Day 34: The Man and the Nightmare Experiment P.1

Two days in a row of thinking about nothing but Beautiful. It’s been rough on the mind and the body. I feel lethargic and lack energy or enthusiasm. Need to bring myself back to center. Easy enough. One of my go-to resets is a good movie. As fortune would have it my hotel is five minutes from a movie theatre so I knew I could fit one in tonight. The question then had to be, what to watch?

I remember my post from before, and decided to put my money where my mouth is. I want a good nightmare. A wake up sweating and heart racing kind of nightmare that makes you happy to be awake and alive. So I’m going to do everything within my power to try and induce one tonight, and write the rest of today’s post tomorrow morning while the dream, whatever it might end up being, is still fresh in my mind.

The movie itself was actually pretty decent. I still think the hardest part for any horror film is to find an appropriate and satisfying way to end. Most either go the ‘the end…or is it?’ route to either set up a sequel for more money or to insinuate that the nightmare isn’t over and it’ll leak from the screen to your home. I find it cheesy and unsatisfying. Empty Regal.jpgWhat it really does is make you feel like you haven’t had the full experience. The story isn’t over. You know, your Screams, Saws, Day of the Deads, etc. The other way they usually end is to just…end. They give up. The writers spent so much time creating an elaborate yet plausible reality where horror is real and they build this suspense and grip you to your
seats and run out of juice by the time they need to figure out the ending. Your Insidiouses are infamous for this. The beginning is great and the context of the story is certainly possible and enough to capture, but the ending was just…suddenly we’re in the demon world and am I watching an action movie version of The Exorcist? I half expect to see Arnold Schwarzenegger with a Super Soaker filled with holy water. Your one-offs are often like this as well. Deliver Us From Evil, for example, or Crimson Peak.

Lights Out.jpgLights Out delivers on its promise to make you afraid of the dark. It is wonderful at setting up suspense and doesn’t rely too heavy-handedly on jump scares to find its way into your soul. See jump scares punctuate the horror. If it’s all jump scares, you can convince yourself it’s just a movie and that the story ends on the screen. But Lights Out creates a world where the dark is sinister and you never know where it will spread. If every second I was being startled, I’d never worry. But the suspense is there and it stays, subtly, in the background. Sometimes it delivers because it’s a horror and we expect to be scared but most times it just…dwells in environments. Environments similar to our own. For this I am appreciative. I am sitting in my hotel room surrounded by light but I know that eventually I’ll be turning them all off voluntarily, and for the first time in a long time, I will wonder what dwells in the dark once more. The world is minimally but essentially constructed and the idea of the monster is great. Like the Doctor’s angels, it is something that exists when we cannot perceive it. It exists in the unreality, which means we can never confirm nor deny it is even there. Where the movie lacks is its details. The origin story of the monster, critical for any original work, here is treated with half-hearted care and lazy convenient writing. It is a five second distraction from an otherwise convincing monster. The dialogue at times, especially for the young brother, is also hard to digest. Writing for children is always difficult because adults do it and they forget what children sound like. What they can and cannot process. What parts of the world they cannot access. At times the dialogue was cringe-worthy and took away from the investment and suspension of disbelief.

Overall though the movie did what it wanted. Created a new avenue to be scared. Put a name to the fear. It was a fun thrill and I’m hoping to cash in on the rewards.

Let’s take inventory. I just watched a scary movie and have been reading some scary stories and haven’t though about anything other than nightmares for the past two hours. I’m hopped up on caffeine, salt, and fried. My hotel is in the middle of nowhere. My window overlooks nothing but an empty field. The nearest building is about three miles away. The window is huge in my room. Almost the entire wall. I was tempted to leave the blinds open for possible shadows moving but the light of other hotel rooms and the parking lot would seep in. Instead I’ve closed all the blinds and when I go in for the night, I will be in complete darkness. Not even the light of the laptop will provide a safe anchor. At the same time though, I know my day was filled with thoughts of Beautiful still. I am still working out a lot of issues that I’ll need to express eventually. A lot of insecurities and memories. These both have equal possession of my mindset. Last of all, I am going to sleep (relatively) earlier than usual to give myself more time to hit the REM cycle and get the most vivid dreams.

All I know for a fact though, is that no matter what happens, I’ll be drawing my breath in with just that bit more fear and hesitance when I turn out the light tonight.

See you all on the other side of my nightmare.

Day 34

Man: 25 Loneliness: 9

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