Guest Blog: The “Eeeee” Factor In Horror Movies – E A Draper

You know, I used to be more of a horror movie fan but with the release of movies such as “Saw”, “The Hostel”, and the re-release of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” I find myself yearning for the early days of my horror addiction, yearning for the days of “Frankenstein”, and “Dracula”, and “Friday the 13th”. I want to go back to the days when you would be scared out of your pants and jump at every noise when you went to bed that night and God help you if you forgot to close your closet door ‘cause there was no way you could sleep with it open and once that light was out you were pretty much stuck hiding under your covers all night.
Ahhh…those were the days.

When I was growing up some of the movies that scared me the most were the Freddie Kruger movies (up to number three because to be honest once you get past the third in any series it just gets silly) and movies like “It’s Alive”, and the first few Pinhead movies (that would be the “Hell Raiser” movies for all of you non-pinhead fans). Now, thinking over why I like these older horror movies with their “lame” (as some of my younger friends would call it) special effects, and why the more modern and more realistic films don’t appeal to me, was kind of a hard at first. So, to figure it all out I went back and viewed bits and pieces of these oldies but goodies. I even looked up snippets of Edgar Allen Poe’s classic “The Pit and the Pendulum” staring Vincent Price. Then I went and watched parts of “The Hostel”, “The Hills Have Eyes”, and “Saw I”. After watching nearly three hours of varying degrees of scariness I finally put my finger on what is was that made me yearn for the days of Jason and his scary white mask. Guess what it was? Well, since none of you are mind readers (or at least I don’t think you are…can’t read your minds) I will tell you.

It is the “eeeee” factor. What is this mysterious “eeeee” factor that I am basing my like or dislike of a movie on? Well, let me share with you this magic little noise that defines how good I think a movie is.

When I watch a horror movie I make varying sounds of shock and disbelief such as ahhh…ohhh…eeeee….ewww, and generally cower behind my hands (“Jeepers Creepers” was watched almost entirely behind my hands and consisted of me doing nothing but “eeeee”). The sound that I made the most, if it was a really scary movie, was “eeeee” so that is what I decided to call my rating system for horror movies. It’s simple, easy to use, and easily understood by all because, in my opinion, only a really scary, spooky, on the edge of your seat movie draws this noise from a person involuntarily. I mean, come on, it’s a horror movie and it’s supposed to make you want to nail all your windows and doors shut when it’s over. To me, it’s not a good horror movie if I am not “eeeeeing” a lot and watching it through my parted fingers. And that, my friends, is why I did not enjoy “Hostel” and the others. I simple found no “eeeee” factor to them (mostly I just went ewww). All I wanted to do was cover my mouth and close my eyes. There was no “ahhh…ohhh…eeeee…ewww” there was only “when is this movie going to end so my stomach will stop trying to exit my body.” Basically, I wasn’t really scared. Grossed out, yes, but not “looking under my bed” scared and “searching behind all my doors” scared.

Sigh. I feel so…old fashioned. What is a horror fan to do when so many horror movies are now produced along the lines of “Saw?” All I can say is “thank god for DVD’s.” At least I can watch my favorites on the player. Now, I don’t “poo poo” all modern horror movies. I actually like quite a few and will list some of them in with my favorites.

So, anyone else out there wishing for a little more “eeeee” and a little less “ewww”?

A few of my favorites

  • White Noise
  • Silent Hill
  • Christine
  • Any Edgar Allen Poe movies
  • The Evil Dead
  • Sean of the Dead
  • Resident Evil (all of them and yes…I know…very gory but uber cool moves by Alice)
  • Frankenstein
  • Almost any vampire movie (I’m a junkie what can I say)
  • Nightmare on Elm Street
  • Friday the 13th
  • Alien (shivers just typing it)
  • Hell Raiser
  • The House on Haunted Hill (1959 & 1999 versions)
  • Hot Fuzz
  • Van Helsing

———————————————————————–

E.A. Draper is the co-author of “God Wars” with her partner Mark Eller.
Visit her on the web at: www.eadraper.wordpress.com or download the
podcast The Hell Hole Tavern which features all three books in the “God
Wars” series as well as additional side stories at:
www.hellholetavern.com

5 thoughts on “Guest Blog: The “Eeeee” Factor In Horror Movies – E A Draper

  1. I agree with liking horror movies that have an eeeee factor and not just an ewww factor but I also like movies that have a little bit of both like Fright Night and Fright Night 2 and one good one that I just watched last week was the wolfman remake.

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  2. I definitely agree that, for me, today’s movies trend more towards ewww, than eeee, but sometimes I wonder if it’s more that we, as the audience, have changed and become less susceptible to the eeee?

    I was just writing about this a couple of days ago when I did a Dreadful Droplets post about the 37th anniversary of The Exorcist being released. At the time, it was deemed the scariest movie of all time and there were reports of audience members fainting, vomiting and even possibly miscarrying. Granted, I never saw the movie in the theater, but when I did get around to seeing it, I wasn’t impressed. It was a decent enough horror story, but it definitely didn’t make my Scariest Ever list.

    But then I started thinking about what movies WOULD make the scariest ever list for me and I realized that since I became an urban EMT back in the mid 1980’s, I can’t honestly say that any movie has really scared me. I can enjoy horror movies, I can appreciate the special effects or the gross out, and I can love or hate the storyline, but after all the real life horror, the movies just don’t touch those nerves any more.

    The best scariest list of movies (eee’s) I could come up with were all the ones that I saw before my EMS work…The original Friday the 13th with Kevin Bacon getting the arrow through his throat, Karen Black being terrorized by the Zulu doll in Trilogy of Terror and Jaws.

    So is it me? Is it all of us collectively, as a more jaded audience? Or the movies themselves?

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  3. You make a good point about being Jaded. Most of the horror films that I really loved and scared me I saw before the age of 15.

    After 15 I was into the eww factor in horror films and didn’t really get scared anymore. Now at the age of 39 I think I like horror movies for the nostalga factor and sometimes there so corny I get a laugh out of them.

    Anyway as you get older I think you end up seeing a lot of real life horror and the stuff on the screen just doesn’t seem to scare you anymore.

    Also as an adult you look at things differently then you did when you were a kid. Two movies that I remember seeing as a kid that scared me but I now think are just plain cheesy are Phantasam and The Amityville Horror.

    I still like them but there not scary anymore but that being said sometimes I can still read a good horror novel and get a good scare out of it. I think in a book when something scary happens you make a mental image in your head and that usually is much scarier then anything you would see on a movie screen.

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    • Ohhh…I really loved Ghost Ship!! That had just the right combo of ewww, eeeee, ahhh, and ohhh. Gives me tingles just thinking about it!! And the classic Wolfman was a good one too as well as the remake. And “Season of the Witch” is one I am uber excited to see. I almost can’t stand the wait! And it has one of my favorite actors in it as well…Nicholas Cage. Oh baby…he just gets sexier every year (him and Johnny Depp)

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