Sunday, October 10, 2010

Thomas Meek's Top 5 "Scary" Movies

Mr. Thomas Meek
providing a photo with what
he referred to as a ... "suave" look.
THE FUTURIST! thinks it reminds him
of what a worm sees before a house wren
devours it whole.

Last SHOCKtober, THE FUTURIST! featured a myriad of fantastically frightening lists of Top 5 scary films by guest contributors. This Scare Season, THE FUTURIST! wishes to continue the tradition in the same AND a different way.

This Top 5 List has been created by Thomas Meek of Great Britain. Thomas is a Scot by birth according to the data he supplied to THE FUTURIST!, but for some reason he migrated to the environs of Dickens, Trollope and Jack the Ripper. Thomas came to THE FUTURIST!'s attention through the auspices of David Quin (whose name has arisen in other posts on this blog, as well as on the Scotland police blotter.) Mr. Quin and Mr. Meek partnered on this past Summer's Free Ed Podcast which was an interview show of sorts featuring performers from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. THE FUTURIST! listened to all of the podcasts. They started off totally incomprehensible and got progressively more incomprehensible to the point that THE FUTURIST! hired a dialect coach from the Utter Despair Community College to sit with him during his listening sessions. The coach helped a bit, but mostly drank THE FUTURIST!'s gin and ate his olives. All honesty aside, the podcasts did get better and reached an apex of ego inflation for THE FUTURIST! due to his name being mentioned in the last broadcast. THE FUTURIST! felt the best times were when the boys talked to each other in their unrehearsed way and not when they spoke to their guests. That of course was not the point of the podcast, but who cares? Funny is funny. The best is the unexpected.

Thomas seems to be he more "put together" of the two. More well-scrubbed and is one of those type of individuals that does justice to an argyle sweater vest. THE FUTURIST! has no idea what Thomas does for a living, but he occasionally writes jokes like these:

I want to make a joke exactly 30 seconds from now,
but I'm worried it might be too soon.

Worried that my jokes are too inaccessible.
I mean, they're all about wheelchair users

Richard Gere earns a lot of money for a Buddhist.
It's an embarrassment of Rich's

I don't like to discuss my computer. It's personal.

New sitcom idea about a sentient typewriter. It writes itself.

This hotel receptionist is really into me.
She's totally checking me out.

Thomas has been kind enough to supply THE FUTURIST! with this lovely list. It contains profanity, but is very well written and is very involved. IT is not a conventional scary movie list, but you'll get the point. The work put into it is much appreciated.

Thomas, THE FUTURIST! loves you.

(there is a preface written by Mr. Meek)

I should preface this list with an admission – I don't really watch scary movies. Or watch scary TV shows (Twilight Zone and Eerie Indiana aside, but my reasons for watching them have nothing to do with terrors – more comedy and curiosity). I really just don't indulge in any activities that can be qualified as frightening in any true sense.

Not that I'm a wimp or a child (I have 23 unsatisfied years to my name), I just find it very hard to be entertained by something that's main purpose is to provide some cathartic glimpse into the fears that prick each person's soul, yet seem to have no relevance for me.

I don't fear zombies, I don't fear ghosts, I don't fear vampires; they don't exist. And I don't fear serial killers, psychopathic axe welders, nor being impregnated by the devil; these events are rare and isolated.

That said, there are films I do find terrifying. Though you're not likely to find these films in the horror section of any Global Video. The things that scare me on screen are the things that scare me in real life. And these five films provide a glimpse into what erects my nips.

This is the obvious place to start, and truly one of the most terrifying situations brought to life on screen. There is a boy. He is at home. He is at home, alone. Without parents or family or any responsible guardian of any sort (I don't count old, black and white gangster films). And this boy, who is both at home and alone, is being preyed upon by two ruthless, if incompetent, fully grown criminals. This is a horrifying position for anyone to be in, but for a child, who must be at most eight-years-old (the film may clarify this, I am unsure – I'm too scared to watch it again) it is unimaginable and grotesque. These men seem to just have material goods on their mind, but their pursuit is relentless and, for a fevered young mind such as mine, the violation of the childhood home – this womblike sanctuary of family and love – is more horrendous than any ghoul or goblin. And these men are criminals! Their morals are made clear to be lacking by the admittedly tight script, and who knows what more they could have violated. And one of them is fucking Joe Pesci! An actual mother tossing gangster who shoots people in the foot for no real reason. Home Alone is not a fun family comedy. It is a childhood nightmare of invasion, with the real potential of rape, pain and death glossed over with some pratfalls and tins of paint.

I mainly choose this film from my (very) masculine perspective. In that, it unrealistically raises the expectations of what women can expect from men. To express genuine devotional love to a female companion whilst still alive is a tough ask for any man, but to do so whilst buried six feet underground with a brain full of tumour is, at best, bloody impossible. Yet, this is the actual, proper, genuine premise for this romantic horror. Nothing I do, no matter how real and personal it is, will ever match Gerard 'him?' Butler doing a stupid dance while taking off his underwear then getting all ill and moaning about it then leaving some stupid, sodding letter about life and possibilities and moving on in some shed in Ireland for Hilary 'her?' Swank to find and realise stuff as her big droopy, wet face gets even droopier and wet. The horror! I've bought lollipops for people who can't eat chocolate!!! Where's my prize? Where's my 2 hour shit film? Where's my blow job from a droopy-faced Oscar winning actress?!?! People with brain tumours and the ability to write sentimental balls are the luckiest people alive! Though not for much longer. Natch. The film also has Camera Obscura on the soundtrack. This is terrifying too in that such an amazing band would let such an obviously terrible film make use of its music.

This film has two of my most feared things of all time – sentient machines and giant babies. Thus its place on the list. I'd also rank this in my top five films of all time, as it also beautiful, graceful and poignant in a way only true masterworks of art are, but damn, that baby is giant! And with the big old eyes! And its foetal curve – you can see its hideous spine contracting into that terrifying, uncomfortable shape as the links form bumps through the skin, reminding of a thousand pictures of the holocaust and groups of starving Jews, skeletons protruding and eyes pleading. Horrible. The sentient machine part is also absurdly chilling, but in a genuine, purposeful way that other people have covered far better than I could. It is horrible though isn't it?

Similarly to 2001, The Graduate would also be in my top five movies of all time. In fact, it'd be there sitting pretty at number one, urinating on all beneath it as Revolutionary Road and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Cyrstal Skull drown in piss at the very bottom. For it is immaculate, and heartbreaking. And absolutely terrifying beyond any other fear portrayed on celluloid. For it is the scare that makes this movie. And that scare is that there is no such thing as a happy ending. If you haven't seen this movie, stop doing everything and just watch it by any means. Usually just buying the DVD is okay, but you can get a time machine and travel back in time and watch it at the cinema if you must, or get Dustin Hoffman et al to recreate each individual scene for you in front of your ungrateful eyes. But he probably wouldn't do that. He has his limits. For those who have seen it though, those final 30 seconds are as spine-chilling and nerve-tingling as any knife in the throat or wail in the night. Hoffman has got the girl. But he has ruined the lives of two families. And he is not sure if he has made the right choice. Decisions are terrifying. Knowing one of your decisions has made someone else unhappy is terrifying. Knowing one of your decisions has made yourself unhappy, with no way to get out, is nail-biting, sofa-hiding stuff. We like to seek our happy ending, but when we make the decision that seems to make that happen and we're still unhappy, that is the stuff that keeps us awake at night. The Graduate is the closest a film has ever got to realising our deepest fear – being unhappy and not having a clue how to change that feeling.

I've not actually seen this film, but I've read about it and that was enough to give me the willies. This is a film about evolution. Denouncing evolution that is, with claims that belief in this 'theory' was, in part, to blame for the holocaust. Standard stuff from batshit insane right-wing middle-America? Well, yes. But the terrifying thing about Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed is who made it. For the co-writer and star of this (probable) crapathon is Ben Stein, aka the teacher in Ferris Beuller's Day Off. You know, the one who goes 'Bueller? Bueller?' for ages and its hilarious. And he's also done voices in Animaniacs and Fairly Odd Parents and other great stuff. Yet he's a fucking mental! A man, so once beloved, who offers one of the best moments in a movie packed full of amazing moments, is responsible for such deranged toss. That's far more scary and distressing than any secluded log cabin.


Thomas said...

There are some missing colons in the third paragraph of my preface!!!! After 'vampires' and the line about being impregnated by the devil.

Dara said...

Good stuff. Well written. Home Alone is a scary thought. Also, "womblike"!



THE FUTURIST! has corrected your colon distress.


The lists all started with the Gentleman of Leisure last October. Good stuff has flowed ever since.

Dara said...

For the venerable Mr. Meek: