When I wrote that I "wasn't an aficionado," it didn't mean that I don't care about the genre. It holds a special place in my heart and I think it would be a difficult, but extremely rewarding experience, to direct a horror film. I just don't consider myself an expert on the genre while I know a lot of people do.
I'm trying to brainstorm ideas for my script, but I am interested in what people truly fear and why. I respect the xixax community's opinions for the most part so I thought this would be a good place to go.
As for The Decsent, I just saw it and I was wondering why you liked it so much. I thought there were some very nice sequences, in the begining when she's running through the hospital and the lights are turning off, very dreamlike. The film itself was well shot with some really pretty cinematography, maybe too pretty for a cave. And I liked the references to other horror films, like the blair witch project and a lot of carrie references. But little things pissed me off. the handheld camera shots were moving when the person holding the camera was sitting still. Not a huge deal, but it was those smalls things that took me out of the film. Plots holes that could have been corrected just looked sloppy to me. When she first sees the cave being, it runs away from her, but throughout the rest of the film they are being chased by the creatures. They could have just made that first one a baby, so it would make sense that it was scared, plus it would be even freakier and when the larger creatures appeared they would have even more of a presence.
Do you think it's ridiculous to hold a horror film to those standards? Am I just a pretentious asshole?
Perhaps I am, but it's hard not to be when you're studying film. Also I just wasn't that scared by the film. Maybe it was because I was high, but I have to stop using that as an excuse. It defnitely had its moments, but overall I though it could have been way better.
Anyway, I'll definitely check out Rosemary's Baby, I've been meaning to watch it for some time now. Thanks.
Oh all right. The Descent did not actually scare me either, but not that many horror movies have. Most horror movies, if you accept all of the tradition that comes with the genre, are ultimately meant to be fun. I've never connected scary with fun myself. The Descent was just a fun, visceral thrill, and mildly chilling perhaps. I also never ever care about plot points, loopholes, or camera angles/stability. Those things don't take me out of a movie.
I'm not particularly an aficionado of horror films, actually, and I too am interested in its potential. So to give you my opinion, my idea of a true horror film would not be some sort of fun cathartic experience like tradition suggests it should be. My idea of a horror film would be completely an uncomfortable experience that would make you actually come out viewing the world as a darker, more horrible place. No "cool" deaths. So usually the movies that actually scare me are the more serious dramas, actually, that I can take... well, seriously. I have to be able to take it seriously in order for it to actually frighten me.
The reason I mention Rosemary's Baby is because all the horror lies in Mia Farrow's reactions. That truly horrified look on a person's face is maybe the most bone-chilling thing you can put up on a screen. People with mental problems are also scary, because you really just don't know what the fuck with them.
My suggestion would still be not to do a horror movie yet, however. I, too, want to make a horror movie but it's something that I just know I cannot do yet. Due to how saturated the world has been with horror movies and the desensitization of audiences, I think it would require such a depth of psychological understanding and a filmmaker on the top of his or her game. I think it would have to be a film that would change the way people see horror.
Additionally, I don't think a film student can do it. Not to rag on film students, but, ignoring their young age and general lack of experience, they study film. This produces a certain mentality. I think one would have to move past that mentality to be able to make a film progressive enough in spirit to make it worthwhile. The film should ruin lives, destroy marriages, corrode spirits, all on as literal a level as possible. People should be coming out shaking and with tears streaming down their faces, men and women of all ages. Those two hours should be two of the most significant in their whole lives. If it's not, then fuck it all.
But that's just what I think. And I couldn't tell you how to achieve any of that. First of all, it might not be what you want to achieve, and second of all, I don't know how to do it... yet.
I bet Ingmar Bergman could have done it, and for some reason I think, in maybe 10 or 20 years, Lynne Ramsay could do it. But ultimately, even though I said it'd probably be from a filmmaker at the top of his or her game, it'd probably have to come from an unknown, or at least produced in secrecy, and have no recognizable actors in it. It would have to have no baggage. It would have to come from nowhere. BUT not something like The Blair Witch Project, because it shouldn't be clever. I still have a lot of thinking to do about all of this, though.