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Scary Monsters and Super Freaks…

D’you know what would have been scarier than nothing?

What?

Anything!

– Bart and Lisa discuss Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven, The Simpsons

The week before last, in reviewing Insidious, I made the observation that director James Wan made the mistake of “showing too much” in his horror film, and that movie itself suffered because it didn’t show any restraint in how it handled its creatures and monsters. The always wonderful Justin, in fairness, called me on my assertion correctly – who ever stated it was a rule that horror films can show too much? Surely it’s possible to show as much of something as you might want, provided you have enough talent and skill to do it well? Surely showing too much only becomes a problem when you aren’t skilled enough to deliver something genuinely terrifying?

Or is it something more primal? Is what you don’t see scarier?

Do I have a point?

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When Was the Last Time a Horror Film Gave You Nightmares?

We had a family outing at the weekend. We all went to see The Last Exorcism, on the recommendation of my gran. We were pretty much all disappointed, but to different degrees. Anyway, as we sat around the kitchen table at midnight, discussing the film, my gran and my aunt conceded that whenever they typically saw a film about demons, they had trouble sleeping – even the camp horror of The Devil Rides Through or the courtroom-focused drama of The Exorcism of Emily Rose. However, neither would have any real trouble sleeping that night (and, the following morning, both seemed perfectly rested). So it got me thinking, perhaps the perfect measure of a horror movie’s effectiveness is how afraid it makes you as you lay yourself down to rest. So, when was the last time you had trouble sleeping?

A stab in the dark...

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