THE MONSTROUS QUESTION OF THE MONTH – OCTOBER 2010
(Questions Provided by Michael Arruda)
THIS MONTH’S QUESTION:
You know how movie stations load up on horror movies on Halloween night? If you were in charge of one of these channels, and if it was up to you to choose a triple feature of horror films showing on Halloween night, which three movies would you choose and why?
RESPONSE # 4—DAN KEOHANE:
I’d say, and I’m sure a lot of others might pick these as well:
THE EXORCIST (1973)
and of course HALLOWEEN (1978)
These are all a bit different theme-wise, of course, but aside from all being brilliant films on a lot of levels, the most common thing between them is atmosphere. All take their subjects seriously, no goofy camp or overabundance of humor thrown in.
Really good horror—when it’s good, mind you—has such an impact when the audience isn’t pulled from the illusion of the film with a joke or a sly wink. You can still have these, in moderation, but… these films have a constant sense of dread, but aren’t so oppressive you feel like you’ve spent an hour and a half trapped underground in a coffin.
Take HALLOWEEN for example. Constant outdoor shots, normal neighborhood, breeze blowing leaves down the street. These shots keep the setting real and blow air into the lungs of your imagination, before pulling you back into the house for a good screech.
It’s the same with PSYCHO. Wide overcast skies between the motel and house, give a sense of openness, before you’re pulled in. OK, waxing a little poetic here. But these movies are so well done, from direction to acting (granted, the acting in HALLOWEEN doesn’t compete much with the other two), to overall atmosphere, that they only add to the overall joy of Halloween.
Note, you might substitute the original THE OMEN (1976) with THE EXORCIST, if you so choose. I’m not picky. THE EXORCIST would be my first choice, though. But I would save HALLOWEEN for last. It has more action and overall hoot-ness to end the holiday with a bang. Or a scream.
~Dan Keohane, October 2010