Tuesday, December 2, 2008

LOTT D Top 50 Horrors: Thoughts for discussion

Greetings fellow travellers, there are unsellted winds all around tonight, so please be my guest at the fire and sit and talk a spell before continuing your journey. With the Top 50 Horrors of all time list still a part of the tempest that surrounds us, I thought I'd post a few more thought of my own on this topic and welcome readers (yes both of you) and those who have contributed to the list to offer some insight and discussion on some of the selections.

One thing I believe is that peoples various views on practically every subject imaginable are formed largely on their basic unique experiences. Even when one tries to be truly impartial these influences direct us. With this understanding I can completely support the LOTTD list although I would outwardly argue some selections on an academic level. The fact the list was formed openly with no pre-established criteria or set of titles is what makes this a good (and interesting) list. Unlike the HMV list which was a simply a ranking exercise of a preselected roster of titles.

That said I agree with John and his post on Theofantastique on the importance of criteria. I would personally love to hear what criteria was the basis for some of the more controversial selections, and the personal experiences that may have affected their inclusion.

As I am on record for bashing Blair Witch it seems a good choice for me to start the discussion with.

As I have stated that I believe experiences affect perception and personality, I have to admit that I spent much of my earlier years in the wilderness and continue to do so as much as possible to this day. As a result I find my own basement far more unsettling than being alone in the woods. That unquestionably makes the atmosphere which I would argue is the sole scary factor on the film moot in my eyes. However I can easily see how to many people that this is not the case, and being lost in the woods would be a rather terrifying experience. But atmosphere alone in my opinion cannot justify a top 15 ranking, so what other factors are in play here? Certainly some will cite the cinematic importance of the home video technique that has been emulated since and how it imparts a sense of "being there", but I don't buy that just because two recent, highly visible films, namely Cloverfield and Diary of the Dead chose to use this same technique it's that major of an innovation or coup to the genre. What it did do is provide an effective marketing ploy to the producers to make up a better story for promotion of the film than what we were fed on screen once they got our money. The characters were annoying, predictable and their actions and reactions were completely irrational from the onset of the film. None of what was shown on screen gave us any insight or depth to the characters, other than that they were potty mouthed buffoons running lost in the woods. The actual horror moments were few and far between, when they did occur they were entirely too breif and without good follow up. Just as I felt the movie was going to turn that corner, and yell boo (time and again), they turned the lights back on and started the whole damned process of setting us up all over again. Hell even that damned cat jumping out of the garbage can ploy would have felt like a big payoff. Nowhere was this more the case than with the climax of the film where we finally get to the house (which offered no reason to believe it was anything more than some abandoned dump, the like of which are plentiful and offer better atmosphere around here.) and when we dearly hope for something scary to happen, they give us some dude standing in a corner. WTF!!!!!!!

So there you have it, why I think Blair Witch is undeserving of the honour of being one of the top 50 Horror films of all time. Flame Away!

G. Macabre

2 comments:

John W. Morehead said...

No comments on this? LOTTD is taking a beating in the blogosphere on our choices. Some refleciton and discusson of definitions and criteria for the choices would be helpful.

Gary D Macabre said...

That's kind of what I thought John, but apparently everyone who actually likes Blair witch, isn't interested in a blog that is more about classic horror. Perhaps we'll discuss some choices on your blog.