With tonight being Halloween, there will be plenty of horror films watched all over the country, and many of these will be favorites of the people watching them. How is it, though, that such films can be viewed over and over again and still be enjoyed when their primary appeal is their ability to scare us through suspense and surprise-- elements that are diluted, if not completely worn away, with each time we play them?
Well, if you're not just prone to having a bad memory like myself, chances are that you can still appreciate a well-crafted scare or stunt or kill in a horror film you've watched a billion times and know like the back of your hand. And then there are the few perfectly produced scary movie titles where there's actually no way of guarding yourself from the most precise combination of great direction, cinematography, editing and scoring, no matter how well you know these films.
That's Poltergeist for me. I've seen it enough that I should know exactly how many seconds it takes for the clown doll to pop out and nearly give me a heart attack, but I still nearly have a heart attack each time. Part of it is the anxiety of knowing the scare is coming, which is a neat reversal of the original intent. Actually, that might not be the best example since the setup of the scare in the film is such that you expect it. But there are bits in that and other films that are more of a surprise the first time and then work off the thrill of suspense with subsequent viewings.
Another horror film I can watch over and over and over and still be freaked out every time at the end is Final Destination. It doesn't matter how much I know the film's horrors step-by-step, the movie and its first sequel are scarier for their general reminders of how we can all die at any second by way of an accidental slip or crash or mishap. Final Destination may utilize a silly hint of the supernatural, but that doesn't take away from the fact that most of the deaths in these films (less so in the later films, however) are very natural or at least plausible or even common incidents.
What scary movies can you watch over and over?
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