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October 1996, Week 5


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Peter Latham <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 28 Oct 1996 22:16:38 -0500
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On 10/23, Richard Cowley writes "......Favorite horror movies." Mine
(excluding the "basics" such as Dracula (1931) etc.) is a made-for-TV film
called Black Noon (1971 or 1972). A preacher (Roy Thinness) is pleased to
find an attentive congregation in Males (spell it backwards) New Mexico
only to find that he is the sacrificial centerpiece at a witches'
convention. Ray Milland and Evette Mimieux give excellent performances.Its
a bit like Dark Secret of Harvest Home only darker and shorter.
All of which leads me to ask the list what defines a "horror film?" It
can't simply be the presence of the supernatural, for if it were, the 3
"ghosts" would make "A Christmas Carol" a horror film. Most, but by no
means all, horror films have as an element,horrific consequences for minor
delinquencies.For example,the "Friday the 13th" series of films all had
scenes in which young couples would seek "romantic privacy" (note: this is
the Internet and the Supreme Court has not yet held Congress' Internet
decency laws unconstitutional) only to find themselves confronted by
JASONNNNN!It could be argued that "horror" plays off the childhood fear of
the consequences of disobeying parents.On the other hand, the film, "The
Firm" has a similar structure to "Black Noon". In the former, a young
lawyer gets an offer that's "too good to be true" and is seduced to join a
mob controlled law firm. In the latter, its a mininster and a congregation
of witches.
So, what is a horror film?
"Success is going from failure to failure without the loss of enthusiasm."
Winston Churchill
Peter S. Latham
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