I love scary movies. Not stupid and predictable slasher films. If there’s a chainsaw involved I’ll probably have a hard time suspending disbelief. No, I like psychological thrillers and movies that make you think. If a movie boggles my perspective and makes me feel as though I’m on unfamiliar ground, I’ll get the willies and I love that feeling. I have no idea why. Maybe I am an adrenaline junkie.
It takes intelligence to give me the creeps. Sure, if you jump up and shout boo it will startle me. (Actually it’ll probably irritate me.) But if you manage to make me think, “Whoa. Wait. What?” the hair on the back of my neck will stand straight up.
I think that’s because I derive the majority of my confidence from my intelligence. So when I don’t understand something, or when my worldview is, however temporarily, altered, I become unsettled. And when that happens, for a brief exciting moment I feel as if the very laws of physics can’t be relied upon.
My favorite horror movie is John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness. Its plot requires a huge amount of suspension of disbelief, but once you get past that minor detail it has a depth that most movies of this genre can’t be bothered to plumb. The symbolism alone is so complex that every time I see it I notice something new. (Plus it’s sort of fun to watch Alice Cooper impale someone with a bicycle. That’s something you won’t see every day.)
I just got finished watching an Australian film called Nature’s Grave (called Long Weekend in Australia). Nothing about that film is normal. There’s no hook for you to hang your emotional hat upon. Just as they do in the movie, you feel like you’re going in circles. You think you know where you’re headed, but then you keep coming back to that scary place that you normally try to avoid. It’s never a good idea to piss off Mother Nature.
Now I’ve got the chills, and everything around me seems ever so slightly off. If someone were to knock on the door right now for even the most innocent reason, selling Girl Scout cookies, perhaps, I’d probably jump right out of my skin.
Fair warning, both of the movies mentioned above have been panned by critics. That just reinforces my belief that most critics don’t like to think. It also reinforces my belief that I see the world differently than the average person. Whether that’s good or bad is open to debate.
The question is, why in God’s name do I seek out this sensation? Why do I attempt to acquire creepiness? I think it’s because I enjoy different perspectives. I’d like to open the door one day and see a lime green sky and be forced to figure out its implications. They probably wouldn’t be good, but what a fascinating way to go!
Alice Cooper looking eerily like… Alice Cooper, in Prince of Darkness.