“We all go a little mad sometimes.” Norman Bates, Psycho

  

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“You don’t need eyes for where we’re going.”  ~ Event Horizon

 

“Oh Yes, there will be blood!” ~ Saw II

the-exorcistAfter I finished my favorite 100 movies, I began to realize that I couldn’t stop with just that one list. I felt that I really needed to do a list of my favorite scary/horror movies since I am such a big fan of the genre. Let me clarify, though. I don’t like slasher movies like the whole Friday or Nightmare franchises or Texas Chainsaw movies. I also don’t do zombies, with just a few exceptions. And in movies like Scream and I Know What You Did, I just couldn’t get over the silliness.

You won’t find a lot of movies on my list that you normally find on a best horror movies list simply because I like psychological scary more than gorey blood scary. I like ghost stories, and I really enjoy plots in which perception and reality are questionable. Some of the movies that I have included may not be considered horror movies to purists, but there was some element within them that gave me the willies. For example, The Exorcism of Emily Rose isn’t really a scary movie in the traditional sense, but since the plot was supposedly based on a real event, I was left with a definite feeling of discomfort after watching it. 

“Fear is only as deep as the mind allows” ~ Japanese Proverb

I am a big fan of Korean and Japanese horror movies, as well as vampire movies and movies about serial killers. I will warn you about a few of the foreign films that I have listed. Audition/Odeshon seems pretty normal and a bit slow in the beginning, but the last thirty minutes are absolutely horrifying and pretty graphic. In fact, I’m not sure that I would have watched it if I had known that beforehand. The same goes for the pacing of Ju-Rei: It’s slow in the beginning, the quality of the filming is not great, but it delivers in the end.

“Listen to them, the children of the night. What sweet music they make.”  Dracula, Bram Stoker’s Dracula

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Kiefer Sutherland in "The Lost Boys"

Sometimes I have chosen the remake, and sometimes I have chosen the original. It may have to do with casting or effects. Can’t really explain that one. I do include some classics, like “Creature from the Black Lagoon,” which was pretty scary to me when I watched it as a girl. There used to be these creature feature fests on Saturday afternoon and Saturday night. That’s how I first became addicted to scary movies, and “Creature from the BL” was rerun several times.

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” ~ H. P. Lovecraft

Don’t ask me why I like to scare the crap out of myself because I really don’t know. I think that part of the reason is that watching these movies goes back to the old Aristotlean concept about audiences and tragedies. That is, people watch these sorts of things (of course, he was referring to plays) to purge their own emotions about pity and fear.

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Brad Pitt in Se7en

That being said, Aristotle’s premise about why people want to see tragedies, including some of Shakespeare’s goriest plays (Titus Andronicus anyone?) is because as common people, we cannot experience tragedy on our own, so we empathize with the tragic hero/heroine, and thereby rid ourselves of our own pity and fear.

In true tragedies—in the Aristotleansense—the protagonist must be someone with power, influence or something that places him or her above everyone else; otherwise, there could be no fall. The fall comes from hubris, or conceit: that is, the hero believing that his life is untouchable, or the heroine believing in her infallibility.

The horror often came from the factors that actually worked to bring down the protagonist; for example, in the play Dr. Faustus, the audience was treated to the doctor being dragged down to hell because of his deal with the devil. Renaissance special effects.

Don’t really know what sent me off on that tangent other than my own reasoning for watching the things that I watch sometimes: If you watch a scary movie, perhaps you can get rid of your real-life fears. Of course, the opposite may be true: you watch something so scary that you are unable to leave it alone; it haunts you and keeps you up at night.

All righty then. So here is my list of horror/scary movies. Some are scarier than others, and some are campy scary. It goes without saying that you will probably not agree with my choices, but oh well. At least I tried. As always, please feel free to comment on my choices and suggest others, just remember, I’m not claiming that these are the best, just the ones that I like the most.

” To fear is one thing. To let fear grab you by the tail and swing you around is another.” ~ Katherine Paterson
 

My Favorite Scary Movies

1.   Event Horizon: Scared the crap out of me the first time and every other time

2.   Silence of the Lambs: Fava beans and a nice Chianti

3.   Saw 1-4: Where does he get those toys?

4.   Jaws: We need a bigger boat.

5.   Ju-On/Ju-On 2 (The Grudge, Japanese): Evil houseand woman crawling on walls; part 2 still has evil house

6.   Bram Stoker’s Dracula: Gary Oldman as Dracula in a visually stunning production

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7.   Ryeong (The Ghost, Korean): Sometimes amnesia can be a good thing

8.   The Others: The entire mood of this one really got to me and stayed with me for a while

9.   Psycho: Hitchcock. What else needs to be said?

10. The Ring: Creepy, ultra creepy.

11.  Dusk ‘til Dawn: Vampires, Quentin Tarantino, Salma Hayek and a snake

12.  Ils (They, French): Come out and play?

13.  El Orfanato (The Orphanage, Spanish): Surreal and ultimately, heartbreaking

14.  Stir of Echoes: Kevin Bacon wields a jackhammer

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15.  The Lost Boys: Young Kiefer Sutherland with fangs—too cool.

16.  Se7en: Gruesome deadly sins played out on screen with nothing spared

17.  The Grudge: American remake not quite as good as the Japanese version, but still jumped during the shower scene

18.  Dead Calm: The whole premise still gets to me.

19.  The Dark: Sean Bean and people jumping off cliffs in Wales

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20.  Rosemary’s Baby: Don’t drink the milkshake

21.  Misery: Don’t make Kathy Bates angry.

22.  The Birds: Oh man. This one gave me nightmares for days

23.  Underworld: Victor doesn’t like to be awakened before his time. One of the more stylish vampire movies to come along in a while.

24.  The Exorcist: First scary movie I almost saw when I was a teenager.

25.  The Shining: Heeeeere’s Johnny!

26.  Halloween: First scary movie I actually saw most of

27.  Hostel: I didn’t want to see but I couldn’t stop watching

28.  Interview With a Vampire: The vampire revue was bizarre, and Kirsten Dunst as perpetual child Claudia was truly disconcerting

29.  Stigmata: Gabriel Byrne as a priest and Patricia Arquette as the victim of stigmata. Religious fervor gone wild

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30.  Alien: Hate those drooling creatures, love Ripley

31.  Aliens: Paul Reiser as sleazy corporate guy in outer space. They should have listened to Ripley

32.  Sei mong se jun (Ab-Normal Beauty, Chinese): Girl likes to take morbid pictures

33.  I Am Legend: I know that it’s a remake, but I still liked it. In the end, sadder than I thought that it could be

34.  Ju-Rei (The Uncanny, Japanese): Slower paced, reverse action; different but still scary

35.  Carrie: Revenge is not served cold in this movie

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36.  The Strangers: Movies based on true events always freak me out, and masks take the scary factor up a notch.

37.  Ringu (The Ring, Japanese): Very scary with lots of long black hair

38.  Chello hongmijoo ilga salinsagan (Cello, Korean): Makes teachers everywhere afraid to fail someone

39.  Gawi (Nightmare, Korean): With friends like these, who needs enemies?

40.  The Abandoned: Woman returns to rural Russia to claim family farm but should have stayed home

41.  Frailty: A creepy Matthew McConaughey in an unexpected turn

42.  The Exorcism of Emily Rose: How did she get her body to do that?

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43.  Subject Two: Medical student gets involved in science project over and over and over again

44.  The Exorcist III: Legion: Based on a really good novel, and let’s pretend Exorcist II never happened

45.  Chakushin Ari (One Missed Call, Korean): Don’t answer that phone

46.  Conjurer: What is real and what is imagined?

47.  Shutter (Thai): Spirit pictures are not good things

48.  Rinne (Reincarnation, Japanese): Bad casting comes back to haunt director

49.  Orora-gongju (Princess Aurora, Korean): Little girl lost, mom loses mind; everyone pays

50.  Odishon (Audition, Japanese): Makes Annie in Misery look like a character from Walt Disney

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51.  Sinderella (Cinderella, Korean): That’s taking plastic surgery too far

52.  Resident Evil 1: Laser room had me yelling at the TV: Run!!

53.  Resident Evil II: Why don’t they just die?

54.  Blair Witch Project 2: Darker and more disturbing than the first

55.  The Descent: Caves, claustrophobia, creepy monsters. Enough said.

56.  Predator: Those dreads don’t do a thing for you, but you are better looking than the Alien creature

57.  Blade: Vampire half-breed with an attitude and über-cool leather coat

58.  Blade Trinity: Watch out for the Pomeranian

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59.  1408: They told him not to stay.

60.  Blade II: Daddy isn’t such a nice guy

61.  From Hell: Johnny Depp as drug addict takes on Jack the Ripper. Abattoir is an understatement

62.  Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: I actually felt sorry for Kenneth Branagh for his folly

63.  Frankenstein (original): I always felt sorry for the monster when he tries to talk with the little girl

64.  Funny Games: Why are they wearing white gloves?

65.  Dead Birds: Crime doesn’t pay

66.  The Omen (original): Decapitation is never good

67.  Blair Witch Project: Original concept works as long as audience doesn’t leave thinking that it’s real

68.  End of Days: Gabriel Byrne as the Devil is very charming if you can get over that whole evil power thing

69.  What Lies Beneath: Harrison Ford plays against type as the unexpected bad buy

70.  Thirty Days of Night: Vampires everywhere and not a sunset anywhere

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71.  The Jacket: A cadaver drawer is not prescribed treatment for mental patients

72.  Creature from the Black Lagoon: I loved this movie when I was a kid

73.  The Sixth Sense: Psychological thriller that messes with your mind

74.  The Vanishing: That whole buried alive thing really bothers me

75.  Haunted: If she looks too good to be true, she probably is

76.  Silent Hill: The ashes should be the first clue.

77.  Dead Silence: Very creepy ventriloquist dummies

78.  Sleepy Hollow: Johnny Depp, hollow tree full of skulls, lots of blood

79.  Signs: Creepiest alien noises

80.  The Ghost of Mae-Nek (Thai): New couple buys old house; ghost included

81.  The Prophecy: Christopher Walken as an angel with jet black hair

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82.  The Hitcher(original): Why would anyone mistake Rutger Hauer for a safe passenger?

83.  Wind Chill: Don’t get lost in the snow

84.  The Mothman Prophecies: I’m scared, but I don’t know why

85.  Red Dragon: A tattooed Ralph Fiennes and Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter: great combo

86.  The Ruins: These plants are not for smoking.

87.  The Bad Seed: That is one scary little girl

88.  The Secret Window: Johnny Depp plays an eccentric who may be seeing things. Really?

89.  The Skeleton Key: Why doesn’t anyone ever pay attention to their best friend?

90.  House on the Haunted Hill: Whose party is this anyway?

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91.  Hannibal Rising: Serious childhood issues and brutal forms of retribution

92.  Salem’s Lot (the original): Floating dead kids at the window

93.  The Reaping: Lakes of blood, locusts. Time to go now

94.  Spirit Trap: Student housing certainly has changed

95.  Constantine: Unique use of the electric chair

96.  The Craft: More campy than scary, except for the snakes.

97.  American Psycho: Black humor, Christian Bale, lots of plastic, and a chainsaw

98.  Flatliners: Young interns play with life and death, and Kiefer Sutherland sees things that aren’t there

99.  Near Dark: Vampires in love. Very campy

100. Taking Lives: Ethan Hawke has an identity crisis, or two, or three

You sleep well now. Okay?

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More later. Peace.

“Imagination is More Important Than Knowledge” ~ Albert Einstein

“The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible.” – A. Einstein

“The eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility.” – A. Einstein

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Mona Lisa as Golden Ratio

I have always wished that I could appreciate the beauty of pure mathematics in the same way that brilliant mathematicians and physicists do. Truly. I was reminded of this last night when I watched a special on one of my lifelong heroes, Albert Einstein.

For people like Einstein, mathematics is art. Numbers on a page are akin to Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa.” In fact, the “Mona Lisa,” was painted based on a mathematical premise known as the Golden Ratio:

The Golden Ratio, also known as the Golden Number or the Golden Section, is defined as the ratio of the lengths of the two sides of any Golden Rectangle. That is, if you take a Golden Rectangle and divide the length by the height, you will have the Golden Ratio. Traditionally, mathematicians have denoted the Golden Ratio by the Greek letter phi (φ). (http://library.thinkquest.org/27890/goldenRatio2.html)

Leonardo da Vinci is regarded as a Renaissance man because of his integration of art and science. He is not only famous for his paintings and sculpture, but also for his drawings, such as “The Vitruvian Man,” as well as his sketches of a flying machine, a hang glider, and numerous studies of human anatomy, all based on mathematical and physical principles of angles, lines, arcs, and relational gravity.

Of course, da Vinci was predated by the Greek Archimedes, whose studies in mathematics and physics are thought to be the origins of pi as well as the principles of the lever. Archimedes was working around 250 B.C. in Sicily. Then, of course, following da Vinci, was Galileo, who was perhaps the first to posit that the laws of nature were dictated by math. In The Assayer, Galileo stated that “Philosophy is written in this grand book, the universe … It is written in the language of mathematics, and its characters are triangles, circles, and other geometric figures” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_Galilei).

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” – A. Einstein

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Yitruvian Man

But getting back to Einstein, this man spent almost a decade on his General Theory of Relativity (not to be confused with his theory of relativity), which he presented in 1916. This was the subject of the show that I watched last night. What I found the most amazing about the entire show was how this man with the beginnings of his wild hair would fill pages and pages with these long equations and know, just know that they were incorrect. But then I tried to relate his equations to words, and in a way it made sense to me. His numbers were a writer’s words. His numbers had their own elegance and truth for him. They were truth.

He could look at a page of numbers and see something larger. I can stare at a page of numbers, equations, and see absolutely nothing, I mean, absolutely nothing. That has always made me feel stupid: the way in which numbers come alive for some people. I know that it is a brain function thing: some people work with one side of their brain; other people work with the other side of their brain. And then there are some people, like da Vinci, who manage to tap into both sides of their brain and encompass all of it. That is what I have always been so jealous of: I want to tap into both sides of my brain. I want to work with words, and I want to see the beauty of numbers so that I can look at space and see not just the beauty of the stars, but also the beauty of reaching the stars.

“Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds.” – A. Einstein

I have read countless articles on how human beings only use a very small portion of their brain function, that scientists are always looking for ways to open up that untapped potential. It’s the stuff of sci-fi horror movies—The Manchurian Candidate and others, depositing information into that unused portion of the brain only to have it come alive at some later time, usually inconvenient to real life, but great for the plot line. But you know that there are individuals who have tapped into part of that potential. We have seen and heard about them all throughout time, and they have come from all walks of life: Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Alexander the Great, Dante, Beethoven, Einstein, Frank Lloyd Wright, Dorothea Lange, Le Corbusier, Bill Gates, Mozart, etc.

They are people who have achieved greatness in different fields for different reasons. I have only named a minute few. They have contributed in great ways and in horrible ways to our history because they have had the ability to see beyond the here and now. They have had the ability to tap into just that small part of their brains that most people use. They have melded the words with the numbers to put it into the crudest possible sense. In other words, they have touched greatness and changed the world and changed history.

Granted, Einstein was myopic when it came to his work. He had very little time for his family. He did, however pay attention to events around him. He was a pacifist, and he hated the events of WWI and the participation of colleagues of whom he had once greatly sought respect and admiration. He was very certain that his ideas were correct, so certain in fact, that he bartered for a divorce from his first wife on the condition that when he won the Nobel Prize, she could have the money if she would grant him a divorce. His biggest concern was getting what he wanted when he wanted it and being allowed to do as he wished. But no one who worked with him doubted his dedication or his genius.

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” – A. Einstein

worm-holeWhich takes us back to general relativity and one of my favorite concepts: an event horizon. Somehow, and don’t stick me on the particulars because I won’t even pretend to understand it all, when an object becomes sufficiently compact, general relativity predicts the formation of a black hole, a region of nothingness in space. In general relativity no material body can catch up with or overtake a light pulse. The study of spacetime is called global geometry.

Now, as I understand it, using global geometry, some boundaries can be identified, and these boundaries are called horizons, and a black hole is one of these horizons because it is cut off from the rest of space time (bear with me here, I think that I’m almost there). There are other types of horizons in the universe because the universe expands. Horizons from the past are called particle horizons and cannot be observed. Horizons from the future cannot be influenced and are called Event Horizons! I finally understand the term. I really do. How cool is that?

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science.” – A. Einstein

So while I look at a painting such as Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus” and I may not see the Golden Mean, and I cannot appreciate the culture of pi and the fact that people spend time trying to carry it out beyond a trillion digits or why this is important, I don’t discount the art involved in this pursuit. As to myself, I am gloriously appreciative of the fact that somehow I have come just a little bit closer to understanding the mathematical definition of what an Event Horizon is, although I know that in actuality, I probably haven’t.

I do know that space and time are on another dimension, one that I cannot comprehend, just as I cannot truly comprehend the space between quarks. The closest that I have ever come was how it was explained in the movie “The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai Across the 8th Dimension,” which made complete sense to me” . . . perhaps because it was visual and utterly nonsensical.

Ah well.  Just remember, “no matter where you go, there you are.” More later. Peace.