Undead Nuts from October 30th 2006

on Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I wish I had time to do a good post for Halloween which is one date that I look out for. Unfortunately, I have not been able to do so. instead, I have used unholy science to resurrect a dead and buried nut from 2006. Beware.......it stinks!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Spirits of the Season: Fright or Hide

(Pennywise the Clown from Steven King's "It".)


What thrills you? Gets your adrenaline up, gives you a buzz that lights up our smile and your sense of general well being. In fact it makes you feel like superman. The scientists call it the “fight or flight” response; our bodies are being prepared to fight or to run for our lives. Either way, the adrenaline tones our muscles in anticipation,
our blood rushes oxygen and we feel powerful. For some, they get this high from riding roller coasters and kamikaze rides. Not for me, I just become catatonic – completely rigid, neither capable of fight or flight, not even sound unless you count moans.

However, since it is Halloween, let us consider my other favourite way of getting thrills which is to watch horror movies or read a scary book or listen to a campfire ghost story. I call this the “fright and hide” response. This is where once again the adrenaline courses through the
body, getting the heart beat up and blood rushing but the muscles are not primed to run but to crawl under the blankets and hide. A really powerful invocation of the response is manifested by other symptoms like “tingling in the spine”, “goosebumps” and “chattering teeth”. I love it. I much prefer this than actually risking my life on a roller coaster. Horror stories is just safe entertainment with no real risk of being flung to your deaths from a roller coaster ride. After all, there are no such things as ghosts and monsters………… right? Er, right?

What makes a good horror story? I much prefer good story telling than an over reliance on mutilated bodies. Hence, I discount movies like Halloween and Scream and such slasher movies as body count movies. Most times, a couple of dead bodies can be scarier than a bus load.

Camp fire ghost stories are just great because it makes use of our imaginations which is usually far scarier that special effects. Although, I did not think that the Blair Witch Project was exceptional, it made use of simple things to great effect. Think of the sounds outside the tent, the strange arrangement of twigs, the disappearance of friends. You never see the horror but you get hints of it. Right at the end when you see the man at the corner with his feet not touching the ground; well, you knewthen you had it even though you still did not
see the horror. But you could almost touch it. Or worse, it could touch you. Brrrrr.

Perversion of innocence is another scary tool. This is where you take something sweet and innocent and turn it into evil personified. This worked well in “It.” A clown is turned into a monster with pointed teeth but he still looks like a clown all the way down to his red nose and balloon animals. If you can’t trust a clown,……. Just imagine cuddlying up to Barney and then seeing him transformed into a velociraptor. Now that’s scary. It did not work with “Chucky” because that doll looked like bad news even before he showed his demonic side. Children are also meant to be innocent and that’s why they can be very scary. In “The Ring”, we are actually led to sympathize with the girl, Samara. Oh poor little girl, how she was mistreated by her parents. Later, when we realize that the parents were actually scared of her that we feel the full impact of her evilness. Yikes.

Removing our comfort zones. Some of us have no problems watching movies about
old haunted mansions or about werewolves lose in the Everglades. Why? Because we know that nothing will ever drag us to go to a haunted mansion or camp in the Everglades. It is far away from our comfort zone. Movies on Vampires in Transylvania? No problem since the last I checked, there were no direct flights from the Kingdom of Darkness to our international airport. However, what if the horror came into our house? What if it visits in our dreams even though we are tucked in our own beds? That is the premise that made Nightmare on Elm Street so horrifying (the sequels degenerated to a body count movie). What if hell itself wanted to draw you in through the static of the TV screen as it did in Poltergeist? Yaaaaah!

I think Hollywood horror movies have lost their way of late and have acknowledged that by
copying or reproducing some of the scarier movies from Asia. The Ring, Dark Water and The Grudge are some examples. Even in the case of The Grudge, I would still recommend the Japanese version despite the fact that I am a Sarah Michelle Geller fan.

A few more that I would recommend from Asia include;
a) Shutter (2004; Thailand; The moment the hero finally understands what was happening was truly chilling.)
b) A Tale of Two Sisters (2003, Korean; Is it real or is it imagined the evil that seems to appear?)
c) One Missed Call
(2003, Japanese; Okay, not one of the top ones but I like how they use an everyday item like the handphone to rock us out of our comfort zone).

Happy halloween. Sleep well. Have pleasant dreams and watch out for your teddy bear.


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15 comments:

Janice Thomson said...

The dog and I are hiding under the bed tonight - if he turns out to be more than just a dog I am really in trouble...
However I am going to check out A Tale of Two Sisters

Tai said...

Fun post! I'm a fan of the unseen horror, myself.
My imagination is wicked enough, thanks, I don't need to see pictures.
(I think whatever I could make up would be much worse!)
Be safe!

MedStudentWife said...

heheheheeeee... happy sleeps to you too,LGS.......... Make sure you check the attic !!!

I'm watching "The Grudge", tonight...

Proxima Blue said...

When I was younger my brother forced me to watch "Friday the 13th" they year it came out. He was holding me tightly on his lap and forcing my eyes open. I was so scared, I peed my pants, and consequently, all over his as well.

-P

Michael C said...

I don't really care for scary movies, unless you consider anything that Paris Hilton has been in.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

janice,
Hahaha. Very funny. Reminds me of the ending of the movie, "The Thing" where there are only two people left and they don't know if one of them is infected and could turn into a creature but left stranded in Antartica, they have to be near each other to keep warm while keeping an eye on each other in case one changes. Hahaha. A tale of two sisters is a creepy and disturbing movie. Good viewing.

tai,
Yes, we are both fans of the unseen horror. A little advice, your good friend Kimber seems to know way too much about werewolves. I'm just saying you should be extra careful around halloween. :)

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

medstudentwife,
Watching "The Grudge"? The attic is where it comes from!

proxima,
That counts as cruel and unusual punishment by your brother. My brother did the same thing to me.....he snuck me in (I was underage) to watch The Exorcist at midnite. At least you took revenge by peeing......I was too shocked to think of that.

Michael,
Funny thing was that Paris was in the horror movie, "House of Wax". It was satisfying to see her get killed off.

Gledwood said...

Is Halloween that popular in Malaysia? It isn't, after all really a "Christian" festival... if you know what I mean...

It's not such a big deal here as in America... here we have Bonfire Night on November 5th and that commemorates Guy Fawkes who attempted to blow up the houses of parliament with tonnes of gunpowder getting caught for high treason! But predating that is the same festival of lights possibly as celebrated in India as Divali... the 2 things certainly seem to coincide... we get 2 weeks of fireworks around this time!!

Now then how are you? Sorry I've not been by in too long... I'm (slowly) updating my links... and adding you onto my new Asian section... (they're all being listed by country now!)

Do drop by.. I don't know if you've even seen my new "avatar" before today...

Gledwood said...

Is Halloween that popular in Malaysia? It isn't, after all really a "Christian" festival... if you know what I mean...

It's not such a big deal here as in America... here we have Bonfire Night on November 5th and that commemorates Guy Fawkes who attempted to blow up the houses of parliament with tonnes of gunpowder getting caught for high treason! But predating that is the same festival of lights possibly as celebrated in India as Divali... the 2 things certainly seem to coincide... we get 2 weeks of fireworks around this time!!

Now then how are you? Sorry I've not been by in too long... I'm (slowly) updating my links... and adding you onto my new Asian section... (they're all being listed by country now!)

Do drop by.. I don't know if you've even seen my new "avatar" before today...

Josie said...

LGS, you know what really gets my adrenaline going is the thought of aliens. I mean, I don't believe in alien abduction, but if there were alien space ships out there circling the earth, and if they had high powered telescopes, they could see right into my living room this very minute as I am typing this. It's not the thought of aliens landing that scares me, but the thought that they might be observing us, like some weird little peeping Toms, from far away.

*shudder*

Marja said...

Great post. I am a wuz. No horror movies for me. No roller coasters for me either. But a good story allah. And campfire story, loved it
Sitting around the fire with the scouts blanket over shoulders. Spooky voice of sroryteller aaarrg

Open Grove Claudia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Open Grove Claudia said...

What excites and horrifies me?? Carbohydrates.

Ice cream? Waffles? White bread? Cake?

I get excited to eat it then horrified at what they do to my body!

Claire said...

Who doesn't love a good scare??
(not big on lots of blood, though)

Gina said...

Ok...I got through that one. Actually an excellent post, analytical and insightful...

For me, it's never actually violence done to a person, actually more disturbing than thrilling, but the build up from the unknown, such as the view of an old house in the woods from a distance and then as you move closer and closer and the camera takes you in through a window. For me, the fear begins in the unknown, the subtlest suggestion of creepiness, the choice of background music and color or sudden movements in the stillness.

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