Geek Girls Rule! #169 – Why Horror?


This guy? Scary as hell!

I love  horror movies, I have ever since I was a little girl.  The other day I was sitting around trying to figure out why.  Where did this come from?  If you listen to the upcoming 21st podcast I do with Jillian Venters, we talk about it there.  But I really have been mulling this over in my head.

Part of it is the fact that I spent my early childhood in a house that was over a hundred years old when we lived there.  When the barometric pressure would shift, my closet door would pop open on its own.  Often in the middle of the night.  It’s kind of a wonder I didn’t have a heart attack before I hit ten.  Also, we had an attic, with bats in it.  I don’t know if you’ve ever heard bats banging around inside an attack, or the fact that when they move around on hardwood floors, they make this weird scratchy sound, like a metal zipper being dragged along wood.  There are more things that shaped my fascination with horror in my childhood, but you can listen to the podcast for the rest.

Another part is that my mom watched soap operas, and on the affiliate that carried her soaps, they played Afternoon Movies after General Hospital.  Now, I don’t know whether horror movies were just cheaper, or maybe someone who did the scheduling at the station just liked them, but they had an awful lot of horror movies on as the Afternoon Movie.  I still remember being scared out of my wits by Vincent Price in The Pit and the Pendulum.  I vaguely remember hiding behind something during that movie, and having nightmares.  Granted, I have always had night terrors, regardless of what I did or didn’t read, so at some point my parents just said, “Screw it” and let me read whatever I wanted.

Now I have long voiced my distaste of “people being horrible to other people” movies, like the Saw franchise, or Hostel, or that ludicrous Touristas movie.  And as I sit here writing this, I realize that, honestly, the Pit and the Pendulum can sort of be shoehorned into that category.  There’s nothing supernatural going on, at least not in the original Poe story.  Just as the “Telltale Heart” doesn’t involve anything more supernatural than a guility conscience.  But there’s something far more artful about Poe’s story, and even about that movie adaptation.  I think it’s the same thing that sets Silence of the Lambs apart from most other serial killer movies out there:  It makes sense.  You know why the hero in the Pit and the Pendulum is being murdered.   The killer isn’t just doing it to prove he’s clever.  As I’ve pointed out before, that’s a lousy motivation for a serial killer.

We talk about it much more in depth on the podcast, and I urge you to listen to it, as we had a fantastic time recording it, and I hope it’s as much fun for you to listen to as it was for us to record.

Remember we’ve got the GGR TwitterTumblr and Facebook page.

2 thoughts on “Geek Girls Rule! #169 – Why Horror?

  1. One other really good Poe story, and I think the only one I read, was about how a man had his long awaited revenge on his boss by getting him drunk, leading him down into an abandonned wine cellar, and then building a wall, thus trapping the man underground where he could not escape and die a long, lingering death from lack of food.

    It’s not anywhere near the idiocy of the Saw or Hostel movies, and I remember being genuinely creeped out by it because it was told from the POV of the murderer himself. Even though it was considered justified in his mind, the thought of being buried alive like that is just scary to me, especially as the story goes along and the sounds of the murdered gets softer and softer.

    Also, I am BAD with blood, and it took me a long time just to watch Evil Dead 1 and 2, which was some of the first, bloodiest horror movies I’d ever seen. Sure, Evil Dead 2 was done up more like a psychotic WB cartoon mixed with the 3 Stooges, but it still scared me to watch for the longest time.

  2. I that’s “The Cask of Amontillado,” if I remember right.

    I agree that there is a whole lot of horror to mine from the human psyche. The Torture Porn people just don’t do a very good job of it. They seem to think that “Ooo, blood and guts and sexualized violence! That’s Scary!”

    Well, no, it isn’t . It just gets boring.

    Yeah, I’m kind of desensitized to blood. I’ve helped slaughter chickens and I grew up in a hunting family. I helped host a Hellraiser BBQ where we served rare steaks while watching the entire series. But I do have several friends who are totally icked out by blood, and so we pass recommendations on to each other.

    I still think the scariest piece of film I’ve seen in the last ten years is the Dr. Who episode “Blink.” I didn’t sleep for days. And the Battlestar Galactica episode “33” gave me nightmares for days. That whole sense of being hunted and you can’t do anything about it, being chased and how long until they show up this time… I spent the entire episode curled into a tight little ball on the couch, on the verge of tears.

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