Saturday, October 24, 2020

Horror Flick of the Week: The Exorcist (1973)

 


Sometimes it's difficult to define why a film or book remains a permanent icon of its field. There are plenty that I've seen or read which don't quite click for me, and some over time become so terribly dated that they become reflections of a time instead of pure entertainment. The Exorcist is not one of those films or books. This week, I re-watched it on the big screen in an empty theater late in the evening. I may have had an early shift in the morning, but it was so worth the exhaustion.

It seems most stories involving demons, exorcisms, ghosts, ouija boards - - any and all of the above - - are always on a quest to recapture the simple effectiveness of The Exorcist. It's not just the story of good vs. evil, but each major character has their own struggles. The mother. Father Merrin. Father Karras. It adds something important to the struggle at the heart of this story. Dread sort of sneaks up on you as it builds up to the final battle, and if you haven't yet seen this one (somehow) I highly encourage you to finally watch it. If not tonight, then definitely on Halloween. You won't regret it.



Friday, October 23, 2020

Featured Fear: Chromophobia (Fear of Colors)

 I hate wearing white. Sometimes I hate wearing pastels. I will usually pick a black shirt if it's an option, though I wouldn't say I'm afraid of other colors. There are those, however, who find that their disinterest in colorful clothes goes far beyond wanting to look a bit thinner or coordinate with their jeans. In fact, for some it may be such an intense dislike - - a fear - - that a handful of brightly colored M&M's might cause a full-blown panic attack. I'm speaking of course about Chromophobia (also known as Chromatophobia).

For sensitive readers, the following image may be traumatic, and I apologize in advance.


There's a story this reminds me of, though for the life of me I can't quite remember or find the title. An artist tried to paint a man who may or may not have been a vengeful spirit / vampire and couldn't get the right shade of red in his cheeks and lips, so she kept grinding the paint into the canvas until she became frustrated and used her own blood. The color took for a moment or so, and then she used even more blood when it faded, driven to using more and more until she lay dead on the floor. Color is symbolic in so many ways, in cinema, in art, and it's a powerful tool for those of us who can see it. When we think about how certain colors can evoke dark moments in stories, it's much easier to relate to this fear. Often, the fear of colors focuses on one in particular for a person who was traumatized at one point in their life. Maybe what stood out was the shade of their mother's dress, the bright yellow of a fluorescent light, or the monochromatic design of a room that dominates that memory.

Sometimes I start reading about these fears with a judgmental lens until I come to understand why they may happen, and I'm never disappointed. Hypersensitivity can even play a role in chromophobia, especially those with related mental struggles. Cultural ties to certain colors can weave fears so deep that the fear of a certain color is a superstition shared amongst an entire group or town. There are so many complex reasons behind this fear, it's hard to know where to begin with treatment options.

Exposure therapy doesn't seem to be quite as common as with other phobias, due to the fact that it's virtually impossible to avoid one color for very long, but CBT is fairly popular. Getting to the root of a fear, working it out, and linking the irrational mind with the rational.

All that being said, Alter (a short film group featured on Youtube) has a fantastic film called 'Chromophobia' and I couldn't help but share it with you, the readers. I suppose red might very well be the worst color of them all.



Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Drive-in Trailers: Teen Terror

 What is Hollywood's odd obsession with adolescence? Is it the drama of raging hormones? The vulnerability of youth? The general penchant certain older people with money have for kids less than half their age? Or maybe, it's because the nightmares of our youth seem to linger more strikingly than what we go through as adults. Who knows? Really, at the end of the day, this is just an excuse for teen horror trailers.












Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Vintage Comics: "Beware! Terror Tales!" Issue 6; The House of Death, Strange Friendship, Search into the Unknown (Pg. 16 - End)

 With little time left to meet tonight's deadline, I'm going to go ahead and post the rest of this issue. Commentary to be added in tomorrow!

Edit: I always keep my promise. The first story is very Tell-Tale Heart, with greed playing more of a role in the character's motivation rather than simple irritation or seeds of madness. I think I prefer this darker punishment for the villain, however. The second story implies something a little stronger than friendship between two murderous mummies. Finally, our third story reminds us that being an annoying tourist has its price. I'm not referring to the overpriced plaster reproductions either.



















Monday, October 19, 2020

Vintage Comics: "Beware! Terror Tales!" Issue 6; Horror at the Lighthouse, The Tattooed Heart (Cover - Pg. 15)

 Because I'd been so underwhelmed by the last series, I decided to dig up something a little more substantial this week, 'Beware! Terror Tales!'. There is no doubt in my mind that this comic is not telling me to just realize that I might have an uncomfortable dream tonight. I'm in for (and obviously you, readers are also) TERROR! The first story includes a lighthouse and a creepy old dude, but unlike 'The Lighthouse', it's a lot less gross. Fantastically dark with some equally wonderful art (despite the grain and age of the issue), this one is the exact opposite sort of story from the last comic. In fact, maybe it's a little too dark. The second story, reminiscent of an old Twilight Zone episode seemed even darker. A grim reminder that your tattoo will outlive you, so be careful where you put it. Also, don't be a Nazi. That should probably be the first point, actually.