CLICK HERE for a little bonus content prepared in order to promote the Skin Crawling Comics IndieGoGo campaign. In Part I of this two part panel discussion, Rachel Pandich, Carl Boehmn, Gerald Rathkolb and I discuss horror movies. Part II can be found HERE at the InfoZombie podcast, and it features a discussion of horror comics. Enjoy!
I think even more important than the ability to make an audience feel dread in a horror movie is the ability to make an audience feel calm or at ease in a horror movie. They normally walk into a theater knowing that the film is supposed to be scary; so the challenge is in making them comfortable enough with the characters and the setting that they are genuinely upset when something is out of place.
Excellent point, Dreg.
Horror movies have never really scared me. Even when I was a little kid. I think it is because I don’t believe in the supernatural, so even when the great horror movies like The Thing or Alien get me all caught up in the suspense, I don’t take the scary home with me.
The exception is The Blair Witch Project. I don’t believe in witches, but I have been lost in the woods. Knowing that you are just a few miles from safety, feeling totally alone, yet seeing airliners fly overhead; that if you could just walk in a straight line for a few hours and you will find a road, but realizing you have been circling back on yourself; the idea that you could die the way a caveman died, even though you live in a world of technology… terrifying.
I also find that the lower the budget, the scarier the movie tends to be. Maybe it’s because it gives the film a more documentary feel.
The Legend of Boggy Creek got me good, because for all of it’s short-comings, it felt real.
Interesting point that Solid Muldoon brought up. The supernatural is usually only supposed to scare you on a surface level while The Thing and Alien are beyond their sci-fi/horror trappings metaphorical or explorations on entirely different fears than aliens, monsters and so on. Instead it is about the other, the unknown and not quite human, considering both these examples touch upon body anxieties and distrust. Living in inhuman and uncharted environments, in a universe that might be indifferent to you and still on a surface level wants to infest and alter your physical being. On a deeper level especially The Thing is about “cabin fever” and not trusting your fellow man and Alien has forced reproduction and birth trauma at its core. The great example about how Solid Muldoon could relate to the fears in Blair Witch shows how Michael fear is dependent on what buttons they push and if it is possible to relate to the fears in the form they’re presented. Too much of a creature feature with obvious settings on the surface might not make someone like Solid Muldoon bring the fear back home. In his book, Danse Macabre, Stephen King was doing a good job of explaining how fear could work on a reader or viewer. His conclusion is about the sociological state one comes from and what is seen as normal, the abnormal becomes, in comedy its humorous and in horror ir becomes frightening. In short, if one can relate to the characters and their motivations, as being similar to one’s own and they’re living in a place under circumstances that are relatable, it will be easier to be frigthened by whatever goes wrong. Or on a more basic level some things mostly works like darkness, exposure and not being in control. Basicly horror is almost always about the loss of control, or the loss of the imaginary control that one has built it’s projections on the world around itself. It comes down to the old quote, there is nothing to fear but fear itself.