I just finished watching THE POUGHKEEPSIE TAPES. Wow. Combined with my recent viewing of THEM, I confess that I am freaked the fuck out right now. So much so that I've decided to let my laundry sit in the basement dryer until tomorrow morning. There's no way I'm flirting with that darkness in my current state. I might wet myself.
I grew up on horror films, and while my genre palette has broadened as I've gotten older, I've never lost the desire to watch a movie that would Scare The Piss Out Of Me like movies used to do when I was six or seven years old (LET'S SCARE JESSICA TO DEATH, anyone?). But watching these two movies within a 48-hour span has spooked me in a way that I haven't been spooked in a long time. Different approaches to the genre, but both very effective and unsettling.
THEM is a pure shot of visceral terror, which opens with a bang, then gives us about ten minutes to relax. But then nighttime arrives and we're off and running for the rest of the film. I have to confess, I had a handful of moments where my suspension of disbelief got in the way (logistical things like well lit tunnels, etc.), but other than that, it had my pulse working double time.
As for THE POUGHKEEPSIE TAPES, I don't really know what to say. The present-day interviews are stagey to the point of distraction at times, but ultimately it added to the overall tone. This is a majorly accomplished work, one that is going to stick with me for a long time. I just hope it doesn't sneak its way into my dreams tonight, because I've been having bad enough nightmares on my own lately--or should I say stress dreams. One of my intense stress dreams combined with a POUGHKEEPSIE-inspired nightmare might push me over the edge completely. Spooky, spooky stuff.
As great as these films were to experience on a visceral level, they've also inspired me. I'm now seriously thinking about making this year's "Michael Tully No Budget 24p Feature" a straight shot of pure terror. I watched the original BLACK CHRISTMAS the other day, which reaffirmed my belief that to make a truly terrifying movie, there shouldn't be one laugh anywhere in sight. This isn't to disparage recent works like MURDER PARTY and BLOOD CAR, because both of those movies have different agendas and they're both really refreshing and great (seriously, you guys need to see both of them asap!). But one of my earliest goals as a creative person was to make a work that was absolutely t-e-r-r-i-f-y-i-n-g, and I feel like now might be the time to try it.
(Speaking of terrifying, yes, it's true, I cut off all my hair the other night. It's never been this short. No real reason, other than my recent disgust with myself in every way imaginable. I know how delusional and wacky that sounds--see the Britney Spears makeover--but I just felt like doing something very different from the way I'd been doing things lately. Or, in this case, for the previous fifteen years. Please don't laugh at me when you see me. It's already starting to feel normal after two days, though I still have a ways to go before it feels completely comfortable. It sure made tennis much less annoying this evening.)