Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Breaking Emotions: Fear & Awkward

So, the other day I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a blog I was unfamiliar with, Mettel Ray, and I just so happened to see that she was starting a blogathon that peaked my interest almost immediately.  Breaking Emotions is the blogathon, and basically what happens is that every Monday two emotions are given and we (the bloggers) are asked to come up with three scenes in film that bring those emotions to mind.  It’s a great concept, and it leads the way for lots of different takes on the emotions and what they mean to each individual blogger.

So, without further ado…here is my take on this week’s assignment:

While thinking of this particular ‘emotion’, I was wondering how I was going to work this out.  I don’t get scared very often, and I didn’t watch horror films as a kid (my parents were VERY protective) so I didn’t have the opportunity to get really scared.  I tend to shy away from films about ghosts and demons and shit like that because, well, I just don’t care for those kinds of movies (I still haven’t seen ‘The Exorcist’) but slasher films/serial killer movies are so overdone these days that the thrills and chills are VERY sparse.  I then thought of those few times in my life where sleeping was very hard for me, because for me THAT is real fear (when you are constantly starring at your bedroom door because you just KNOW that something terrible is going to happen to you). 

I narrowed it down to three that mark the near three decades of my life.

I want to give a shout out to the three films/scenes that ALMOST made it but were eventually scrapped either because they were already used or because there wasn’t room.  The scene in ‘Alien’ that was mentioned by ‘The Cinematic Corner’ was a traumatizing experience for me when I was about ten.  I still remember spending the night at my grandparents’ house and watching it, alone in their basement, while they were sleeping.  ‘Rambling Film’ mentioned the TV crawling scene from ‘The Ring’ and YES, that movie actually made me want to stay away from watching movies for a while.  I seriously became paranoid that I was going to die BECAUSE I watched ‘The Ring’.

Just missing my final three was the bathtub confessional scene in ‘The Cell’.  That movie is a total mindfuck, but watching Vincent D’Onofrio carve up that poor woman while JLo asked him probing questions was the icing on the sadistic cake.

With all that said, here are my top three:

3) The Strangers

For the sake of spoilers, I'll leave it at a picture...
This is the more recent example of pure fear that I’ve felt, representing fear in my twenties.  I watched this film at about 1 in the morning while my wife slept next to me (she hates horror movies) and so the film was turned low and I was paying extra attention and every time one of those masks walked by my heart sank.  There were a few scenes that had me feeling pure anxiety, but the film’s finale, for me, epitomized my fear.  Knowing that there was no happy ending and no rhyme or reason for the crime hit me like a ton of bricks.  I hate when things don’t make sense, when I can’t reason it out, because it leaves my mind to fester and panic and try and try to make sense of it all.  So, needless to say, I spent the rest of my night staring at my bedroom door watching for a glimpse of those fucking masks and praying that my shotgun was actually loaded.

2) The Shining

When I was a teenager, a friend of mine introduced me to Stephen King.  I still haven’t embraced him (especially since cinematically his films look pretty dumb) but there have been a few that have succeeded in winning me over.  ‘The Shining’ was one of them, thanks in large part to Kubrick’s sensibly detached direction (fuck you Cronenberg) and Nicholson’s brilliantly unhinged performance.  The ‘Here’s Johnny’ moment terrified me, and still shakes me when watching it today.  That particular scene had me shaking like a wet dog when I was about fourteen.  Jack’s face, wedged between those wooden shards, sent me into a panic.  In fact, I remember seeing a picture of it in a magazine about a year after seeing the film and getting sweaty palms (no joke).

1) Psycho

This may seem obvious, but I was TERRIFIED to take a shower for at least a year after seeing this.  Doesn’t help that I saw it when I was eight and then watched it PERFORMED at MGM Studios in Florida (at a special Hitchcock exibit).  I made my younger sister sit in the bathroom with me while I showered, I was that paranoid, and it even led to difficultly going on vacation because hotel rooms sent me into hysterics.  I’m not joking either.  My poor parents would have to give me Tylenol PM to get me drowsy enough to fall asleep so that they could go to sleep.  Vacations were HELL.  Damn you Hitch, DAMN YOU!!!

This was even harder to come up with because awkward is not something I feel very often while watching a movie.  I love film, all film, and so there aren’t many times where I’m embarrassed to see anything.  BUT, there have been a few times when I did feel uncomfortable for one reason or another, and so what I did was come up with three films that caused me to feel a different shade of ‘awkward’…

3) Les Miserables

There were a few times while watching Les Miserables in a packed theater on Christmas morning that I felt embarrassed.  The first didn’t even happen during the movie.  It happened when my mother pulled a box of Kleenex out of her purse and handed it to me.  Yes, I used it.  Another time was when we saw Santa getting his brains fucked out and I happened to be sitting next to my mother.  But, truly, the most embarrassing I felt was during the ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ sequence and me, my mother and my father were bawling like babies while my wife stared at me in repulsion.

Seriously, this shit is SAD AS FUCK!

2) Fun with Dick and Jane

So, let’s explore a different kind of ‘awkward’ with this one.  A few years back (when was this movie made again) my wife and I were on vacation for our anniversary and wound up seeing this movie in a dusty Texas town with nothing in sight but an IHOP and a creaky motel we happened to be staying in (just passing through).  What the hell, let’s go see a movie.  Then the immigration scene happens and Jim Carry is talking all garbled and yelling for his wife to “GO GO GO” while a slew of Mexican’s try and wedge themselves in their car.  My wife and I were laughing till we were crying and then we realized that we were the ONLY white people in the theater that was loaded down with Mexicans…who were NOT laughing.

Talk about awkward…

1) Bullhead
Believe me, you don't want to watch this scene...
And that brings me to a completely different kind of ‘awkward’…the kind that makes your stomach curl and makes you look away.  I experienced this most recently while watching ‘Bullhead’.  Now, I’ve seen many films where pain is inflicted on others, but there is a particularly horrible scene in ‘Bullhead’ where the protagonist remembers an incident in his childhood where a neighborhood bully bashes his nuts off with two rocks.  Seriously, just typing that made my crotch hurt.  I almost vomited while watching it, and my nether regions have yet to feel the same.

So, that is my take on these two emotions.  I’m excited for next week and I can’t wait to see where this blogathon takes us all!  Can’t wait to read the rest of the entires.


  1. Thanks for linking me! I love that you chose Les Miserables. I was trying so hard to make it look like I wasn't crying. You know, hair in my face, hood up, aisle seat with my head turned slightly away from everyone else. Thank God so many other people in the theater were crying with me.

    Can your wife gives us tips to stop from crying during scenes like that? I would like to know. lol

    1. I tell my wife all the time that she is heartless.

      Then she tells me that I have a vagina.

  2. HAHA!! Its ok! I bawled throughout most of Les Miserables. I think my boyfriend shed a tear or two also but he tried to hide it, of course.

    Obviously, I haven't seen the rest of these movies..but Psycho is awesome, since thats the only scene I remember as it was over 10 years ago, probably. I still peek out of my shower..haha! But then, I'm mega chicken so any horror does that to me.
    Awesome post! :) Thanks for dropping by and commenting!

    1. The one thing I love most about participating in these blog-a-thons is that they introduce me to blogs I wasn't following before that I can follow now, so you're very welcome for stopping by! I plan on doing it some more ;-)

  3. Psycho shower scene is so freaky! One of the best made scenes in history. The Strangers freaked me out too, but I wish they did the ending without the final jump scare.

    1. Totally agree with you on the 'jump' scare in The Strangers. It was so lazy, especially since the quiet calm was so disturbing. But still, the actual...killing scene...just scary as hell in a mental way.

  4. Great post man! I don't watch many horror films, but I don't get really scared by them. The Exorcist is one of my favorites. I watched it alone in the dark when I was 16, and it didn't bother me. (It probably should have though, right?)

    I haven't seen The Strangers, Fun with Dick and Jane or Bullhead, so I'll have to check them out.

    1. Bullhead is very good, but that scene is so disturbing I'll never watch it again.