I know...it's been a while...but we don't have to focus on the past! Why should we when it's officially October!
It's my favorite month of the year. I get to dress up and cosplay THE MOST. In my lovely state of Michigan, we take Halloween pretty seriously. There are parties, haunted houses, and all sorts of events going on every day. The weather is perfect for boots and scarves. And, to the joy of my media itch, our screens are flooded with scary content!
I love a good film and I am a self certified horror snob, so I enjoy the rushing wave of creepy fun. New horror movies are released weekly. Classic flicks are on repeat throughout every channel. My favorite childhood Halloween specials are readily available. I enjoy all parts of this glorious month, even the spiritual side (we'll get into that in another blog). However, I know plenty of people who feel the exact opposite. A lot of folks don't "enjoy" being scared, and that's totally understandable. Why would you want to be afraid? Who wants to be paranoid in their daily motions? To be on edge in a home that's supposed to feel safe? Aside from that, there's a very low ratio of good horror movies to bad. All of the good stuff scars you, and all of the bad flicks are just painful to sit through. I had to take a step back and ask myself..."Why DO I dedicate so much time to consuming this stuff?"
Ever since I was a kid, I gravitated towards the spooky stuff. At my youngest, shows like "Tales from the Crypt" would come on and send me running to my room or covering my eyes. But it wouldn't completely deter me. I was always curious...wanting to see what was so scary...wanting to conquer it. At first I would run away, but with the passing years I would return and re-watch everything. Even if it left me paranoid for days and sometimes weeks, I wouldn't regret it.
As I blossomed into my early teens, my tastes became grotesque. The crazier the movie, the better. Inside me was a growing fascination of make-up and special effects, so I studied the movies most people walk out of. Torture porn like 'Hostel', 'Audition', and 'Midnight Meat Train'. Right now, my stomach is hurting from the memory of old scenes, but it has always been something I wanted to create. Producing a movie comes with many integrated art forms. I'm fascinated with the synchronicity that can be achieved with the right equipment and people. But here is where I discovered that ratio I mentioned earlier. There are A LOT of awful horror movies. This can be due to low budgets, terrible writing, relying on cheap scares or pure shock factors. This stage of my life was when I realized I wanted to be a producer and get involved in movies. I believe that I can make an amazing scary movie...but what does that consist of?
I then made it my mission to seek out and recognize great horror. I think a good film would possess the following qualities:
Solid Plot - Most horror plots are centered around a series of bad decisions and misfortune. I can handle a gratuitous amount of stupid choices if the story presents it logically (ie. people making decisions under duress). The unpredictability factor of the story is KEY for a good scare. I also love following a character's experience. Make me love, hate, fear the protagonist.
Makeup/ Special Effects - Gore, ghosts, monsters, all NEED to have an affect on people visually.
Genuine Fear - Movies that rely solely on gore or shock factor are good for other reasons, but not for a genuine scare. I believe when you are truly afraid, it lingers with you long after the screen goes dark. This uses true psychological manipulation...isn't that fun!
But why is it "fun"? If you guys are interested, you should read an essay by Stephen King called "Why Do We Crave Horror?". I think it explains perfectly why all the creeps like me prance gaily in October. If you don't want to read it, that's fine because I'll probably break it down further anyways in another post.
Why do I consume so much horror?.... I want to conquer my fears, "feed my gators", and ultimately
create an experience that you will never forget.
Why do you do it?