My favorites types of horror have to be those types. Psychological horror can be highly effective in its execution simply because of the emphasis on characters' perceptions. Dreamlike psychological horror can be absolutely terrifying to me because I tend to have dreams that are often disjointed and highly creepy. One of my favorite psychological horror movies is Jacob's Ladder- a film that can be described as both intelligent and gritty. Definitely made in that crazy and wonderful time in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when everything was as gritty as coarse sandpaper and incredibly heavy-hitting besides. I don't usually see it as a really terrifying movie, but I don't know if horror is always supposed to be absolutely terrifying all of the time.
I tend to avoid revulsion types of horror on this blog and in general. I sometimes will find the mood to rush at revulsion and revel in it, but often I find revulsion repulsive and uninteresting, an easy way to get the audience to squirm and puke up guts, but neither refined nor thought-provoking. The epitome of revulsion for me has always been the novel Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk. It was the novel that gave me reasons to squirm at the ideas of pools. Ugh. Revulsion is the basest and simplest of emotional connections to fictional media. Franchises like the Saw or Hostel series and any given gross blood-ridden exploitation film represents this aspect in movies. These revulsion films tend to be incredibly popular, especially today, driving the lowest common denominator of audiences into theatres to watch some absolutely wonderful gore and blood all over the screen. I really tend to look down at these films seeing them as easy to create, easy to make easy to act in, and safe to produce or direct. There are very few real risks involved in those movies and they definitely, these days, are only produced to sell tickets. Blargh! Slasher films, gore films, and even freakout films like the Paranormal Activity films tend to really follow this trend. It's incredibly disappointing and honestly pretty upsetting.
Revulsion may not garner the same support in other media that it does in film though. While slasher films toe the line between horror and revulsion, and gross-out films know exactly what they're going for, books and video games rarely jump into this category of horror. Reading Johnny the Homicidal Maniac recently I could see, in that comic by Jhonen Vasquez, a mixture of all three categories with a definite focus on the revulsion aspect at times, but with an intelligence and philosophy behind it that really drove it into an intelligent revulsion, something I could certainly find myself really liking. In terms of video games, Silent Hill and Dead Space as series tend to have large amounts of body horror within them, trying to both repulse and sicken the player. These are met with all types of success, of course, but often give off a response of terror in their repulsiveness. Most enemies in both games to me look like pieces of meat at this point basically... and I don't find that in the least bit intimidating, but I can see how some people can get freaked out by those monsters.
House of Leaves. Hell, even the horse jumping off of the ship in The Ring or the vampire problem in 'Salem's Lot counts. Terror is the highest level of horror and easily the most subjective. It often relies on more telling and less showing- basically the "Nothing is Scarier" principle as defined by TVTropes. I keep seeing that this terror is very popular in very small circles. It is gaining in popularity recently, but also very slowly. I'll get into this a little further down.
Well, whether you do believe me or not I have a story to prove my point. A personal story from my personal store of personal stories. I am not simply a weird computer moth creature staring at the screen and typing with my weird wing-fingers. I also like scaring people at night. I was a part of a haunted corn maze group a few years ago. I dressed like a colonial zombie and helped to scare some people. I looked absolutely ridiculous... the Fabio or corn maze zombies with both longer hair and a too large shirt basically exposing me to the elements. Most people inside of that corn maze just found it fun and a good time all around looking at ridiculous monsters while trying to figure out and incredibly easy corn maze, but little children and young women would get absolutely terrified, and I always wondered about it. Children don't know any better. They are young and believe in everything from vampires in their closets to angry mothmen under their beds, but why do young women face the same fears between reality and fiction? Full disclosure: there was also one high school guy who may have been terrified as well, but I couldn't tell if he were serious or not. No one could because nobody expected a decently aged male teenager to be afraid of a corn maze while he was with his friends. My point here isn't some sexist rant or anything either, because... no, I'm not into that... but rather to point out that some people can get so into a fake scene of fear that they can honestly start going hysterical and threatening to urinate their trousers out of pure and unbridled fear from a man who is the Fabio of colonial zombies. I never knew that people would cry from fear by going into a fake scary corn maze with students who had on hastily put together costumes and make-up... but there was that and a lot of it. And you have to wonder about the nature of fear in that circumstance. You have to wonder about what's going through people's head. You have to wonder what causes people to become afraid over things like that.
I live in New England, not too far from Salem, Massachusetts. A few years ago I went into a gimmicky haunted house there. I was probably in my mid-teens at the time.I went in with my younger cousin and we had a good time looking at all the ridiculous costumes. Everybody had a good time and the costumed beings were trying their best to be scary and make people scream. Jump scares can often work for cheap screams, but not for panic... but there was this group of three teenage girls about my age at the time, and the ENTIRE TIME in that haunted house they were screaming their heads off absolutely terrified at costumed beings somewhat reaching out for them sometimes and moaning every once in a while. Yes, there was darkness and monsters... but none of it was real. I didn't actually have to fear for my life. Hell, none of them were even going to touch me. I found most of it funny... enjoyable certainly, but also seriously very amusing. I wonder how a person can seriously find themselves so into a situation they know to be fake. It's something I will never understand.
STUFF and point them out- yes, reviewing them and giving my impressions, but also really broadcasting forgotten or rare gems that should be watched/played/looked at and duds that should be heartily avoided by everybody all the time. I always look at it like this: without this blog I would have never watched two horror movies: Sauna: Wash Your Sins and The Reaping. While The Reaping was a pile of donkey dung and probably one of the biggest wastes of movie time I have ever seen, Sauna was effective and wonderful, being both an absolutely brilliant and terrifying movie in a genre (psychological horror) that I absolutely love. I simply want to share what I love and hate with all of you reading this blog, from the hardcore horror fans to any random dude or gal just surfing and stumbling onto some of my posts. I don't just rely on horror reviews as you might see, but those reviews are the meat and potatoes of what I do on here and they are frankly what I enjoy the most about the whole blogging thing. I can't get enough of looking at some horror and sharing my views in writing to anybody who is willing to read what I put down.
Now, is horror effective and wonderful and just as artistic and important as any other genre? Of course! Even without critical acclaim, horror remains one of the greatest and most lasting genres that exists. The genre usually does not include the super-serious OSCAR MOVIES but who cares about those pieces of crud? I mean, I can still remember Black Swan winning at those MOVIE OSCARS and I found it literally detestable that that movie should win anything but absolutely worst big budget psychological movie ever. I mean, seriously? Anybody who actually likes that movie really should get their cranium checked for leaks because that movie was awful, legitimately and seriously awful. It did not work on any level and attempted to mainstream what was and is essentially niche. It made a genre that when it is good is almost perfect into a big dumb spectacle movie about Natalie Portman needing to get boned for some reason and then having weird issues about said hypothetical boning. And although there were a few decent moments, most of it was just so incredibly shallow, focusing so much more on Natalie Portman's heaving bosom and her fake masturbation than it did on any real substantial SUBSTANCE. And if that's what mainstream horror or thriller or WHATEVER is nowadays then I want absolutely nothing to do with that at all. I'll stick with my obscure and amazing little movies that nobody has ever heard of and that I love completely.
And maybe that is a lesson to me as well: to simply enjoy without worry, without ranting... without... yeah, that's not going to happen, is it? I'm chill with Silent Hill... pretty sure I'm anti-chill with a ton of other things. I love horror. Absolutely adore everything about it. I love the sounds, the looks, the tropes, and the worlds of horror. I've been wanting to discuss horror for a very long time, touching upon what I love and what is brilliant about the genre. I do have 31 days of horror reviews coming up in October, so I guess I really do have a crazy focus on horror. Anyway, I'll probably put out a post about October Night III at the end of September, but expect on October 1 that there will be another insane month of horror reviews. And I'll probably pass from exhaustion... but that's okay! I didn't need to survive this October anyway!