Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Dipping My Toes in Horror: Scream and Suspiria
One thing that I just realised in this past week is that there are five Wednesdays this month, as Halloween is coincidentally on a Wednesday (talk about a nice way to wrap things up). That means that I have an extra week to catch up with two more horrors, bringing this months tally up to ten horror films. Which is a good thing, since there's so many that I want to see. Still, I need some recommendations. C'mon, people! Anyway, this week on tap we have the 90s horror/comedy Scream and Dario Argento's 70s classic Suspiria.
I love movies that reference other movies endlessly, are completely self-aware, and don't really take themselves all that seriously. It is a pretty tough task to do that all so well, but Scream just about has it down pat. Starting off with the famous phone call that ensures the demise of Drew Barrymore, we're introduced to a killer who likes to ask his future victims if they like scary movies. There's a bit of chatter about scary movies, and then the real scares go on. It has a fairly basic premise, harking back to the popular teen slasher movies that went before it. And yeah, it is quite effective.
There's actually not a heck of a lot I can think to say about Scream, other than I really enjoyed it. And that's pretty surprising, considering I have this huge inability to love anything about the 80s and 90s (which is weird, because I was born in the 90s). It is silly fun, much to the point where it gets a little too silly, but its heart is in the right place. Matthew Lillard was extremely odd in this movie, though. I'm so backwards that I only knew him as the guy that George Clooney's wife was having an affair with in The Descendants. Which is part of the reason why I found The Descendants to be so disappointing...Matthew Lillard over The Cloon? Really? Basically, Scream gave me a whole new reason to really dislike The Descendants. Which probably wasn't what the film set out to do, but never mind. I love how there was a Clueless reference in here, even though they were released merely a year apart. It shows the movie universe I love - where all the movies join together and make fun of each other like nothing else matters. It is just so warm and cosy. Even if the film is about teenagers getting killed. Maybe this is how Project X should have turned out.
Before I start with my sure-to-be controversial opinion on Suspiria, let me tell you a little story. You may recall me every now and again saying how I never liked the movies that played at midday on Sunday. That comes down to one movie: The Witches. I can't remember how old I was when I saw this, but it remains to be the scariest film I've ever seen. My memory hasn't been too kind to this movie (with good reason), but one thing I remember is how one of the witches turned this innocent guy into a mouse. That freaked me out more than anything. For a long time, I was terrified of doing anything. In a way, this film fed my extremely annoying vice of being paranoid about absolutely everything.
Gee, thanks a lot, The Witches.
Since then I haven't had an easy relationship with films about witches. Those things can do anything. This obviously rubbed off on my viewing of Suspiria, which is a film that I didn't really like at all. The film is set within a ballet school, where a newbie discovers that the staff are really a coven of witches. Which is okay, but not a lot happens, and not a lot is done about these witches. Watching this with my mother (who is probably the biggest horror freak I know) probably had an impact, as she has such a high tolerance for gore that I'm sure it could never be fulfilled. There are a few really scary and gory moments, but otherwise, there isn't too much happening. It ends really abruptly, too. However, the music is quite good (even though I found it to be a little distracting at times), and the production design is fantastic. The ballet academy's architecture and decoration was probably the scariest thing about the film. Along with Jessica Harper looking extremely similar to Lily Collins. Other than that, I was quite disappointed by Suspiria. To think that I was looking for more scares is quite worrying - I tend to shy away from such things.
What do you think of Scream? Or Suspiria? Any more recommendations for my month of horror?