10 Days of Halloween – Paranormal Activity

2 – Paranormal Activity

Remember, I have put these movies in no particular order. I don’t think that Paranormal Activity is better than The Exorcist or Evil Dead. I wanted to have a mixture of old and new movies, and so here we are.

I saw the first two Paranormal Activity movies in the theater with a bunch of screaming teenagers. I want you to know it wasn’t by choice; to quote Animaniacs, “Teenagers should be locked away until they’re thirty.” It was just a horror that happened to rush in as my friends and I were watching the movie. They were loud, obnoxious, talking after the scares, screaming more, etc. On one hand, it was cool to see an audience so into it. On the other, I wanted to hose them all down with wet cement to shut them up.

Get the cement mixer.

Get the cement mixer.

One of the tenants of horror, one which lamentably seems to be almost  forgotten, is that it’s scarier if you don’t see the monster right away, or at all. Remember the good Nightmare on Elm Street movies? The first one was awesome and terrifying because you almost never saw Freddy full on. Freddy in the second one, while not up to the quality of the first, was still somewhat scary. It wasn’t until the third movie and we saw him full on that we started to not be that scared of him. (And the famous line from #3, “Welcome to prime time, bitch!” while hilarious, paved the way for the series to become comedic.) Many other movies have used this sort of horror tease to scare the hell out of us. Anyone can slap a costume on some poor schmo and be done with it.

Paranormal Activity went for total creep factor, and ultimately, you never saw any great, hulking monster. You heard, you saw Katie stand and hover and get pulled, you saw a shadow, you heard someone walk up the stairs, you heard a thump, you saw footprints appear out of nowhere.

I seriously would have to kill her. No questions asked.

I seriously would have to kill her. No questions asked.

It was that you saw nothing. There wasn’t a monster. You couldn’t fight it. It didn’t materialize into a monster you should shoot in the head. It pulled you, it terrorized you, it tortured you, and there was nothing you could do to stop it. It was like fighting smoke in the dark. The movie messed with your imagination. Flaming Ouija board and all.

I would also kill my boyfriend if he brought this in.

I would also kill my boyfriend if he brought this in.

The audience was tense, on the edge of our seats, terrified. The second one was less so, and took a long time to build. The third was better (and had the cutest guy of the three. Coincidence? Probably not.). The fourth was subpar, and I haven’t seen the most recent one yet. I shall.

My friend slept with the light on for two weeks. She wasn’t alone. It freaked people out, and the imaginations of the world decided to collectively cause us insomnia. I thought opening my door would find me face to face with…nothing. Nothing that could be seen, anyway, but something which would nonetheless pull me out of my room and down the stairs, pissing myself the entire way.

Don’t act like you wouldn’t do the same.

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~ by Darren Endymion on October 27, 2014.

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