Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Scary Movies

Thinking back to when I was growing up in the 50s and 60s in the world of black and white television (often with horizontal hold problems), it was a wonder we were ever able to be frightened by the scary images we saw when compared to the technical realism that we see on screens today. Were we just more naive back then or are we more callused today?

I was talking recently with a contemporary that stated her entire family was nearly frightened to death every year when the Wizard of Oz was broadcast. Though they all knew how the story ends, as soon as those flying monkey came out, the family literally screamed every time. This woman tried to convey how frightening that scene was to her kids and they looked at her and said, “You must be joking!”

I recall my first time seeing the Monster from the Id on Forbidden Planet. I recall being frightened by The House of Wax, House on the Haunted Hill, Frankenstein, Wolfman, the Mummy and the Crawling Eye. In the theater there was "Wait Until Dark", where every theater totally darkened the house lights; exit signs included for the last seven minutes of the movie. These films pale in comparison to the horror films of today. Even Attack of the 50 Foot Woman was scary, but fortunately she was pretty hot and personal fantasies overpowered any fears that one might have.

There used to be magazines dedicated to the monster trade, Monster, Creep and a few more I don’t recall now. I think I can safely equate the movies I watched as a kid as something akin to a starter drug and the movies that come out today are like crack or heroine. The stuff we got off on back then is nothing like the stuff needed to get the masses off today. It's a wonder we haven't all been frightened to death.


Blogger darev2005 said...

I know exactly what you mean, Guy. Now that dvd movies have gotten so cheap, especially the old ones, I have started buying the old movies I liked as a kid. There was one I remembered from 1973 "The legend of hell house" with Roddy McDowell. I loved it. Thought it was cool and scary. Bought me a copy off of Amazon for five dollars and couldn't wait to show it to the kids. They thought it was stupid and I was the only one who made it through the whole show. Maybe next I'll buy "Plan 9 from outer space" and make them watch that, instead. That'll teach 'em.

5:07 AM  
Blogger loopymamain06 said...

The fear! the trepidation! The ability to imagine what is coming up next from a shadow!
It's just not the same anymore. The graphic blood and gore, leaves nothing to the imagination. I wanted my money back after going to the theater to see "the Gladiator"
now it's all a compitition, as to who can get uglier ....even CSI

6:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those old movies were a lot of fun, but when I try to show them to my kids they complain that it's all so corny and then they fall asleep.

Kids! They don't know what's good anymore. But I think that eventually they will become so over-stimulated that the old-school movies will be hip once again.

8:39 AM  
Blogger Hahn at Home said...

That scene in Wizard of Oz was scary.

I loved the Frankenstein, Dracula, Wolfman originals - especially the Wolfman, which was actually quite brilliant in its filmmaking.

The ones that scared me were the Vincent Price 50s horror movies - especially The Fly - David Heddison screaming, "Help me, help me," sent me scurrying under my bed.

10:00 AM  
Anonymous Ginger said...

I was just talking to my husband TODAY, before I read this, about black and white movies/shows. Our discussion was comparing the old w/ the new. The new are creative...but numbing. We are fans (not connoiseurs) of the old, mostly Alfred Hitchcock. Maybe it's OUR liking of them that has spilled over to our kids...they too have a great appreciation of old movies. It's the same w/ music. Although, I still get excited when the holiday Charlie Brown cartoons are on! Hay: Possibly...need some and how much? Email me.

7:09 PM  
Anonymous g said...

for me it was Jaws and the tv show Night Stalker. Also, creature from the black lagoon.

7:25 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Darev, that may over teach them.

Loopy, I guess artificial blood cost less than a good script and film craft.

Trish, maybe you should have terrorized them at an earlier more impressionable age.

Lori, it's a thread in the lives of people our age.

Ginger, keep reading, I've got a piece about our old black and white world coming up here in the next two days. Also I couldn't find your email address in my history. Mine is
I'm thinking 50 bales. What is the price and how large or heavy are the bales?

g, that was just at the end of the genre I'm talking about, but still within it...except for Adriane Barbeau. That was intended for the same purpose that Attack of the 50 foot Woman was intended.

9:29 PM  

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