Stolen Pixels #238: After After Curfew, Pt. 2

Helmutye

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I agree about the horror movies. Especially since so many of them just take the approach of putting things up on the screen that, if an audience member were in the middle of it, would be scary--getting stalked by a mysterious murderer, attacked by zombies/bugs/chainsaw maniac, etc. It seems like most horror movies can't really get past gore as a method of horror.

Generally, I think horror works better as an element of a story, rather than as the main feature. I feel like the biggest problem with pure horror is that it's hard to sustain tension for the hours it takes to watch. People just can't stay scared that long (at least of something up on a screen). Eventually, their bodies relax and they disconnect from the stressful elements playing before them, and they miss out on a lot of the emotion of the rest of the movie. If horror is just an element, you can then move onto to other things in the story, setting them up for future scares down the road.

Pacing is also really important. If a movie pounces on you right out of the gates it can really screw up the progression of things. You don't care if somebody is going through something scary if you haven't invested anything in their character. And if you watch somebody get horribly mangled right out of the gates, it teaches you that life is cheap in this movie, and you might as well not get attached to anyone. Movies can't actually threaten the audience. The only reason they're scary at all is because they're threatening something we care about--the characters. The more we care, the scarier it will be. This is true of games as well as movies--as Shamus wrote in an earlier article, games stop being scary and start being annoying when they actually kill your character. Tension and suspense come from a threat, not a carrying out of that threat. The goriest murder scene in the world, while difficult to watch, is actually a relief when it finally happens because you can stop worrying about it after.

As far as horror movies that do it right, there are few. One of my favorites, though, is the 1978 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Good characters, tons of threatening mystery, a really frightening chase sequence at the end, and the terror of realizing that, no matter how far or fast you run and no matter what you do, you will never be safe. And the ending shot is one of the scariest things I've ever seen in my life!
 

Amarsir

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Jul 7, 2009
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I saw 5 minutes of Shaun of the Dead and it didn't do anything for me. Since I have zero interest in horror movies or comedy movies, I can't imagine why it would, really.
 

Soviet Heavy

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I'd also recommend seeing 28 Days Later. Really gripping story, and one of the few "post zombie" zombie films. Most of them are dead by the time the story kicks off.
 

ThePeaceFrog

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The original Wicker Man is possibly my favourite horror film. Nothing quite beats the musical/existential horror genre :)
 

PrototypeC

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I haaate Shaun of the Dead! If you're wondering, "what'd it do to you? Kill your puppy?", then, in a way, yes. Comedy with horror elements, or horror with comedy elements. Don't start with one and then suddenly become the other, taking my by now beloved characters out one by one so fast I can't even swallow the tonal shift before the pointless, nothing-learned, Shaun and his lady friend are fuckwits, ending!

On the other hand, I hear Zombieland is great. I seriously want to see that.

Of course, the scariest movie I've ever seen wasn't a horror, but a psychological thriller: Jacob's Ladder. Damn good movie, start to finish, with the best cinematography I've ever seen (though I'm no movie buff, so that may not mean much)... I recommend it highly. For pure horror, Session 9, John Carpenter's The Thing and The Shining are amazing too. 1408 is pretty good.
 

CD-R

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I'm guessing it's either Chuck Greene or Frank West from the Dead Rising games. They're the only ones I've seen use traffic cones as weapons.
 

matrix3509

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I love how people think Shaun of the Dead of the dead is a horror movie. Hell, it says clearly what it is right in the movie's tag line, "A romantic comedy, with zombies."
 

AvsJoe

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Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon sits in my top 50 of all time (to put it into perspective, I have seen over 2500 movies). Wait, hang on, I'll check IMDB and give you its exact position.

...

#33!

It sits just beneath Guy Richie's Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and just above Jason Reitman's Thank You For Smoking. I love that film!
 

cptpillowcase

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Sep 8, 2009
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I'd also like to throw my hat in the "dislike Shaun of the Dead" pile. It just wasnt funny. Its like futureama, using slapstick one minute and expecting you to take the situation seriously the next
 

drivel

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Maybe it's not traditionally considered a horror film, but Donnie Darko scared the piss out of me at times.

Also, 28 Days Later is the best zombie movie of all time.
 

samsonguy920

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Maybe it is Gordon Frohman. Jes sayin'
AvsJoe said:
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon sits in my top 50 of all time (to put it into perspective, I have seen over 2500 movies). Wait, hang on, I'll check IMDB and give you its exact position.

...

#33!

It sits just beneath Guy Richie's Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and just above Jason Reitman's Thank You For Smoking. I love that film!
I applaud your taste in motion picture, sir. Thank You For Smoking was really my first exposure to Aaron Eckhart and hilarious as all get out. After that, when I heard he was going to be Harvey Dent in Dark Knight, I knew things were only going to be better for that film.
 

Jsnoopy

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Nov 20, 2008
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"maybe its that briefcase guy that i sometimes see lurking about..."
made me LOL all over myself
 

Maleb

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rembrandtqeinstein said:
Must see movie that is both scary and funny and super fun to watch: Dead Snow

Two words....Nazi Zombies
That movie was predictable as hell, stupid and the acti..... wait. Nazi zombies! Ofcourse its friggin'great! An other "Horror" movie I was also conflicted about: Lesbian Vampire Killers [http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/lesbian_vampire_killers/]. That was so bad on so many levels, but then again: Lesbian Vampires. Pure brainless fun, in the movie and at the movie

Here's a decent horror that gave me a lot of chills (at least the first half of the movie): The Descent [http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/descent/]. That had excellent pacing and a nice setting.