Saturday, September 23, 2006

TWQ: What Makes A Scary Movie?

This week, TWQ (The Weekend Question) takesw a look into the essence of a scary movie:

What is it in a movie that can make it scary for you? Quote some movie examples that you remembered well because they left a scary impression on you.

My answers are:

For me, it is not knowing what is going to come next; the movie might be overall quite mild, but the uneasiness in the movie will leave a lasting impression.

The scariest movie I ever saw by far was the recent Japanese movie 'Audition'. It has an air of unease throughout the film, until the psychopathic Japanese girl gets her cheesewire on the paralysed man and says "Kitty, kitty, kitty."

Other scary movies for me are the 1932 movie 'Freaks' and the Hitchcock 'Psycho.'

Now it's over to you...

26 comments:

Catherine said...

I'm not sure what makes a scary movie - though your comments make a lot of sense. The movie that left the biggest impression on me was "The Godfather" - the part where he found the horse's head in the bed, and the part where someone was shot with a machine gun, and the shooting just went on and on long after he was dead. Though I'm not sure if that is scariness, or just revulsion. Michele sent me.

craziequeen said...

The one film that gave me recurring nightmares and resulted in a deep fear of clowns and ventriloquism was 'Magic' (1978)about an evil vent puppet.

To this day, some 20+ yrs later I am still terrified of clowns...

cq

Karen said...

I love your questions, Jean-Luc, but I don't know if I can answer this one. I'm a big chicken and avoid scary movies like the plague!I did see Sixth Sense and thought that was VERY scary and clever. I think it's the music that makes it scary - really!

Michele sent me this morning. Hope you're having a great day!

craziequeen said...

Not a film, but the Japanese game show Endurance gave me screaming nightmares for years. The one where they had to drink milk and one man had milk coming out of his EYES......

I tend to stay away from scary films now - except of course Scream....and Shaun of the Dead...and Dog Soldiers [chuckle]

cq
Michele again...... :-)

Ellee said...

Feeling I am being watched and followed, hearing footsteps behind me, becoming quicker and quicker, falling over, being unable to see the face of the person who is chasing me...

Prego said...

When that nanny hung herself in the original the Omen... now that freaked me out. I guess things that can actually happen scares me more than supernatural special effects crap.

p

Better Safe Than Sorry said...

i don't think the scariest movies i've ever seen have lots of special effects, it's more the feeling you get from a movie that works for me. anything with bette davis scares the crap out of me. my favorite scary movies would include burnt offerings, the others and the sixth sense.

Adam said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Adam said...

Two films come to mind...

It was pretty scary seeing the ending of the original The Wicker Man for the first time (the one with Edward Woodward & Christopher Lee in). I had an idea how it ended, but the way the ending was filmed made it pretty scary, especially to think that those kind of rituals were actually practised. If you've seen the film, you'll know what I mean. If you've not seen the film, I'm not going to spoil the ending for you!


The other film, which I consider to be the most disturbing film I've ever seen, is the 2002 film Ted Bundy, about the serial killer of the same name. In fact, it was so disturbing, that I had to watch a comedy movie after it. What makes the film unsettling to watch is that you're seeing versions of events that actually happened. The film is worth watching if you can handle it, but I wouldn't want to see it a second time.

Florence said...

Not big on scarey movies either, or clowns.

I hope to never see The Baby of Macon by Peter Greenaway again...I understood what he was saying but I just don't want to go there again.

TNChick said...

Suspense.

I *love* scarey movies -but they are truly hard to find. Most movies now that should be scarey, aren't really.

Summer Dawn O'Ciardha said...

It takes a lot to scare me, but I have to say, shock scares work no longer. But its the mental scares for example The Exorcist. The thought of being possessed and unable to control yourself freaks me out. Along those lines, Gothica scares me, knowing you are crazy, but knowing you are sane, still unable to do it.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I am not a fan of scary movies because there is so much in the world that is scary these days..BUT....from the past...
"The Fly"...the very first one....Now it looks kind of silly, except that when we see the little fly with the person-head caught in the Spider Web screeching 'Help Me'....this is really horribly scary and memorable!
PYSHO...of course! For all the reasons we know about. And a film called "EXPERIMENT IN TERROR"...Glenn Ford, Ross Martin...and Oh dear, all of a sudden I cannot think of the actresses name....Anyway...Very Very Scary Movie!
I'm here from Michele today Jean-Luc, and that is a wonderful question!

panthergirl said...

The scariest movies for me of all time are "The Omen" and "The Shining". (I can't even get through the first 1/2 hour of the The Shining. The book scared me so much I just can't even bear it!!!)

Parts of other movies scared me (like The Sixth Sense) but those two are real standouts.

Here via michele!

Professor Xavier said...

I can tell you one thing that adds to the scariness - the lone musical instrument. A piano, like in Jaws, a violin, like in Psycho. That kind of thing. Somehow they just build the suspense. I'm getting the willys just thinking about it.

Merlyn Gabriel said...

for me it's suspense. It drive's me mad. The spookiest films I have seen recently are 'Signs' ( brrr) and 'The Ring' the first one, the American remake. That was also a damned scarey film. Not tons of blood and gore but lots of suspense and weird , quick camera cuts and shots. Imagery that was creepy... and so on...

I don't often watch scarey / suspense films I get too involved and they are too intense...

Friedrich said...

Hi - I'm new here. Love the blog!

had to finally comment because I just watched Freaks last weekend. Amazing movie! things that regularly creep me out in movies: dolls, puppets, mannequins, etc that come to life. there is something crazy disturbing about a thing that looks and talks like a real person, but isn't.

scariest movie for me personally - Cape Fear w/ Robert Mitchum. he is too good of an actor in that role!

November Rain said...

I and friends have spoke about this when Signs came
Blood and gore isnt scary its just gross and lately most films go for gore and bloody sceences and the sceene in Signs we spoke of is the sceene with the dog when you are looking at the wall and can only hear the dog... this was how Hitchcock did his movies he left something open for the audience and viewers

and since my imagination can imagine alot then normally I find myself scared


Alien the original scared me I was young to

Darth Nepharia said...

I've seen all the "scary" movies and always wondered when they were going to get scary. Most are just trying to make a buck on how shocking they can be.

I remember I enjoyed Signs -- that one actually got me to jump -- surprise is always a good element, but find that most movies are rarely able to pull it off.

I did like Alien (but kept wondering when it was going to start) and thoroughly enjoyed Aliens (it was what I call a 'fun' horror flick).

I think the movies that scare the bajeebies out of me are those that are plausisble. The last one I remember doing so was "Silence of the Lambs" because men like Hannibal Lecter are actually walking around out there.

Jana said...

Things that could really happen freak me out. Also, any movie where you can't see the threat. Once I've seen the monster/killer/ghost, it's just not as scary anymore. The Blair Witch Project really scared me. And finally anything where dead people come back to life. I can't stand that.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Great answers so far; the reasons and films you've named are all good ones. Clowns are scary, expecially after seeing 'It'. The old British movie 'Dead of Night' has some creepy parts in it, and the car suddenly crashing in the recent 'Forgotten' made me jump out of my cinema seat!

Dak-Ind said...

i have never been one for scary movies but i am fond of "scary books"... i am a huge fan of dean koontz because his books are not only suspenful, but partially realistic (in that i can, in my mind, imagine the tale really happening)... for instance his novel "midnight" is about a tech company gone mad with power and injecting an entire town with a substance thats supposed to transform them into the next evolution of man, when in reality it devolves them into scary people hunting killers. I live in a state where Intel is the main employer. yeah, i can believe it could happen and that scares me to death.

hello from michele

craziequeen said...

The real secret to a dramatic scary movie has to be the soundtrack, which should complement the script and add to the overall feeling of terror.

cq
Michele sent me - again :-)

Helen Louise said...

I think one thing is the sense of anticipation. There's a great bit in Halloween in which a girl goes to get in her car, discovers it's locked, returns with the keys, opens it and sits down. You just see the realisation dawn that she didn't have to unlock her car to get into it, and you suddenly realise what's coming next...

Something else is the simple unknown. In The Others you don't know what or who the others are, there are mainly noises and odd things happening that gradually get more and more scary.

And I guess the last thing is preying on ordinary fears. I thought Scream was rubbish but the first scene, in which a girl is alone in her house and talking on the phone, only for the stranger on the other end to drop hints that he can see her, was the one thing that actually frightened me.

Star said...

I like movies that end and leave you thinking abiut what might happen next. I also like building anticipation. One of the best scary movies I ever saw was called "April Fool" . It was on cable and I didn't intend to watch it but I did, beginning to end.

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