The girls shrieked one of those high-pitched, make-an-appointment-with-the-ear-doctor-to-make-sure-there-was-no-permanent-damage kind of shrieks. The kind that tells you you’re watching a scary movie with a couple of impressionable teenagers a few days before Halloween. And you live on the ground floor muuuuhahahahaha.
This particular film, if you want to call it that, was “Vacancy,” starring Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale. It’s charming family fare about a lovely young couple who learn the motel they’re staying in doubles as the set of a snuff film, and they’re the stars of the next movie in the series.
You know, the kind of movie you want to watch with impressionable teenage girls.
It’s not the worst horror movie I’ve ever seen, but definitely not the scariest.
Yes, I did ask myself (and my wife) whether this movie was too intense for the girls. This wasn’t exactly a Disney flick, and some of the violent scenes were pretty graphic. Aren’t they too young for this stuff?
Well, I saw John Carpenter’s “Halloween” in theaters when I was 9. I saw “Mother’s Day” and “An American Werewolf in London.” I was 15 when “A Nightmare on Elm Street” was released. Oh, and can’t forget “Dawn of the Dead.” Caught that on video back when video was new.
All before I should have been allowed to see R-rated movies without adult supervision.
Aside from messing me up for life, the movies did no lasting damage to my psyche.
So should I worry about the movies the girls are seeing?
Yes, for two reasons. First, I want to make sure they can handle the images being thrown at them. Second, and more importantly, the stuff being passed off as “scary” these days simply isn’t. There hasn’t been a really scary movie in theaters since “The Sixth Sense,” and even that isn’t scary once you realize what it’s about.
Now, the original “Halloween” was scary, and I had to explain that to the girls the other night. This movie was scary because it seemed so possible. There was nothing supernatural about it (until later movies devolved into a sort of self-parody). And even then, the notion that you could kill the bad guy and still have to fight him was fairly new to audiences.
Today’s scary movies aren’t scary. They’re gross. “Saw.” Please. They should change the name to “Saw that Already.” Look at “Vacancy” again and ask yourself, how original is a movie about an isolated motel where bad things happen? Anyone? Anyone? Hitchcock? Beuller? Frye?
I know, I’m being as snobby as the generation right before me, the people who think “Rosemary’s Baby” is a horror movie rather than (as I see it) a sure-fire cure for insomnia.
Whatever. The point is… okay, I have no point. It’s Halloween this week. To each his own chills.
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