With Halloween approaching, I begin my usual ponderings like: who’s hosting a party?
Will there be booze?
And is someone in Hollywood considering a remake of “Gremlins” as a CGI movie?
That eventually leads me to ponder about what makes something scary in an allegedly scary movie. CGI does not work. Sure, “Jurassic Park” had the advantage of being the first flick to fool our minds with computer graphics, but it smartly mixed in animatronics and puppets as well.
To me, it’s the proximity of the “evil one” in relation to the hero that works well. When the Queen in the first “Alien” film sleeps not far from where Ripley’s about to hit the hay, that’s creepy. In “Ju-On,” the Japanese original remade into “The Grudge,” I can barely handle the scene when the girl in bed removes the covers off her face to find the ghost woman bent over her. (Maybe my fears are sleep-based.) Then there’s always that ending chase in “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”…
One facet of horror in film that I believe goes untouched is size. Big things are terrifying and small things are chilling, but what about medium things?
Going back to to the puppets in “Gremlins,” they were definitely small dangerous, and small dangerous can be frightening (ask Karen Black in “Trilogy of Terror.”) But Gremlins in all their puppety-ness can fit in blenders and microwaves. What are you going to do against a four-foot tall Gremlin? A four-foot tall Chuckie? Or a four-foot tall hamster?