Tuesday, May 05, 2015

what's up with all the scary movies lately?

I think some difficult things that I have been trying to work out lately have been coming out in my movie choices. When I cruise through the Netflix or HBO list of monthly movies, horror seems to be where I stop and make a choice. Horror movies have aways been great outlets. The results of my movie watching have been scary as hell — but I have been enjoying some great, creepy movies.

Time for a bedtime story ... and The Babadook.

The Babadook

This Australian film, written and directed by Jennifer Kent, is truly scary and visually amazing. If you can handle horror, I strongly urge you to grab a hold of this one, but maybe watch it first during daylight hours, as it is truly chilling. A mother (Essie Davis) and her young son (Noah Wiseman) are tormented by a supernatural entity that may have arisen from one of his bedtime stories. The house the mother and son live in is another character in the film. Kent is not afraid to showcase the mother's ambivalent feelings about her son, which can exist concurrently with mother love. One of the scariest and creepiest movies I've ever seen. I don't know if I'd want to see it again anytime soon, it's so powerful, but it's a definite classic.

Rosemary's Baby

The Babadook made me want to revisit the old favorite Rosemary's Baby. Roman Polanski's 1968 film is still as creepy and compelling as ever. The apartment that young marrieds Rosemary (Mia Farrow) and Guy (John Cassavetes) move into at the famous Dakota building in Manhattan is again, an important character in the film. I had forgotten how risqué and frightening the central rape scene was — quite daring for 1968. The movie works brilliantly as horror, but it also resonates as a portrait of a bad marriage and a woman's loss of her self in a relationship. Guy, not Satan, is the true villain of the piece. Rosemary tries so hard to make a home and be supportive for her traitorous husband. The horror is not just supernatural, but domestic.

Rosemary and Guy in Manhattan

The Woods

Not as great as the other two films, but The Woods was still effective. Good actors and some stunning visuals made up for a murky script. I'm still not completely sure why the supernatural forces in the woods surrounding an exclusive all-girls school are so bloodthirsty, but headmistress Ms. Traverse (Patricia Clarkson) and young heroine Heather (Agnes Bruckner) make it all very watchable. Horror film veteran Bruce Campbell is also a very welcome addition to the spooky proceedings as Heather's father.

The Omen

I remember loving this movie and being really chilled by it as a kid. Isn't this where every kid learned about "666"? Watching it again recently it is not as scary, but it was pretty creepy. Gregory Peck is quite good as a hero in way over his head with forces he isn't willing to understand. The all-star cast includes a very touching Lee Remick as his wife, David Warner as a paparazzi who tries to help them, and Billie Whitelaw as nanny to their demon spawn Damien.


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