Friday, February 27, 2009

Scary Movies: Then and Now, Of Hollywood and Asia, Of Gods and Monsters

“Give them pleasure—the same pleasure they have when they wake up from a nightmare.”

-Alfred Hitchcock, on how to make a good movie.

Okay so my friend Sergei has all these posts dedicated to scary movies from Asia and I just wanted to make a commentary on its relevance to the art of filmmaking.

I believe these Asian films she has mentioned are such a throwback to old school Hollywood thrillers.  Remember? Like from back in the day when Hollywood infused some soul into their suspense movies.

Before Hollywood began making horror movies geared to teenagers, they actually churned out some pretty deep thrillers.  They had monsters who were able to evoke the deepest pits of  the human soul. The fact that they were monsters were just mere masks to entertain the audience and bring them to a heightened sense of reality. Sort of like the way the ancient Greeks used their mythology of Gods and Heroes to tell tales that mirrored the dark side of humanity. Let’s face it, all of us bury a dark side deep inside our beings.

Think about classics as Lon Chaney Jr. in Dracula.  Or James Whale’s delicious interpretation of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein. Think Universal Studios.  Think Vincent Price…

Whether we like it or not (I am one of the people who likes it not), the "horror” movie genre is one of the most effective movies there is.  I mean, you go out to a movie theatre, and you pay an overpriced amount of money. If you go to a comedy, you might get one genuine laugh or two. To a drama, a tear or whole flood. And sometimes you get nothing except a, “I can't believe I just wasted an hour and a half of my life.” Yet the beautiful thing about horror movies is that you always get something.  Whether it’s disgust, a laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation, or just plain old fear..horror movies always deliver something.

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