January 2012

Invaders From Mars

A Nightmare In More Ways Than One

“Invaders From Mars” is an odd movie from 1953, in which a smart little boy interested in astronomy sees a UFO landing in the field behind his house, then becomes convinced that his parents have been possessed by space aliens. The movie is structured and filmed so as to have a dreamlike feeling, and in the original American version it is actually implied that the whole thing is a nightmare. The British version, which is the version on Netflix, changes the ending in a way that makes this unclear, and it does not help an a movie already burdened by numerous nonsenses.

10 Must-See Scary Movies

Just for the fun of it!

Many people who read this post will say, “These aren’t that scary!” And that’s fine with me, because I scare easily, and I am pretty okay with that. I have a very overactive imagination and always have, and scaring easily is part of what helps me write good fiction. And these movies may not necessarily be the scariest, but the ones I found most enjoyable. So here is my list of must-see scares; if you have your own list, be sure to post it!

Godzilla

King of the Monsters

What I wanted to watch this week was “Gojira,” the original Japanese Godzilla movie from 1954. The only problem with Gojira is that it's a subtitled movie, and we watch our creature features with my little daughter. Subtitles are not her thing. So we reluctantly watched “Godzilla, King of the Monsters” instead, the rather odd American version of the same movie.

The Wolf Man

Scarier Than Modern Horror? Ummm, No....

 

The creature feature for this week is The Wolf Man from 1941, starring Lon Chaney Jr. This Lon is the son of the famous “Man With A Thousand Faces” who played the Phantom of the Opera. In the reviews on the Netflix page I saw that same odd comment you tend to hear about these old horror movies: that they are far scarier than modern fright films. I honestly don't see how anyone could say this. If “The Wolf Man” scares you, “The Descent” would probably kill you on the spot. Honestly, if “The Wolf Man” scares you, then an unexpected Hostess Twinkies package would probably scare you just as much. By modern standards, there is nothing remotely scary about this movie!

 

Hollywood in the 1940s and 1950s was fully capable of making sophisticated, brilliantly-written movies that hold up easily compared to the best films of today. They did not generally apply that level of thought or talent to horror movies, because horror movies were not seen as a serious genre. There are a number of odd little details in this movie that indicate that very little thought was given to the script.

Them!

Giant Ant Classic

“Them!” is the second of the creature feature movies my wife and I have been watching lately. Right from the first scene, it's clear that this movie is a cut above the average. A pilot spots a seemingly catatonic little girl walking alone in the desert. A police car picks her up, and from somewhere nearby there's an eerie, high-pitched sound. The little girl sits bolt upright in the squad car, her silent face paralyzed with terror.