Some of you that know me are familiar with my affinity for horror films. I cannot remember a time in my life when I wasn't engrossed in the latest horror film. My obsession began when I was a child, as hobby I shared with my father. At an early age my father always told me I should never be afraid of anything. He assured me that ghosts & goblins were fiction and the real monsters were politicians. On the weekends, he and I would hit the local video store and seek out the most shocking, craziest, and disturbing video box we could find. The two of us would stay up 'til midnight watching movies and eating popcorn & candy. It was thrilling to know that we were kind of breaking the rules. I was well aware (even at the age of 7) that I should not be watching HELLRAISER II. We watched many classics as well, including: CARRIE, THE EXORCIST, FRIDAY THE 13TH, HALLOWEEN, ROSEMARY'S BABY, etc.
I continue the tradition my father and I started. These days I enjoy early 80s American slasher flicks, Asian horror (specifically Japanese & Korean), late 80s/early 90s Italian horror, and current extreme French horror films. However, for the most part I will give nearly anything a try. I feel it's safe to say I am not easily startled. I've seen films that could be considered torture porn (and I don't mean HOSTEL) as well as films that were banned in 30 different countries. I've watched everything from TRACES OF DEATH to IRREVERSIBLE and anything in between. Some of it was amazing and some was complete shit.
Knowing my fixation, I'm often asked what the scariest film is. In most lists I see, THE EXORCIST is often at the top. Don't get me wrong, it is a truly frightening piece of art, but for me it's not the scariest. I was far more fearful of the constant guilt I felt as a Catholic than I was ever fearful of possession. I think the most disturbing film I have ever seen is undoubtedly WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE. I recently noticed that a special screening of it was taking place at The Alamo. The sheer thought of witnessing it on the big screen sent chills up my spine.
For those unfamiliar, here is a synopsis from www.imdb.com:
"Two aging film actresses live as virtual recluses in an old Hollywood mansion. Jane Hudson, a successful child star, cares for her crippled sister Blanche, who's career in later years eclipsed that of Jane. Now the two live together, their relationship affected by simmering subconscious thoughts of mutual envy, hate and revenge."
Now just picture these two over-the-top characters portrayed by Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, two women who inflicted much terror in their own personal lives. Joan Crawford was synonymous with wire hangers and Bette Davis was capable of killing a man with the scrunch of her famous brows. It's also well known that these two women had a feud similar to Burr vs. Hamilton. What would possess these two heavyweights to make a film together? What else....money! Both aging actresses were no longer in their prime and realized they needed to capitalize on whatever they had left. The really frightening aspect of the film is that so much of it mirrored reality! The careers, the competition, the senility were all so real. My unease for this film also stems from an aversion to elderly people. I've seen WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE less than a handful of times because it gives me such anxiety, especially the rat scene. The psychologically twisted plot is completely mind bending. I cautiously recommend you viewing it at least once! So....what's your scariest film?