Friday, August 2, 2013

(not so) Scary Movies

I've been hearing a lot recently about how scary this one new movie is. Critics are saying it's the scariest movies in years. So scary that people just have to get up and leave the theater out of pure fear. Is it really that scary? I'll be honest... Scary movies aren't really my thing. But it's not because I'm afraid to watch films of this genre. Rather, it's because I just don't typically find them interesting. I'm not going to pay good money to go see a movie that I'm not interested in seeing. But the press it's been receiving got me curious enough to check out the synopsis, trailers, and clips available. All I saw was your run of the mill ghost/possession movie and nothing genuinely frightening.

Since this is being heralded as the scariest movie in years I figured I'd look up what are generally considered they scariest movies of all time. To me, an effective scary movie is one that should leave you afraid to go to sleep that night, looking over your shoulder as you walk to your car, make you jumpy for a day or two, basically leave a lasting effect beyond the cheap jump scares that most horror flicks employ. I did a google search for best-of scary movie lists, and found several lists with varying overlap. I haven't seen plenty on these lists, but I have seen most of the top ones. So in no particular order, here were my reactions to these supposedly scariest of scary movies...

The Shining
This was a good film. The story was interesting enough to keep you engaged, and while there were moments that I suppose some could find 'creepy', it wasn't what i would call a genuinely scary movie.

The Exorcist
This one was at or near the top of most lists. And to tell you the truth, I can't figure out why. It is certainly watchable, but not at all scary.

The Silence of the Lambs
Another very good movie. Enjoyable, and makes you think instead of just sit back and have everything spoon fed to you. But I wouldn't even classify this as a scary movie, so I'm not sure how it ended up an many 'scariest' lists.

Jaws
Really? Yes it has a classic score, and isn't a bad leisure watch, it's certainly not scary. Watching Jaws isn't going to leave me feeling wary. Yet this film somehow ended up ranked scariest on one list. The biggest reaction I get from Jaws, is disdain for the senseless open season on hunting sharks that the movie inspired.

The Ring
I'm not going to pretend to have a full opinion on this one, as I've not seen it all. I saw bits and pieces when my wife was watching it on Netflix once. But what I saw didn't inspire me with fear.

Psycho
Good movie? Yes! So scary I'd worry about taking a shower right after watching it? No, not even close.

The Birds
More Hitchcock magic. Good movie, but not frightening.

Seven
A very good and interesting movie. But no nightmares or sleeping with one eye open.

Poltergeist
Wait... Was that movie supposed to be scary? I actually found the Poltergeist films to be more of a mix of annoyance and boredom than anything else. Certainly not scary in my book.

Drag me to Hell
Busts out laughing... This has to be a joke right? What? It's not... Huh, go figure. Terrible movie, terrible plot, terrible ending, and not at all scary.

Alien
Good movie series, but a stomach ache isn't going to leave me in fear that I'm carrying a chest-buster. And if Alien is on this list, where the hell is Predator?

The Descent
A good and surprisingly interesting film. There were jump scares (which I feel don't count), but I wasn't afraid to go to sleep after watching it.

A Haunted House... FAR better than Paranormal Activity
Paranormal Activity
Hahahahahahahahaha *breathes* hahahahahahaha! Okay, I think I'm done now. I've watched these to see what the big deal was all about. Conclusion? It was so 'scary' that I literally fall asleep watching
them.

The Cell
Good movie, and I can see where people could find it weird. But I didn't find is scary.

The Sixth Sense
A good movie to be sure, but I can't say it was at all scary.

The Blair Witch Project
If any movie should gain local scare points, it should be this one, but it fails miserably. Just as boring as Paranormal Activity.

Saw
Gory and twisted? Sure. It was actually surprisingly watchable, especially the second one. It is an interesting commentary on humanity, but not a film that leaves me fearful.

The Mist
Stephen King is a masterful storyteller, and the Mist was a good movie. There were people that you couldn't wait to get 'killed off', it left you wondering what was going on for most of it, and the ending was very sad. But was it so scary it leaves an impression? No.

Of all these supposedly scary movies, I don't find a genuine scare. But why is that. Is it because I'm just that bad-ass and brave? Definitely not. Just ask my wife... I stress and worry about all kinds of things. The more I think about it, I think I have a reason why movies that bother others, don't scare me. In my opinion, I think it's my skepticism that is the primary factor responsible. I don't believe in ghosts, so ghost movies don't seem to scare me. I'm not religious, so I don't believe in demons. So possession movies don't seem to bother me. The same is true for the many fantastic movie monsters. Vampires, zombies, never before discovered creatures. To me, they're just as make believe as ghosts.


I can guarantee that I'm no fun to watch these movies with. Lets just say that I have a habit of pointing out flaws and scientific errors, which I'm sure help to ruin the experience further.
So I suppose that my over rationalizing mind, coupled with my skepticism leaves me aware that it's all just a story of fiction, thus nothing to be afraid of. That's my guess anyway. Sometimes I notice things like this. Random benefits that stem from my disbelief and skepticism. To me, it's a positive thing to find yourself not genuinely afraid of the imaginary. There are actual things to be afraid of in this world. And if we can live our lives free of the shackles of imaginary fear, we can focus on those real problems and try to solve them free of distraction.

-Brain Hulk

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