Tuesday, 11 December 2012

30 Day Horror Challenge-Day 24: An effective jump scare

For the next 30 days (or whenever I stop being lazy and finish it), I will be giving my fingers short bursts of exercise by completing the 30 Day Horror Challenge, found here. Hopefully it will give you a bit of insight into what horror is for me. Don't forget to check back every day for a new installment.

Day 24: An effective jump scare

A classic scene, and my favourite; the blood testing scene in The Thing. I remember being completely caught off guard by it, when Kurt Russell's MacReady was performing a test on each of the team's blood, trying to weed out who had been replaced by The Thing. The test was simple; they had realised the monster hated fire, and every molecule seemed to act independently, so by putting a red hot poker in the blood, the monster would try to save itself and be exposed. The scene plays out insanely slowly, and every member of the ensemble cast is on edge, giving the performances of their careers. There is nothing big and flashy about the scene, it is all matter of fact. These men are fighting for their survival using what can be their only recourse at this point. We are not even near the end of the test when BOOM, the antagonistic conversation is interrupted by a reveal. Very unassuming. Very unexpected. Very effective. The remake/prequel tried to do a similar scene, but with their own convoluted twist, showing that it was the simplicity and subtlety of John Carpenter's direction that made for one of the most effective jump scare ever in cinema.

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