Friday, August 07, 2009


Emotion: Agitation or disturbance of mind. A vehement or excited mental state.

Quotes from the Rocky Horror Picture Show notwithstanding, emotions can be a real pain in the ass. Today I'd like to talk about fear. As children we all learn that the most obvious way we can exert some manner of control over those around us is to lie in wait until they walk by, and then jump at them with a loud 'BOO!' When they scream, yell, jump, whatever, we giggle like crazed monkeys and wait for the next chance to try again. And when that same trick was pulled on us, some of us liked it. I, however, never liked it. And I still don't. Fear, to some, is like a drug, and they can't get enough. To me it's like a stab in the entrails. Fight or flight is not a pleasant sensation which is why I don't care for roller coasters, most amusement park rides, and most relevant to today's post, scary movies.

I have told you all of my 'imaginary' friends from the Simply Syndicated forums, and of the recent challenge that got me to watch The Godfather. I didn't particularly want to watch The Godfather, but I knew that, at worst, I'd be bored for a couple of hours. It turned out I wasn't, and the result of the challenge was that the lad who challenged me is now as big a Star Trek fan as any I've met, and I didn't want the two hours of my life back, so it was all good. The other day, however, the gauntlet was picked up by another forum member who challenged me to watch El Orfanato(The Orphanage). This is a ghost movie, and a rather scary one. I had heard reviews of the film, and listened to spoilers since I had no intention of ever watching it, so I tried to beg off the challenge. He promised to watch both The Blair Witch Project and The Exorcist if I watched El Orfanato. I countered that I hated Blair Witch, and had no need to further the cause of The Exorcist. He then recontered with 2001 and Planet of the Apes. Now the hook was set. I asked my wife is she wanted to see this film, as she is a fan of the horror genre. "I already have," quoth she, "it's really good." Shit! She was weaned on Freddy Kruger and Jason Voorhees, so if she thought it was good I was doomed to be a gibbering mess by the end credits. "But," she continued, "this movie shouldn't mess with your head." Hmmm, she knows what a wuss I am when it comes to scary movies, and I have heard nothing but rave reviews of El Orfanato, and I know how it ends. Ok, I'll man up and watch the damned thing.

So I sallied forth without so much as a tweet as to my intentions and rented the DVD. It was broad daylight when I started the movie, and might I say it is an excellent film. It is not so much scary as creepy, and I really wish I had watched it without the benefit of knowing the truth about what was going on, as the uncertainty is the main strength of the film, but everything about this movie is beautiful. The sets are gorgeous in their Gothic creepiness, the acting is superb, and the pacing is the perfect slow ramp-up to the horrific conclusion. It is a Spanish film, so if subtitles are a problem you might want to give this one a miss, but if you don't mind reading your movie it is an excellent experience. Plus, armed with my foreknowledge of the story, it didn't scare me...or so I thought.

Later, after the sun went down and my wife went to bed, I found myself in my usual place here at the computer, with very few lights on, listening to a podcast. Then the creepy scenes from the movie, especially the kid with the scarecrow mask, started tickling the back of my brain, and not in a good way. Not too long after that one of the cats decided to knock something over in the COA's bedroom. I managed not to jump too high, or emit any sort of girly scream, but just barely. Then the A/C kicked on, and when that happens the filter is pulled up against the duct with a sound that is not really noticeable when there is activity in the house, but in the quiet of the night, when I am listening to muted voices in my headphones and am already on edge, it is enough to make me want to jump out of my skin. I really don't understand why people like that feeling, but it just makes me angry. I don't like to be scared. Finally I decided the best course of action was to take an Ambien and go to bed. Fortunately such scares rarely attack me in my sleep, and my worst dream last night involved Warner Brothers sending me a cease and desist letter about something I put in a podcast, and today I feel fine. I usually only need twenty-four hours or so for the scare to wear off, but I won't know for sure until tonight.

I think maybe I'll watch Airplane again just to be safe.

Marius the Spooked


Monkey said...

I love scary movies- but I am a super-wuss. Bad combo. I even had bad dreams about squirrels attacking me after seeing Zodiac.

I am dumb.

flurrious said...

Slasher movies don't bother me, but I find them boring. On the other hand, anything evil or supernatural stays with me forever. I still get a little spooked when I think of Sissy Spacek covered in pig blood, telekinetically killing people in Carrie, even though I only saw that movie once in 1977. If I were ever to see The Exorcist, I'd probably have to be hospitalized afterward.

Marius said...

Monkey:Squirrels are evil, nasty, vengeful little fuckers. You are not dumb.

flurrious: Actually I can more readily deal with supernatural scares than 'real' stuff. You will never, ever get me to voluntarily watch a slasher movie, nor something based on a true story. Evil people happen all the time, I don't need to be reminded of that, or see exactly what they are capable of.

celebhith said...

My thoughts exactly! I don't go to see slasher flicks because I believe in crazy people! Mind you, I believe in ghosts, too, but they don't scare me. Crazy people do. Give me a good romantic comedy or an old Hollywood musical any day and I am one happy camper!