The scariest movie I’ve ever seen…

26 May, L A.S. (2015)

How The Grudge super duper scared the bejeebus out of me as a kid.

Buffy's Japanese Vacation! (Just kidding. That'd be cool though.)

Buffy’s Japanese Vacation! (Just kidding. That’d be cool though.)

As a big (buff) Horror buff, sometimes I’m talking with people about what movies, books, or games are the scariest. I have a good friends for this sort of discussion, so the conversation rarely turns into an angry argument. We get a heated, we disagree strongly sometimes, but we can also give good reasons and examples as to why something is scary. I especially love when someone brings up an obscure and/or foreign film that I haven’t seen yet, and then I get to track it down and watch it later.

But, fear is a highly subjective thing. What causes someone else’s pants to fly across the room (and not in the horny sense) as they scream like a big dumb scared babby, may make someone else yawn and shrug and take a nap. This is pretty dark to think about, but, everyone grows up with different traumas and scary events in their life. Some people get it much worse than others. There are much scarier human monsters in the world than any werewolf or vampire, and they really do hurt people…I think much of why we indulge in Horror fiction is to distract ourselves from the things that really scare us. But that’s a bit of a tangent: the point is, we all have different phobias and deeply ingrained fears because we all have different experiences in our lives.

Now, I’m not going to tell the world all my deepest darkest fears, but I’ll share with you the one movie that scared me the most. It is called The Grudge, and it is an American remake of a Japanese film called Ju-On. Below is the trailer for the American movie:

I saw it when I was twelve, with my dad, at night after we’d just watched The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. (Which I liked at the time, not sure if I would now. I do love the book!) My dad had borrowed the DVD from a friend. I remembered seeing the trailer in theatres, and seeing the DVDs at Blockbuster, and thinking it looked super creepy…

I was not prepared for how scared I would actually get. There’s just something about those Japanese ghosts with the white dresses, long black hair, and zombie-like movement (especially crawling!) that is really effective to me. You can see it in The Ring, too, of course.

I think there’s something of the spider in the way that Kayako (the ghost woman in The Grudge) crawls down the stairs. I didn’t find her cat son, Toshio, nearly as scary as her, by the way. But, that croaking sound Kayako makes, and the long hair that keeps showing up all over the place, the way she has of showing up anywhere unexpectedly, the high contrast between her white dress and black hair: it just all works, really really well, at scaring me.

I can’t completely explain why this type of ghost is so particularly scary to me, but, it is. Like I said, fear is subjective and not entirely rationally. The Grudge effectively sets up the scares, has good actors playing the ghosts, and really builds tension in each scene. It gave me nightmares and I thought of it frequently for about a year after I saw it. A movie’s never scared me that much since.

I’ve seen the movie since I was twelve, and it wasn’t nearly as effective on me. There are other movies I would consider scarier now. Still, it’s good,  I recommend you check it out if you haven’t yet! I actually don’t like the original Japanese one as much, as an aside: Japanese Horror movies seem to not usually make a lot of sense, in that they don’t have strong plots and causal links. At least the few Japanese Horror films I’ve seen. But, they do have creepy creatures and environments; really bizarre stuff you may not see in American Horror.

Anyway, that’s all. That movie scared me a whole bunch. What movies scared y’all a whole bunch?

-G.R. Wilson

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