(Will and) Grace

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“The worst movie I have ever watched” is awarded to Grace, mainly because of the cringing sensation it game me from the beginning, to the increasing need to vomit al throughout the rest of the film. To categorize it, I would place it under Psychological Horror and Fantastic because the monster shown to us is actually the mother, and all the events that conspire are difficult to make sense of.

As the movie began, I wasn’t so fond of the visuals because some of them seemed so randomly placed and overall disturbing. The black cat appearing sporadically also caught me off guard, as well as Madeline’s being a Vegan so hooked on her favorite “horror” animal planet channel. Could these be significant elements in the film? Another contribution to the film’s peculiarity was Madeline’s lesbian past, the old couple’s sexual engagements in possible hopes for another child, and of course the obvious weird relationship between Madeline and Grace. The names chosen for these beastly characters seemed hardly appropriate for the roles they played. In most scenes, my seatmates and I were not even interested in finishing the film because of how messed up the storyline was getting. The idea of having two miscarriages and just another failed one on its way was hurting my heart and bringing pain to my own lady parts—especially during the water birth scene.

 The main source of horror for me was the fact that we couldn’t understand what was going on most of the time and where the story was leading to. It was the kind of horror film that kept ones mind far from peace because halfway into the story, it felt like there could be no possibly alleviating ending. Madeline seemed to be a bit crazy with how she was repressing her depression over her husband’s death, and her hiding of the fact that there was something wrong with her monster of a baby. Her seemingly calm attitude during most of the film was also what was grossing me out. How despite all the blood, the surroundings were still tainted with pastel colors and delicate fabrics. Add to the disgusting flow of events is the very appropriate soundtrack used al throughout the film. This was another movie that was more painful for women to watch. For me, this was far worse than Deadgirl. The movie did a good job making me feel uneasy and horrified of the realities of repression, child birth and lesbian midwives. Its story deals with an actual stage in women’s lives when they have children of their own. Could it be that all women have this tendency to go mad for the sake of keeping their children? How would the government disallow a mother from keeping her monster baby if they see it just as a mother wanting to love her child?

I did not want to finish the movie at all. I don’t even feel happy to have finished it as well. Movies like this one clearly aren’t made to entertain the general public. Although I claim to be a horror fan, I cannot immerse myself in films like Grace or Deadgirl. 

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REC It Ralph

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Foreign Horror movies with subtitles tend to have a prevailing impact on us— us Filipinos or us people who speak English. Even just as the movie began and the language barrier was established, I for one made a comment to myself that maybe this film will be extra scary. It keeps our eyes glued to the screen the whole time, and for some, closed during the graphic bloody scenes. The method of taping chosen for this movie also made movie-watching experience and story feel realistic, which for me was very effective despite the dizziness it had caused me a few times. The local reporter, although doing her job as a journalist documenting the truth, was painfully loud with her Spanish words piercing through my ears and hurting my head. Add to that the many layers of people screaming during several scenes. Although I myself was very caught up in the film and screaming along with everyone else, several moments in the film were predictable. That’s once tricky part about horror films. Everyone will be trying to predict the culprit or the cause of everything. There was even a point my seatmate Amanda and I predicted the old man left in the Asian woman’s room was also a zombie, but sadly we never actually found out what had happened to him. The only comedic break I had from the film was the short scene wherein the Asian woman was being interviewed and speaking fluent Spanish. (Oh, the irony.)

After all the suspense that had occurred in the first 30 minutes of the film, there was around 10-15 minutes of composure but at the same time a good tactic in good Horror films because it keeps the audience more watchful of what could possibly lurking around the corner waiting to surprise us in the next second. These idle moments were actually the worst. All the deaths happening one after the other, just as sir said, was getting us excited because the story was going somewhere and the predictable ending would be for everyone to get infected and die. It was finally the kind of Horror film, I think, most of us were expecting to see— the type that would lead us to constant shouting and uncontrollable loud comments in between scenes, a movie wherein everyone just dies in the end. The only question in my mind was if and how the policemen and scientists were able to put a stop to the mutating-contagious disease.

As much as my racing heart and I loved the movie, there was no profundity to the story. It didn’t leave me torn between decisions that would change the course of my life, unlike the last few movies we watched. The entrapment element in this movie was very perceptible. It’s definitely a story that interrupts our daily patterns, as seen how the storyline shifts from at first being a documentation of firemen’s night lives on a “regular” shift. As shallow as I am, I fairly enjoyed the film because I was able to do some shouting that I’ve been preparing myself for since day 1.

Sexual Tension Between Rickie and JT

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Suspense began in the first few 20 minutes of the movie. At first you’d think Rickie is the bad guy with his sneaky eyes and disgusting hairdo while JT is just the friend. It started out being an unpredictable movie as compared to the beginning scenes of Cabin In The Woods. There is also this very awkward disturbing tension between JT and Rickie, if I may just put that out there. Things start to shift back to reality when Rickie gets back home and has to deal with his stepdad and absent mother. We see here that Rickie is battling with his own nightmarish issues at home, and soon enough, the nuthouse.

The fact that when they return back to the house at night made it feel unsurprising as a horror movie because we know that all the scariest things happen best when that sun is down and our sense of sight is at its weakest. The exciting part unfolds when they discover some kind of sexy-wolverine-mutant who doesn’t die. Rickie is the most rational character here wanting to destroy her or bring her to the hospital. We see here that that would have been the most rational action that we the viewers would have also done. Had the characters resulted to saving this girl-creature, this film would’ve ended abruptly so of course we continue on and watch the two boys make the wrong choice– which frustrates us. Rickie, being the weaker personality among the two boys, he is easily swayed by JT’s idea of just making use of this girl-creature’s body as a sexual object. This, for a girl, is the most haunting horror element because we can imagine being in the situation. Anything to do with abusing women can genuinely psychologically bruise our bodies. From this point in the film I didn’t want to finish it because the idea of raping this woman was a nightmare for me already.

After the secret is agreed upon, the scene shifts to a dragging gloomy day in school where Rickie seems to be battling with his conscience with regards to what had conspired between him and JT last night. He imagines he is being pleasured by his crush but then is immediately interrupted with this vision of the creature, which disgustingly persuades him to rush to the nuthouse where he sees Wheeler humping the creature. Now Rickie is battling with an irresponsible mother, a lonely frustration for a female companion, a betraying senseless best friend and his own conscience, which seems to be making bad decisions so far. This film revolves around man’s battle with his inner self, which brings about stronger emotions as well for the audience. For me, it’s a mix of all two streams of horror. Moral Allegory because it battles with the right and wrong thing to do,  and Psychological Horror because J.T. represents the monster that can represent the selfish aspect in our own selves wanting to satisfy our desires. It’s what makes it an effective horror film, the fact that the idea of tying a woman up and raping her endlessly is possible in this world. It’s what also makes it a horror film that people wouldn’t recommend if they want to be scarred. The overall color palette of the film was just as depressing, and so was the fluctuating soundtrack. It is just one depressing decrease in progress after the other, the type of movie that viewers just want to finish in hopes that a possible peaceful (WRONG ADJECTIVE) ending could happen but at the same time just want to walk out to spare them form all the repulsive images. Just as everyone thinks the characters will all die and a fresh start can commence, it goes back to the hell that is the beginning of everything and what the characters choose to make of the situation presented to them.

Marijuana Is The Savior

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Cabin In The Woods was a great film— cliche aside. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any other horror film like it, which is really what separates it from all the others I have been able to watch. At first it reminded me of Friday The 13th with the group of friends roadtripping to a cabin in the woods (hehe) which is deemed to be dangerous, according the odd man they bump into at the abandoned gas station. The story also has a classic set of characters: the horny couple, the shy girl, the shy boy, and the random free-spirited fool. What was interesting was that the first half of the movie seemed all too predictable, which made a horror fan like myself wonder why our professor would choose to show it to us– the sudden scary noise just as the party was getting wild and the eerie sounds as they were in the basement. The switch of scenes between the cabin setting and the office was what gave the twist during the whole duration of the movie at first when we didn’t understand what was going on. During the big reveal, it wasn’t anymore about the zombies that were controlling the horror aspect of the film, but rather the unnerving panic that the characters are filled with as they try to think and act fast in order to survive. No one in this world enjoys the stress that comes form panicking. From the film, we ourselves are moved to panic with the characters as they run, jump, scream and fight the monsters. As our physical bodies get tired from our hearts racing, our minds are also being tired out as we figure out all the nooks and crannies of the story. It’s a good twist, for this horror fan. What also makes it interesting is the ethical dilemma that comes about in the end as Dana points the gun at Marty in order to save humanity. Such a decision gets the audience thinking as the walk out the dark room— “what would i have done in that situation?” It’s a scary thought because it may be easy to give a straight-out answer now, but it’s different when caught in the actual situation. People comment saying they don’t approve of the comedic sections in the film because it takes away the horrifying atmosphere, which is something I beg to differ. In my opinion, it is the perfect move to take when inserting scenes that will make people laugh and relax because it is in that relaxed moment when they can be caught in their most vulnerable state. They think they can take a breather from all the screaming but it is simply a tactic to immediately surprise them with something that will make them jump of their seats like as if ice were dropped at the back of their shirts.

So what is the lesson we take from this film, aside from the underlying message of Marijuana being the savior in all things horror? From this film, like most horror films, it is to know how to think and rationalize fast. It’s not just about running away from what scares you the most because of the ethical decisions you might just have to make.

If horror is an emotion, then what I experienced here was one whirlwind of that, which I enjoyed very much.

Horror: Triangle

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Hi! Perhaps I abuse the word love when I say I LOVE HORROR. I haven’t seen a balikbayan box full of Horror films in my entire life but I can sincerely express my deepest interest in the genre or the “emotion” that is horror, which can be seen and heard in my shouting and bursting of cuss phrases during a film viewing session.

It was always general knowledge to me that Horror was a genre despite it not behaving similarly to the others. I learned recently that people say it is an emotion. But what happens if I don’t feel scared of something that others feel scared of? I personally think that Horror as an emotion is a bit skewed for me now since this Horror Film class has just begun. In a website called learnaboutmovieposters.com, it lists Horror as one of the movie genres. I came across blogs expressing their concern about Horror not being a genre. I understand, however, that it is difficult to categorize films and books according to their genre due to the fact that they could have bits and pieces of many. There are those obviously romantic comedy ones, and then there are those movies like Taken that’s said to be Action but give off scenes that make me scared out of my wits. Does that mean it goes under Horror as well? I’m beginning to understand what this fuss is all about.

In the centuries that have passed, horror has leveled up from the literal monsters to the psychological games and finally to actual reality that contains ghastly stories itself. The movie Triangle places itself under Psychological Horror and The Fantastic according to my understanding of the Streams of Horror.

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Jess is the “monster” in the form of a human being who represents aspects of our own selves, but at the same time, the story itself is something I am not able to unravel after being exposed to it last Tuesday. If I had seen it outside of class, I wouldn’t even have categorized it as a Horror Film, which makes wonder now what other characteristics make a film Horror. I suppose it is that haunting and daunting feeling I now have from Jess’ horrific experience being caught in that triangle of a life. (Unnecessary comment: I’m also still bothered by her not ever being able to close her mouth throughout the movie) If that’s the case, though, is Inception a Horror film? Looking at the two, people die, people are trapped in a world, both are fictional, it begins and ends with pretty much the same scene, and there’s a single character that’s a bit crazy. Now there are many questions popping in my mind.

From the preliminary readings that I was able to browse through, I noticed the term “aesthetic” pop up several times. According to my laptop’s definition it is “a set of principles underlying and guiding the work of a particular artist or artistic movement.” Horror seems to be just that. It has its own set of features that make it Horror. At the end of it all, it’s easier for the general public to know Horror as a genre since it is already widespread in the newspaper, websites, etc. Where else wouldParanormal ActivityInsidious, and The Shining fall under? Of course as a student, my thoughts regarding this are still subject to change throughout this semester.