Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Scary Movie Scenarios: What scares me

This Halloween season, I was thinking about horror movies in general and I thought it would be interesting to explore what does and doesn't work on me in the genre (and since science fiction is related to this in some way, some of its own horrifying scenarios are included). I have gone through as many of the possibilities as I could think of in horror movies and science fiction to come up with a list of things that do and do not scare me in general in film. Please tell me if you think I've missed or avoided something obvious.

Ghosts in general: Don't really scare me at all. I laughed off Poltergeist and The Amityville Horror as a kid. I can't really think of a movie featuring ghosts that really freaked me out.

Vampires: Bah! I'm not really afraid of vampires either. There are a lot of ways to kill them, a lot of countermeasures and a lot of rules, so they seem like they can be contained.

Zombies: Yeah, these freak me out a bit because of not just their condition and the painful way they kill you, but because of their numbers, the sheer multitude. At the same time, the opening scenes of the original Dawn of the Dead where the cops/SWAT/Special Forces are taking on a building full of zombies is the reason I keep coming back to it, not the later mall scenes because they are so awesome. But this would be high on the list for me as a scary scenario.

Serial Killer: Yep. Freaky, freaky, freaky, especially because you never know who it is going to be. Yes, there are people who are a little weird and methodical with bad social skills, but that basically describes most of the people I consider peers (and myself). And given the number of active ones out there, well, it makes these kinds of scenarios frightening for me, so realism makes this one a winner.

Spree Killers (Human): People snap all the time and hurt people, even those that have nothing to do with them, so this is another one of those things that real life events make this scary as a horror movie staple.

Spree Killer (Immortal): I am talking about people like Jason Vorhees and Michael Myers who are almost impossible to kill. So, the fear generated by the above scenario is made worse by the fact that it is hard to defend oneself against a killer that can't stopped without extraordinary measures.

Alien takeover: Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Check. The Thing. Check. The Faculty. Check. Yes, this certainly works for me as a horror premise. I mean, in that situation, who can you really trust?

Evil/Self-Aware Machines/Computers: Aside from schlock like Maximum Overdrive, I think about movies like The Terminator and War Games where machines going rogue ends up taking humanity to the brink of destruction. What makes this especially scary is humanity's destruction by the machines that serve us is one of those scenarios that futurists say is one of the most likely ones to occur along with the next two entries.

Pandemic disease: This is a society destroyer. Things would be normal at the beginning, but soon the fear of sickness would consume us all. I fear pestilence something fierce, though I do dig the radiation/biohazard suits. The fact that zombie movies also work on many of the same principles doesn't help my fears any.

Nuclear War: I live close to what would be considered a primary target if a nuclear war was to break out, but I live far enough away from the epicenter of such a strike that I would likely die a slow, painful death from radiation poisoning. Or I would become a mutant, which, let's face it, isn't really much better, so yeah, I would be afraid. And I don't think I have what it takes to survive the post-nuclear apocalypse world if I managed to make it into a shelter. After all, I am no Mad Max.

Gigantism: The most scared I've ever been when playing a video game was when I first saw the giant baby in Zombies Ate My Neighbors. I mean, if I suddenly saw some giant ants walking around or a 50 foot woman, I'd be shitting myself, I really would. Even giant bunnies would freak the crap out of me in real life. And don't even get me started about Godzilla.

Mutants: Zombies all over again. I just keep picturing CHUDs everywhere or people that look like the Martian cast of Total Recall. Doesn't really have the same fear factor for me as zombies do though.

Inbred/Isolated/Country Folk: Deliverance, The Hills Have Eyes, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Cabin Fever, The Devil's Rejects, Straw Dogs, The Wicker Man and so many other movies have taught me to be wary of rurality.

Cultists: Yeah... cults are bad. That goes for Satanists too. I am not afraid they have special powers or anything like that... I'd be afraid of them because they are crazy, psychotic freaks. Given this, you can see why I am somewhat hostile to the Scientologists, as they are a pregnant Mia Farrow away from re-enacting Rosemary's Baby. Wait, I forgot about Katie Holmes. Never mind.

Animal Plagues: I am talking about all those movies with killer bees, electrified worms, spiders, rats, ants, deadly snakes in abundance as the main threat. I would be totally freaked in those situations. And the less said about hordes of birds pecking out people's eyes, the better I guess.

Rogue large animal: Generally, I stay away from the places that animals hang out. I don't like the woods, I don't like the water, and aside from a visit to a national park, I stay away from the swamps, so unless a shark, gator or bear was marauding around an urban environment, I feel pretty safe... though if I did see a bear out in the street, I'd be afraid.

Werewolves: Yeah, they can be a little scary, as in their animal form, they do fall under the Rogue Large Animal category.

Aggressive Aliens in general: I am talking the Alien, the Predator and all those other beings from another world who encounter humanity and try to kill us. Yep. I'd be afraid.

Clowns: I am not afraid of clowns. At All. I don't get it at all.

Living Dolls: If a little Polynesian doll with a knife and a mask was trying to kill me, or the Small Soldiers, that would mess me up. And Chucky is pretty freaky too.

The Creature from the Black Lagoon/The Mummy: I'm not messing with them, so they shouldn't be messing with me.

The Leprechaun: I didn't steal his gold... I don't want his gold, and I don't plan on going to either Ireland or Alabama (or the hood for that matter), so I am not afraid.

Interdimensional beings: Yeah, you don't know what an interdimensional being wants to do with you. They could want to eat you, have sex with you, suck out your brain, wear your skin as a suit, torture you for eternity, mimic you... the options are endless really, so I would be very hesitant in dealing with them.

Demonic Possession: Freaky stuff. Don't believe in it, but if I was in the middle of something like The Exorcist, I'd be frightened.

Evil Children: You know, Children of the Corn/Village of the Damned type scenarios. Doesn't really scare me either.


Jeremy Barker said...

You have many fears, my friend. Best not to open your door this Friday - you may not like what has come a callin'.

SamuraiFrog said...

Yeah, I don't really understand the clown fears either. And I like my carnivals and circuses creepy. But being afraid of a clown?

As for rogue large animals, I swear I can't go to the zoo without at least once picturing this scenario where a tiger or leopard or something escapes and is walking around the park. Weird.

MC said...

Jeremy: But I am not afraid of evil kids, so I should be safe.

SF: But didn't something like that happen in your neck of the woods anyway... like a cougar or other large wild cat?

SamuraiFrog said...

There was a tiger attack earlier this year, but that was out on the coast in San Francisco.

Of course, we do get cougars out in my area. Construction is pushing them my way, actually.

MC said...

Yeah, it was the story about a cougar running around a neighborhood in Ill. and getting shot that I remember reading at your blog.