Did you Stare Right into the Fear?

By Jo Phillips

Do you love a good fright fest? Horror is not everybody’s cuppa, maybe you love the guts and gore the hairs standing up on the back of your neck, or maybe you are more of a fan of the style when either you never see the ‘baddie’ or you don’t see them until the end. Did you Stare right into the Fear?

Edge-of-the-seat stuff, villains monsters and baddies will often get their own way all through the film, but by the end, they tend to get their comeuppance. Sometimes we never even get to see what is causing all the trauma or we only get to see it right at the end. Horror films are there, of course, to produce intense reactions in viewers

Whether we glimpse something or never see it may be the most horrific thing is the untapped imagination we are driven to imagine which makes this style really excruciating and very popular. After all, sometimes less is more.

The Blair Witch Project 1999 

The first of the genre of ‘lost footage’ as a style. Also created on a shoestring budget by directors Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez. Although it is a fictional story of three student filmmakers, the actors did ‘live’ with the experience. Heather Donahue, Michael C. Williams, and Joshua Leonard hike into the Black Hills near Burkittsville, Maryland, in 1994 to film a documentary about a local myth known as the Blair Witch, out camping in the woods they have handheld cameras, shooting footage for in improved script.

The three disappear, but their equipment and footage are discovered a year later. The purportedly “found footage” is the movie the viewer sees. The evil entity is never revealed the films end with something happening causing the character to drop the camera and so the film ends.

Because of the tiny budget clever marketing was utilised to gain notoriety before the film opened to the public. The film’s official website launched in June, featuring faux police reports as well as “newsreel-style” interviews, and fielding questions about the “missing” students.

The found-footage technique received near-universal praise. Although this was not the first film to use it, the independent film was declared a milestone in film history due to its critical and box-office success.

 A Quiet Place 2018 

In an American post-apocalyptic world, a father and a mother struggle to survive and raise their children in a world inhabited by blind extraterrestrial creatures with an acute sense of hearing.

Sightless aliens with sharp hearing and impenetrable armour plating have taken over the planet and killed most of the human population. The Abbott family live on their isolated farm in the middle of a forest and has managed to survive by taking precautions such as laying sand paths to avoid stepping on crunching leaves and using American Sign Language when communicating.

One by one the family gets picked on by accidental sounds made from a childbirth incident and toy noise and even a hearing aid’s high pitch sound, but ultimately by using sound they do kill the creatures.

The film was directed by John Krasinski and written by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods and Krasinski, from a story conceived by Woods and Beck. It received good reviews and was respected for its use of sign language. Reviews stated, A Quiet Place artfully plays on elemental fears with a ruthlessly intelligent creature feature that’s as original as it is scary.

 Paranormal Activity 2007

This is another film that relies on ‘found footage’; a series of increasingly violent disturbances caused by some sort of evil presence is caught on static cameras. Homeowners Katie and Micah live in an average suburban home and try to capture evidence on tape of these disturbing events.

There is an iconic nighttime bedroom scene that led the marketing campaign but set Paranormal Activity apart from similar films by having an element of the impossible shown on camera.

The creature known as the Demon is never seen, its actions are it tramps footprints across the floor pulling bodies from beds and exhibiting brute feats of strength.

Vivarium 2019

Tom and Gemma, are a young couple looking for their perfect first home. A rather dodgy estate agent leaves them stranded after viewing a new build in what turns out to be labyrinthine development of identical houses. Lost and unable to escape they reluctantly begin to live there whilst raising a mysterious child that has been left on their doorstep. The cycle perpetuates as the child they raise orchestrates their deaths and takes the place of the real estate agent, with new couples coming in looking for a house.

The film serves as an extended metaphor for middle-class suburban life and is another example of the villain never making themselves known.

Hereditary 2018

Ari Aster’s first feature film brought pure, undiluted terror back to the horror genre with two hours of relentless tension, authentic scares, and a devious, hell-driven villain unlike any other. It follows a family haunted by a mysterious presence after the death of their secretive grandmother. The family consisting of mum dad and two kids live change drastically when one child is decapitated in a fluke accident.

The family attempts to commune with the child on the other side which leads to disturbing consequences at the hands of the demon Paimon, who manipulates and possesses the Grahams until their demise.

Paimon is only seen in the actions and utterances of the bewitched family members, as ‘it’ operates from the shadows.

For all you lovers of horror from the 24th to the 28th of August comes the Pigeon Shire FRIGHTFEST  festival in London held at Cineworld Leicester Square London and Empire Studio Screen. the opening treats are from Uk Europe and Global and are:-

SUITABLE FLESH (European Premiere)
Director: Joe Lynch. With: Heather Graham, Barbara Crampton, Bruce Davison, Johnathan Schaech. USA 2023. 100 mins.

THE DIVE (UK Premiere)
Director: Maximilian Erlenwein. With: Sophie Lowe, Louisa Krause. Germany 2023. 100 mins.

CHEAT (World Premiere)
Directors: Nick Psinakis, Kevin Ignatius. With: Corin Clay, Mick Thayer, Danielle Grotsky, April Clark. USA 2023. 85 mins.

Dubbed “the Woodstock of Gore” by director Guillermo Del Toro, FrightFest, set up in 2000, has grown in size and stature since its cult roots at the Prince Charles Cinema and today is internationally renowned for discovering exciting and original horror fantasy genre films and for supporting the talent behind them, helping to launch the careers of such directors as Simon Rumley, Christopher Smith, Eli Roth, Neil Marshall and Simon Hunter.

Booking and programme details are here at Frightfest.co.uk

If you enjoyed reading Did You Stare Right Into The Fear? then why not read Time To Book here

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