Not just cheap thrills

Jonah Ullendorff

Names like Mike Meyers, Freddy Kruger, or Jason Voorhees need no introduction. They’re iconic figures of the often-misunderstood horror movie genre. Other movie genres just give you feelings you experience daily, but it is only horror movies that can give you that unique terror feel.

I’ve been sad, inspired or excited before, and it was all right I guess, but the feeling of sheer terror from a brutal murder was on another level. Horror movies have had a unique effect on me since I was a little boy. As a kid of 7, I turned my TV to face the window outside, so when that scary girl from “The Ring” came out of it, she would fall out the window.

Within the horror genre, there are five sub-genres, each offering its own uniqueness to the moviegoer. The first sub-genre is known as “Disturbing and Gore” also dubbed “Torture Porn.” Perhaps the most popular example of this would be the movie “Saw,” telling a story of a killer who captures victims and makes them play brutal and violent games to fight for their freedom.

The next sub-genre is called “Psychological.” I think this one requires the most talent to create. Directors play into your fears, touching on emotion and guilt in order to play them against each others, confusing you. Is the villain evil? Or is he/she/it justified in their murderous mindset? One example is “The Women in Black,” about a distraught mother who, furious over the death of her child, now focuses on making sure all those responsible feel her wrath.

The third sub-genre is often referred to as “Slasher Films.” These films are absolute kill fests. Normally these movies start off light toned before the characters stumble upon a sociopathic nightmare of a person or group of people. “The Hills Have Eyes” perfectly exemplifies this genre. It covers a family whose car breaks down in a desert near a former nuclear test site. The family is subsequently forced to survive an onslaught of angry mutants who have been deformed due to nuclear radiation.

The fourth sub-genre was the beginning of horror. These are the classic “Monster” films. Although not necessarily scary in my opinion, these are good for the faint of heart who would rather enjoy a nice thriller than be mentally scarred. It all started with “Wolf Man,” “Frankenstein,” and “Dracula.” Pioneers of their day, these cult classics are the forefathers of the modern “zombie” movement.

Finally, my personal favorite, is the sub-genre known as “Paranormal.” Movies fitting this genre would include “The Grudge,” “The Exorcist,” “The Ring,” and “Poltergeist.”

These types of movies drag you into the moment, putting you in a trance before abruptly snapping you out of it when you least expect it. This produces sheer terror that one can only really get from these type of films.

To most, horror is often set-aside as second-class “B” movie genre. Yet, there is so much more to horror movies than meets the eye. It is a genre that can shift your mood instantly, simulating helplessness and panic in the sanctity of your home or theatre. This might be why it especially appeals to teenagers, as it is a way to test one’s emotional limits and come out more confident at the end.

Still not convinced? Horror movies have been reported to burn 100-200 calories throughout a whole sitting. The quickening of the pulse and the surge of adrenaline you experience puts your body on alert, and you lose calories from it.

The true test of a good horror movie is in its ability to get you chasing shadows, thinking you see creatures long after the movie is over.

Speaking of creatures… what is that thing behind you?