Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The really big question

One can only gaze into the movie monstrosities of fright films for so long before the inevitable queston does dawn upon the intrepid horror movie geek. Why am I watching horror movies, why does gruesome bisections, stabbage and, to be brutally honest, quite frequently laughably translucent plots fascinate me so. Of course, the obvious answer, being "because it's fun," or "because I choose to" if you're in a particularly rebellious geek mood.

When discussing the topic at hand, it does strike me with great impact that there's a lot of people that know far more about the topic than me. Of course, this happens increasingly often, proportionally increasing with my increased internet usage, as the sheer weight of people that know stuff out here is quite crushing. Anyway, I digress.

There's something very alluring with the fright on the silver screen. The combination of overall unsympathetic characters getting sliced away to Valhalla in gory but ultimately satisfying ways, without having to worry about getting red on you, or indeed be in any danger at all. Truly, thanks to a solid fourth wall , there are few things so safe and snug as a horror movie watcher. That is, after you're finished being hysterically afraid for this solid concrete wall #IV suddenly breaking apart, leaivng them at me mercy of chainsaw-wielding maniac cheerleader zombie vampires, who may or may not be the local inbred nutjob, who in turn may or may not be dead and secretly someones father.

With that said, movies that smash through the fourth wall can also be all kinds of awesome and fun, despite scaring the ever-loving crap out of yours truly. Despite how cozy your average screen slasher may be, there's something very revitalizing with these flicks. Not only do they manage to be scary long after the usual horror fanatic has been hardened to the point where most horror movies couldn't scare them unless it leapt out of a nearby shadow in real life, riding on a velociraptor together with Miley Cyrus. To get there in the first place, movies such as these have to reimagine itself without becomming predictably unpredictable.

Why this more primal thrill is fun, well, that's more a simple question about feeling alive. Sure, I may not be the bravest in the bunch after watching a fourth-wall fracturing fearorama, but Cthulhu damn it, the adrenaline shock is a real rush. There's just something about the highly audible heartbeat I identify as my own, the heightened awareness that my forefathers used to not be munched on by the more feral parts of the fauna back in the day. I can't say I long back to the day where art was LSD trips being drawn crudely on rock walls, and romance was a fancy word for "find mate, fuck mate, repeat," but there's undeniably a part of me that, when I'm properly scared, goes "fuck yes, I'm feeling like sabertooth steak tonight."

When chasing for new horror movies, I'm always on the lookout for movies from the latter category, although I'm, in most cases, forced to make do with the former. It is, however, not without its merits. To my observations, watching a horror movie is a very special social setting, not only because there's usually a large crowd that just won't watch horror movies, but also because it's a rather intimate thing to give in to ones primal fears in the presence of others. Especially as this is a side of yourself you hardly come in contact with otherwise. Of course, the occasional panicked grab for something, or someone, to hang on to through the dread, does only enhanche this atmosphere.

In addition, one could muse over the paradox of shielding yourself from the horrors of the real world by drowning yourself in fictional horrors, to which one can shrug and say "meh, it's only a movie after all." I won't go so far that to say that this is the major reason why people watch horror movies, but it certainly doesn't hurt.

In closing, I'd like to stress that I'm in no way an expert. A combination of some guessing, a little movie theory and mountains upon mountains of personal experience and musings hopefully manages to produce something at least faintly

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