I think you might like it. Here’s the trailer.
Since the DVD of Elias Merhige’s amazing film is kind of rare now, I believe, you can watch the whole film here. If you’re feeling like being altered now. Happy Memorial Day.
I had a vivid nightmare—it involved a member of my nuclear family turned into a little person with a suction cup mouth. The mouth had tiny teeth around the inner rim. The family member was coming to hurt me and grab me with its little hands. I thought Why did he ever buy the new mouth? because I knew that installing that on his face was what had changed everything. And I had to go up a narrow tower staircase and close a trap door behind me.
I woke up raining sweat. I was literally vibrating. The feeling of authentic fear was also a kind of exhilaration. Related to the feeling of having escaped.
(Is there a word, perhaps a German word, for the vertigo one feels when waking up from a dream and realizing it wasn’t real? That is, the terrible disappointment of waking from a dream of finding millions of gold doubloons buried just under the dirt of your back yard and realizing you’re still broke—or the glorious relief of waking from a nightmare of losing limbs or being humiliated, only to realize it never happened—or the guilty rush of waking from a dream of murder to think: Whoa… I got away with it. Because I’ve had all of those.)
I realized I hadn’t had that feeling in a long time—hadn’t had a nightmare that felt so real it scared me. I saw my heart beating fast through the skin of my chest. People pay money for that feeling. Then I realized I hadn’t been scared, genuinely scared like with a quickened heart rate, by a book or a film in recent memory.
Do you lose that susceptibility as you age (and read/watch more)? Because I know it happened to me more often as a young reader. Off the top of my head I tried to make a list of Shit that Actually Scared Me:
Been watching a lot of horror movies lately. Seems like there’s a lot to be learned affect-wise in the way certain films can build a space and response in the viewer by simple depictions, sound and color. Though often, these effects, by the end of a film, are dispelled: any inherent blank or fear in buildings or suggestions are explained away by removing masks, using weapons, spilling gore. This, for me, always is simultaneously a relief, because I can get out, but also a supreme disappointment, because then there is nothing left to rub. Specifically, last night I watched a pop horror film, The Strangers, and was actually starting to feel really activated, but then after the fear became murder it was easy to forget. There are, of course, though, horror films that don’t answer the questions, and have the affect, such as The Shining, and other films not quite horror in name but that cause that stir and don’t dispel it by the film’s end, such as Solaris or Invocation of My Demon Brother or Mulholland Drive. I can think of a lot of films like those, but much many less in the “official” horror genre, which seems weird.
What are some horror films that open these doors and leave them open, and also are beautifully made, clean of cheese?
What about books that cause this fear in you, and extend beyond page turners? House of Leaves is a close example, in that it has that affect, and the craft is decent, but I wish the book had had a more thorough edit to pare down the distractors.