I know this post is rather late, and I know you guys highly anticipated it as always, so here it is. Ok, so many many years ago I came upon my first horror film, I guess it wasn’t really a horror film, it was more like the first time I remember getting scared by a film. Anybody remember the first Toy Story? Damn that baby toy with a spider as a body, really got to me .
And well, today, I ponder about spiderbabies often and it got me thinking: What was so scary about it? It really could not harm me, so it wasn’t a defensive reaction to protect myself, unless my child-self it actually could…however, we can agree that is not right, there is something aggresively weird about havingI a baby head and a spider body.
It simply is not something that is not supposed to happen, it is as Freud would say – rather uncanny.
However, I didn’t feel like any of the three films analysed had any of this sort of effect upon me. Weren’t the monsters creepy enough? Was it the exagerated acting? The lack of colour? The lack of dialogue? Me maturing? I think not, I’m still scared of this spider baby to this very day, its something that clearly traumatized me…don’t tell anyone, I kind of hope that all of my readers have stopped reading at this point so I wont have to deal with this in the morning. Yes Grayson, I’m looking at you.
Horror films have certainly evolved, directors have gotten better at grossing us out, better at builidng tension, better at creating the aesthethics of fright. However, there is still an essential factor that makes up the amount of fear that we gather from the films we watch, it isnt just aesthetics and film theory. It is the difference why someone in an other age might not be as scared of toys coming alive and turning against you as children of my time.
They probably were probably more scared of vampires like Nosferatu…where I’m not scared at all of Nosferatu, I just think of him as an underfed man with seriously long and pointy ears that could probably poke my eyes out, that’s as far as my fear for Nosferatu goes. When indeed, we were told in last week’s lecture that this film was critically acclaimed and financially succesful, then it did indeed manage to scare the hell out of people. Furthermore, what is this essential factor that makes people from different contexts fear a film differently?
I would argue that it is the relationship that we feel between with what we watch and and the context we live in. And this is a general premise for any genre, it’s ability at succeeding as a film be that a romantic comedy or an action film is how much we relate to its character’s, themes and story. Then what is it that was in my context that scared me from that baby? Frankly, I cant remember, it puzzles me to this day. I wont leave you with the question unanswered – I never liked open endings – so I’m going to go ahead and try to guess why this was. Maybe as kids we really were afraid of our toys getting corrupted, especially because we love our toys so much, they are our creation, so having them turn on us maybe is something that really scared us when we were children…I don’t know, maybe plausible? Therefore, something that might have scared me so much during childhood might not scare another child from another socal context, for maybe this child didn’t get to grow with toys the way we did when we were children – again, I don’t know, this is some serious psychoanalysis going on. But its if for this reason and difference in social context, that when I watch Dr Caligari, Nosferatu and Mabuse I don’t get as scared as I watch films from my social context; yes, Toy Story is really that scary.
It is true, that we have gotten better and better at making horror films, nailing at times with films such as The Conjuring & The Shining, the perfect mix of the two: social context and our deep seeded fears. Because these films films that I don’t get as nearly as scared as I maybe should have. of what our inherent in our nature. What I’m basically saying is that it is from this reason that we can analyse a film’s content to get knowledge from the deepest and most personal thoughts of a man within a certain context. Thoughts that are so deeply embedded in their mind, they might not even about. And it is for this reason that I decided to discuss the day of my presentation the clues that might lead us to understand the most intrapersonal fears of the people of the Weimar Republic. Fears that due to historical investigation, told to us in the lecture the past Monday, range from subjects due to americanization to political instability. And I have given the reasosns that I believe that it is not far fetched or pretentious in any manner to try to justify one with evidence coming from the film’s monsters.