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Discussion in 'Reader Polls' started by spawningblue, Sep 23, 2006.
Less Than Zero - everyone in that movie was rich.
I meant what's not horror about Silence of the Lambs. Definitely horror.
BOO! You ruined my joke.
I still stick by my answer, 100%.
So, "Face/Off" and "Something About Mary"?
A bit more seriously, this is why I prefer a definition that distances itself from the imagery. There's plenty of "horrific" imagery in films that are certainly not horror films. "Men in Black" has most of the things in your list and I don't think anyone would call that a horror movie. Although, that awful rap tune might give you some fodder for argument.
I always tend to settle the "is it a horror film or a thriller" argument (which crops up a lot)with a question of intent. Does this movie try to scare you, not a cheap "boo" type scare, but a sick, pit of the stomach scare , something primal ? I would say in that regard, SILENCE qualifies. There are far too many scenes in that film that go well beyond where they need to to satisfy the "crime movie''element. We know Hannibal Lector is a twisted serial killer, we've been told from the outset,we don't need to actually see that Hannibal has flayed a man alive and strung him us as a decorative ornament in his cell to reinforce the point. That was done to mortify the audience. That's horror.
SILENCE was following in the wake of Michael Mann's adaptation of the novel RED DRAGON, titled MANHUNTER. That film has violence and a great deal of style but it's primary purpose is to solve the mystery, explain who the murderer is and why he's doing what he's doing. It has great jolts but it doesn't go so deep into the well as SILENCE does for it's attempt to instill dread. Look at each film's introduction of Lector. In Mann's film Lector is a quiet, unassuming fellow first seen in a bright white room, it's striking but it is "natural". In Demme's SILENCE, Hannibal is introduced in a DUNGEON, bare stone walls, it looks like some place Boris Karloff would have entertained uninvited quests. Add to this, the way Lector interacts. In MANHUNTER ,Brian Cox is low key, civil, intelligent, he's supposed to be a great psychiatrist and we believe , yeah, people could go to this guy and never dream he was a lunatic. Anthony Hopkins (who is terrific fun to watch) on the other hand is standing with an unsettling rictus smile and has a delivery that should raise BIG red flags that maybe, just maybe, seeing his bill is not gonna be the worst thing that happens to his patients. Anyone who goes to him, and sighs with relief, "Ah, at last I'm in the hands of a competent professional !" is an idiot. He's clearly nuts !
"Psychological thriller" is a term that is often used by big budget studio films and A-list directors so that don't have to admit that they sullied their reputation by admitting that they directed a horror film."Serious" actors love the term too, because they associate horror with slashers and monster movies and other genres they consider to be beneath them. But often , if you scrape off the veneer of studio gloss you find a humble little horror picture at the heart of your Oscar contender. You certainly don't HAVE to see SILENCE OF THE LAMBS as horror, but you certainly CAN.Also, if you see as many kids on Halloween night dressed up as Hannibal Lector as you do Freddy Krueger, that's pretty telling.
But, as far as I'm concerned, "psychological horror" is also a legit subgenre that's been with us as far back as Psycho, Repulsion, Peeping Tom, potentially Eyes Without a Face. I believe the original Cat People also qualifies. Maybe Freaks as well. (Otherwise, we're really saying living people with deformities are horrifying instead of just "not like us.") I never heard anyone say "psychological horror isn't a thing." Or that it's just dressed-up "psychological thriller." In fact... I always thought "psychological thriller" was a kind of label A-listers also used to re-brand erotic thrillers like Basic Instinct, Fatal Attraction, and Sliver. Etc. Except, of course I remember films like Portrait of Jennie, Sorry Wrong Number, Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte, Picture of Dorian Gray, Death Takes a Holiday, etc. "Psychological" or "supernatural thriller" would likely be a fair label for some or all of the films of that ilk.
I would certainly say that "psychological horror" is a legit genre, as is "psychological thriller". Both terms though are often used by studios/directors/actors who are loathe to use the "horror film" label because they find the genre disreputable. A number of "horror" directors have said that their genre is seen by many in the industry as being only one notch above pornography (apologies to porn enthusiasts, their words, not mine).There are, sadly, a lot of people who look on horror with utter contempt.
Yeah, I agree...and isn't that sad. Some people are so embarrassed to star in them, and then there are actors who do so anyway and don't give a shit what others think. I like actors and directors that are versatile. Also, for all of those folks who think porn is so easy to do, when was the last time you kept an erection for hours... Seriously, how on earth can people create porn and make it look as decent as it does. Shit, I don't look down on horror or porn. Of course, I am a self proclaimed horror and porn enthusiast. .
Never!!!. Thanks for the link Anaestheus.
This film is a big beautiful box of classical gothic horror. The movie just seeps malevolence in every frame. The first time I saw it (only person in the audience on a Wednesday late showing at a big renovated ex opera house), I was physically tired from the horror by the end of the film- and I had read the novel a couple years earlier! I had this discussion with someone whose brother worked on the film and they said it wasn't horror. I heartily disagreed. We stigmatize ourselves when we say a film like this isn't horror as if the genre's products that rises above the usual demarkation has to then be categorised differently. It de facto labels what we like with mediocrity. It is like saying Dancer in the Dark isn't a musical. It is a sore point with me that people who usually say Silence is not a horror film usually look down on the genre with elitism at what they consider juvenile. In a post Tarantino era where genres across the board are being embraced, I refuse to allow my aesthete to be delegitimised.
And Se7en is horror too by the way contrary to popular opinion. Every horror movie for the next 12 years after it was shot in what I call David Fincher blue with optional faulty blinking morgue fluorescence. And frankly, once Coil has a song on your soundtrack (the opening "ditty" is Coil's amazing remix of Nine Inch Nail's Closer to God), you're a horror movie. It just is.