Horror movies dominate the weekly releases and for good reason. They are without doubt one of the most important genres in the movie industry, can be made on any level of budget, create huge cult followings, and generate enormous media attention – if they are done right. If you can remember back to the furore caused by The Blair Witch Project, long before its release, with its whole ‘is it real?’ or ‘is it a marketing ploy?’ surroundings, then you can begin to understand just how a well made, well marketed, and well executed horror movie can grab the attention of the world, not just your average movie goer. Horror is just like Marmite though – some love it, some hate it – but no matter which camp you fall into you definitely have a place amongst its fans. But what kind of viewer are you, and which movies might just change your mind-set when it comes to the genre as a whole?
Categories are always the best thing to place yourself into, and it’s about time you placed yourself into one of these. Then we can begin to talk about how to change the way you watch them entirely. There is a new way to take in a horror movie, and advances in technology will change the way you experience them entirely, but first let’s find your place within the field of horror.
The Couch Coward
You know who you are. Whether it’s watching through split fingers, under the nearest available cushion, or behind the sofa entirely, you are here for the thrills but don’t really want to be here at all. Normally coerced into watching by a significant other, you are just trying to keep them happy. No amount of hiding behind any item will ever remove the sound of The Babadook from your head though. Our advice is to have your Little House on the Prairie box set ready to ease any palpitations.
Recommended Movies – The House Of The Devil, The Babadook, It Follows
The Tongue in Cheek Viewer
This category is full of those who claim to have seen all the best horror movies and find little joy in a boring old exorcism, or an endless satanic ritual. These movies are designed to be fun, but they still have their scares. Best to enjoy with someone who is a bit uncomfortable with the genre while you laugh at his or her jumpiness. Deep down you are terrified though, and this façade just about helps you to keep face. Hmmm…
Recommended Movies – Cabin In The Woods, Evil Dead 2, Dead Snow, Dale & Tucker Versus Evil
The Lock the Door Twice Watcher
Have you ever been burgled? Do you live in an area that is notorious for being burgled? Are you terrified of being burgled? Then these are not the movies for you. Then again maybe they are. Beat that fear, or become a completely paranoid agoraphobic. Your choice really…
Recommended Movies – You’re Next, We Are What We Are, Funny Games
The Rollercoaster Rider
A slow burning, creaking floor, door slamming, shadow dweller of a movie just doesn’t do it for you guys. This category is for the viewer who has little time for background story, character development, or particularly clever twists and turns. Jump aboard and enjoy.
Recommended Movies – REC (Original Spanish with subtitles) / Quarantine (American remake), The Blair Witch Project, Lake Mungo, Paranormal Activity
The Agnostic Maybe Viewer
Don’t want to be stood in front of your maker with your pants around your ankles come the day of judgement? The good old agnostic, edging their bets on religion, God, and the Devil will find solace in the fact that there was an afterlife after all, but is 99% sure there isn’t. It’s always good to keep your options open, and the movies in this category will help to keep your 1% alive.
Recommended Movies – The Exorcist, The Borderlands (aka: Final Prayer), The Conjuring
The Twisted Thinker
Jumps and scares just not enough for you? Want some plot? A well thought out storyline? Some nice twists and turns? Something with a bit of believability? The twisted thinker knows they are watching a movie, but they also know that these sorts of things are happening around the world on a daily basis, and that is where they find the true horror of life.
Recommended Movies – SAW, Session 9, The Others, Orphan
The Nothing Shocks Me Hard-core Sadist
Seen it all before. Nothing scares me. Nothing disturbs me. The unshakeable, unbreakable, fearless viewer. I thought I belonged to this category, until I watched the movies listed below. A Serbian Film is the only film I’ve had to turn off because I couldn’t watch any longer, and that includes The Last Airbender and Tammy!
Recommended Movies – A Serbian Film, Salo, I Spit on Your Grave
The Give Me Something Real To Watch Documentary Analyst
This category is for the realists, the pragmatists, and for those who just can’t buy into a script that bears no relevance to the real world. The films here will show you what the world has to offer in terms of horror, and they are by far and away the most disturbing films in any of these categories. These will stay with you for a long time to come, and probably won’t ever leave you at all.
Recommended Movies – Dear Zachary, The Act Of Killing, Bowling For Columbine
So what next then? Well, if you’re a hard-core horror fan and you think you’ve seen it all try this approach instead. It’s not for the feint hearted, but it will certainly improve your experience, or perhaps just send you right over the edge…don’t try this if you’re even remotely disturbed by the genre. You have to be this big to go on this ride!
Most horror movies are taken in visually, and the gore splatter peddlers rely on this, but there is a lot more to be had from an all consuming audio visual experience, especially if you isolate yourself with the audio – you’ll be needing a good set of closed-back noise isolating headphones to get the best from this, and a pitch black room of course. Try to make sure you are completely alone and if at all possible keep the room cold – the colder the better. You’re going to want to see your breath.
Remove any chance of distraction, so that means phones off, iPad’s off, housemates out, and doors definitely locked. You can increase the terror factor by leaving the doors wide open if you can stomach it, but don’t be alarmed if you accidentally knee jerk wrestle your mother-in-law to the floor if she pays an impromptu surprise visit to you late on a Friday night! That may not go down too well with any future wedding plans though, so if you’re going to play it safe lock those doors. No drinks, no food, no half-time fag break, just complete isolation. Pick any of the films from the categories listed above and let’s see how far you get, we recommend House of the Dead to start with, which is possibly the scariest horror movie, that isn’t an actual horror movie, we’ve ever seen. It just may change your outlook on horror completely. In fact we can almost guarantee it will! Have fun, and sleep well…