Monday, February 6, 2017

Random Article: My History and Experience with Silent Horror

So, I debated about this blog post for a while now and only recently thought it important to discuss something about myself I'm sure you caught just by browsing around here without having to look too carefully. Around the right side of the blog, just below the main banner it says "A place for horror movie discussion, from the early 'Talkies' to last week," which is exactly what I wanted to clarify here.

You see, the thing is, I'm not a fan of silent movies, not even silent horror films.

However, there's an explanation for that, and much like how I got to be a horror fan it's a pretty unconventional one with a history and backstory to it all.

Now, as you can recall, it wasn't until the late 90's that I really started becoming a horror fan in earnest, and my mentality at that time was pretty simple: it really didn't matter to me where it came from, the history or significance of what I was watching, it was only important how entertained I was after it was over. Obviously, you're aware of the difference in quality in terms of production value and spectacle, but I found myself having fun with Action films of these varying qualities. This was incredibly important, for it taught me to give everything a chance so I could let the film itself sell me on its virtues and not have to rely on history, importance or whatever.

Well, once I started to get into Horror films from that point, that same philosophy carried over to them, and after Bride confirmed my interest I decided that I was going to watch films in the genre and started searching for everything. Eventually, I happened across all sorts of genre films, including silent horror films. That first one I saw was Nosferatu, the only problem was that I couldn't force myself to finish it and it was merely the fact I realized that there was only 15 minutes or so left on the airing to finish the movie which I struggled to finish. Afterwards, I naturally didn't think much of it.

Sometime later, I came across something potentially interesting: a back-to-back showing of The Phantom of the Opera and Haxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages which offered some potentially enjoyable viewing, but again both films weren't fun and proved to be utterly excruciating. Now, at the time that was off since I couldn't figure out why I found all three of these supposed classics to be an excruciating and painful experience.

Then it hit me: they were all SILENT!

There's a sense of familiarity with sound and dialog in films that's quite important to me in allowing myself to get immersed in the movies' universe and follow the story that's developing within. Being able to have that sound, not just the talking going on but hearing the steps ascending the stairs, the crash against the walls and the ambient noises in the environment around the characters helps me to feel as though I'm there with them in that scenario as an invisible observer, obviously unable to interact, communicate or transmit thoughts but going along for the ride, and that's an incredibly powerful aspect to help make these movies fun.

Silent films, on the other hand, don't offer that for me. It's a similar journey through the same situations, but there's no connection thereby not having those familiar elements at play and even bringing up a full-screen closed-captioning box to showcase what's being said instead of hearing it and being immersed in that reality. Instead, all you hear is piano music blaring throughout which isn't the same thing.

All in all, it's a reminder that the world I'm watching is blatantly faked.

Friday the 13th could happen to me. Nosferatu will not.

Now, let's not get confused by this statement. It's not that I don't think these are terribly-made films or anything. Quite to contrary, I think they're impressive and incredibly made films, with the special effects scenes in Haxan makes the movie all the better due to the day and age it was made. Those are the best parts of the film, but it's still quite apparent to me that I'm doing nothing more than watching special effects, not engaging in a potential real-life scenario.

So, for those of you who have stayed with me throughout all this, I hope you have understood my position about the subject and can understand it regarding them as for why they're not going to be covered here in this blog. While I will certainly acknowledge them whenever necessary, that will be all the mentions they get. I understand if you fail to see this and wholeheartedly love them, or even just appreciate them for what they did to our favorite genre, but I won't be covering them.