News Column

Odessa American, Texas, Nathaniel Miller column

October 31, 2013


Oct. 31--There's something about being scared to death that makes us feel so alive.

If you think that statement isn't true, you should probably take a look at how many horror and slasher films there really are.

Just this month there was a remake of "Carrie," which was originally released in 1976 and directed by Brian De Palma (of "Scarface" fame) and starred Sissy Spacek.

In fact, Hollywood just takes out the whole "being creative" thing and throws it out the window. John Carpenter's "Halloween" and Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho" are two examples of movies that received an updated version, and both were terrible films in their own rights.

People have probably seen a few Wes Craven films, which includes the "Scream" movies, "Red Eye" with the always lovely Rachel McAdams and, of course, "The Last House on the Left" and "The Hills Have Eyes."

In the past 20 years, video games have become a great platform for horror stories as well.

The Resident Evil series, which started as a horror story about zombies and slowly moved away from the genre, used to focus heavily on tight spaces, very little ammo and limited health. Occasionally, things would pop out of random doors or windows that would require the occasional pants change.

But the question is, why do we continue to support things that we know are going to scare us?

An article by Science Daily states one of the reasons people like scary movies is because "they are willing to endure the terror in order to enjoy a euphoric sense of relief at the end."

Basically, the idea is similar to marriage: It's all waiting until the end.

The master of horror himself, Stephen King, once wrote an essay on why people seek out being scared, saying "we're all mentally ill; those of us outside the asylums only hide it a little better."

So that begs the question: What is the scariest movie of all time?

Everyone is going to have their opinions. Some people think the "torture porn" scene is the scariest while many people prefer suspense.

For me, the scariest movie I've ever seen happens to be a 1995 film that had Clint Eastwood in it.

"The Bridges of Madison County" had Eastwood star as Robert Kincaid, a photographer shooting photos for National Geographic when he begins a four-day affair with Francesca Johnson, played by Meryl Streep.

While many classify the movie, incorrectly, as a romance, many fail to see the true horror of the film. That it has Eastwood starring as a soft pile of mud instead of the tough demeanor we're all familiar with.

So while many people watch horror movies because of the "pain is pleasure" theory, I believe that no film strikes horror into the hearts of people more than "The Bridges of Madison County."

If you don't believe, check it out for yourselves. If you dare.

--Contact Nathaniel Miller on twitter at @OAgovernment, on Facebook at OA Nathaniel Miller or call 432-333-7769


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