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Naturalistic horror movies

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Jun-21-2012 5:47 PM

There are a few films that I was thinking about as totally naturalistic horror movies, but would that be a fair way to title some of them? The ones that come to mind are: Straw Dogs Targets (1968) The Incident (1967) Texas Chainsaw Massacre In Cold Blood See No Evil Last House on the Left Martin My question is: would you consider Straw Dogs or Targets horror films? If not, what makes TCM horror and Straw Dogs "thriller" or "suspense" or what not? All of these movies have moments that make me feel dread and/or fear in a very similar way. But is the difference, if any, in the amount of violence or violent acts on screen? And on a side note, does the lack of supernatural elements make a movie less as horror movie for you?

23 Responses to Naturalistic horror movies

Pvt. Harrell

Jun-21-2012 6:12 PM

Good question. I think it's a extremely hard line to draw. A horror film can be thrilling and a thriller can be horrible. Ultimately you would say, Straw Dogs for instance, is both a horror film and a thriller. It's exciting and at the same time horrifying.

David 1

Jun-21-2012 6:15 PM

Have you ever watched: A serbian film The girl next door Incubus [1984 i think... not the one with Shatner] Jacobs Ladder

[b]Ask nothing from no one. Demand nothing from no one. Expect nothing from no one.[/b]


Jun-21-2012 6:31 PM

naturallistic to me would also include supernatural but only if the story was believable and then the horror becomes more dread, because you can relate to it. the hitcher - the bedroom scene the space jockey - because I couldn't imagine it but yet it seemed alien to catch a killer - about john wayne gacy gorky park - moscow murders and the reconstruction of a face with maggots the pact - when you reallise its not about ghosts blow up - when a photographer takes an innocent picture of a park in daytime but the picture has disturbing details hidden in its trees and bushes


Jun-21-2012 6:35 PM

Is Incubus the one with Sam Neil and Isabelle Adjani? If so, now that was horrifying. I think that may have been called Possession, too. Jacob's Ladder I thought at least played with our sense of the supernatural. At least there was the possibility of demonic forces throughout. Good movie, but one that for me was a great mindf**k intentionally playing with genres. Oh god, The Girl Next Door. Yes, definitely belongs on the list. Haven't thought about that one in awhile, maybe because it was more disturbing than any on my list! That one has such a sadness to it that is more unbearable than the horror. Haven't seen A Serbian Film. So David 1 and Pvt. Harrel, do you think names such as thriller/suspense/horror do more to confuse horrible/dread inducing movies set in the "natural" world? I ask this because I think something like Straw Dogs gets more respect from many than something like the original Hills Have Eyes, mainly because one is "drama thriller" and the other is "horror".


Jun-21-2012 6:37 PM

Hey fishkettlebanana I just recited a line from Gorky Park like an hour ago....


Jun-21-2012 6:38 PM

Gorky Park! Lee Marvin was scary as hell in that movie. Excellent flick.

David 1

Jun-21-2012 6:49 PM

here you go for Incubus: it's with John Cassavetes. As to Jacob's Ladder it's really an essay about the use of drugs in soldiers during the Vietnam. A sad movie btw. If you've seen the girl next door, A serbian film is 100 times more shoking [be forwarned 'cause it IS SHOKING] For me an horror flick is much more "horrific" if it has a whole lot of thriller side to it. One kind of movies that I really can't enjoy is the teen horror movies such as Screams, Jeepers Creepers and the like. Also, "slachers" like Friday the 13th and the like... mehh... not my type really. I guess the more supernatural [and I really mean EXORCIST, not the vampire trend nowadays] the merrier, since there really is no definitive explanation for it. And that is the Thriller side. A lot of hypotesis, little real answers.

[b]Ask nothing from no one. Demand nothing from no one. Expect nothing from no one.[/b]


Jun-21-2012 6:54 PM

One of my favorite all time horror films is The Wicker Man (original). There is an element of the supernatural that is hinted at all the way through the film, but I think it is the sense of hopelessness of Woodward's character that creates the horror and without the need for any gore effects. I think it is the way brutality is portrayed that imo puts the label of horror onto a film. I think Ken Russell's, The Devils is a good example of that.


Jun-21-2012 6:56 PM

Thx, David 1. I had no idea Cassavetes ever did another horror film after The Fury and Rosemary's Baby! I will check this out. I'll probably wait a bit before A Serbian Film. Lately, I've preferred the supernatural just because I find some of the more "naturalistic" ones a bit too dreadful, another reason for my post. In a way, the supernatural adds a level of comfort.


Jun-21-2012 7:01 PM

Batchpool, interesting. So Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Last House on the Left are far more relentless in their depictions of brutality. Is it also because there is a sense of hopelessness for the characters? In Targets and Straw Dogs, there is a sense of victory for the protagonists to a certain extent, whereas in TCM and LHOL, the characters may fight back but are just lucky to get out. So would that make The Devils as horror movie? No hope at all in that one!

David 1

Jun-21-2012 7:05 PM

dallas: the thing in "a Serbian film" is that besides being shoking for it's content, it's when you realize that those kinds of utterly despicable things do happen more often than one might guess. That's the real nature of the it's shocking value. As to THE INCUBUS, CassaVetes reminds me of Al Pacino... or is it the other way 'round? It has a sub-narrative to it. Try to guess it while watching. And you are quite right if by "naturalistic" you mean "things that do tend to occur in society". Those kinds of things are horrible in their own way [and with thematic music they tend to get even more creepy].

[b]Ask nothing from no one. Demand nothing from no one. Expect nothing from no one.[/b]


Jun-21-2012 7:13 PM

@ dallas!dallas! I felt the first time I watched The Devils, the hope element was in hoping that the main character would have the opt for a quick death, but then again that is the point of the film and the inquisitors. Out of interest would you class Misery as a thriller or a horror. I think the book was definitely horror as it went into the main characters feelings about pain.


Jun-21-2012 7:14 PM

David 1 It's the other way around. Cassavetes was doing his thing way before Pacino. I've been a fan of his ever since Dirty Dozen. --re: Serbian Film, Yes, same with Girl Next Door. From what I have read, there isn't much exxagerration in that flick.


Jun-21-2012 7:18 PM

@ Batchpool Misery. Hmmm. I think I would only classify the movie Misery as thriller because Rob Reiner added a lot of humor. Take out some of the black humor and I would be as confused about the horror/thriller label as I am with Straw Dogs and Targets. I never once laughed while reading the book. But the movie had intentionally funny parts, I think, and I did laugh.


Jun-21-2012 7:34 PM

The more I think about this one the more I feel that the label horror is more suited to films that have a supernatural element or an unknown element that is going to provide a bit of blood and guts gore. I think Phantasm and Outpost fit pretty well into that description. @ David 1 imo Jacobs Ladder is one on its own, brilliant film. All sorts of elements at play in that one.

David 1

Jun-21-2012 7:43 PM

Batchpool: I agree. And very underrated.

[b]Ask nothing from no one. Demand nothing from no one. Expect nothing from no one.[/b]


Jun-21-2012 7:51 PM

Batchpool, I think that is where I am ultimately going with my question, even if i didn't realize it at first. Does a movie have to have something in it that even hints as supernatural, even if the end shows otherwise, to be called horror? Even Psycho has something weird on the first viewing--just what is this mother, wait, she's dead? Is she some kind of ghost? The original Halloween has the Shape as something that appears human but in the end is clearly more. Texas Chainsaw . . . we just don't know what is happening for most of the movie, totally disorients you. But Straw Dogs or Targets do not have the same kind of just plain wtf? (in a good way) feel. But I am just riffing. I could be totally off on this.

David 1

Jun-21-2012 7:57 PM

Dallas: Your point of view is always good to read. It's good to read diferent perspectives from doferent people and keep an open mind [something very dificult nowadays]. Don't be afraid to express your opinions and points of view. It's a healthy thing

[b]Ask nothing from no one. Demand nothing from no one. Expect nothing from no one.[/b]


Jun-21-2012 8:05 PM

Thx David 1. My blustering sometimes gets the better of me!


Jun-24-2012 4:22 AM

realistic? faces of death


Jun-29-2012 1:27 AM

Jacob's Ladder. That was a good movie. Freaked me out. Last House on the Left. Very good movie. I only saw the remake. I suppose Saw doesn't qualify. Not so natural a situation. Not that I like that genre or those movies. Well, I liked the first one, then couldn't watch the rest of them. Friday the 13th, before Jason became a zombie in the second movie and following movies.


Jun-29-2012 1:28 AM

The original Hitcher was great.


Jun-30-2012 12:36 AM

Nope, I'm not able to enjoy humans vs humans horror movies personally. I always LOVE horror movies than involve a monster/alien/etc.

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