Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Here We Go

This is my first blog. I know, I know, I'm late on the trend. Children who don't even have complete control over their bodily functions have blogs but I am just starting at the ripe old age of 21. Oh well, better late than never.

So this blog will deal with my love and obsession for movies. I say movies rather than films because I am not a cinema elitist. I have no qualms with film as escapism or silly predictable movies that film snobs love to sneer at. There is no such thing as high art or low art. If it entertains in any way, shape or form then a movie has done its job. If it makes the viewer think as well, that's just a bonus. There is no genre of film that I've found which I don't enjoy. Foreign, musical, horror, art house, romcom, action, bromance, slapstick, drama, period, chick flick, slasher, suspense, etc.; I love 'em all. There is something so magical about that moment when the opening title sequence flashes across the screen. I get a feeling like I'm being made privy to something special. There is no greater hope in the world than that which I feel as a movie starts. I give in to it as far as the creators will allow me. I try to remove myself from my life outside of the movie and let it fill my mind. It's like meditation for me.

Wow. That was sappy.

Sorry, I'll try to keep the gushing to a minimum in the future.

It being two days until Halloween, I figured I'd kick this blog off with something I love to do and read: Top Ten Lists. Of course, this will likely be the umpteenth Horror Movie List made this month, but I think it's fun, so what the heck.

Here it is, Becky's Top Ten Horror Movies

10. House on Haunted Hill (1999)

This movie is just ridiculous. It's a remake of what many consider a classic horror movie and not a very good one at that if the purpose of a horror movie is to frighten but for some reason I love it. It's hilarious, for one thing. Geoffrey Rush as Stephen Price is a riot with nothing but acid-dripping one-liners aimed at his wife, played by Famke Jensen. The movie is just silly campy fun with a bloodbath and creepy atmosphere to boot. My favorite kind of fun.

9. The Omen (1976)

I love the original of this franchise, although the 2006 remake was better than I expected. What makes the original so wonderful is Damien. There's just something about ginger kids. That kid is so eerie looking I nearly peed myself watching the final scene as an entirely too young to be seeing it girl. Is there anything more unsettling than a child who looks like he knows something you don't? It makes me want to get my tubes tied. Another prize scene is when the nanny hangs herself at Damien's birthday party. "It's all for you!"

8. Carrie (1976)

Like 95% percent of the teenage girl bracket, I felt awkward in high school, so the character of Carrie White hit a deep chord in me. I couldn't help but cringe during that uncomfortable shower scene. Watching an anorexic-seeming Sissy Spacek stumble around begging for h
elp as girls laughed and threw tampons at her is not a vision easily forgotten. I was cheering the whole time as she tormented the people who had made her life hell. God I wanted telekinetic powers. The final shocker dream scene at Carrie's grave definitely got me. I jumped about two feet. And what was with the dirty pillows? I have heard a lot of euphemisms for breasts in my time hanging out in the boys club but dirty pillows? Really?

7. The Ring (2002)

I don't care what you think about the whole American versions of Japanese horror thing. This movie scared the pants off of me. The little girl, Samara, freaks the crap out of me. The first time I saw it, I watched half of it through my fingers, clutching onto my friend's arm. It was like no movie I'd ever seen before. Whether you love or hate the Americanized Japanese horror movie trend it did introduce a whole new audience to a different and creative style of film they wouldn't have seen otherwise and The Ring was the first to do that.

6. Seven (1995) and Silence of the Lambs (1991)

These may not be traditional horror movies, more thrillers really but they scared me. There is something so disconcerting about Kevin Spacey's coldness in Seven that makes me shiver and Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter is iconic for a reason. But I think Buffalo Bill is where the true horror lies in this movie. He is so disconnected from his victims that he can't bring himself to think of them as anything other than "it". That sociopathic disconnect is unfathomable and terrifying to me.

5. Saw (2004)

This is a brilliant movie. It's that simple. The second was good but after that the movie lost its soul. The original was gory and disgusting to be sure, but it had a point. From the third one on it was like watching screen tests for the latest effects company. But the original is not
diminished by them. How genius is the character of Jigsaw and his motive for putting people into the situations that he does? You move from confusion to compassion to respect as the story of Jigsaw is unraveled. I'll never forget that ah-ha moment when the doctor and the photographer's story come together. And the soul-crushing sound of that door slamming at the end made me yelp right in the middle of the theater. Can we pause for a moment and consider the doll? Holy shit. I already have a thing about dolls and mannequins and the like (something about things that look human but aren't just get under my skin) and that one nearly killed me. I couldn't even watch the trailers for the longest time. When Jigsaw gets up from where he'd been hiding in the middle of the room the ENTIRE FREAKIN' TIME my mouth was open so wide I looked like a blow-up doll. I love this movie. It's perfect. What more needs to be said?

4. The Shining (1980)

It's such a quiet film for the most part that when that hellfire music comes in it invades your brain and fills you so completely that you feel like it will never end. There is nothing more terrifying than when Wendy discovers what Jack's been working on all this time, nothing but reams and reams of the sentence "All work and no play make Jack a dull boy" written over and over again in different ways and configurations. To realize that the person you're with has been going so insane and for so long is unimaginable to me. That beats the "Here's Johnny!" moment by a long run. There is something so real and so unsettling about the scene when Jack begins verbally tearing Wendy apart that I feel uncomfortable watching her helplessness. This movie is one of both Kubrick's and King's best. It knocks my socks off every time I watch it.

3. Halloween (1978)

I have a real love-hate relationship with this movie. It's a terrific movie but it has terrified me ever since I watched it at the age of seven and had to walk home by myself in the dark. Michael Myers never talks. Ever. It's so unnerving. He's a blank; no face, no voice, no reason, just death.

2. Psycho (1960)

I am a huge Hitchcock fan. I love him through and through. He's up there in my top five favorite directors. I've heard people say that Psycho is the first modern horror movie and it's true. Norman Bates is equal parts ridiculous and creepy making him so realistic it's scary.

1. Nosferatu (1922)

Vampires are kind of my thing. I have all of Anne Rice books, that is until she started getting all religious and dull, multiple versions of Dracula in my collection and am a huge fan of the recent vampirisation of popular culture. Nosferatu is simply the best and creepiest offering of one of my favorite genres. Max Schreck may not have been a vampire as another fun film Shadow of the Vampire suggests, but he certainly captured the feeling of one in Nosferatu. His physicality is so rodent-like that it strips away all of the sexuality and romanticism of Dracula, on which Count Orlock is based, and makes him far more terrifying and seemingly realistic. (Can you have a realistic version of something that isn't real?) Count Orlock is not someone who would seduce a young woman like Bela Lugosi. He is baser than that. He has to take her. That raw animalism is as frightening as a bear attack. F. W. Murnau created an eerie setting and style to his film but it is Schreck which pushes this movie into greatness. I could watch it over and over.

Well there it is. I hope you enjoyed it and maybe even agreed with it a little.
Have a happy Halloween!!

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