Northumberland Mall Theatres
Scared Stiff; Why are there scary movies? Why do we crave them? Odd as it sounds I think we find scary movies life-affirming:
Two scary movies open this Friday at Northumberland Theatres:
Monster's University is a horror film with training wheels, rated G, from Disney-Pixar, aimed at families and young children. Monsters U is a prequel to the 2001 film Monsters Inc. in which we met two rookie monsters - Mike and Sully - whose job it was to scare the bejeezus out of small children at bedtime. The city of Monstropolis is inhabited by monsters and powered by the screams of children in the human world. At the Monsters, Inc. factory, employees called "Scarers" venture into children's bedrooms to scare them and collect their screams, using closet doors as portals. This is considered a dangerous job since the monsters believe that children are toxic and touching them would be fatal. However, production is falling as children are becoming harder to scare. It's a cute premise and made for a lot of laughs in 2001. Now in the prequel Mike and Sully are at College learning the scare tactics that will hopefully fuel their career.
In Monsters U we can acknowledge that the fear children feel at bedtime is irrational. Look at these goofs! Why would anyone be afraid of them? More importantly in Monsters U children get to see that they have innate power. The monsters are terrified of them. We can look at fear and say "I'm the man!!!"
World War Z is a darker version of the horror genre. This one is the zombie apocalyse brought about by a viral pandemic that runs amok because of government ineptitude, black market organ trade, American isolationism and uncontrolled global refugee movements. WWZ is a 14-A scare-fest that contains plenty of xenophobia, stereotyping and political and theological commentary.
Most zombie films are low budget affairs and the zombies are usually oafish but inexorable. They just keep a'comin. World War Z is a very big budget movie. Very big budget. The world is it's stage. The effects are remarkable. The attention to detail incredible. Pundits say this one will need to sell $500 million in movie tickets to break even!
In World War Z Brad Pitt is a United Nations agent with insight into how to beat back the zombie horde and in the end everyone is taking direction from him. WWZ is an adaptation of a very popular novel written by Max Brooks in 2006 following his 2003 success with Zombie Survival Guide. The threat of pandemic destruction is an apocryphal fear.....the zombie horde merely the vehicle. Centuries ago it was the Mongol horde, the Hun. the barbarians.
Why are we drawn to these films? Why do we seek the thrill that only dread fear can deliver?
Is it not why we go too close to the edge at The Falls, why we do the Edgewalk at the CN Tower, why we bungee jump and free fall from airplanes? Why we drive too fast? At the movies we can face our greatest fears, experience the thrill of near-extinction, and not have to do anything but stay until the end to survive. We suspend our disbelief for the duration of the film and we go home unscathed. Legions in the film just watched may be mangled and maimed but we're still alive. It could be a kind of schadenfreude. We somehow take comfort from the pain of others, knowing that we are just fine.
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