20080329

horror films

My insomnia has returned, so I've started watching some of the horror films my roommate has laying around. At first I enjoyed the mindless entertainment, the bad camera angles and hackneyed writing. Late at night, alone in my room with just the glow of my laptop's screen showing brief shots of some monster that was no doubt very scary in the designer's mind, I could pass out. In the morning I would read the Wikipedia article about the movie to see which characters died.

One evening I actually paid attention to the movie and I started thinking how tragic it really was. These characters died completely senseless deaths--they were in movies but it wasn't cinematic. It had no emotional impact. It was expected. It was meaningless. I started to write obituaries for the characters that died in the movies. I mourned their passing. I made sure that they were remembered, that their deaths were not in vain.

I thought of a character I had created for a zombie apocalypse story. She was this pathetic and desperate character who felt trapped in her small-town life and was perpetually unhappy. I thought about how, if I ever wrote that story, I probably wouldn't have the heart to kill her because she is so beautiful and sad and lonely. I decided that if the zombies did kill her, it would be a sad moment. The characters in horror films and zombie apocalypse stories need to be real people. They need to have their own hopes and fears and when they die it needs to be the tragedy that it really is.

I don't think people are ready for that. They watch horror films so they can feel that cheap cinematic terror. It's already halfway there. Pity and fear, right? They're tragedies, every one of them. We just need to mourn for them.

3 comments:

M said...

I think you have something there, Rob.

All I can say is, I agree. Which is why I watch epics instead of horror. Epics actually have a point!

Izvestia said...

Horror films are beautiful precisely because the examine the parts of ourselves we don't always want to examine. I never feel guilty for enjoying any variety of horror, from the cheap shocks of Friday the 13th, to the psychological horror of films like Suspect Zero, or the Cell. But, like you said... I do feel sad, and I think.

It's weird, but horror films are actually a very thought-provoking genre, aren't they?

Rob said...

Utterly fascinating. I don't like them but it's so weird to think about the characters as real people. And about how when I wrote that one character I filled her life with all of this drama that shouldn't have mattered especially after the zombies came. But it did.

It doesn't tell me anything about the human condition but I always wonder.