The personal blog of Robert Hardy:
Filmmaker, Musician, Writer
Now this one I should have some fun with. Horror is one of my favorite genres of film because it’s one of the most manipulative of the human psyche. Horror, when it’s done well, takes advantage of the imperfect human mind and manipulates the viewer into feelings and natural reactions that would typically be highly unlikely (perhaps impossible) in a real world context. The same can probably be said of many other genres of film, but horror undoubtedly takes the cake for most manipulative genre just by its unifying principle. Horror is meant to scare the shit out of you in one way or another, and filmmakers have gone about this in hundreds, if not thousands, of different ways through the years. However, most horror films fall short of that goal, at least in my case anyway, which leaves a select few films for me to choose from for today’s film challenge. There are classic choices like The Exorcist and The Shining (The Exorcist scared the shit out of me more than any other film), and then there are more modern choices like The Ring and El Orfanato (The Orphanage). And that’s not to discount any of the excellent Asian horror out there. A Tale of Two Sisters and Audition are two of my personal favorites from our neighbors in the East.
But my favorite horror film that I’ve seen to date is one that many people would not expect. It’s the film adaptation of the Stephen King short story, The Mist. It’s not really scary like any of the other movies on my list. There’s not crazy shit jumping out at you or possessed little girls or elevators full of blood. No, it’s scary for another reason altogether. What makes The Mist scary is not what happens to be in the mist (it’s actually kind of lame), but it’s what happens to the people trapped inside the grocery store that makes this horror masterpiece scary. As the good folk in the store begin to realize that modern civilization has perhaps crumbled in the matter of hours due to this mist, so does their sense of socially defined morality and logic. In that sense, The Mist serves more as a piece of social commentary on the state of human nature than it does as a horror film. What happens over the course of the two or three days that these people are trapped in the store is one of the most frightening things that I have ever seen. This hasty degradation from civilization to primitivity should make the viewer seriously question his or her beliefs about human nature, as well as their religious beliefs. The Mist also happens to have one of the most jarring endings that I’ve ever seen. And that’s my case for why The Mist is one of the scariest movies that I’ve ever seen, even though it’s not the scariest…