Small screen, big scares
This Friday the 13th, horror movies celebrate their success on the small screen.
Fright night Drew Barrymore gets the fright of her life in `Scream'
Twenty-five years ago on May 10, the first of the Friday the Thirteenth movies hit the screen. Directed by Sean S. Cunningham, it told the story of awful gory things happening at Camp Crystal Lake, which closed 20 years before when a little boy was drowned at the camp. Cut to the present, where cheerful and necessarily dumb teenagers decide to re-open the camp only to meet hideous grisly deaths.While everyone associates Jason Voorhees and his trademark hockey mask with the franchise, the killer in the first movie was Jason's mum taking revenge for letting her little boy die. In the series that followed - practically one every year right till the ninth episode Jason Goes to Hell in 1993 - Jason sliced and diced successive batches of silly teenagers with no sense of history.
Day of dread
The third Friday the 13th that was in 3-D was released on Friday the 13th - how cool is that? In the new millennium there was Jason X (2002) where the crazed serial killer is propelled 400 years into the future and in 2003 there was a face-off between movie monsters Jason and Freddie of the Nightmare on Elm Street series in Freddie Vs Jason.
Slasher flicks have a target audience and as long as they stay true to the template and work within the set parameters, they are assured of good business. In India, the last horror movie to have done well in theatres was M. Night Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense. Other movies including Shyamalan's much talked about, but intrinsically silly The Village, the bad taste Exorcist - The Beginning, the noisy Alien Vs Predator did not actually set the box office on fire.
While creature features always have an audience, horror films found another medium - cable television. As technology shrinks the world, we are all turning into our private little digital islands and our entertainment options amp up the isolation.
Where earlier one would go out for a meal and a movie, increasingly one sits at home watching telly and ordering a take away. In this scenario, your best friends are Jason, Freddie and company. Blair Witch Project, never made it to the theatres here.
The movie with no special effects, no stars and no semi-clad teenagers chilled to the bone and the many reruns on telly had its own particular cult following. The sequel to Blair Witch... Book of Shadows was also beamed on telly for all who needed to know the latest state of affairs in the little town near the Burkitsville woods.
The other thing about watching Blair Witch Project on the small screen is the excess of hand-held shots had people feeling rather queasy while watching on the big screen, this was negated on the small screen. Then one could watch all the delightfully camp Tales from the Crypt (with impossible names like Bordello of blood), the murderous Children of the Corn and the like. But if you got your popcorn and coke ready when you saw Carrie on the listings, you would have had a major letdown as the movie is not the Brian De Palma classic but some sad version of the Stephen King shocker.
`Baap' of horror
Psycho (both the Alfred Hitchcock version and the awful colour version) and its many sequels as well as the much talked about spider walk from The Exorcist reissue have been aired in all their semi-spooky glory. More camp in the form of Hellraiser and the murderous doll Chucky in the Child's Play series give horror movie addicts their regular fix.
Wes Craven, the creator of Nightmare on Elm Street, came up with the super hip Scream series, which had a killer who was a movie buff. Scream and Scream II have been shown on telly, as have the Scary Movie series. Scary Movie directed by Keenen Ivory Wayans pokes fun at genres conventions including Scream, Blair Witch Project and The Sixth Sense.You can giggle into the night with the silly brand of humour. Other movies riding on the nouveau horror wave like Urban Legend, and I Know What You Did Last Summer have been screened with unfailing regularity.
So what if there have been no horror films this Friday the thirteenth. You can create your own chills and spills as you dim the lights, munch that popcorn and surrender yourself to the delicious thrill of being scared out of your wits!
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