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Monday, May 12, 2008

Why We Love Being Scared

Like Clarice Starling from the Silence of the Lambs, I don't really scare easily. In fact, a lot of the films I prefer to watch seem to give people chills. I don't understand it really. In fact, most people who know me would roll their eyes and say "yes, she likes horror films" (with an underlying tone of "what did we do to deserve this?")

I once tried to encourage one of my friends to watch a scary movie with me. I ended up with a sore eardrum and popcorn all over me. Yes, it sounds like a cliche but truth is stranger than fiction. It was a crucial point in the movie. Things were tense. The girl was walking through the darkened hallway and you could sense she was not alone. Suddenly, just as the scary part happened, my cat jumped on my friend's lap, causing her to scream like she was going to die, and sending popcorn all over the living room. Including me. Thus ended my attempts to push my favourite genre on my friends and family. We horror fans all know who we are. We're the ones that get treated like Hannibal Lecter just because we like a good scare. As if we are somehow evil or wrong just because we like to feel adrenaline coursing through us, frozen in time, watching the screen and waiting noiselessly to see what will happen next.

I think the reason we like to be scared is simple, a primal urge to feel something, even fear, to make us feel alive. Not only does it make us feel alive, it makes us feel fantastic to be alive. It makes us feel like survivors, walking out of the wreckage and appreciating the love and happiness in our own existence. I think we watch horror movies for the same reason people like to go on roller coasters, or go bungee-jumping or rock climbing. I think we like to scare the hell out of ourselves once in a while just to say "I'm alive and I'm still here".

I saw some fantastic horror movies this weekend on DVD but it has been a while since I saw a horror movie at the cinema. I saw the trailer for a new horror film called "Frontier(s)". It tells the story of four friends escaping Paris and criminal prosecution. They find a hotel, check in, but all is not what it seems. There is a sense of unsettling panic underlying the trailer. I'm not sure if I want to relate to these characters too closely because I got a glimpse into some of what they will go through. In the trailer, the film was described in this chilling way: "Feels like you're watching a film made by madmen. It's that good." It will be in selected cinemas May 9th and out on DVD on May 13th. The film is unrated (yikes!) and for this to be released in a cinema is an unusual event. Frontier(s) was shown at Horrorfest 2007 and had the distinction of being the only film to be considered "too horrific" for mainstream cinemas. It definitely gruesome and of course not suitable for work. Here it is - check it out if you dare...Trailer

Also, for all things horror check out Bloody Disgusting(s) - an extensive resource with movies, video games, trailers, reviews and interviews.

Sponsored by Frontier(s)


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