Sunday, November 1, 2009

Black Schemes

The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.

-H.P. Lovecraft-

Happy Halloween! One good way to have a scary Halloween is engaging in a horror-movie marathon.

Horror movies are one of the most anticipated genres by nearly all people around the world. This category can pertain to those films concerning supernatural content, cannibalism, queer creatures, extra-terrestrial beings and psychopathic serial killers. There are lots of variations and a wide range of selections of sub-genres can really deliver good scares to the audience. I, also am an enthusiast of horror films, most especially the slasher films or some call it the “body-count” films.

I find those films quite interesting and exciting. Subjects of having psycho killers or unimaginable killing machines or creatures are common here. After I watch even one slasher, most of the scenes from it retain in my mind and I can bring them to my dreams. I believe slashers have the most distinct power among the other sub-genres of horror films to manifest the audience’s mind up to the time they sleep. A movie often possesses potent taglines that bring impact to people to attract and convince them to watch the film itself. After viewing, people recollect, dredge up and engage in conversations about the scenes they remember most with their friends. These films deliver more scare if viewed in the big screen for the sounds can oscillate one’s ears and bring shivers to the scariest moments of the film, together with the large motion picture for supplementary tension.

The decade of 80’s is said to be the rise of popular slashers. Up until now, the influence of this field of horror movies is still at this time. My imagination is way more intense whenever I watch those films. In fact, for more than a hundred pictures I’ve seen, I’ve noticed the common techniques and factors to convey terror and fright to the viewers.

First factors are the sounds. Those deep, creepy and daunting music backgrounds combine with the killing or climax scenes intensifies the emotions causing earsplitting screams. But in some successful slashers, the absence of sounds is also effectual such as in the 2005 British film “The Descent” which is marked for its silent scenes with the monsters surprisingly attacks the girls which I think has brought loud screams to its viewers, based on my experience. Powerful sounds are often coalesced to the killer’s move to slay his victim for dominant jolt.

Settings add chills too. Places with spooky twigs and trunks without any leaves standing on a dark night with a full moon can be common but houses with various high staircases, hiding spots, basements, cabinets and floors and dearth of light are way better. Houses are the common spots for the killer to trap its victim/s and the victim will find her spot to hide.

Costumes etch in people’s minds. Examples are Freddy Krueger’s sharp glove, Michael Myers’ eye-less white mask, Jason’s hockey mask, Ben Willis’ fisherman attire and Chuckie the doll is a “costume” itself. Include their weapons like knives, axes, fireplace sticks, scissors, plastic bags, hooks or mace; killing can be much unforgettable as ever.

The film will not be a film if there won't be any cast and crew. Wes Craven is famous for his talent in directing box-office slashers and horror films such as Scream, Nightmare on Elm Street and The Hills Have Eyes while Stephen King has written numerous books which are adapted into films like the silliest killer ever, Pennywise in I.T. On the other hand, I prefer watching slashers with teenagers as the main injured parties than 30's to 60-year old ones. The phrase "final girl" has been coined to those sole survivors of the slashers being female such as Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) and many others who are often featured in the next sequels of the movie.

Story of course will never be missing. I can remember stories of the killers' past like being a son of pure evil, revenge, psychotic, flip, killer inside the house, urban legends, science-gone-wrong or prank-gone-wrong. Common however these are still quite effective to the films' viewers.

Well, those are just some factors I know that make slashers cool enough to be watched. As I type this post, I'm viewing Halloween (H20): 20 Years Later on one channel for a Halloween night. Gotta end this up or else I'll miss all the slaying action. 'Til next time readers!


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