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Awake In The Dark
What you're watching these days on the Big Screen and the Small Screen.


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Old November 29th, 2007, 04:43 PM   #16
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When the familiar and comfortable becomes dangerous or strange and threatening, that's what gets my attention.
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Old November 29th, 2007, 05:36 PM   #17
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For a good scary movie, check out the original 1963 black-and-white version of The Haunting (not the crappy recent remake). Now THAT'S a movie that can scare the pants off you. There are ZERO special effects shots. You see no ghosts or greebies in the dark. Everything is played out in the viewer's mind. Everything is shot and lit to give a feeling of unease, and it simply builds from there.

On a lighter note, there was a quote from some famous director (can't remember which) who said that the only difference between a comedy and a horror movie was the music. If you think about it, it's really true.

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Old November 30th, 2007, 08:24 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Graham View Post
I agree with you victor, there is nothing more annoying than a character in a horror doing something that you just wouldn't do in that situation. Take the ring for example which is one of the scariest films iv ever seen,i needed a half bottle o whiskey every night for a week after that. Its the idea of it that scared me and again its what Dave was saying about power....i mean how do you deal with a homicidal little kid thats all ready dead and crawls out your telly! you sure as hell don't go down a damn well looking for her.....man if anybody had crawled out my telly i would have packed my s##t and moved to alaska or the antarctic or someplace where there aint a tv within a thousand miles.

Keeping the characters doing what any sane person would do is essential i think, the fact that they're killed doing what you would do in that situation is more scary than some idiot hearing a chainsaw and going to see who's making all that noise.

Andy.
I agree, the Ring is one of the few films I've seen recently that did manage to creep me out. There were certain flaws in the movie but overall it did it's job. I still haven't seen the original yet but I really want to compare the differences. Another film I saw a while back that really did the trick was "The Eye". Very very creepy in places.

Also Andy what you mention is one of the only problems I had when watching the film "The Entity".
Ok so you're at home then an unseen force kicks the hell out of you and your family, so you leg it out to the car.
Ok going well so far, but then!
Oh my god! She decides to go back in the house.............WHAT?!
I'd be half way to Mexico at that point! Still a great horror movie though, you just gotta pretend the protagonist is a bit thick.
I also thought it had one of the best endings ever! "Welcome...." You get the idea.

Anyway.

So far we have this lot:

Anticipation of horror.
Realism in the horror.
Realism in the characters actions and reactions.
Unnerving lighting and camera angles.
Sound effects and score to reinforce the horror.
Take what is mundane and normal and make it abnormal and dangerous.
Remove the protagonists illusion of power and / or give the antagonist power.
Use every trick in the book to throw the viewer off guard, then go for the throat.

On a personal note I also think any horror depicted on screen as opposed to in the viewers head should be brutal. I don't mean gore, I mean it should be unnerving enough that people have trouble looking at the screen. No holds barred kinda stuff, not necessarily graphic violence but there should be no mistaking for the viewer what is happening.

A good example of this, in my opinion, is below:

*WARNING! OLDBOY SPOILER BELOW*

**WARNING**

***SPOILERS FOR OLDBOY***

If you've seen OldBoy you will remember the scene where Oh Dae-Su cuts off his own tongue with the scissors. You don't seem him actually do it in shot but you know exactly what he is doing, and it was horrendous. I honestly had trouble not wincing during that shot.
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Old November 30th, 2007, 03:14 PM   #19
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I saw the Entity when I was about 11 years old. Scared me silly. Saw it again a couple years ago and it wasn't that scary, but still a good movie I thought. As for the whole thing about her going back in the house, remember that the entity followed her around. I thought that was at least better than it being confined to the house, cause it felt like she couldn't get away from it.
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Old November 30th, 2007, 03:26 PM   #20
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Edit: (Hah, everything was already mentioned. I'd better read the complete threads before posting.)

I have watched thousands of films. I like the horror genre and I have probably covered all the classics (about 2800 dvds in my collection for all genres). The only scene I ever found truly scary as an adult was from Ringu, the original version, the coming out of the tv scene. That was scary. Beautiful, slow, nice buildup, horror without a face, excellent. Worth watching the entire boring film just for that scene:)

Some other films of the genre I find annoying or disgusting but nothing is really scary. Filmmakers probably believe disgusting is scary. It's just damaging to the senses and the psyche IMHO. A kid does not have to see robocop getting cut to pieces by shotguns.

Things I find interesting and are sometimes used in the shock/horror genre without very good effects:

Horror that manages to connect with real life objects we have to live with. Simple and effective. Entire genre covers that. A film about a nice little everyday object that becomes the source of horror and looks identical to what you have your living room and especially your bedroom is scary. Teens love that. If you look at your video or tv screen or a mirror and think of a film, that was scary:)

The same in connection to persons this time. A sudden discovery of a transformation of our beloved to something else, will never fail to shock audiences. Body snatchers original version style. Relaxed settings help by providing contrast.

Horror or shock that uses the imagination. But not the keep the monster invisible till the final reel style. If you have watched Henry Portrait Of A Serial Killer, some crime scenes are rebuilt just by using sound while only showing the final consequence of the action. It's extremely powerful. Same thing on Angelopoulos Eternity And A Day, the rape scene of the little girl in the back of the track which is entirely off scene and silent due to the ambience of the city. Seriously powerful directing. It also follows the ideals of classical greek drama in the violence department.

Shock value due to real life depiction of a crime without a theatrical representation. This makes it real in our eyes. Henry, Portrait of a Serial killer also uses that to a great extend. It is powerful because it strips crime from its glorious sophistication and leaves just that, the cruelty. Cruelty that could live next door, not in a cave somewhere is outer space.

Sudden apearance of something. Overused but who didn't find shocking the face in the window while the lead actress is driving her car in the Carnival of Souls? Or the lead actor appearing in and out of a moving car in Dust Devil. Moving cars are beloved by screenwriters. It's supposed to be hard to creep in and out of one while it is moving so it will be shocking. It's beautiful and effective.

Shock with a relaxation period that leads to another shock. Nightmare, wake up scene, everything is ok, turn to the left, nightmare still there, you'd better wake up for real this time:)

The ultimate boogieman does not come with sharp razors for fingers. The best boogieman is IMHO related to the fear of dying and is depicted with great artistry in the 1968 BBC short tv film Whistle And I'll Come To You.

This post is long enough so I'd better stop here.
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Old December 3rd, 2007, 09:39 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by John Papadopoulos View Post
A kid does not have to see robocop getting cut to pieces by shotguns.
I understand your point but in the UK Robocop was an 18. I do agree that gratuitous violence on screen for the sake of violence is not good, but at the same time I think sugar coating violence is even worse.
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Old December 3rd, 2007, 11:14 AM   #22
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I remeber lots of fascinated 10yo in the cinema, so it was probably not that strict in Greece. I don't have a problem with on screen violence, I just don't like it when it does not serve any real purpose in the story. A 47yo cut the hand of an 18yo at the wrist a few days ago somewhere is Greece using a sword. He had already served 10 years in prison for murdering a track driver, so I don't think on screen violence was related. The hand will probably be saved and fully functional but it still needs a lot of work. The 18yo had left his 14yo daugther pregnant and 100y ago the father would probably reach for the shotgun or the priest, are we back to swords now?
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Old December 3rd, 2007, 11:39 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Dave Robinson View Post
I understand your point but in the UK Robocop was an 18. I do agree that gratuitous violence on screen for the sake of violence is not good, but at the same time I think sugar coating violence is even worse.
Is violence nesessary at all to make a good horror movie?
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Old December 3rd, 2007, 01:28 PM   #24
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It is possible to make a good one without violence on screen. But if you eliminate physical violence from the story, there will still be psychological violence or fear of physical violence. You have to base fear on something. You need imminent danger, a dangerous situation ready to burst. It could never burst though and still be a horrifying experience.
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Old December 5th, 2007, 01:11 AM   #25
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The tv scene in the Ring(not the US version which I havent seen) definitely lived up to reputation. I was squirming in my seat literally.

Beyond that, well, I cant think of much recently. The Woman in Black had a scary scene.
Jeepers Creepers had an unnerving start but lost it after you knew what the killer was. Unsolved mysteries can be a good thing.

The Exorcist and Jaws creeped me out when I was 3 and 5. The former doesnt scare me any more, though I might still get a bit nervous around dark water--the fear of the unknown lurking below. The poster for Jaws itself is unnerving.

The Shining creeped me out in parts, especially when she sees the guy in the bear suit--unexpected weirdness can be really creepy-disturbing (the end of Dont Look Now).

But with the right elements even a well worn vampire story can be scary. The 79 Salem's Lot had some scary vampires.
Music definitely helps a lot.

The design of Alien was so ..alien that I find it disturbing.

The premise of the Thing is pretty horrifying.

Anyone remember Night Gallery? Especially the segment with Roddy McDowell and the painting that keeps changing? Creep out.
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Old January 12th, 2008, 01:26 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Josh Laronge View Post
Music and Sound. All the really scary scenes ever made have the anticipation added to with a soundtrack that builds up the suspense.
That's what I wanted to say as well. I think the ambient soundscape plus sound effects and music is even more important than the images. The last movie that really scared me to death was the Blair witch project. The images were mostly like mediocre home video, but the sound and ambience was perfectly professional. And you didn't see much except the protagonists. Just enough to scare you.
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Old April 28th, 2010, 01:49 PM   #27
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old thread but have to mention 'Paranormal Activity' wonderfully terrifying and low budget movie! loved it..
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Old April 28th, 2010, 02:39 PM   #28
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The scariest films don't show anything for as long as possible, the unknown is more scary than the known.
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Old September 24th, 2010, 10:10 AM   #29
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The trick is to understand the nature of Phobia, not Fear (they are different).

Fear is an instinctive internal reaction to something that may cause harm or death. Everybody experiences it, and it is usually JUSTIFIED, thus not REALLY scary (in the deep, disturbing sense)

Phobia is an UNREASONABLE fear of something common place. There is no legitimate justification for a phobia.

The BEST horror films exploit Phobia by taking an unreasonable fear (like fear of the dark - Nyctophobia) and CREATING reason for it.

Thats why Paranormal activity was so effing scary to so many (though not all): It took a VERY common phobia (hypnophobia) and put REASON behind it.

Subterraphobia, the fear of being underground, was exploited BEAUTIFULLY in the Serpent and the Rianbow when the main character was buried alive.


The Descent is another great example of that. They exploited the very common cluastrophobia. It's hard for me to watch that movie, as I can lean on the slightly cluastrophobic side of things.


My advice: Research the most common phobia (Claustrophobia, agoraphobia, aerophobia, Phagophobia, Archophobia, Apocalyptophobia, and Necrophobia) and what it is about them that creates the unresonable fear in people who suffer from them.

Ask yourself "What is it exactly that makes people afraid of small places? What is the experience like?"

Anybody who suffers from cluastrophobia can probably describe to you the intense clenching of the stomach, the warm wash of nervousness over the face, the cold sweaty plams, and the nervous kinetic enegery built up in their muscles they experience when they are in a small, dark place.

UNDERSTAND those feelings, and recreate them with camera and sound.
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Old September 26th, 2010, 03:59 PM   #30
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lets be honest basically its long silent pauses with a loud noise after it lol gets em every time

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