Thursday, 25 April 2013

i don't want shocks, i want psychic violations

 For someone who hates horror, its weird that most of my favourite movies are horror films. As I've stated on our latest podcast, there are too many things that scare you in real life, and also a film that shocks you is not necessarily a horror film. The best horror films balance between being fantastical in their metaphors (zombies! vampires! evil books!) and being believable enough to get stuck in your head and make you scared to go to sleep. As horror actress Barbara Steele calls it, "psychic violations" are the most affecting part of these films. This is a list of the films that stick in my mind and make me more worried about demons than terrorists.

CAT PEOPLE - the 1942 Jacques Tourneur directed film displays no obvious gore, or blood for that matter. Simone Simon plays a Serbian woman who believes she is decendant from a tribe where the women turn into panthers when they are sexually aroused and jealous. The amazing thing is the directing; lonely walks down dark streets put the shit up you, and swimming in dark pools is damn right scary, especially when a large cat is growling at you in the shadows.

SCANNERS - if you listened to the Wednesday Club podcast, you will know my love of Micheal Ironsides incredible head blowing up scene using pure scanning power. The cover of the video was always scared an intreaged me from a young age. Although not the greatest horror film ever, the fact that I once dreamt I was a scanner means it got right in my neurons.

NOSFERATU - yeah its an old silent film from 1922, but from the look of this Germanic Dracula to the creepy shadows that literally violate you, this film scares. I got told off for showing it to my 4 year old neice after she sat there shivering in fright (I'm a bad aunt).

ROSEMARY'S BABY - Roman Polanski's tale of a devil/human baby is a slow burner but sucks you in until you are questioning your sanity. Not until right at the end do you find out the truth, but the questioning of your thoughts is probably the most disturbing part of the film.

PEEPING TOM - a little known film from the director of The Red Shoes, this film basically ruined Micheal Powell's. So disturbing at the time, the film centers of a cameraman who likes to film women as he stabs them with a knife fixed to the bottom of his camera stand. He makes the women look in the mirror as he kills them, so he can obsess over their look of fear. A metaphor for voyeurism and the way we look at things, its maybe more poignant now with 24 hour news and youtube. We cant stop looking at bad things.

What horror films invade your conscience? Let us know in the comments. Layla

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