This week on the podcast, the Geek discussed delayed movies, scary movies, and Jenny’s movies. Jenny had that “31 Days of Halloween” thing, but I haven’t seen another one of those in a while. She did express distaste for Army of Darkness, one of my all-time favorite movies, and that made Jimmy a Sad Panda. He’s so saddened by this he hasn’t been able to update his Spider-Man rewatch in a while.
In the meantime, let’s talk Halloween movies.
OK, so, skipping over Hocus Pocus, a movie I haven’t seen and don’t really want to–really, I can’t imagine anyone wanting to see it that hadn’t seen it as a kid–what makes for a good Halloween movie? The Geeks actually wondered a bit about that when Jenny wasn’t bashing Aquaman, a movie she hasn’t seen yet, but she will watch some silly thing involving a witch that rides a vacuum cleaner and another that loves the word “amok”? Then again, one of those movies was directed by the man who made The Conjuring series a thing and the other was made by a man who whipped up High School Musical. I think I know which one I’d wanna see.
But Jenny did pose a good question when she asked why people might want to see other people be horribly murdered. What is the deal with fear over dismemberment?
Personally, I’m with Watson is not much liking horror movies, though I’d probably take one of those in over a musical more often than not. I do like some, and the ones I do like I tend to really like, usually going for the ones that look to be particularly critically acclaimed in one form or another. Too many horror movies are cheap things made with cheap scares. I don’t much like gore, preferring psychological horror done well as I saw, for example, in Hereditary last June.
So, why does anyone like that sort of thing? I’m gonna go with Aristotle’s explanation for the overall value of tragedy: catharsis. The idea is this: when an audience sees a fictional character go through a great ordeal, often ending tragically, it grants the audience a feeling of catharsis, a feeling of all their own negative feelings being purged. There’s a sense of relief when a well-told sad story is finished, and I suspect the same can be true for a good scary movie. We feel relief for the characters who make it, and maybe even a sense of relief for ourselves when it’s over. We’re the survivors. We’re the ones who made it.
I mean, we left the theater, didn’t we?
I suppose there is a sense of relief even without catharsis when a good, harmless scare is over. We don’t have to worry anymore about the fake thing on the screen getting us, and considering some of the very real horrors in the real world, well, maybe it just feels good to worry about things that can’t hurt us for two hours over things that can the rest of the time.