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Old November 28th, 2007, 04:05 AM   #1
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Non horrific horror

Does this annoy anyone else?

I'm fed up of watching "supposed" horror films that to be honest are about as scary as ........ I dunno but something really not scary!

I just have real issues with this, definitely a bug bear with me! If I'm watching a horror movie I want to be scared, not just a quick shock now and again, I mean scared. Terrified damn it!

Now having grown up on horror movies thanks to my Dad, I understand I'm probably a little desensitized to it all. So genuinely terrifying me may take a bit of work, but I can still take a movie at face value and almost be able to tell would it scare me if I weren't a horror movie lover, so I'm not looking for the holy grail here.

The reason I'm going off on a rant like this is because myself and a few work colleagues were discussing horror movies earlier and someone actually said this:

"Yeah, Scream was really scary!" THERE WAS NO SARCASM IN THERE VOICE.

I nearly choked on my digestive biscuit. Scream was a comedy wasn't it? (Genuine question)

I know we've had the whole "best horror movie" thread. But I want to ask this, and I'll do it in another thread if nobody minds, what makes a horror movie scary?
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Old November 28th, 2007, 04:35 AM   #2
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What makes a horror movie scary?

Simple question I guess.

In your opinion what makes a movie scary?

Now I've sait it's a simple question I'm having to think to answer it myself. I think for me it's the concept of power and the unknown. Now I understand that human nature dictates, we fear that which we do not understand, but to be fair I don't think that's necessarily true. I think we're more fascinated by things we don't understand. Which in itself maybe the reason people have trouble taking their eyes of the screen during a good horror movie, it's scaring them but at the same time forcing them to keep watching.

I also think that deeper concepts are what make films truly scary. For example "The Exorcist". Now desipte all the continuity errors in the storylines of the sequels, the priests were dealing with a demon/devil, and according to most well known scriptures etc these things are immortal, so right from the begining "How were the priests ever going to win?" I think that's what made this film scary for me, there was this lower level fear of moving the goal posts. In the fact that the antagonist was playing with them. It, as an entity in it's own right, was never in danger, it was simply a malevolant being that wanted to cause others pain. And to me that was scary.

Then look at the Changeling. For me this was a typical haunted house movie with a relatively run of the mill script. However, it had three things that made it scary in my opinion. Fantastic acting and it avoided over the top cliches and the timing was excellent.

Any one else have other ideas?
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Old November 28th, 2007, 09:46 AM   #3
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Hitchcock: "There is no terror in a bang, only in the anticipation of it."

What makes a horror movie truly frightening is the terror of the unknown. If the audience doesn't see the villian, or can't grasp the true extent of the villian's devious capabilities (and knows it!) then the film becomes terrifying.
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Old November 28th, 2007, 09:52 AM   #4
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Good question. Like a lot of things, its pretty subjective. We all bring our own preferences to an entertainment and therefore interpet it our own way.

Supernatural movies do absolutely nothing for me in terms of scariness. I just don't believe in any of that so I'm not able to "suspend my disbelief" enough to get into the concept. Don't get me wrong, you can make a good movie based on these precepts (I loved the Exorcist and the original Poltergeist for instance) but they don't scare me. I really enjoyed Sixth Sense and found it quite moving but again, not scary, cause I just can't swallow the whole ghost thing.

The other popular form of horror movies these days are the slasher/torture/killer things ... these just leave me totally cold. Besides the fact that most of them are just terribly made, they don't work for me cause I can't invest in any of the characters; the villians are just shells with hatchets and the "victims" are simply chattel. I think I'm too old for the "how many naked teenies can we kill in 90 minutes scenerio" anyway.

Suspense works for me; building up to something. In a lot of horror movies there is no suspense cause they seem created from a blueprint, you know what's coming next.

The original In Cold Blood was incredibly suspeneseful ... I don't think it scared me but it definitely affected me. Same with Wait Until Dark with Audrey Hepburn; its a little corny now but it definitely had me on the edge of my seat. The Birds is the only other movie that had me close to pillow biting form; maybe because it was totally unpredictable and because, although it was entirely fantastical, was based on things we could relate to. Silence of the Lambs was another good one; the victim, the girl in the well, could have been developed better but the actress did a good job of building her character and Starling was so well developed we cared about her. The later movies (and books) where Hannibal becomes the main character leaves me cold; how can I care about a cannibal serial killer?

So, there you go, the things that need to be present for something to "scare" me:

Characters that I can invest in; I have to care about somebody to care if they get killed or not.

The movie has to enough of a realistic base I can suspend my disbelief enough to enjoy the story.
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Old November 29th, 2007, 03:40 AM   #5
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Both very valid points.

Victor what do you mean by a base in reality? Do you mean the character should seem like real people, or that the story must be believable in reality?
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Old November 29th, 2007, 05:16 AM   #6
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Dave this is a good question, i'll be following this thread to see what people say.

This is so bizzare ,What you've said about what scares you personally is uncannally like shadow land, if you notice in my thread i said its about a group of guys trying to "survive" the night not "kill" whatever it is, i never told you but whatever is after them is unkillable and its not going to be some snarling drooling beast its going to be calm and collected in the way it kills them and like you i find that concept of power very scary.

Wish i could tell you more cause the story has an interesting concept behind it.

Andy.
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Old November 29th, 2007, 06:56 AM   #7
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Dave this is a good question, i'll be following this thread to see what people say.

This is so bizzare ,What you've said about what scares you personally is uncannally like shadow land, if you notice in my thread i said its about a group of guys trying to "survive" the night not "kill" whatever it is, i never told you but whatever is after them is unkillable and its not going to be some snarling drooling beast its going to be calm and collected in the way it kills them and like you i find that concept of power very scary.

Wish i could tell you more cause the story has an interesting concept behind it.

Andy.
With regards to "Shadow Land" I was wondering what the "bad guy" was going to be. I think what would make it scary for me, would be if the 'creature' was almost omnipotent. So the guns they're carrying are simply comfort blankets and are useless, the idea of being able to kill the bad guy with a well placed round to the swede really takes away any concept of power from the bad guy. I like the idea you've had of making the baddie cool and calm. I find that the whole "animal/beast" antagonist jumping around like a loon more annoying than anything. If the antagonist is that powerful then why waste energy running around like an idiot? Simply stalk the prey and destroy it. Job done.

I really want to see more of Shadow Land! Hurry up! ;-)

Again going back to the Exorcist I thought of something else I really liked about the antagonist. No over the top action, simply an entity that was waiting to observe human reaction to its presence. It never seemed to make the first move almost, (i know it did technically) it was just unashamedly there, and that, to me, showed power. Almost arrogance in the fact it didn't try to hide or kill everyone it came into contact with, because it was never in any danger, but everyone else was. And THAT was scary.

I have trouble wording what I'm trying to say but I think you get what I mean.
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Old November 29th, 2007, 08:03 AM   #8
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"There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it."

-- Alfred Hitchcock
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Old November 29th, 2007, 08:46 AM   #9
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Hey Dave, if your fed up with supposed horror... This might help creep you out.

Remember when you were out with your XL1 and you thought someone was watching you, but you blew it off.
And then as you were walking back, you could swear that that couple was following you?

You were being watched, and they were following you!

And remember when you were looking up info about the Silfra crack,
and you got that chill, like someone was spying on you?

They were watching you!

And guess what... As you are reading this.... Do Not Look Behind You To See Who Is There NOW!
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Old November 29th, 2007, 08:49 AM   #10
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Hope that helped!
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Old November 29th, 2007, 09:19 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David W. Jones View Post
Hey Dave, if your fed up with supposed horror... This might help creep you out.

Remember when you were out with your XL1 and you thought someone was watching you, but you blew it off.
And then as you were walking back, you could swear that that couple was following you?

You were being watched, and they were following you!

And remember when you were looking up info about the Silfra crack,
and you got that chill, like someone was spying on you?

They were watching you!

And guess what... As you are reading this.... Do Not Look Behind You To See Who Is There NOW!
I think that is exactly what I'm after, throw someone off guard and then take advantage of that. Making a shiver run down someones spine! And I think the extent of the terror is simply how long that shiver lasts!

Hmmm much to think about. As I'm sure everyone has guessed my next project is gonna be a short horror movie.

Last edited by Dave Robinson; November 30th, 2007 at 08:03 AM.
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Old November 29th, 2007, 11:37 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Dave Robinson View Post
I really want to see more of Shadow Land! Hurry up! ;-)
Lol at least there's one guy that'll rent if it gets made!

I would consider A straight to dvd release i great triumph. unfortuanately i have to fear the worst that we don't get funding and it gets shelved, which of course won't stop us giving it our full effort.

Andy.
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Old November 29th, 2007, 01:56 PM   #13
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Music and Sound. All the really scary scenes ever made have the anticipation added to with a soundtrack that builds up the suspense.
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Old November 29th, 2007, 02:19 PM   #14
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Dave, by "based in reality" I mean a couple of things:

Sure, the characters need to have some behaviours I can relate to .... feeling creeped out while walking outside in the dark, with nowhere to run to and nowhere to hide, that seems natural and its happened to me when living in the bush. But darn it, when you know a madman is running round your 'hood carving people up ... don't hear the chainsaw in the basement then go running down there!

Mostly, though, I meant that anything supernatural is not to personally scare me cause I have absolutely no belief in that. I may find it interesting, like Exorcist, but it ain't scary. That's a personal thing for me; I can't suspend my disbelief enought with demons/vampires/werewolf/zombies et al. I can be entertained, but not scared.

Thats why I love The Birds so much. This has never happend, birds banding together to pick us off but two things worked: Everytime you see a bunch of birds on a phone line you think "Gee, what if they did?" and second, cause Hitchcock never explained why the birds went nuts, we can never disprove his premise.
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Old November 29th, 2007, 03:44 PM   #15
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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.
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