Welcome to the Tehom.

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Hello, all. I’m just in the process of setting up my blog here on WordPress, so excuse my dust! I’ll soon be uploading a variety of essays, book and movie reviews, and many spirited topics for debate. Stay tuned!

Creative “Star Wars” Theories

As anyone who knows me knows, I am a RABID “Star Wars” fan, and have been looking forward to the new film since it was first announced at Comic Con a couple of years ago.

With just 15 shopping days left, I thought it would be fun to post some of the more inventive fan theories about plot or character developments.  Here’s a link to a wonderfully inventive (and not too poorly argued, I must say) theory about the character almost all pre-millennials love to hate, Jar-Jar Binks:

https://www.reddit.com/comments/3qvj6w

Enjoy. More fun theories to follow…

Towards a Typology of Horror (Films)

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I haven’t launched my site officially yet, but being as this is my favorite season of the year, I thought I’d share my list of Horror Film Types, which I developed about a year ago or so to help clear up some of the confusion out there (I can’t help it; one of my mentors was a dedicated Wittgenstein scholar!).  As you peruse, think of some of your own favorite fright features, and try to figure out what category they might go under.  Enjoy!

 

MAJOR TYPES OF HORROR FILMS
(With their “goals” and some examples)

1. Slasher Films
Goal: To teach sexual morals, namely, the danger of sexual repression.  In these films,“loose” women, women who live alone (often the same thing here), or teens who engage in promiscuous sexual activity are just asking to be murdered by knife-wielding, sexually-repressed sick bastards.

Examples: “Friday the 13th,” “Dressed to Kill,”  “Psycho,”  “Scream,” “Halloween,” “When a Stranger Calls,”

2. Gore-fest/Splatter Films
Goal: To try to gross-out the audience by displaying as much gore, blood, and entrails as possible; if the film makes you vomit, cover your eyes, or leave the theatre, the filmmakers (and your friends who stay and watch) “win.”  Often quite (intentionally) humorous.

Examples: “The Saw” movies, “Dawn of the Dead,”  “the Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” “House of 1,000 Corpses,” “Evil Dead II,”  “The People Under the Stairs,” “From Dusk to Dawn,” “Re-animator,” “Hellraiser II,” “The Hills Have Eyes,” “Tokyo Gore Police”

3. Monster Movies
Goal: to provide an escapist, roller-coaster-like thrill ride in which our heroes are terrorized by and eventually triumph over non-human (or sometimes “barely” human) “others.”

Examples: the “Aliens,” “Them!,” “the Swarm,” “Monsters,” “Splice,” “The Host,” “Species,” “Anaconda,” “War of the Worlds,” “Signs,” “Predator,” “the Thing”, ” “Slither,” “The Crazies,” most “Zombie” movies…

4. Disaster Movies
Goal: To provide an escapist, roller-coaster-like thrill ride in which our heroes are terrorized by and eventually triumph over the “forces of nature.”Often made to illustrate the folly of humans who think we can actually “control” the elements.

Examples: “Twister,” “Volcano,” “Dante’s Peak,” “The Towering Inferno,” “Airport,” “the Day After Tomorrow,” “2012,” “Deep Impact”…

5. Psychological Horror Movies
Goal: To explore the deep, psychological roots of various types of fear: anxiety, paranoia,  despair, obsession, greed, various phobias.  This also includes fear of strangers or “different” people. It is not uncommon for some of the better PsyHorror films to also contain ethical, social, and/or political statements.

Examples: “the Crucible,” “Safe,”  “Existenz,” “Dead Ringers,” “The Purge,” “Seven,” “the Hawk,” “Body Double,” “Never Let Me Go,” “Silence of the lambs,” “Panic Room,” “Silent House,” “Don’t Look Back,” “Oldboy,” “Koma,” “Frailty,” “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”…

A subdivision of PsyHorror might be called “Backwoods,” “Redneck,” or “Inbred” horror, as these movies capitalize on Big cityfolk’s fears of country (read: Southern) “others.”

Examples: “Deliverance,” “Wrong Turn,” “Southern Comfort,” “Hush,” “Joyride,” “I Spit on Your Grave,” “Last House on the Left,” “Black Rock”…

6. Supernatural/Paranormal Horror Movies
Goal: To explore various primal, symbolic and archetypal forms of evil and the challenge they present to reason and religious faith.  Also: the dangers of religious fanaticism.

Examples: The Exorcist”, “the Omen”, “Constantine”, “The Order”, “the Shining”, “Carrie”, “the Amityville Horror”,  “Insidious,” “the Others,” “the Seventh Sign,” “the Devil’s Advocate”, “The Grudge”, “Audrey Rose”, “The Prophecy”, “Night of the Demons,” “Interview with the Vampire,” “Crossroads”, “the Ring,” “Lost Souls”,  “Nothing Left to Fear,” The “Prophecy” movies, “Legion,” “Lord of Illusions. “The Ninth Gate,” …

These films are also commonly known as “Demon” movies, “Ghost” movies, or “Haunted House” movies.

 

Of course, many of these films are hybrids, combinations of two or more types of Horror, and the most recent “format” in which these appear is what is commonly known as:

7. “Found Footage” Horror                                                                                                                                                                                      Goal: To scare you by attempting to convince you that what you are watching is not a fictional “film,” but rather some “smuggled,” “recently recovered,” or “found” footage depicting “real” events.      

The “look” of most of these films is deliberately “unpolished,” and “unprofessional,” (i.e., lots of shaky, hand-held camerawork, out-of-focus shots, grainy footage quality, no music score, etc.), all in an attempt to convince the audience about the reality of what they are watching.  As one might expect, some of these efforts are more successful than others.

Examples: “The Blair Witch Project,” “Cloverfield,” “Skew,” the “Paranormal Activity” films, “Grave Encounters,” “The Bay,” “VHS,” Animal Planet’s “Mermaids: The Body Found”…

                                                                                                                                                                               

In terms of my personal tastes, with some notable exceptions, my interest lies primarily in types 5 and 6, films that are often rich with symbolism, spiritual questions, and psychological depth.

What are some of YOUR favorites?