My reply to these enquiries are always the same, and it has nothing to do with having a high tolerance to violent or disturbing material, quite the opposite really. My reason for not being deeply affected by horror is that it is, for the most part, absolutely implausible bullshit. I am not going to be kept awake at night worrying about fictional characters, spooks or demonic behaviours when I know that they are nothing more than the creations of someones overactive imagination.
I totally respect horror for it's genuinely entertaining and inventive storytelling and I enjoy the thrill of watching horror, but it doesn't keep me awake at night or affect me that deeply because my brain can tune it out based on the fact that is all untrue. What does keep me awake at night are movies that are based on true crime stories, actual events and tragedies and tales of home invasion. I have spent a lot more time lying in bed at night trying to clear the cache of some of the stuff on my gritty/ documentary and crime lists than I have ever spent pondering a rogue werewolf or a poltergeist.
When a film has an element of realism or fact attached to it then my mind interprets it on a whole other level. I can recall my father telling me when I was small that being scared of ghosts was just plain stupid and that the real dangers in the world and the things to worry about and look out for were the bad people who are very much alive and kicking. 'The dead can't hurt you' he said 'it's the live ones that you need to watch out for.' And I think that I have always hung my hat on that advice and it has allowed me to keep my focus on the rational things to be afraid of and not the fables and fantasies.
There are some genuinely depraved and sick individuals out there in the world that make your average vampire and werewolf look like kittens. After all, a werewolf is really just a wild animal driven by the need to feed and even a vampire can be taken down with a bit of sunlight and decent sharpened stake, but the real life sickos of the world are far more insidious than that. They are often intelligent, manipulative and far more deranged than any Hollywood monster or horror character has ever been.
It's the grizzly Ted Bundy, Andrei Chikatilo, Jeffrey Dahmer and John Gacy types of the world that keep me awake at night. Serial stalkers that prey on the weak and the innocent, have no remorse for their actions, cannot control their impulses and are prone to the cruelest and the most violently inhumane acts ever know to man, they are the terrors of the world that mess with my mind at night. They are the reason that I can't listen to True Crime podcasts and avoid watching too many crime investigation dramas. Give me a rampaging ghost or demonic possession over a true crime story any day thanks, at least I know that I will get some sleep and not feel unsafe all of the time.
Truth is not only stranger than fiction, it is much much darker as well, and it is important to remember that most movie monsters and horror characters are all actually derived from the evils of man in the first place anyway. The real evils of the world are not only more disturbing, they are also constantly humming in the background, unseen and mostly unconsidered as well. And unlike a supernatural villain, they cannot be dismissed as folly or fiction either. There are no Hollywood sets, costumes or blood spatter effects going on in true crime stories, they are about real life monsters and their real life victims and the dreadful terrors that they endured, which easily makes them the most evil, horrific and unforgettable stories to wrap you head around.
True crime is the stuff of nightmares, not horror movies, and that is why watching horror movies does not keep me awake at night.
Release Date: 1920
Running Time: 67 mins
Considered the quintessential work of German Expressionist cinema, this classic silent movie is arguably the first horror film to have ever been made, and although it may not have the same clout that it had back in it's day, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari still has punch when it comes to unnerving its audience.
A man retells his horrifying experiences after meeting Dr. Caligari at a town fair. Dr Caligari has a cabinet that contains a creepy somnambulisat that can predict the future, but Dr. Caligari's arrival has also brought about a series of grisly murders to the town.
There is a stark and twisted visual style to this movie that is absolutely amazing. Sets are askew, landscapes are jagged and the characters are all ghostly white with big black eyes. It is easy to see where Tim Burton may have gotten inspiration, because the odd angles and oblique lines are uncannily similar.
Since you can watch the entire movie on YouTube for free these days, there is no excuse for not having seen this masterpiece of German cinema. I think it is a movie that everyone should make an effort to see for its vision and uniqueness, there really is nothing else like it.
FINAL SAY: Dr. Caligari, you are one twisted sicko!
3.5 Chilli Peppers