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Post 0

Monday, August 17, 2009 - 4:17pmSanction this postReply
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John Carpenter's The Thing

The Orphanage




Post 1

Monday, August 17, 2009 - 4:39pmSanction this postReply
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I suppose horror is being used rather loosely as two of these titles I might have called comedy (dark comedy if you must).

Rosemary's Baby has been one of my favorites for a while. From the list, I'd choose Alien. Dr. Strangelove would be a favorite on another list of mine, but not horror.
(Edited by Doug Fischer on 8/17, 4:42pm)




Post 2

Monday, August 17, 2009 - 6:00pmSanction this postReply
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"The Thing" is pretty solid as a horror flick. "Event Horizon" is pretty freaky as well. It contains the 7 most disturbing seconds I think I've seen in film.

Then again, there's always "More" on demotivators.com.




Post 3

Tuesday, August 18, 2009 - 3:38amSanction this postReply
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Hi Ryan,

I enjoyed Event Horizon up until the last 15 minutes or so. What were the 7 seconds you were talking about? That movie was full of them :-)

E.




Post 4

Tuesday, August 18, 2009 - 3:57amSanction this postReply
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I'm not a fan of the "good doesn't prevail" ending, outside of lovecraft. The scene where they hack the computer and get the video of the crew after they jump into the other dimension was really chilling to me.



Post 5

Tuesday, August 18, 2009 - 5:58amSanction this postReply
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Event Horizon also disturbed me greatly when I first saw it. 

I remember the song playing during the ending credits was Prodigy's "Funky Sh*t".  I think the main lyric in that song, "Oh, my God, that's some funky sh*t!", sums up that movie quite well for me.

Liberate tutame ex infernis! (Save yourself from hell!)
 
As far as the list provided, I would say my favorite was The Shining.




Post 6

Tuesday, August 18, 2009 - 7:06amSanction this postReply
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I would say that none of the first three really count as horror movies, but I still rank "Arsenic and Old Lace" as some of the most pure (albeit dark) fun ever put on screen.



Post 7

Tuesday, August 18, 2009 - 7:07amSanction this postReply
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My favorites are "Jeepers Creepers" (the first one) and Steven Spielberg's "Duel", Spielberg's first feature film (1971).

Jeepers Creepers, the 2001 horror film, was written and directed by Victor Salva. The movie takes its name from the song "Jeepers Creepers" which is featured in the movie.

The script for "Duel" was adapted by Richard Matheson, the famous science-fiction writer, from his own short story, originally published in Playboy magazine. It was inspired by a real-life experience, in which Matheson was tailgated by a trucker on his way home from a golfing match with writer friend Jerry Sohl, on the same day as the Kennedy assassination. The short story was given to Spielberg by his secretary, who reportedly read the magazine for the stories.




Post 8

Tuesday, August 18, 2009 - 7:31amSanction this postReply
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"Jeepers Creepers" was really good right up to until they do the reveal on the antagonist. Just not as scary as not knowing.



Post 9

Tuesday, August 18, 2009 - 10:40amSanction this postReply
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"I suppose horror is being used rather loosely as two of these titles I might have called comedy (dark comedy if you must)."

"I would say that none of the first three really count as horror movies, but I still rank "Arsenic and Old Lace" as some of the most pure (albeit dark) fun ever put on screen."

Okay, then define horror movie and explain why anyone should have a favorite horror movie based upon that definition.





Post 10

Tuesday, August 18, 2009 - 10:51amSanction this postReply
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Re Jeepers Creepers:

Hollywood's Favorite Child Molester
by Michelle Malkin (September 24, 2003)

One of the most popular movies currently playing at the box office, "Jeepers Creepers 2," is a teen horror flick directed by a stomach-turning registered sex offender who was convicted of molesting a 12-year-old-boy he targeted, groomed, seduced, and filmed in pornographic home videos.

Hollyweird strikes again.

The celebrity pervert's name is Victor Salva. The scheming Salva wrote children's books, participated in the Big Brother program, and worked at a San Francisco-area daycare center where he met his prey. He molested the victim, Nathan Winters, from the time the boy was 7.

Salva pleaded guilty in 1988 to five felony counts of child sex abuse; he served a measly 15 months of a pathetic three-year prison sentence. Winters' scars will last a lifetime.

Salva made Winters the star of his first feature film, "Clownhouse," a revolting low-budget movie about three murderous clowns who terrorize three young boys. (The movie won praise at Robert Redford's Sundance Film Festival.) While working on the project, Salva forced Winters to perform oral sex on the "critically acclaimed" director and captured the acts on tape. When police raided Salva's home, they found not only the sex videos of Salva and Winters, but also tapes of naked young men taking showers and a pornographic album of still photos.

...

Consider the wretched plot of "Jeepers Creepers 2": An ancient demon dubbed "the Creeper" preys on teenage basketball players trapped in a broken-down bus on a rural highway. Convicted child molester Salva's camera lingers on the shirtless torsos of the boys, alive and dead. The boys, all buff and beautiful in that pedophilic Calvin Klein/Abercrombie and Fitch kind of way, sunbathe on the bus roof. The lascivious Creeper stalks and harvests his victims, devouring "certain parts of their anatomy while laminating the rest," in the words of one movie critic. This orgy of bare skin and blood splatter, the sophisticated artistes lecture us, is convicted child molester Salva's redeeming contribution to society.

...

Hollywood's greedy ghouls think otherwise. "Jeepers Creepers 2" has grossed nearly $40 million so far and remains in the top 10. Francis Ford Coppola's co-executive producer, Bobby Rock, glibly told the San Jose Mercury News last week: "The film did very well at the box office -- that's all that matters to us.''

Sick.





Post 11

Tuesday, August 18, 2009 - 11:00amSanction this postReply
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Never saw the second one. Glad I didn't. It's kind of odd that it's described as a success, I remember it as being a total flop.



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Post 12

Tuesday, August 18, 2009 - 4:27pmSanction this postReply
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I've never been able to see the entertainment value in pure terror, gore, and splatter movies. I just don't get it.  I liked Silence of the Lambs, though, and Alien is a top ten favorite of mine. Sci-Fi suspense/action just can't be beat. Same with legendary character heroes, like Ripley.

I wouldn't let my kids watch Freddy Krueger, or those awful "Jason" movies at all.

I watched one "Final Destination" film, and thought it was pointless.




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Post 13

Tuesday, August 18, 2009 - 10:09pmSanction this postReply
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Ted,

The second part of your question may be rather hard to answer.  It's one I've been thinking about since I saw Watchmen.

I think all horrors can be put under the philosophical style of existentialism and nihilism.  A focus is to cause the audience to experience fear.  And the medium is supernatural, monstrous, or at least of the eerily unfamiliar.

This might be enough to make a formal definition, but I think I'll give it more thought.

Given this much, I can't see the orthodox objectivist sanctioning any horror as moral art.

Is that a fair assessment?




Post 14

Tuesday, August 18, 2009 - 10:22pmSanction this postReply
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I think horror in and per se is indefensible. Aliens has an interesting plot and a happy ending. I saw The Shining fifty times on cable when it came out, and enjoyed it for the quirkiness, humor and suspense. I am quite intolerant now as an adult of gore and shock.

Here is one of the best and scariest things I have seen in a long time, in a movie I absolutely love. DO NOT watch it if you haven't seen the film yet.



Here is the full movie Signs if you haven't seen this classic yet:

ttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ll6Iwi8dKhs




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Post 15

Tuesday, August 18, 2009 - 10:40pmSanction this postReply
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Children watch scary things... and they seem almost compelled to do so. My niece, when she was small, was scared by the Wizard of Oz but insisted on watching it again and again. She was always wanting someone to sit with her while she watched.

The horror stories children watch usually have a good ending and one hopes that good character traits were the cause of the good ending. For them, I see it as experiential learning regarding living life when fear is a normal reaction to threat and action is often required in the face of fear.

Adults that are drawn strongly to very scary things are in a different place - they may well be dealing with a subconscious premise of a malevolent universe, or a low sense of efficacy in the area of survival, or a personal 'premonition' of disaster that is some kind of translated generalized anxiety, or a cathartic release of past horrors experienced in reality, or need more intense depictions to stir emotions in deeply repressed people.

The plot structure and theme are somewhat separate from genre of horror as such. Someone who finds themselves drawn to a dark horror story with a tragic ending are in a different psychological space than someone who is drawn to a horror story where the protagonist succeeds in killing the evil creature by virtue of virtues. And as is often the case with the richness possible to movies, there can a delight in the side dishes - humor, intrigue, intelligent dialog, interesting characters, imaginative twists and turns, etc.

Horror stories seem to live at the emotional intersection of our sense of the universe and our sense of our competence to live in it. Our subconscious is genius at creating powerful and subtle symbolic meanings that play across our emotional screens, all the while hiding from us what is being symbolized or why in this dance of unknown premises.
(Edited by Steve Wolfer on 8/18, 10:44pm)

(edit: I added the observation that Ted made in the following post)

(Edited by Steve Wolfer on 8/19, 5:57pm)




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Post 16

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 - 5:36pmSanction this postReply
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Yes, I was scared of the flying monkeys, so I hid behind the couch as I watched. But that is quite a bit different from watching a horror movie.

I suspect that part of the appeal of horror movies is that elicit emotion even from people with horribly mangled emotional psychoepistemologies. There was a poll here asking whether people cried when they read Rand. I suspect that most habitual viewers of horror films would laugh in discomfort at the emotional scenes of a good drama, describing them as "corny." They have scar tissue where their empathic capacity should be. Unable to feel subtle pleasures, like sadomasochists, they seek a stronger stimulus.




Post 17

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 - 6:00pmSanction this postReply
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Ted, I went up and edited my post to include "emotional repression" as a need for more intense depictions - good catch.



Post 18

Thursday, August 20, 2009 - 10:04amSanction this postReply
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I suppose I'd echo Doug's definition of a horror movie as one whose primary purpose is to inspire fear.  It's a bit too loose a definition, since many works that fit into the "suspense", "mystery", "thriller", and even "action" or "drama" categories (as commonly defined) might meet this criterion. 

Is Silence of the Lambs, for instance, a suspense movie, a mystery, a police drama, a psychological thriller, or a horror film?  I'd say the main emotional response it aims for is fear, but of a more thought-provoking nature than that targeted by most flicks typically described as "horror".  Is it fair to pigeonhole it as a horror film?

So my definition of "horror" is almost certainly too inclusive, but I do think it's fair to say that anything it excludes is most likely not what anyone would fairly consider (upon reflection) a work of horror.  I admit that there will still probably be borderline cases.

I don't define Arsenic and Old Lace, The Trouble with Harry, Fargo, or Dr. Strangelove as horror movies, mainly because their chief intent is to provoke not fear, but laughter.  While these films certainly do aim to shock the audience, they're mainly looking to make us see humor in things that are really not funny (i.e. kidnapping, murder, nuclear war).  While this might be horrifying in itself, the scariest thing about it to me is the question as to why I'm laughing so hard at such horrible events. 

So, since my definition of "horror" is far from solid, I would say that the only type of horror movies (or other media) I really enjoy are those that make me laugh (i.e. Army of Darkness) or make me think (i.e. Frankenstein).  I don't care for art that just tries to scare me or gross me out for no good reason.

This is my personal taste, of course.  I'm not going to try to pass it off as an objectivist aesthetic critique.  Regarding horror, as the censorship judge once said regarding pornography, "I can't define it, but I know it when I see it!" (Yes, that is a flagrant lie.)  More accurate to say, "I may not know art, but I know what I like!"




Post 19

Thursday, August 20, 2009 - 4:17pmSanction this postReply
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My idea of a great horror movie is perfectly choreographed, with a breathtaking soundtrack, sharp, crisp, highly defined contrasts, "fill in the blanks" camera cuts, and a morally super satisfying conclusion.



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