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What really scares us?

August 15th, 2012 by Mad Dave Comments

The guys at FTN HQ had a discussion regarding the scariest movies they had watched (or in Bash’s case listened too) and it got me to thinking what exactly is horror? And what about it scares us? The dictionary definition is:

     1. intense fear and loathing.
     2. anything causing such a feeling.
     3. strong aversion.

But that could be anything really depending on the person, one persons horror is another’s comedy. So here is a few video clips of things that scared me over the years some movies some video games and in no particular order.

Warning not for children or some adults. May contain spoilers.

The Horror Express.

This may seem daft by today’s horror movies but as a child it really frightened me.
The movie “The Horror Express” was released in 1972 with the horror duet of Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee and featured Telly Savalas.
An English anthropologist Professor Saxton (Lee)  has discovered a frozen creature in Manchuria which he believes may be the Missing Link. He wants to bring the creature back to Europe aboard a trans-Siberian express, but during the trip the monster gets loose  and starts to butcher the passengers one by one.


This movie never gets old. The tension is so palatable, a true classic of scary.
“Alien” who doesn’t know about this movie? Well actually quite a few. Ridley Scott’s classic sci-fi horror from 1979 with Sigourney Weaver takes place on board the mining ship Nostromo when the crew of seven inadvertently bring an alien creature on board only to be hunted down one by one.


As modern horror goes I’m rarely impressed never mind scared but “Mirrors” was great it really creeped me out.
Released in 2008 and based on Sung-ho Kim’s “Into the Mirror”.
We rarely see Kiefer Sutherland
in movies being to busy (working 24-8 you might say) but in Mirrors he plays a depressed ex-cop ben of the NYPD forced out for a fatal shooting. After starting a new job as a night watchman he becomes obsessed by the mirrors in an old derelict department store and soon discovers an evil force resides within and is chasing him and jeopardising his family.

The Rite.

Another modern horror not brilliant but still creepy. “The Rite”.
A 2011 release with Colin O Donoghue and the always great Anthony Hopkins. O Donoghue plays Michael Kovak a seminary student in Rome learning about exorcisms and is introduced to Father Lucas Trevant a Jesuit exorcist. The creep is supplied be Hopkins when his character Lucas becomes possessed. It’s not gory or particularly jumpy just some great creepy acting.

The Grudge and The Ring.

If you like horror then Japaneese or Korean is the way to go these days, both the Grudge and The Ring originals are fantastic (do not watch alone) You maybe thinking “what”? Asian horror movies I wouldn’t watch those, but I bet if you watch horror you have seen at least one Hollywood remake. Dark Water for instance or The Uninvited. What about One Missed Call or Shutter, all originally Asian horror movies. The two in question The Ring and The Grudge both use Onryo a vengeful spirit mostly in the form of a female with unkempt long black hair and traditionally in a white robe, which is recognised in the Ring’s antagonist and in the grudge we see both male and female ghosts both young and old but only one is an Onryo. In both the ghosts are black and white and almost stop motion in movement.  With a lot of Asian horror it’s all about pace, not slow but enduring the scare scenes take place over several minutes that really build the tension.

Shadow Man.


Some games although not strictly horror had moments of spine tingling goodness. The first clip is Shadow Man and the next is from FEAR. Shadow Man using that most scary of subjects, “children”  In shadow man it’s a nursery of sorts and it’s the tinkling music we expect from a child’s toy or music box which has been distorted slightly to make it all the more creepy. FEAR shows random ghostly images both of children and adults, weird noises and distorted reality to build tension but mostly it’s the fact that nothing happens which ultimately leaves you on edge even after the scene has ended.

Resident Evil.

Resident Evil on PS1 was my first forey into interactive horror as it most likely was for a lot of others. Remember that heart racing moment when the dogs first burst through the windows or the chill just watching the crows on the telephone wires as we wated for something to happen, chilling.
Released in 1996 and directed by
Misumisa Hosoko.
Shinji Mikami.
This was like playing a horror film and it was filled with all the horror greats. The music, the jumps, good use of camera angles and the creepy psychological terror when you are convinced of impending doom but nothing happens.

Silent Hill.

Now we are talking horror in every way. The original sound track to the game Silent Hill  (also used in the movie of the same name) was creepy on its own never mind in game even when we got safe music it still left you asking “save but for how long”? The game played tricks with the mind like the clock tower when you eventually get the key and unlock it you descend  into a passage that eventually leads you back to the clock tower without retracing your steps or entering a room on the ground floor only to exit on the second floor for no apparent reason  I’m even confusing myself just thinking of it. The first game was released in 1999 and directed by Keiichiro Toyama. The game is a mix of horror action and puzzles but it’s the horror it does best, by  stringing you along on a tightrope of tension knowing you could fall into terror at anytime but never really knowing when. I challenge anyone to play one of the four titles on there own and not get scared.
This game is, for me, is what horror is all about, edge of the seat tension hairs on the back of your neck going mad, the fun side of fear It’s a must in my book.

If any of these movies or video games scared you or if you had other scary moments be sure and share them in the comments below.

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I'm Mad Dave one of the team's growing collection of tabletop gaming nerds. I was raised on a healthy diet of TV like Blake 7, Doctor Who and Star Trek with a side of sword and sorcery / sc-fi movies and a large dollop of board games like Cluedo, RISK and Hero Quest. You know your a gaming nerd if: You bring toy soldiers to work? You bring toy soldiers to work and you work has nothing to do with toy soldiers? Most of you jackets / coats have dice in one of the pockets? You hate throwing away packaging because you know it's actually a ruined building or field generator? You have a collection of old packaging? You can find something relevant to your hobby i.e. books, magazines, figures etc in almost every room in your house? I no I'm a nerd because I've done all of the above, how many of these made you smile and nod yes to?

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