HORROR MOVIES

St.+Andrew%27s+Student%27s+Favorite+Movie+Genres
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HORROR MOVIES

St. Andrew's Student's Favorite Movie Genres

St. Andrew's Student's Favorite Movie Genres

St. Andrew's Student's Favorite Movie Genres

St. Andrew's Student's Favorite Movie Genres

Jackson Van Meter, Staff Writer

     Imagine playing out on the curb with a little paper boat that your brother made for you when all of a sudden you smash your forehead into a roadblock, because you were so invested in your ship, and the boat floats right into a storm drain leaving you standing on the street in the pouring rain. While looking into the drain for your beloved boat, you suddenly see a clown offering it to you; then, before you know it, the clown’s jaw has unhinged, and its eyes glaze over as it bites your arm off then drags you into the drain. This is the kind of viewing experience many people love in their movies: an experience that terrifies them. Many popular horror movies came out in 2018, from Halloween, Hereditary, A Quiet Place, and The Nun, to the Netflix hit Bird Box. Movie watchers lapped up the new releases and made big turnouts for the films. Why people like movies like this is still somewhat unclear, with many possible reasons out there. Jason Zinoman said in his article, “The Critique of Pure Horror,” for The New York Times that there are many different approaches to explaining the appeal, from historical context and a film’s hidden message to the actual appeal of a fear of death. According to Zinoman, Philosopher Noel Carroll wrote in his book The Philosophy of Horror that the appeal of horror comes from the viewer’s curiosity with the mystery of the monster or whatever causes the horror in the movie. Zinoman also cites critic Morris Dickstein who wrote in his essay, “The Aesthetics of Fright,” that horror movies allow the audience to experience and get close to death without consequences.

     “Horror films are a safe, routinized way of playing with death, like going on the roller coaster” Dickstein wrote.

     Junior Isaac Watts seems to agree with Dickstein that horror movies allow the audience to get close to the animalistic fear feeling the films aim for.

     “I like horror movies” Watts said. “I feel like a big reason a lot of people like horror movies is because it gives them a rush of adrenaline, it gives them an unordinary experience they don’t usually get to experience. I feel like people like the animalistic rush, the sense of fight or flight without the threat.”

     St. Andrew’s Upper School teacher Taylor Kitchings, who studied film in college and teaches film studies, also enjoys a good terrifying movie.

     “I like great horror films—they are hard to find,” Kitchings said. “Too many horror films are criminally formulaic, pandering—but I wrote my master’s thesis on Southern Gothic films and call myself a horror fan.”

     There is a common theme as to what makes horror movies great: the adrenaline rush, near death experiences, and cheap thrills.

     “Great films are not only well-written and well-acted, they are transcendently horrifying, approaching the numinous, like gothic writer Matthew “Monk” Lewis,” Kitchings said. “They force us to confront our mortality. They give us a vicarious totter at the edge of the abyss and whoever else falls in, we get away! For now.”

     Kitchings’ favorite movies of the genre fulfill the criteria of a great horror film and one that perfectly uses what audiences crave.

     “For Gothic conventions impeccably transposed to outer space, Ridley Scott’s Alien is a must-see,” Kitchings said. “The Others features stunning atmosphere, a brilliant script and my favorite Nicole Kidman performance. The original The Haunting from 1961 does Shirley Jackson justice, stagey by today’s standards, but showcases the power of suggestion, subtlety.”

     Terrifying movies have attracted horror lovers for a long time with films such as these and other greats like The Shining, Halloween, The Exorcist, and A Nightmare on Elm Street. Horror films are getting better and better as directors and writers realize the different fear aspects audiences love the most and improved technology makes the movies come alive. Why horror movies are so popular may still remain slightly unclear, but nevertheless they will keep on creeping into theaters with more and more terrifying results.

 

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