Monday, March 13, 2006

Scary Old Movie Spoiler and Kind of Newer One Spoiled a Bit, Too

Shortly before bed the other night, I saw the beginning of Scary Movie 3. As my movie-going habits have been sparse at best for the past five years, I probably missed a great number of pop culture references. However, I did recognize the sequence that was taken from The Ring.

I enjoy scary, creepy supernatural movies (though I truly dislike gory, splattery human serial killer ones). So at one point I did actually buy a used VHS copy of The Ring, but I never got to see it because I loaned it to a neighbor and never got it back. I almost never loan out my movies to people specifically because of how often they don't come back.

I have loaned movies out to maybe three people in the past six years, and now that I think of it, only one person has returned those movies. In fact, I think the person to whom I loaned The Ring later denied that they had ever borrowed it! But when there are only three people in so many years, it's kind of hard to forget, you know?

So anyway, the upshot is that I still have never actually seen The Ring. However, I did recognize the imagery from the trailers and so forth when I saw the Scary Movie sequence. However, I wasn't expecting that ghost-thingy to actually come crawling out of the character's TV screen, so I found that image pretty disturbing.

Normally, the one redeeming thing about scary movies is that there is a discrete boundary between me and the events in the film (the screen), which allows me to watch all kinds of scary stuff without taking it too seriously. I think that image of breaking boundaries between reality and fiction got around that defense into my subconscious and freaked me out a bit.

When I awoke in the middle of the night to make a bathroom run (as I always do these days), it was the first thing that popped into my head. I had to peer over the living room balcony as I went past to make sure that nothing was crawling out of the darkened TV screen below. Also, I had to scamper back to the bedroom really fast.

When I squeezed uncomfortably close to my sleepy husband and mentioned that the movie had scared me, he very helpfully pointed out that the TV was turned off and was thus unlikely to produce any frightening creatures. On the other hand, he continued in the same helpful vein, it was much more likely that something would crawl out of the monitor of my computer that I had left on in the office all night. (Ha; I had already considered this. Why else would I have to run past the office so quickly to get back to bed?)

Luckily, morning revealed that apparently nothing had crawled out of anything during the night. Now I am simultaneously interested and completely against watching The Ring, given that just a silly take-off scene of it scared me.

A few weeks ago a friend of mine came over during the day to relieve my cabin fever by watching with me my recent acquisition, the South Korean frightener A Tale of Two Sisters. There aren't too many friends with whom I can watch horror flicks that are also in Korean (subtitled).

To date, it is probably the scariest movie I have ever seen. Even though I didn't understand the plot while it was happening, until the last five minutes or so. I thought at first this was just because my Western-cultured linear-processing mind was not used to the story-telling direction in which Korean horror has evolved.

However, when we watched the interview with the director afterwards, it seemed that quite a few of his Korean critics were confused and unhappy with the non-linearity of the film. Personally, I can't say I was unhappy with it: I just didn't understand what was happening. This did not, however, detract from the scariness one bit. I like a mental challenge in film sometimes.

We spent most of the movie shouting out our theories about what was happening: "I think this means the older sister did this and the younger sister did that!" "Who was that? What was that?" "I think it was the stepmother's imagination of blah blah blah!" "Now I think these two people are actually the same person!" "I think the father did such-and-such, and that's why this is happening!" "That thing must have been the mother's." "I think that person was there out of the blue because she represented so-and-so."

Scariest movie moments (without giving away the plot--heck, it didn't even give away the plot during the film): 1. A scene in which a character awakes in the dark to find that someone or something is in the room. And then down by the foot of the bed, you see only the top of its head moving silently along behind a sofa; 2. The stereotypical "something reaches out from under something and grabs someone"--but done so surprisingly, and done so well, that it was really a shock. (This was the point where our screaming might have disturbed the neighbors, but no police ever arrived.)

Now my dilemma is whether I should watch The Ring, or its supposedly scarier Japanese predecessor Ringu (which purists love above the westernized version, of course), or skip both as being too scary even for me.

1 comment:

Tim said...

I have a huge love of good scary films, and even a slight love of badly done scary movies. However, the Ring didn't wind up scaring me all that much, and honestly, it fell back on a number of old chestnuts that made you feel as if you knew where the film was headed. I also have to add that it lost something in the translation.

If you liked A Tale of Two Sisters you may want to try The Eye as well. You’ll probably like it as well, and I think the sequel just made it to DVD (so there are two you might be able to watch!).

There's also a little Indy film that I rather like, particularly because it was so low budget, called Session 9. It's scary, not too gory, and has a continuously ominous feel to it. Unfortunately, it has David Caruso in it, but if you can get around that, it's an interesting little film.

As soon as I finish the next pass on 99, I'm going to start on my second screenplay, which I've already decided is going to be a horror film. I think it's going to have the same kind of set-up and pacing as Relic, without all the retarded characters.

Now for books, if you like the scary stuff, forget about Stephen King and Robert McCammon, and go straight on over to Whitley Streiber -- specifically Communion. Even though the subject matter is something that most people scoff at (including myself), I do have to admit that his first-person-I-am-going-insane point of view, coupled with numerous transcripts from his therapy sessions, leave you searching the closets before you go to bed.