I don't think the traditional slasher movie has ever had much effect on me. Either that, or in recent years it's lost its effect. The first movie I was ever scared of was Child's Play, but this is most likely just a product of seeing it at a very young age. I recently re-watched it, and found it to be funnier (quite a big funnier) than scary. I think the true key to creating something scary is seeing or experiencing something unexpected, and unfortunately that fact is a major hindrance in an industry filled with almost as many sequels as porn. A person is scared when: something unexpected is seen, heard, experienced. A person experiences suspense/terror when they are waiting for something to happen that they quasi-expect. Some level of surprise/unknown is important in both of these, and when horror movies continually use the same trope or scenario, that unknown, weird, unexpected nature is nowhere to be found.
Weird Can Equal Scary
In recent years, the movies that have resonated me on a scary level, are not classified as horror movies. I guess it's possible I'm the odd one out, but I'm willing to bet, and willing to try (with my game) the implementation of weirdness as horror.
Weird, uncomfortable, curious, unexplained, otherworldly. David Lynch's creation scared me in a very new and strange way when I watched it for the first time in 2014. The mutated face girl, the baby, the industrial soundtrack, the strange acting and dialogue. It's truly and experience. I had no idea what I was seeing and hearing, and had no idea what to expect next. Questioning and in shock from beginning to end, I'm very glad I took the time to watch this film, and especially this year. After I watched the movie, Hideo Kojima's Silent Hill demo transplanted an almost identical version of the baby from Eraserhead into the world of Silent Hill. I'm onto Kojima, we both see the weirdness and horror in this movie, maybe we'll both exploit it to productive ends.
Both The Shining and 2001 carry an air of discomfort when I watch them. In 2001 the creepiest parts for me are at the end when Dave Bowman is progressing through various stages of his life. The makeup, the unnatural surroundings, and the inhuman cinematography weird me out. The star baby makes me pretty uncomfortable too. The Shining does similar things, with jump cuts between vastly different kinds of imagery (two standing living twins, to slaughtered twins on the floor, and back). These instant cuts are very unnatural for humans, we normally look around gradually, and don't see something in its entirely all at once, and then have it disappear.
Under The Skin
I had no idea what I was getting into when I started this movie up. Music that makes me physically uncomfortable. Imagery that both repulses and intrigues. Confusing, startling, strange. At times I wanted to turn it off, but kept watching.
These have been the most inspiring and resonating horror movies I've ever seen. They use the unknown and the weird to stir emotions in the viewer. You don't always know what to expect, what you're seeing, or what your about to see, and I find that to be integral in horror. Maybe my next blog will talk about my inspirations from the world of horror games. Stay tuned for more details from Ganymede Hollow.