I’m not going to lie when I say that for the most part, my favorite horror movies are almost all classics. I definitely prefer the classic thriller to the modern ghost story, mostly because most of the horror movies I’ve seen are just repetitions of the same plot. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, hardcore exceptions, but I can’t help but turn towards the older films. I thought as a good way to wrap up my horror movie month that I would display four of my favorite horror films.
For some reason, everyone thinks that this movie is overtly scary. While I would agree it has its moments, I would rather argue that its a layered and complex psychological thriller. This is especially helped by the fact that I watched it three times in three weeks at night when I was twelve. No nightmares came out of it, and I wasn’t deterred from roaming through my house. I enjoy the film’s cinematography, and how the story is structured. It spends most of the time slowly-building the father’s psychological deterioration, before culminating in the quick attempts at murder. The hotel is quickly developed as a source of evil and darkness, something the son, and eventually the father, pick up on. It’s artfully done.
While this is a kid’s movie, I think it certainly belongs on my list of favorites. Coraline centers around a girl who feels like she doesn’t quite belong in her family, who seems to ignore her in favor of work. She discovers a fantasy land that caters to her every desire, but quickly realizes that it’s everything but. It’s creatively designed, providing drastic color differences to contrast the real world from the fake one, making the fake world all the more desirable. The film’s plot, as well, is well-executed; not feeling rushed or too cheesy, but working well in tandem with the plot. Coraline is smart, sassy, and atypical in terms of kid’s characters for it’s time. And on top of that, the villain is actually quite freaky looking. She’s bony, disfigured, spidery, and cruel, and as a kid I was actually quite freaked out by her.
Silence of the Lambs
Now, this is one that I was okay with the first time I saw it, mostly because I didn’t really pay much attention. I was fresh off of reading the book (yes, there is a book), and spent most of my time just comparing the two, rather than just enjoying the film in itself. I saw it again a few days ago, and I have to say I enjoy it much more. It’s not really scary, more just gruesome and anxiety-inducing, tugging on the senses to make the audience feel uncomfortable or worried at just the right points. While I’ll admit it does rely a little too much on the close-up shots, which are used mostly during conversations, it is otherwise an extremely good movie. Each character has their own distinctive personality and characteristics, and all are seemingly well-fleshed out (although I would have preferred they fleshed out the villain just a bit more). The film has earned its spot on my list.
Last but not least, this film is one that I only saw this year. I’ve known about it, but never got around to watching it until I was invited to go to one of the midnight viewings that happen during the fall in my town. I have to say I don’t regret going.
Pan’s Labyrinth is not so much a horror, film. It leans much more towards tragedy. It takes place in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, focusing on the changeling Ofelia trying to find her way back to the land under the hill. The film utilizes the contrast of hot and cool colors, having the realm of the Fae be much warmer in tones than the human world. It also makes an interesting parallel between the dangers of the human world versus the dangers of the land of the Fae, with the dangers of the latter being more conquerable than the former. It blends fantasy with reality to make an incredible comparison between what the innocent child can see versus what the disenchanted adult can see. Each character dynamic is fluid and distinct, leading to a lovely film.