In his essay, “Why We Crave Horror,” Stephen King posits that we’re drawn to horror movies because they make us feel normal, essentially. When we compare ourselves to the debauchery of horror movies, we don’t feel so frighteningly different from others. We are not evil spirits or sociopathic serial killers, so we’re doing okay, and we’re not very unlike those around us. King’s theory makes sense; nobody wants to be the victim of “terminal uniqueness” – the state of feeling inherently and vastly different from others. But I think the theory is simplistic; it doesn’t fully embrace the multi-dimensional intrigue of the horror genre. The theory seems to imply that horror fans see themselves as quirky outcasts who crave the feeling of being like others. This is probably partially true. I’m a little strange, and there have been times in my life where I’ve felt both strange and estranged. But I think such a theory – without any supplementary reasoning – lends itself to a sort of “hasty generalization” of horror fans. It assumes that, first, all fans of the genre feel “less than normal,” and second, that they all desire a feeling of normalcy. I think King’s theory explains part of horror’s appeal, but it leaves room for further analysis. Continue reading “The Appeal of Horror”
In the spirit of Halloween, I’ve decided to list and explain my 10 favorite horror movies of all time. I claim no authority with this list; I’m not a film critic. These explanations are only rankings and scribblings by a sincere fan of the genre. Disagree? I’d love to hear about it. Continue reading “A Halloween Horror Top Ten”
Mary Lambert is no Stanley Kubrick. At least, that’s the contrast that comes to mind when pitting the film against another classic: it seems natural to compare two of Stephen King’s terrifying film adaptations, Pet Sematary and The Shining. While Stephen King reportedly didn’t like Kubrick’s adaptation of The Shining, the movie received broad acclaim and has been frequently canonized as a horror film classic. Just as frequently, Pet Sematary is excoriated as a poorly pieced together film with sub-par acting. To an extent, I agree; The Shining is a better film than Pet Sematary. But I don’t mean this as a shot at Pet Sematary. Few directors can compete with Stanley Kubrick. And frankly, while I like the acting in The Shining better, I think Pet Sematary is the scarier movie. Which brings me to my goal in this post: I intend to defend Pet Sematary against its detractors, and obviously the defense will contain massive spoilers. While, true, the acting in the film could be better, the film contains enough darkness and terror to satiate the most jaded horror fan.
Yesterday I watched The Shining for maybe the 20th time in my life. The first time I saw it, I was in middle school, and I was completely mortified when Jack investigated room 237. Twenty years later, I’m still tempted to close my eyes during that scene. (Okay, fine, sometimes I’m not just “tempted.” Sometimes I do close my eyes during that scene). I watched with a pen and notepad in my hand. I was determined to figure out what it was I liked so much about this movie. Four and a half notebook pages later, I have a conglomeration of messily scribbled answers. Suffice it to say, not all of those answers are below. Here are 10 reasons why The Shining is a phenomenal film. Stay tuned for another installment of this project: Continue reading “10 Great Things About The Shining:”