedly she was exorcised. When she woke up the next morning in her house, scratch marks on her body healing, she couldn’t remember a thing about the previous day.
True story, I shit you not. Ask my grandma.
Oh and the best part, when I tell this story in person, is this – everyone says that I’m a splitting image of my aunt (at this point in the story in real life, I cackle maniacally and such).
LOOK BEHIND YOU IT’S A CLOWN
lol jk. He’s hiding in the bathroom behind the door.
If you’ve watched any scary movies that you think are a must-watch, recommend here please!