On a balmy weekend in June nearly seven years ago, I found this film The Fog while surfing channels. It is supposed to be scary so I watched in eagerness. I got to it after it had been on for about half an hour so it took me a while to understand who or what was going to spook me. Of course they made it easy by putting the name of the scare-element in the title.
So basically the Fog is following people around and killing them. And I was sitting alone in my living room, trying my best to imagine that the Fog was going to get me too. It didn’t happen. I mean how unpredictable are car breakdowns or phone lines going dead or people (very stupid ones) going out into the dark, menacing night with a lantern. You will get killed.
And there is no forgiving the unpalatability of actually seeing a ghost in a horror film. Why do they assume that people with bad make-up can pass off as ghosts? Who actually decides that this is what ghosts must look like? Is there a council out there that lays down guidelines on appropriate ghost look and behaviour?
In real life people usually get scared of things they sense but don’t actually see. So when I was following the trio in the Blair Witch Project, I knew anything could happen and I was excited. Well yes it’s a jungle and there are going to be animal sounds and weird shapes in the dark. I didn’t get scared out of my wits but at least they weren’t showing me women in white or men in black.
I guess it is mostly a case of to each her own ghost. I remember getting spooked by the T-Rex dinosaur in Jurassic Park when I saw the film as a kid. It was raining that night and I could swear I saw that slimy thing outside my bedroom window. Then there were the late night visits to the boarding school bathroom, made spookily-special by rustling trees and howling winds and the knowledge that like every other Convent yours was built on a graveyard too.
That was ages ago. Now there aren’t any imaginary beings outside my window or monsters under my bed. I have to try real hard to let well-intentioned horror flicks scare me. Perhaps the time has come to send a message across to those who care: Spirits of the world unite and spook me baby one more time.