“Saw” (2004)

Out of all of the movies that I have watched or am going to watch, this is one where the antagonist actually wins! Saw is a series that was started in 2004 that showed a dying man slowly killing the ungrateful people in the world. The movie starts with an introduction of the characters when they are chained in a bathroom by their leg on opposite sides of a room. There is a dead man laying in the middle of the floor with a gun in his hand and a bullet on the ground close to him. Lawrence, who is a doctor with a wife and a daughter, seems to not have such a good relationship with his family because he is always working and leaving the girls in the house. The other character in the room is Adam. In the beginning, viewers don’t really get a glimpse of who Adam is or where he came from. Viewers learn a lot more about Lawrence because of the excessive amount of flashbacks that end up leading to how he got in his situation. Lawrence leaves his house after his daughter says that the boogeyman was in her room. He reassures her that there is no such thing, before he leaves. A man dressed in a cloak then jumps out of Diana’s (the daughter) closet and takes over the house. The antagonist then ties Lawrence’s wife and daughter up and keeps them for Lawrence’s surprise. After a few hours in the bathroom, Adam and Lawrence seem to not have that much trust in each other because Jigsaw put them in there to kill each other. After further discovering, Lawrence finds a box inside of a wall that had a phone inside of it. The phone was unable to make calls, but others can call the phone. Anyways, the phone starts ringing and the call was from Lawrence’s house. With Lawrence’s wife on the other end, she tells him to not trust Adam and Adam actually knows who he is. Lawrence then questions Adam about how he knows his wife. Adam explains that he was being paid to take pictures of him by a man with a cut across his neck. The pictures were being requested by a former detective that got kicked off of the force after his partner died at the hands of Jigsaw, because he thought that Lawrence was the suspect. Adam knew that Lawrence wasn’t being truthful to his wife as well. Instead of going to his job at the hospital, Lawrence would go to hotels at night and have sex with his secretary. This draws the two further away from each other. The only resources that they have are hacksaws from a bag that also had the pictures that Adam took of Lawrence. After sitting there, Adam notices a picture right in front of him that has a man in his house during the time of night where Lawrence was out. Lawrence examines the picture and says that it was a man named Zep, who was a man that worked at the hospital. The mystery was uncovered and viewers now knew who the psychopath was. Then it was finally time for Zep to kill Lawrence’s wife and daughter. He calls the phone and has his wife Ali say that time was up. Little did Zep know, she managed to untie herself and fake having them tied. She then starts fighting with Zep, leading to many bullets ringing out in the house. This alerted the former detective who was watching Lawrence from across the street. He then runs over and fights Zep, leading to his death. This gives Ali and Diana time to run to a neighbors house and escape. Zep has no other choice but to go and kill Lawrence and Adam. He makes it there, but Lawrence had pretty much gone crazy and amputated his own leg, crawled to the gun, and shot Adam. Zep walks in the door of the bathroom and sees all of the chaos. He goes to finish off Lawrence but gets his leg grabbed by Adam. Adam then tackles him to the ground and smashes his head in with a sink. Lawrence then says he is going to get help and crawls out of the room. Now everyone is thinking, “amazing great happily ever after.” But there’s more. The man from before who was in the middle of the bathroom stands up and peels off a fake face to reveal the killer the entire time. The movie then shows the ultimate flashback on how this mess started. It shows how Zep was framed and forced to kill a daughter and wife or he will die from poison, and all of the other steps in order to completely do this the right way. The movie ends with Jigsaw leaving the dark bathroom with the sounds of Adam screaming.

To be completely honest, I wouldn’t necessarily call Saw “scary.” This movie did have scary parts to it, but these Saw movies deserve their own genre. The amounts of gore and crazy kills are unimaginable compared to other movies that I have watched. The movie overall sends a different message than the other one’s too, and that’s what I believe makes this movie more special. Instead of some random murderer killing helpless teens or random people, this guy is killing the ungrateful, selfish people in the world that have everything that a person could want, but doesn’t really care. I also enjoyed how the movie was very climactic at the end as opposed to the middle of the movie. It showed that a killer was still on the loose and builds up nicely to the sequel. After watching this movie, I would definitely want to see Saw 2 simply for closure on what happens after this movie. It makes the viewer ask questions, like “is Jigsaw going to die?” “What kind of crazy killing methods are going to be in the next movie?” And the fact that it leaves the audience questioning is the whole beauty of it. If the two men were able to escape and close the whole series right there, it wouldn’t have had that much of an impact on me than this ending. All in all, Saw was a good movie that featured some of the best kills that I have seen in this project and was a movie that made the viewer think that it was based on the kills, but then slipped in an amazing plot that no one was expecting.

The plot twist ending that rocked all audiences. (You might need to use Safari 🐼.)
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“Scream” (1996)

This next movie that I watched was one that I felt like I have seen one hundred times due to me watching the hilarious spoof Scary Movie. This movie was the complete opposite though. The first ever Scream movie made in 1996, was a mysterious horror movie that featured a group of friends being harassed my a masked killer who would call them on the phone. The movie starts with an introduction on how the killer acts. He calls a person that is alone in a house. He then says that he will murder them if they fail a horror movie trivia. Most of the time, the victims fail and they meet their demise at the hands of “ghostface.” The scene then cuts to a high school where the word around town is the death of their classmate. We then get to see all of the main characters in the movie, with the focus on Sidney Prescott, whose mother was brutally killed almost a year prior to this incident. Her and her four friends then try to survive the whole time while trying to uncover the mystery of who the killer is. The movie follows with many people who could be the suspect including, Billy, (Sidney’s boyfriend) the sherif of police and even Sidney’s father. After many deaths of the different characters in the movie, the numbers of possible killers dwindles down to only a few people. The closing scenes of the movie show the aftermath of a house party thrown by Stu, who is in this little friend group of Sidney. After being attacked in a car parked in front of the house, Sidney rushes into the front door of the house, with Stu and Randy helplessly following behind her. Before they could enter though, Sidney closes and locks the door after taking a gun from a deputy officer. She is at a point of panic where she will not be able to trust anyone but herself. This is until Bobby comes down the stairs with blood all over his stomach region. Sidney gives him the gun after he demands it in order for him to check outside. After letting Stu and Randy into the house, he shoots Randy in the chest and uncovers the big mystery that him and Stu were the killers the entire time. Billy reveals his motive being because of Sidney’s mother sleeping around and causing the divorce of his parents, with Stu’s motive being, and I quote from him, “peer pressure maaan!” The story makes its final end with the two killers being distracted and Sidney running away and pulling a trick from their own book. Sidney hides in a closet and calls Bobby on the phone. She then lures him closer to her, until she blasts out of the door in the full “Ghostface” costume, and impales him with an umbrella. She then shoots Stu to end their reign of terror. The movie ends with a wide shot of a news reporter going over the event that rocked the town.

This movie used many different Literary Devices that I was taught in English class this year believe it or not. The director, Wes Craven used foreshadowing and red herring in order to make this movie even scarier. Red herring refers to the action of misleading the viewer in order to hide the actual outcome. Craven uses red herring in two ways though. Red herring is used to throw, not only the person watching the movie off, but this method is also used in the movie when characters try to throw each other off of who the suspect could be. An example could be a video store scene at about 55 minutes into the movie, where Stu and Randy are having a dialogue. Stu tells Randy that the killer is probably Sidney’s dad when Randy brings up the possibility that Bobby is the killer. This puts another possible killer with a logical motive. The fact that this was a mystery movie shows how red herring was a really good thing to add on and the effectiveness it had on the characters. All in all, this movie would be really scary, but the problem was, I saw this movie so many times, most of the things that were happening were quite predictable and pretty obvious to me. Where other movies like The Shining, which I have never saw until this project, was much more suspenseful and scarier. Overall, this movie didn’t have as flashy kills as Friday the 13th, it came close to having as good as a plot as The Shining, but this movie sure was the most suspenseful that I have watched so far from this list I have chosen.

This is the scene that shows red herring in the ending parts of the movie. (Might have to use SafariπŸ˜€)
This is a scene that shows in the beginning of the movie who the killer could actually be. (Might have to use Safari πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘)
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“The Shining” (1980)

“Here’s Johnny,” is probably the most famous lines from said to be one of the best horror movies of the 80’s, The Shining. The Shining is a movie based off of a Stephen King novel by the same name. The movie takes place in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, where a family of three, Jack, Wendy and Danny are in search for a better life. The movie starts with a job interview to be a caregiver for the Overlook Hotel. Jack is quick to accept the offer even after being told that the previous caregiver experienced a form of cabin fever and murdered his wife and two daughters before turning a shotgun to himself. Before the family moves in we learn that the son, Danny has telepathic powers and can speak to others through his mind that have the same ability, and he can see into the future. Viewers also get more of an insight of what Jack was like as well and is described as a former alcoholic and a domestic abuser. A story is told throughout the movie of Jack dislocating his son’s shoulder. Over time, we see that Jack is slowly succumbing to the craziness of the hotel and is being forced into his bad habits of abuse and quick temper. In other words, Jack completely loses his mind and tries to kill his family. Before this though, viewers will see that the ghosts of the hotel start to mess with Danny before his father. After being told not to go into room 237 by the head chef who also has “The Shining” (the name of the telepathic power) Danny does it after being lured in by a ball. He goes to his parents with a ripped shirt and bruises on his neck, which gives Wendy the impression that Jack is going back to his old ways and is hurting Danny. When Jack goes into room 237 on the other hand, things do not go as good, because this is the part where Jack starts to go crazy. After that, comes the part that many people remember the movie from. The scene where Jack chases his wife and son with an axe and breaks down several doors to get to them. Danny luckily escapes to the outside of the hotel and make it to a maze where him and his mother walked before the winter came. Jack was following him though in an attempt to kill him. After being outsmarted by footprints, Jack will slowly die in the frozen maze and Danny and Wendy will drive away in a snow plow truck. Many would say that Jack became this way because he had the same powers that Danny did the whole time, but he wasn’t warned like Danny was, which made him more vulnerable and easier to manipulate.

This movie is probably one of the better horror movies on this list that I have seen before. I chose not to do a jump scare or a kill count for this movie, simply for the fact that that’s not what made it scary. The only reason why this movie was scary was because of director, Stanley Kubrick, and his visions on how the movie should be made. Kubrick didn’t stop filming until he got exactly what he wanted from the actors. An example would be Kubrick’s experiments with camera angles and lenses with the cameraman on various shots, like the steady tricycle follow shot through the main hallways of the hotel. These follow shots gave the people who were watching suspenseful shots with the only sound being the wheels transitioning from the hardwood floor, to the carpeting on the floor. With all of the sharp turns in the hallway that happened throughout the movie, a viewer would never expect the scene where Danny turns to see the two ghosts of the girls standing there menacingly. Something that I also saw differently was the actors in these movies compared to Halloween’s actors. The acting in this movie was much better and made the movie feel so much more real than other movies. At first glance, I would place the blame of this on the actors, but after doing further research, I found out the truth. The reason why these actors were so perfect and genuine with their parts is because of the time that they went through these scenes over and over again. The mental strain that these actors went through was probably unimaginable. After over 100 takes for some scenes, the actors were tired of doing it wrong so they forced themselves to do it right. Even the classic “Here’s Johnny” scene was amazing because whenever the actress who played Wendy got the scene wrong she would be verbally and emotionally abused until she was actually scared and terrified. After the experience of watching The Shining, I have learned some new things about these horror movies and that the key to these movies aren’t “which one has more blood, kills or jump scares.” And like many other things, these movies need more time to perfect. This means that after this, I will be looking into how long it took these movies to be made along with all of the other things I previously was looking for.

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The iconic “Here’s Johnny” scene from “The Shining”

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The incredible steady shot scene from Garrett Brown. This brought the audience so much suspense and made them jump every time the boy on the tricycle made a turn.

The Scene

“Halloween” (1978)

A well spent two hours it was watching the amazing movie Halloween. This movie was filled with a few jump scares (13 to be exact) and is to be considered a good amount for how short the movie is compared to the other ones I will be watching later on. This movie all started in 1963, when a little boy named Michael Myers, dressed in a clown costume murdered his older sister, Judith with a butcher knife. After being sent to a prison for fifteen years, Micheal escaped one day before Halloween. This somehow not alerting anyone besides Michaels doctor, Sam Loomis, who shows up later in the movie. Upon his arrival to his former town, Michael killed a mechanic and stole his uniform and a butcher knife. Throughout the movie, viewers focuses on the life of high school girl, Laurie Strode and her troubles with the cold blooded killer after Michael sees her delivering a package to his old house. The movie then shows various scenes of Michael stalking Laurie from afar in different places like school and in her home. The night of Halloween comes and Laurie is baby sitting two kids when Michael attacks her friend that is also baby sitting across the street. Her friend makes it to the house that Laurie is in and so does Michael. To make a long story short, Michael kills Laurie’s friend, but Laurie fights him off until Dr. Loomis shows up and enters the house. Loomis finds Michael upstairs and shoots him six times and sends Michael through a window, making him land on the ground below. After recovering from the intense fight with Michael, Loomis checks outside expecting Michaels lifeless body to be in the spot where he fell before, but comes to a surprise when Michael’s body had disappeared. The movie finally comes to an end at the sight of Laurie Strode crying after the traumatic event that just occurred.

When watching this movie, I took account and rewinded most of the time that I saw a jump scare part in order to find a pattern that director, John Carpenter might have made to emphasize the spookiness of the scene. Most of the jump scare parts included a playing of the Halloween theme music, or had the actors screaming in terror of Michael. I noticed that these methods were used more than one time in this movie, and the scream effect for example, was more effective sometimes than others because of different actors. There was a point in the movie where Michael scared the actress that played Laurie Strode, and the scream that she did, made the scene feel genuine and like she was actually scared, while there was another part in the movie where Michael did the same thing. As opposed to Jamie Lee Curtis’ reaction, another character in the movie, showed a typical scream that did not do a good enough job in letting the viewer how intense the part of the movie was. This also showed that this movie could have been a lot more scarier than it actually was. One thing that viewers need to take an account of when watching movies, is the differences in personalities and body language of the characters during these so-called “scary scenes.”

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Skip to 0:47 to see an example of a jump scare in 1978’s Halloween. (You might have to use Safari if Google does not work! πŸ™‚

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPSXZxia23k

The Plan

Hello internet world, I am Brandon, and one would say my passion is movies. Ever since I was a little child, I was always entertained by scary movies. The suspense and thrills that it gave me as a kid are the same as they are now. But recently, I have began to notice a depletion in the quality of these types of movies, as if they are not even made to be horror movies. It all started when I went out to the movies with a couple of friends and we were seeing the new horror movie Us. I never really looked at the trailers or anything, but I was told it was going to be a good movie. After sitting there for two hours, I realized that the movie that I paid $19 to watch was not worth it at all. I have figured that I should look into this problem in order to figure out what is going on with these movies. For this project, I will start by watching and analyzing a movie from the 1970s, and move up by decades all the way up to the 2010s. After watching all of the movies, I will present the differences and comparisons I have made from the movies. The order of the movies I will be watching starts with the 1978 classic, Halloween, then The Shining from 1980. After the analysis of both of those movies, I will watch Scream from 1996, then to the 2004 movie Saw. I will end the movie watching with the 2017 film It. I am doing this to provide closure and understand why and how horror movies change.

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