There’s been a video making the rounds today that ostensibly takes a sound recording of the audience from a first run screening of Halloween back in 1978 and matches it up to a clip of one of the most iconic horror scenes of all time to give us a sense of what the vibe was like in the theater right then, right there.
It reminds me of several things. First and foremost, that the horror community has more shared interests than disagreements. Sure, we disagree on many things, which movies we consider great, which movies suck. We’re a passionate bunch. And that’s a good thing (even though it often baffles me that one person can dislike another person because one likes a film the other doesn’t).
But when we head out to the movies, we all head out seeking the same visceral thrill. Horror movies don’t just shock us or scare us, they make us feel alive. They put us in the moment in a way that no other genre can. Simultaneously invested in the onscreen survival / destruction of our heroes and villains, we’re allowed to examine the prospect of the survival / destruction of ourselves and our friends, the world at large, and what we know as our comfort zone. For instance, I believe the current home invasion genre is a perfect allegory for post 9/11 America for this very reason, it’s about the bubble being popped. Most of these films take place in financially comfortable environments (i.e. America up until 2001) that are destroyed by interlopers we can’t quite understand. It’s a different way to digest a real-world problem.
The other thing I’m reminded of us WHY we even leave the house to begin with. Often times these days I think twice about going out to a movie (especially if it’s at a particular theater) because of the crowd. But, aside from projection and sound (which themselves aren’t a sure thing these days) why do we go? Because of the communal experience. If you’re in a room with the right group of people it can absolutely enrich everything. It can make you feel connected and understood.
Anyway, I’m prattling on way too long. Hit the jump for the clip. The next time you go to the movies, I hope you’re inspired to tell the guy next to you to put his iPhone away.