Field Theory by Hadyn Green

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Field Theory: Things that go bump in the night

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  • Naly D,

    Ooo ooo ooo yes Signs! Scared the shit out of me. I first saw it at a friend's when it first came out on video [I was about 14, DVD's were only just getting big] and it freaked me out, man. I had to go home like 20 minutes before the end, so when I saw it years later I was utterly disappointed.

    So I'm curious, some people are referring to horror movies as 'freaking' them out. In that case is Begotten a horror movie? I always thought of it as just being straight up fucked.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2008 • 307 posts Report Reply

  • Gabor Toth,

    I think a film of this type which scared the bejesus out of me more than any other was Threads. I recall that it had one screening on NZ television around 1986 (I think it was a Sunday evening). Such was its impact it was the lead headline on the front page of the Evening Post the following day.
    I watched it again recently on DVD (the local public library had it) and it hadn't lost any of its power. Seriously scary stuff.

    Ah! no - two year out. It was late 1984 when it was screened on telly by various national broadcasters on the same day around the world (incl NZ). It never received a cinematic release which was a shame (particularly when the vastly inferior U.S. film of a similar era and genre "The Day After" did). A teacher at my old school video-taped it and then showed it to her class as part of a science lesson. The not entirely unexpected result was kids running from the class in terror and one throwing up in the toilet...

    Wellington • Since Dec 2006 • 137 posts Report Reply

  • David Hamilton,

    Apart from all the obvious, a standout for me was the 1976 Doctor Who 6-episode story The Seeds of Doom wherein various people became infected with a virus (or something) that gradually turned them into plant-creatures.

    That was great, freaked me out as a kid too. The most genuinely frightening experiences for me have been while pc gaming. There is an old Amiga game called Waxworks in which you have to search through various times in history to kill your evil (twin) brothers. In one level you emerge into a grimy, foggy, dark London to find a recently murdered prostitute courtesy of your brother, Jack the Ripper. Of course you are immediately mistaken for him - trying to escape the angry, torch wielding mob that lurks around every corner is heart pounding.

    System Shock 2 is very atmospheric and as unsettling as they come - best horror game ever. And finally there isn't much more pants wetting than playing Aliens vs Predator late at night alone in a dark room as the marine.

    Hamiltron • Since Nov 2006 • 111 posts Report Reply

  • Jo S,

    Apart from all the obvious, a standout for me was the 1976 Doctor Who 6-episode story The Seeds of Doom wherein various people became infected with a virus (or something) that gradually turned them into plant-creatures.

    I've never been good with scary movies, but I remember being horrified by the Dr Who episodes with the giant maggots.

    When we went to the release of the director's cut of the Exorcist, my boyfriend kept asking me if I needed to leave. It may have been the way my fingernails were digging into his leg ....

    is it autumn yet? • Since May 2007 • 80 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    The most genuinely frightening experiences for me have been while pc gaming

    There are some quite good games for making you scared. If the game can draw you in then the character really becomes you and you really get scared for your "life".

    I'm currently playing Fallout 3 and there is a horrible desolate feeling of a world where almost everything is trying to kill you, so even in braod daylight you tend to get a wee bit cautious.

    I remember being horrified by the Dr Who episodes with the giant maggots.

    God yes! and when I was little the Daleks did scare me.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    and when I was little the Daleks did scare me.

    Daleks are the only thing to so far scare my daughter, and that includes the Blink episode with the statues which scared me more than anything else I've seen as an adult.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Naly D,

    that includes the Blink episode with the statues which scared me more than anything else I've seen as an adult.

    Blink was so well written.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blink_(Doctor_Who)#Reception

    Video games is a whole new can of worms.
    I still haven't finished Silent Hill 2. The Silent Hill games are amazing.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2008 • 307 posts Report Reply

  • Josh Addison,

    I borrowed Silent Hill 2 off a friend - played it up until the first encounter with Pyramid Head, thought "yeah, I don't need to do this to myself", gave it back, slept soundly....

    Re: "Blink" - very much so. Reminds me of the old Buffy episode with the Gentlemen, where everyone loses their voice. That one managed to be both the funniest and the scariest episode of the season - possibly the series.

    Onehunga, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 298 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Re: "Blink" - very much so. Reminds me of the old Buffy episode with the Gentlemen, where everyone loses their voice. That one managed to be both the funniest and the scariest episode of the season - possibly the series.

    Careful Josh, that's my geek button you're pushing.

    We just rewatched Hush with the kids, and it was as I remembered it - creepy and hysterically funny. Joss wrote it because people kept telling him how great his dialogue was - so he wrote an episode with almost no speech.

    My daughter is getting this for her birthday.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Chapman,

    The Shining = most definitely not scary. Stephen King in fact colourfully lambasted Kubrick for his total cluelessness in this regard on more than one public occasion.

    While Stephen King has a masterful control of horror and creepiness in writing (his story of a surgeon stranded on an island facing starvation creeps me out just recalling it), Kubrick is seriously good at it on film. The Shining movie makes exceptional use of its medium, such as the sudden appearance of the bartender, the croaky voice of the finger saying "redrum", and the scene where Danny rides through the hotel on his trike going from carpet to bare wood floor, building suspension and emphasising the emptiness of the hotel.

    I suspect, without knowing anything about the book beyond what I've read on Wikipedia, that if Kubrick had included all of King's themes, the film would have been even less scary.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2008 • 135 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    We just rewatched Hush with the kids, and it was as I remembered it - creepy and hysterically funny.

    That mime of the staking is the funniest thing ever and yes also a super creepy episode. Then again how can you go wrong with weird guys in suits taking people's voices

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Naly D,

    We just rewatched Hush with the kids, and it was as I remembered it - creepy and hysterically funny.

    That mime of the staking is the funniest thing ever and yes also a super creepy episode. Then again how can you go wrong with weird guys in suits taking people's voices

    That's the only episode of Buffy I ever watched, are you guys saying they weren't all that scary?

    Wellington • Since Sep 2008 • 307 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Blink was so well written.

    Oh, which reminds me, you know what else was scary? Stephen Moffat's Jekyll . James Nesbitt was completely terrifying in that.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • philipmatthews,

    That Stephen King tantrum at Stanley Kubrick is just another example of an author getting far too precious about adaptation -- he would have been better off doing an Alan Moore and removing himself from the equation. It's been years since I read The Shining (that and Carrie are the only Kings I've read) and while it was definitely creepy there were things in it that worked on the page but would have been ludicrous on screen: topiary animals that seem to move?

    About ten years ago, there was apparently an obsessively faithful mini-series of The Shining, with King closely involved. The fact that we all remember specific moments of the Kubrick and none of us seem to have seen the other speaks volumes.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2007 • 656 posts Report Reply

  • Josh Addison,

    Careful Josh, that's my geek button you're pushing.

    Curiously, I feel violated by that comment, when it seems it should be the other way around...

    Onehunga, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 298 posts Report Reply

  • Alan Perrott,

    for my child-self, it'll always be Children of the Stones.

    The first half the week was spent looking forward to it and the second trying to forget.

    still, nothing that hiding behind the couch couldn't fix.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 438 posts Report Reply

  • philipmatthews,

    Never heard of Children of the Stones, had to google it. Reminds me of another: while going through some Sapphire and Steel posts last night, came across references to a much earlier occult-fantasy freak-out for kids called Ace of Wands. Anyone heard of this?

    Fan site here:

    http://www.aceofwands.net/

    An episode called "Seven Serpents, Sulphur and Salt"? A "magic adviser" on staff named Ali Bongo? Only in the (early) 70s.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2007 • 656 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    his story of a surgeon stranded on an island facing starvation creeps me out just recalling it

    lady fingers they taste like lady fingers

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Littlewood,

    Great as the Shining undeniably is, it's also rigged. Kubrick does this by merely removing the supernatural element entirely, which gives the Torrence character nothing to redeem himself against and little to work towards in the way of a character arc.

    One thing that's so striking is how he essentially treats the audience and the characters like machines. Think about the fact that whereas most horror films set in "haunted houses" (for want of a better term) go out of their way to highlight the claustrophobia, in the Shining, Kubrick emphasises how huge and labyrinth the hotel is, with all those long, glacial tracking shots.

    He really messes around with the perspective, as the camera seems to follow all of the characters, and we're never really given an idea as to not only how long they're in the hotel, but how big the place is.

    I think the film folds back onitself, too, well before the final shot of the photo hanging on the wall- in fact, even the opening interview is kinda bizarre (think of the way the grissly history of the hotel is laid out in the most impossibly banal detail, or the fact that Jack seems just a little too twitchy).

    But really, one thing that makes this such a strange horror film is how deliberately detached it feels, even at its most visceral moments- and it's telling that there are very few scenes set in the dark, and yet the whole thing has this feeling over a rather feverish, lucid dream. Is it all just a ruse?

    Like most of Kubrick's films, it seems to be as much about the set design as it does about the characters, or maybe the characters are the set design!

    Well that's my two cents anyway.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 448 posts Report Reply

  • philipmatthews,

    We have a telepathic kid and a ghostly barman -- I wouldn't say Kubrick removed the supernatural element entirely.

    You're right about Kubrick's mechanical pushing of audience buttons or directing of their responses, but Hitchcock did the same thing: Psycho being the best example.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2007 • 656 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    Reminds me: I remember King noting in On Writing that he'd been given a hard time by critics of the Green Mile less because John Coffey (of the Green Mile) shared initials with another divine healer than because it was just so obvious a device. His response: "What is this, rocket science? I mean, come on , guys." Symbolism and direction of your audience doesn't need to be ultra-obscure to work out.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Best part of the shining is the telepathic cook.

    Sunning himself on a tropical island somewhere when he gets the telepathic call for help from the little kid.

    Drops everything, fights his way through holiday traffic and flight cancellations. Eventually gets back in the right state and at the foot of the mountians. Begs/borrows/steals a snow mobile and claws his way up foot by agonising foot in the teeth of a blizzard. Eventually reaches The Overlook.

    After al that, he barely manages to stick a foot through the front door and Jack Torrence pops him with an axe.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    for my child-self, it'll always be Children of the Stones.

    Which is an odd title for a horror thing, in a way, because if you were a child of, say, Keith Richards, you would probably never be frightened of anything. Again.

    For my child self, it was H R Pufnstuff. Not, not Witchiepoo, even though there was a horrible teacher at school who looked just like her.

    It was the forest with all the moving trees which freaked me out.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    Best part of the shining is the telepathic cook.

    Aye boy, you just use that "shin" of yours and Willie'll come a-runnin'

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    For my child self, it was H R Pufnstuff.

    Don't even get started on freaky puppets (or costume things)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

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