#BlogFlash1031 Halloween: ‘Spooky’
I watched horror films from a young age. For some reason my mother had no issue with renting scary horror flicks for my brother and I. They kept us quiet so maybe her reasoning was quite sound. Growing up I found many films spooky. An American Werewolf In London with that opening attack on the moors and that poor guy taken out in the subway; Alien with the infamous chest bursting scene or Tom Skerritt being ambushed in the air vents; and Halloween where Michael Myers is standing in the washing line watching Jamie Lee Curtis or simply refusing to stay down despite knitting needles, coat hangers and knives shoved in him. Mentioning washing lines has also brought up memories of Stephen King’s It with the happy clown amongst the laundry blowing in the breeze, then he disappears, then he pops up again looking menacing. Yikes!
These days Hollywood has lost the ability to frighten me. The likes of The Blair Witch Project and the Paranormal Activity films just don’t cut it in my opinion. When I was younger gory moments were enough to frighten me but they have no impact now. For a film to truly get under my skin and bathe my bones in ice, it needs to be atmospheric and unnerving. Step forward world cinema and in particular East Asian films.
I once had an aversion to films with subtitles. I was under the misconception that I can’t read subtitles and watch a film at the same time. I’m not a world cinema veteran yet but my list of films that were not made in the UK or US is growing steadily every month. I can honestly say the majority of my favourite films of the last decade are from world cinema. Normally you have to dig deep to find the finest gems. You hardly need to scrape the soil aside to stumble upon brilliance with world cinema.
In terms of horror I have seen the likes of The Ring, The Grudge, A Tale of Two Sisters, R-Point, Dark Water, One Missed Call and Shutter. Though some of these films included gore, what was different about them was the atmosphere. Even watching people in everyday life, I felt unnerved and on edge throughout. The sight of a young girl walking home in the rain in Dark Water was eerie to me. The twist at the end of Shutter is one of the best I can recall and that did make me shudder. Somehow East Asian cinema gives me goose bumps and I love it.
For me, the hallmark of something truly spooky is when it leaves you with that uncomfortable feeling; you look around uncertainly, feeling tense, holding your breath, your heart is racing and you don’t feel completely safe. Most modern horror films don’t do those things to me but give me world cinema and you’ll find me glad I have subtitles to read. It’s a nice distraction from what’s on the screen!
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