Horror Movies I Wish I Could Watch Again For the First Time…

Posted: June 22, 2013 in Cover Your Eyes, Cover Your Mouth, The Bone Yard
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
One of the viewers (Pierre Mauboche) who becam...

What about that first viewing experience makes horror so attractive? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s been a while since I’ve posted and I intend to write a post telling you all why, but the subject matter is pretty personal and I don’t know if I’m quite ready for it. Therefore, to get back into the swing of things, I decided to write an article on a subject with which I always have fun– horror films.

I’ve been watching a particular horror movie a lot lately– “Sinister,” which I’ve reviewed for this blog (you can find the review in the Cover Your Mouth section of this blog).  I don’t know what it is about this film that turns me into a moth, but I keep battering myself against this piece of brilliantly terrifying art whenever it pops into my mind. In fact, I’ve watched the film so many times, I’m beginning to forget the sensation I experienced on the first view. That sensation– perfect fear– subsided after the first view and now, after about a dozen views, I can hardly recall what about the film scared me so badly in the first place.

“Sinister” is one of my all-time favorite horror movies. It ranks right up there with John Carpenter‘s “The Thing,” Taylor Hackford‘s “The Devil’s Advocate” and Sam Raimi‘s original “Evil Dead.” I miss the feeling I experienced when I first watched “Sinister.” I keep trying to reinvent the original fear with each viewing, to no avail. But it got me thinking about fear and the provocation of it, how we get used to an idea, thought, sound, or image and the wonderful LSD butterflies that flutter within us during an initial fear experience inevitably fade into everyday Monarchs. I think this is why I watch so many horror films– I’m in constant pursuit of those blue and green razor-edged wings that shred me within as I sit frozen on my couch with my eyes glued to my television. I love the trembling I experience when the ground beneath my feet moves, when a movie has challenged all that I know and understand, all that makes me feel safe and certain in my beliefs.

“Sinister” accomplished this for me. “Sinister” moved the earth and effectively altered the very fabric that comprises The Mad Mack. But “Sinister” can accomplish this feat no longer.

In the future, I may focus a post on the process that transforms a movie from life-altering to simply part of our personal background, but that’s a heady topic involving much discussion of psychology and sociology and, once again, far too serious for my current head-space. Therefore, I want to share a list of movies that I wish I could watch again for the first time:

1. “Sinister,” 2012, Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill

Sinister Movie Poster - Image compliments of Wikipedia.org

Sinister Movie Poster – Image compliments of Wikipedia.org

What scared me most about this movie was the score/soundtrack. Derrickson and Cargill used music and sound to a brilliant effect. The sound was deep and percussive and most certainly alien and chilling. The music was jarring and yet fitting, particularly during the violent scenes. While I wrote my review for this film, which is housed in the “Cover your Mouth” section of this blog, I played the movie in the background. More than once during that hour, the sounds I heard made me jerk my head up to look at the TV. The human brain reacts to dissonant sound with much the same visceral discomfort as it would react to an image of violence– the brain recoils and seeks a context for the noise, since understanding tends to set the brain at ease. After a dozen viewings, I have come to expect the sounds and music of “Sinister” and, though I enjoy them, I don’t experience the revulsion I initially did.

2. 30 Days of Night, 2007, David Slade and Steve Niles

image compliments of wikipedia.org

image compliments of wikipedia.org

“30 Days of Night” was a great horror flick that achieved what I call “pervasive terror.” In the case of this film, the fear was inherent to the situation and, therefore, every moment of this film was terrifying to me. Though the movie was well-directed, the writer of the original story receives all the credit I have to offer for the scare-factor. From the outset of the story, we as audience members already know two specific elements of the story– vampires plus a month of sunlessness. That is one veritable recipe for a serious poo-storm. Therefore, as audience members, we understand that there’s a strong element of doom involved, a near-certainty that our protagonists have no real hope. Because of our understanding of the circumstances, we rely on the concept of luck for any real intervention and characters in horror stories are notoriously unlucky. However, through subsequent viewings and becoming more comfortable with the story’s trajectory, that feeling of pervasive terror diminishes and becomes more of a blank concern. Knowing everything will go wrong and then witnessing the truth of that knowledge is only enjoyable the first time around.

3. Ink, 2009, Jamin Winans

Ink Movie Poster - image compliments of Wikipedia.org

Ink Movie Poster – image compliments of Wikipedia.org

Firstly, allow me to disclaim and tell you that I despise “twist endings.” Unless the writer has executed his or her job incredibly well, twist endings frequently resemble dues ex machinas (something from nothing). I personally believe lazy writers pull the twist ending out of their rears when they’ve written themselves into a corner with no believable ending. All that being said, there are writers who put an immense amount of work into constructing the story details to support their endings, but these writers have not executed a “twist ending” in my opinion. Endings, no matter how unexpected, that can be supported through evidence in the story, deserve a better name than “twist ending.” Sadly, there is no term for well-constructed storylines or plots except to say just that.

Therefore, “Ink” possesses a brilliant and solid storyline.

“Ink” is a gem of an indie horror/fantasy flick that I simply can’t recommend highly enough. I’ve yet to review this film for my fellow lovers of Under-Belly, but it’s coming. I’ve watched this movie several times now, typically with other people. I like to watch the viewer reaction to this film. Some folks to whom I’ve showed it figured the ending early in the story (I did not see it coming, not really). But even these folks enjoyed this movie because the story was so solid that what some experienced as a predictable ending was still a perfect ending. However, perfect ending or not, once I experienced the ending, the movie did lose some of its magic.

Alright, I think that’s enough for today. I will continue this project in my next post and give you a few more movies I wish I could experience again for the first time. I hope you enjoyed this little collection and I hope even more that you will participate in my project! Send me a note and tell me which horror and thriller movies you wish you could re-experience for the first time and why. I’m so curious how your brains work! Come on, make me happy– show me a little of your under-bellies– it’ll be fun, I promise!

*I would love to hear from you! Comment or use this contact form to tell me what you love about first horror movie experiences. I plan to write a few of these articles and I would love to include your thoughts next time!

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