A while back, I was listening to CBC, and there was this call in show. It was a call in about vampires and monsters through the 19th and 20th centuries. People were being asked what monsters scared them the most and why, if they knew. I only caught a piece of the call in, but it got me thinking about it. I’m a fan of horror movies and I think I always have been, although I never did like the slasher films at all. I will admit to loving Nightmare on Elm St. even though it counts as a slasher film. Freddy was OK because he wasn’t silent. He taunted his victims and had that horrible sense of humour.
So, what scares me? Well, around grade five I saw An American Werewolf in London and The Thing. They scared the hell out of me. For the longest time, they were the bench mark for scary, as far as I was concerned. In my adult years, 28 Days Later has been added to the list as well. That one started off my love of the zombie genre. I love the Walking Dead too, even the ‘slow season’ that people complained about. There’s lots of horror out there to love, maybe there’ll be a list of my faves at the end of the post.
I started to think about what was it that made these ones scary, to me. Basically, I’m scared of people. Or maybe just what people can become. It doesn’t matter what the set up, in a zombie movie, is; at some point it’s the people who become the biggest threat. The zombies themselves are a very real and predictable threat. The survivors are the unpredictable, potentially violent ones. As a kid, I read Lord of the Flies. I know that this is a classic and I also know that it’s an excellent book. As a kid I liked it a bit, but not as much as I disliked it. I hated what became of those kids. I hated that they lost the things that made them civilized and human. I see and feel that every time I watch the Walking Dead. In 28 Days Later it’s the whole point. In the Thing, the characters, some of them anyways, actually turn into the monster; add to that the fear and paranoia and mistrust that occurs because of that and you’ve scared the shit out of me. I get really scared for “the people”. In American Werewolf in London, again the main character becomes the monster. Not really in the same way as in the other examples, but I never was scared of him. I was scared for him. What would the other people do to him? That made people the enemy again.
I’m starting to think that other people are the monster that scares me the most.