What’s in a Dream?

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I took this awesomely interesting psych course years ago that had a few chapters on dreams. That was just the coolest thing to me–that people studied dreams.  We only touched the subject briefly, but I read those chapters on my own.  And I learned that one could “train” oneself to remember their dreams, and even cooler, one could learn to control the dream.  For three years, I wrote in a dream journal everyday.  At first, the dreams were brief, only half-remembered.  As time went on, I was writing down two or three dreams every morning.  I could wake up, roll over, go back to sleep and pick up where I left off.  Now some of my dreams were grossly effed up—I mean, Jung and Freud would’ve had a field day, I would wake the next day, write it all down in my journal and wonder “what the bleep is wrong with me?” Why would I dream that?–and that reminds me, I should burn the book before I die.  But some dreams were amazingly entertaining, or frightening, or achingly beautiful.  When I filled up the book, I stopped and haven’t tried since then, and I hardly recall my dreams anymore.  I should really try to make some time and start back up.

Okay–first off, EVERYONE dreams.  You will hear a friend or perhaps even you say, “I don’t dream.”   Well, that’s not true.  Everyone does, they just don’t remember.

Second–Why do we dream?  Ahhh…we’ve asked ourselves this question, but have yet to come up with an answer.  The current theories are:  They serve no purpose, it’s just the brain entertaining itself.  And:  It’s our brain weaving the days events, our emotions and the like, into our memories, and perhaps, in doing so, helps us deal with any stress we may be dealing with.  Our brain is basically cataloging the events, much as a computer would.  Another theory is that our brains are interpreting stimuli as we sleep, for example, we may hear a radio playing in our sleep and our brain incorporates that into a dream.  A modern theory, and the one that I like, incorporates several old theories into one:  our brains are connecting loose connections between thoughts and ideas, which are then guided by the emotions of the dreamer.

Dream interpreters have been around for as long as there have been dreams. And why not?  Dreams are fascinating!  In Greek and Roman mythology, Dreams were a direct line from the gods.  People believed they were messages from the deities.  Interpreters would interpret the meaning or message of the dream.  Actually every culture has it’s own dream interpreters.  Don’t forget:  Joseph (owner of the multicolored coat)  got himself out of slavery into a cushy position by the pharaoh for correctly interpreting his dream  (through the power of God, of course).  Who knows, perhaps Joseph was just very intuitive, or perhaps he saw the signs of a famine in the making,  or maybe he truly was given the answer by God–he was revered for “his gift” of dream interpretation.

Joseph interpreting the Pharaoh's dream

What is the purpose of dreams?  There will never be an answer that will satisfy everyone.  Are they entertainment–a movie for the mind?  Are they simply what our brains are playing while storing junk in our memories?  Are they whichever God you worship sending you a message?  I don’t know–but I can and will tell you my own personal beliefs.  Dreams are a combination of all those theories.  The dreams I had of my dad for years after his death helped me deal with my grief.  The dreams I had of vampires after watching the week long Buffy marathon were simply entertainment.  The dream I had of showing up to school naked was my young self dealing with stress at a young age.  The effed up dreams I had just made me realize that I have a really sick imagination,  but don’t necessarily have any deeper meaning than that(God, I hope they don’t).  More than anything else, writing down and re-reading my dreams for three years, helped me learn a lot about myself.

You know how we all, as humans, share certain dreams-like the one where we are falling, only to awaken on the floor.  Or the one where we got to class or work naked?  I bet cavemenwere dreaming the same thing–Grog awakens on the floor of his cave having rolled off his animal-skin bed, or Grog wakes up sweaty and terrified from a nightmare in which he found himself the only naked neanderthal in the hunting party.  Well, that last one may not be too accurate, I imagine public nudity was probably not a big deal for historic man. Hmmm… that could mean, the naked dream we all have is a relatively modern stress dream.  And to that end-does that mean Americans suffer from that nightmare more, since Europeans claim that Americans have more hangups about nudity than they do?  Food for thought.   Still, Gary Larson could have made that into a funny cartoon.

Doesn't have anything to do with my post--I just love Gary Larson's The Far Side

Well, I hope I didn’t bore you too much with random thoughts.  This is a horror blog–dammit!  How can I relate dreams to horror?

That’s easy: A Nightmare on Elm Street.

Yeah, we haven’t talked about nightmares have we?  Dreaming about going to school naked makes us anxious and embarrassed.  But it does not horrify, not truly.  At least once in our life’s we have awoken in a sweat, terrified by what our brains conjured up for us in our nightmares.  We can explain away nightmares easily by saying our brains re-interpreted our stress or trauma into monsters in our nightmares.   Sure, looks good on paper, but anyone who has ever had a nightmare or night terrors, wonders if that explanation is enough in the dead of night. Maybe, just maybe we got a glimpse into a nightmare world.

In A Nightmare on Elm Street, Freddy Krueger, a dead child murderer, stalks the children of his murderers and kills them in their dreams.  Now in this movie franchise, the dreamscape is an actual if not physical place, one in which the dead, in this case Freddy Krueger, can physically harm and kill his victims.  To the waking world, the teenager has died in unusual circumstances, Freddy’s special finger knives leave their marks, but those not in the dream don’t know how kid died.

One by one, the teens fall asleep and succumb to Freddy’s nightmare never to awaken in some really awesomely gruesome scenes.  As I kid, I was totally impressed with the then-unknown Johnny Depp’s death scene…all that blood just gushing from the bed.  How in the hell could a person have so much blood?

Somehow, this monster can manipulate dreams and the teens are helpless against him.  They try to stay awake.  The main character, Nancy Thompson, spends a few days drinking coffee in an attempt to remain awake and stay alive.  But humans need sleep, and against her own will Nancy is forced to sleep.  Her mother has her committed and she is given a sedative.  In the nightmare, Nancy grapples with Freddy, and when she wakes she finds she has pulled his fedora out of the dream into the waking world.  So Nancy, the Final Girl in this film, realize she can fight back.  She proceeds to booby trap her house.  She then goes to sleep in order to pull Freddy from the Dream world into reality.

My All-Time Fave Scene from ANOES

In an interview with Wes Craven he said that the essential premise of A Nightmare on Elm Street was “based on a series of small articles that ran in the Los Angeles Times about people inexplicably dying in their sleep.” 

The articles are proof that sometimes truth can be stranger than fiction. There is an unsettling sameness to the stories, which Craven clipped and saved. First a young Asian immigrant died after telling his parents about a disturbing nightmare. Six months later another young man had a disquieting nightmare and died in his bed after going back to sleep. “The eeriest case was a boy who had a nightmare that was worse than anything, ” according to Craven. “His family tried to quiet his nerves, and he refused to sleep. He stayed up several nights, and they sent for a doctor who gave him sleeping pills. The kid threw them away. Finally there was a night when the kid could not stay up any longer, and he went to sleep. The house was quiet at last. The parents were relieved that their kid was getting some rest. Then they heard this horrendous scream from the bedroom.” 
The parents ran in and found the boy thrashing in his bed, only to fall still a moment later and die. “An autopsy revealed there was nothing wrong with him, no heart failure or any reason for his death. He was just dead.”

“I became fascinated with the idea of harm happening to a person in such a way that people would not be able to clearly discern if the harm came in a dram or if it came in reality. Those two notions became the backbone of the idea of a killer murdering someone in their sleep. “

Is this true?  I have found many articles on line about sleeping death syndrome, but they are all about Asians.  Everything else I have ever read is that if you die in your dream you don’t really die in real life.  The only explanation I could think of is that perhaps fear killed them.  Or perhaps they all suffered from sleep apnea.  Who knows?  But I know that it inspired a kick-ass, if cliched movie franchise and induced nightmares in kids all over the world.  And for me, personally, a new way to torture my little sister.

Tell me your worst nightmares.

This must be for adult collectors. Because who the hell would buy their kid a doll of a child murderer? Sick! I want one!


John Dies at the End

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First off, I am completely guilty of judging books and movies by their covers AND their titles.  When I first heard of the movie, There Will Be Blood, I was totally psyched to see the movie, because with a title like that, how could it not be excellent.  The movie was not at all what I expected, but I wasn’t disappointed.  I still think that it should be the title of a zombie flick, or a vampire movie.  So when this particular novel popped up on my Amazon.com suggestions, I was intrigued.  And just like There Will Be BloodJohn Dies at the End wasn’t what I expected, but I was not at all disappointed.

I finished this book about two weeks ago, but I couldn’t put into words what I felt about the story.  I knew I liked it, but I didn’t really know why. And the book is so involved, I think I needed time to digest everything that occurred.  I’m not entirely sure what to define this as, except as a comedy(?), it wasn’t always scary, but it was really funny. And eerie, then creepy, but always funny.   And I guess since it deals with alternate realities and demons it is part of the supernatural spectrum of the horror genre.  I mean, bad things happen in this book–like end of the world type shit.  But John and Dave are so funny; and nonchalant about the what they see and experience, you find yourself chuckling despite the horror going on around them (at least I did).

This book is jam-packed with comedy and action.  I know I couldn’t put it down because I wanted to find out the rest of the story.

Synopsis:  First, the book is told in the first person narrative by David Wong, the author and one of the main characters.  He’s telling the whole weird tale to an investigative reporter who has heard of Dave and John through weird web blogs that talk about the supernatural events Dave and John have “taken care of”.  Dave Wong (not his real name btw, he’s not even Asian)  then spins this unreal, tangled tale of demons and alternate universes that want to take over our own world.  And it all began for these two slackers (John and David) with a drug called soy sauce.  John and David, a pair of college dropouts that work at a video store, are what stand between our world and an invasion.

There is just so much going on in this book, I can’t really do this book justice with a small synopsis–so I’m not really going to try.  I advise you to pick this book up and read it.  I mean, it has strange beasts, hauntings,  a portal to hell in an unfinished mall, a drug that can possess you, shadow people,  a dog that won’t die–I really can’t list the entire tangled web of events that go down.

I like this book cover the best because it's just as busy as the story inside

Here’s a taste of why I really dug this book–The Set-Up: the gang, along with the main characters John and David are being held captive by Justin/monster and are prepared to fight when he opens the door.  They are telling each other things like, if I die, get rid my drugs and porno stash–stuff like that (you know the usual). And then we get to Fred and John:

(From the book) 

Fred whispered, “Okay. If I don’t come back, and say they don’t got my body,

like if Justin eats me or somethin’, tell everybody you don’t know what

happened.Make it mysterious. And then a year later spread rumors that

you’ve seen me wanderin’ around town. That way I’ll be like fuckin’ Bigfoot,

everybody claiming to have seen me here and there. Legend of Fred Chu.” John

nodded, as if he were committing this to memory. He lit his own firebombs,

glanced up at me and asked,“You got any final requests, in case this don’t

end well?” “Yeah. Avenge my death.”

On a personal note, this is exactly how I want my death to be–mysterious and righteous, and right when people are moving on with their lives after my loss–people will start seeing me around.  Am I dead, or did I fake my death?!

AND IT DOESN”T END THERE!

There is already a sequel in the works, entitled:  THIS BOOK IS FULL OF SPIDERS:  Seriously, Dude Don’t Touch It

PLUS:  John Dies At the End is now a movie soon to be released. Directed by Don Coscarelli, (Phantasm, Bubba Ho-Tep). Starring two dudes I’ve never heard of as John and Dave and Paul Giamatti.  Coming out in 2012.

Here’s the link, check it out:  http://www.johndiesattheend.com

The Sound and the Fury

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I was watching some forgettable comedy one night, whilst flipping through channels, and I laughed aloud as I heard one of the characters proclaim that the scariest movie he ever saw was The Sound of Music, “Come on, listen to the words, the hills are alive!….”  I had never thought of the The Sound of Music as a horror, but yeah, when you tale the lyrics literally–yeah, it’s frightening.

The power of music on a person’s emotions is very real.  We cry to country music, dance happily to club beats, dance erotically to a heavily bassed piece. It effects our mental health through our emotions.  Remember that year we all went through death metal and wore nothing but black and carried around any book by Edgar Allen Poe.  But I’m re-iterating what all of us know, music is emotive, a language of its own that we all understand–the language of the soul.

But I digress.  I love horror movies, and everything about them.  Every element is important to convey the mystery, or build up the fear and just set the overall mood of the film.  But music–that combination of sounds that express an emotion–help move the audience move along with the story  by basically coaching the audience.  Put your favorite horror movie on mute and you’ll realize what an impact the musical score has upon the feel of the movie.

Just think of a haunting melody in good ghost story, or a musical cue, you know what I mean, that build up of music when you know something is about to happen–then crescendo–evil strikes.  Imagine Jaws preying upon his victims without the famous da-nun da-nun daa-nun sound, or Janet Leigh getting murdered in the shower without the creepy shrieking violin sounds.  

The soundtrack of screeching violins, violas, and cellos was an original all-strings piece by composer Bernard Herrmann entitled “The Murder.”

Did you know that Alfred Hitchcock originally didn’t want any sound for the shower scene?  But the score was written anyway, and when he heard it-he knew it was too good to pass up.  And horror movie history was made.  How many times have we mimicked the screeching violins and stabbing motion?  (Don’t lie, I know it’s not just me, we’ve all done it).

I know that every time I’m in a pool, someone always mimics the Jaws theme.  It’s cool–if someone else doesn’t do it, I will.

John Williams’ first Oscar for Best Original Score went to Jaws. The jaws theme song is probably one of the simplest, but most inspired creations in he history of music, let alone film music. It can instantly warn of danger by implying the shark’s presence even when we can’t see it on screen. There are some great action cues interspersed with quieter, but tense moments as well as optimistic tracks highlighting the holiday season on the Island of Amity.

That dramatic buildup and subsequent scary reveal is almost always accompanied by really freaky music or somebody screaming.  But we all know this.  We expect it, and like me, you probably love it.  The right kind of music enhances or highlights the horror genre.

The sounds that we love the most become auditory symbols for the movie.  Its usually the sound we hear when the killer is around.  We hear it, recognize it, and remember the fear it evoked when we first saw the film in question.  Think of the ki ki ki, ma ma ma scenes from Friday the 13th (based on Mrs. Voorhees “Kill her mummy” from the original.)  Or the very simple yet effective theme 3-note piano theme from the Halloween movie franchise, or the tubular bells from The Exorcist.  Okay, now I’m getting chills.  Lets face it, if life had a soundtrack–and we heard these–we’d be looking for a 12-gauge, a crucifix, and well-lit room to barricade ourselves in.  Even people who may have never seen the movie can usually identify what movie these songs are from.  That is how deeply etched into our culture these auditory symbols have become.

THE SOUND OF HORROR:  

 Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells was the premier release of Virgin Records and launched a global empire for Sir Richard Branson, the billionaire entrepreneur known these days more for ballooning and boating than music.

This earned an Oscar for composer Jerry Goldsmith.  The creepiest part of the song is the chanting, but then again, isn’t chanting, in general, pretty effing foreboding.  But in this song, the refrain to the chant is, “Sanguis bibimus, corpus edimus, tolle corpus Satani” (Latin, “We drink the blood, we eat the flesh, raise the body of Satan”).

I don’t believe John Carpenter won any awards for this simple yet awesomely chilling track.  This is one of my favorites.

Composed by Henri Manfredini.  He also came up with the k k k ma ma ma (the most well known part of the number)– “ki” comes from “kill”, and the “ma” from “mommy”. To achieve the unique sound he wanted for the film, Manfredini spoke the two words “harshly, distinctly, and rhythmically into a microphone” and ran them into an echo reverberation machine.

This particular nugget was composed by Charlie Clouser and is entitled Hello Zepp. The piece’s appearance in the first film was timed to bring a dramatic tone to the end of the film (which I believed it completely accomplished), in which the supposed bad guy named Zep Hindle, is revealed to actually be a victim of the real baddy-Jigsaw.

Composed By Christopher Young. He also did the music score for the first sequel.

Another wonderful score by Jerry Golsmith, entitled Carol Anne’s Theme.

Composed by Ennio Morricone for one of the best horror/thrillers of all time!  It still gives me chills!

Give these a listen, they’ll send chills down your spine!

I’m sure I’ve forgotten some.  Which theme gives you the heebie-jeebies?

Oh and on a peripherally related note:  We should all get one of these.  The best part is you can upload your own theme music.  Yeah, I would definitely put a few of the above music themes on this shirt, and walk around with a knife and a Michael Myers mask.  I want it!

for sale on ThinkGeek:http://www.thinkgeek.com/tshirts-apparel/interactive/a5bf/#tabs

100 of the Greatest Horror Movie Quotes

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100 of the Greatest Horror Movie Quotes.

 

I blogged a few posts on horror movie quotes, and now here’s a great vid of the memorable lines of those I’ve mentioned and many, many more.

 

0’00 – Session 9, The Devil’s Rejects, Candyman, Texas Chainsaw Massacre

0’32 – Misery, Psycho, American Psycho, The Hitcher (1986)

1’00 – Peeping Tom, When a Stranger Calls (1979), Black Christmas (1974), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), A Nightmare on Elm Street

1’32 – The Fly (1986), An American Werewolf in London, Aliens, The Blair Witch Project
2’00 – The Thing, Friday the 13th, The Haunting (1963), Poltergeist

2’29 – The Ring, Scream, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, The Exorcist, Manhunter

3’01 – Dracula (1931), IT, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Child’s Play, A Nightmare on Elm Street

3’34 – House of 1000 Corpses, Halloween, The Omen

4’01 – Hellraiser, The Lost Boys, The Evil Dead, Pet Sematary

4’33 – The Omen, My Bloody Valentine, The Return of the Living Dead, Scream

5’04 – Friday the 13th, Island of Lost Souls, White Zombie

5’35 – Zombie Flesh Eaters, Dawn of the Dead (1978), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), The Birds

5’59 – Jaws, The Thing, Halloween, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Psycho

6’33 – Carrie, Evil Dead II, Black Christmas (1974)

7’01 – The Sixth Sense, The Shining, Candyman, Freaks

7’32 – Dracula (1931), Blue Velvet, Hellraiser, Videodrome

8’02 – Friday the 13th, The Mummy (1932), The Shining, IT

8’37 – Silence of the Lambs, The Black Cat, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2

9’01 – Audition, Black Sunday, Hellbound: Hellraiser II, Saw II, The Serpent and the Rainbow

9’30 – Deliverance, The Mist, The Wicker Man (1973), The Wicker Man (1973)

10’00 – The Fly (1958), Evil Dead II, The Exorcist, Frankenstein (1931), Rosemary’s Baby

10’34 – Se7en, Carrie, Hellraiser, Silence of the Lambs, IT

11’06 – Black Sunday, Them! (1954), The Haunting (1963), Night of the Living Dead, Poltergeist, The Shining

11’28 – Phantasm, Suspiria

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

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First off, you know that saying, Don’t judge a book by its cover.  Well, sometimes I am completely guilty of that.  I mean, come on, look at the cover.  It entices you to pick it up, lures you to it.  So I did.  And I was not disappointed.

When I read the jacket before I purchased it, I was immediately intrigued.   The author, Ransom Riggs,  took beautiful yet unusual photographs and wove  a coherent tale out of them.

An image used in the novel. Jacob's grandfather tells him, this man had a mouth on the front and back side of his head!

The main character, Jacob, had always been enthralled with his grandpa’s adventure tales.  His grandfather had lost his family,  grown up in an orphanage, joined the army, and traveled the world over.  His colorful tales made Jacob want to be just like him.  When Jacob gets a little older, the tales just aren’t that believable anymore.  But then his grandfather’s unusual murder and cryptic last words send Jacob to the small island his grandfather grew up on, to find anyone who could confirm the stories of gifted orphans with amazing powers.

I don’t want to give too much away, but let’s just leave it at–Jacob finds his own adventure.

The images Riggs used, he got from many collectors of “found” photography.  People who’ve amassed collections of interesting old photographs.  The images are fantastic.  I hope this becomes a series and we get to see more. Also, quite an interesting hobby-found photography.  The photos are amazing. I mean, today with photoshop and other various means, even the rank amateur can manipulate photos.  But these were the real pros, using light and double exposure and other means to create a picture of a girl suspended in air (which is what the pic on the cover of the book is, she is levitating–that’s right, take another look.  Did you realize her feet weren’t touching the ground?).

Wonderful photos, colorful tale.  I hope there will be more to come.  Definitely checking out Ransom Riggs’s other novels.

Midnight Movie

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Midnight Movie, a novel by Tobe Hooper and Alan Goldsher

.

Do I really have to say it?  A book by the creator of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Alan Goldsher wrote Paul is Undead, which is next on my list to read.  It got really good reviews on Amazon.com. I’ve noticed that every ad for the book touted that.  And all I could think is: really? Do people really need to be reminded that Tobe Hooper created The Texas Chainsaw Massscre.  I was excited about the book, and couldn’t wait to download it onto my Kindle.

It’s a work of meta-fiction.  That means Tobe Hooper tells the tale himself, for the most part.  We glean the rest of the story from notes from a government agent, the blog of a twenty-something girl, the tweets of home terrorists, the scribbling of a madman, and the main characters themselves.  The book reminds me of Max Brooks’ World War Z (my favorite book-ever) in that it blends other people’s stories together, along with just enough real-life fact to make you wonder.

Long Story-Short:

Tobe is invited to speak at the showing of his never-before-scene first movie, Destiny Express(I won’t lie, I googled this, hoping it really existed).  The movie is creepy, but more than anything, just terrible.  But things begin to happen to the people who attended the viewing. Before long, people are dying by the thousands.  Tobe’s movie, one he doesn’t even remember making, is causing people to become zombies.  Tobe gets together with a few people, and the original cast of Destiny Express(those still alive) to recreate the movie and understand what is going on.

I loved this book.  Tobe took the best of grindhouse and mockumentary and made it into a gruesome and sometimes humorous novel.  On a personal note, I’m always tickled when a story or movie takes place somewhere I’ve actually been to, and as a fellow Texan, I’ve been to a few of the places he mentioned.

Through the Looking-Glass: The Mirror Scare

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Ahhh…vanity.  Aren’t we all guilty of it?  Back in the day, people stared at their reflections in still pools of water.  Remember poor old Narcissus,  he fell in love with his own reflection and refused to leave the side of the pool, killing himself (probably from lack of food and water).  Later, polished obsidian was used as mirrors.  Even later, polished metals like copper were used.     It wasn’t until Roman times that mirrors made of metal-backed glass were first produced.  In Renaissance  Europe, mirrors were only for the rich as expensive luxury items.  Then, In 1835 a German chemist called Justus von Liebig invented the silvered-glass mirror where a thin layer of metallic silver is deposited onto glass by the chemical reduction of silver nitrate. The introduction of this process led to mirrors being manufactured on a much larger scale, and for the first time in history ordinary people could afford a mirror for their home. Nowadays mirrors are more frequently manufactured by depositing aluminium by vacuum directly onto the glass.

We like to look at ourselves.  Humans and a few other creatures on this planet are able to recognize their own reflection in mirrors.   We mostly use mirrors today for grooming.  And we love looking at ourselves so much, that we also use mirrors for ornamentation in our homes.

Mirrors and Myths

Mirrors have long been apart of legend and myths.  Ancient and not-so-ancient.  I already mentioned Narcissus, which is a Greek Myth.  Mirrors have been used by mystics  to scry or “see the future”.

Mirrors are said to reflect the soul, and to see something that is not there is a bad omen.  Duh!  If I saw something in a mirror, that wasn’t really there in reality, I would probably be having a bad day.  That being said, vampires, according to legend, have no reflection, as they have no souls. (Which is weird, because Angel had a soul, and he still didn’t have a reflection in BTVS).  In the Southern U.S. and other countries, mirrors are covered when someone in the home dies, lest the spirit become trapped.

In the fairytale Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, the Wicked Queen gazes into a magic mirror and asks ‘Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?’ and is decidedly not amused when a reflection that is not her own floats into view!  

In a funnier scenario, Shrek’s Lord Farquaad uses a magic mirror to find himself a princess to marry.

Lewis Carroll’s ‘Through the Looking Glass’ is probably one of the more famous books to use mirrors as a central theme, but there are many novels, plays an films with ‘mirror’ in the title.

And haven’t most of us been at a slumber party with friends chanting Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary into our darkened bathroom mirrors.  Or Candyman, after the movie?

The Mirror Scare

Naturally, the mystique that has surrounded something as seemingly mundane as a mirror has dribbled into the horror genre.  How many times have we seen a character walking in their own familiar territory, right by a mirror, and suddenly we see the reflection of the bad guy, right behind them!….cue dramatic scary theme music.

The most common form of mirror scare is the use of a bathroom mirror on a medicine cabinet. As a character goes to get something from the cabinet: we see the character’s reflection in front of the mirror, then opening the cabinet, then as they close the mirror again, Bam: they’re right behind you!

Are they a cliche?  Yes, but an effective one.  With the myths and superstitions surrounding the mirror and our reflections, it’s always going to be an effective scare.

My personal favorite mirror scare is a scene from The Craft.  The character, Rochelle, looks into a mirror, but her reflection turns away because it doesn’t want to look at her.  At least that’s how I saw it.  Her actions harmed someone, and her reflection was ashamed.  Good movie, good scare.

Anyway, each movie tries a different approach:  the character does not see the bad guy behind them, but the audience does through the mirror. Or, the character sees the bad guy in the mirror, but no one is really there. Or, the character sees themselves in the mirror turns around, and finds someone (aka the bad guy) there who is not reflected.  It appears to me, that horror mostly uses mirrors as we see them in superstitions:  a way to see the truth, the future, or a window to another world.

The Mirror Scare Compilation:

Movies that use the Mirror Scare:

An American Werewolf in London

Candyman

Prom Night

Sean of the Dead

Mirrors

The Craft-Sorry, couldn't find a mirror pic.


What Lies Beneath

Halloween H2O

The Orphan

Phantasm

Stir of Echoes

The Grudge


The Ring


The Unborn


The Omen

Wow!  I guess it really is overused!  Personally I don’t care if it’s a cliche.  I love a good mirror scare.