SFX’s team of Bloggers reveal what TV shows, films or books have scared the willies out of them. Moderated by Alasdair Stuart
The Horror! The Horror! The endless squamous, rugose, wibbly, sing songing horror!
That’s the thing about horror, different things work for different people. For some people it’s monster movies, for other's it’s J-Horror, or bodily subversion or maybe even a pizza-faced jumper enthusiast with a fondness for hats and knife claws. Horror is a broad church, filled with ’70s vicars trying to explain the plot to you but fear not! Some of the best ones approach even now and they're here to answer this week's blood-soaked, rocketed from the crypt question:
What one piece of horror, book, TV, film or comic,
has terrified you more than anything else?
(You have to imagine lightning and organ music here. You can’t here or see it, but it’s there.)
That said, I must add that I simply don’t watch horror films. It’s not my thing to scare myself, so I haven’t seen many scary movies. If a six-year-old can’t watch the movie alone in a dark basement, I’m most likely out. The same applies to horror books and comics and TV shows. I’m getting better about this, and silly horror (like zomcom) is completely okay – in fact I love that stuff – but the stuff that could happen in real life? Stalkers and serial killers and organ harvesters? No way. I’m gone. So, with my limited education, the only other film that came to mind here was Lady In White , which also scared me as a child, possibly nearly as much as Something Wicked This Way Comes . Of course, that’s probably because I really was always worried about being locked in the coatroom at school and because I probably haven’t seen a horror movie since, but that’s beside the point. It was scary!
The tale in question is played out via the first person perspective of a guy who has seemingly “woken up” paralysed on an autopsy table. Except he’s supremely aware of what’s going on, and as the doctors chat away above him and prepare for the mortuary mangling, he can do nothing but scream inside his own head and desperately try to signal that he’s still very much alive.
Far beyond your average ghostly spookiness or the shock and awe bombastic scares of Hollywood’s horrors, there’s a terrifying tension that all but dares you to turn the next page. It’s also a freakily possible nightmare; while the chances of a werewolf ripping my head off are hopefully pretty slim, a medical muck up that leaves you trapped inside your own head is infinitely more possible, and as a result, pants-soilingly petrifying.
My immediate thought upon reading this question was of the 2000AD horror/comedy strip Zombo by Al Ewing and Henry Flint. There’s a panel, just one single panel, several episodes into in the first series where one of our heroes, who have been caught by cannibals, begs the cannibals not to remove his last remaining limb. He’s already lost both legs and one arm to these cannibals’ hacksaws and their bizarre game of Twister (Left arm Red is given a whole new brutal meaning) and although the words he speaks are only a speech bubble on a page, I can imagine the pitiful sound of his pleading, of his utter helplessness. In and of itself the strip isn’t that scary but the thought of this character’s situation, of being caught and mutilated like this, totally trapped and at the mercy of crazy people is something that has kept me awake at night since the first time I read the story.
Writing about it now gives me an uneasy feeling. It’s the kind of thing that hides in the back of your mind and festers and then jumps out on you when you’re just dropping of to sleep at night. That’s what horror should be.
Alasdair Stuart : The Woman In Black , the old, posh ITV version. A young estate agent goes to an abandoned mansion to deal with its sale and, having clearly never read what horrible things happened to his colleague Mr Harker when he tried something similar in Transylvania, stays overnight.
What follows is the sort of gradual, escalating terror that you just can'’ quantify. I saw a stage version of it once, performed by two people who were so convincing when one petted an imaginary dog it was like the dog was there. This is a story about the gradual subsuming of life into tragedy, of a place curdled by the events in it and a ghost as tragic as she is brutal. It's classic, old-fashioned horror and I’m giddy about the remake, especially Daniel Radcliffe in the lead and a Jane Goldman script. I just may have to make sure I see it during the day...
So that’s our blood-soaked Blogbusters for Halloween week. Join us next week when our intrepid keyboard jockeys will hack into the 1990s cybernet, complete with CGI Jeff Fahey, and answer this question:
With Misfits back on our screens, what power would you want and why?
Orange jumpsuits on standby. See you next week