(Ye who enter be warned, for there be spoilers ahead.)
Scare Rating: 4.5
Oh, my god, I just saw the one sergeant guy die in Devil the other night and now he’s been shot by Nazis? What a world.
On the eve of D-Day, a group of paratroopers with a crucial mission find their group reduced to a handful of members. When they arrived in the French town to take out the radio tower, one of them—Private Boyce—discovers the Nazis are also performing experiments on locals. The village sits on some kind of magical hell tar that, when refined and applied to the human body, have the potential to make super soldiers. A 1000-year Reich needs 1000-year soldiers, apparently.
Here’s the thing: the Nazis did do experiments on humans during WWII. Remember the Holocaust? Ever heard of Josef Mengele? Unfortunately, there is no way for Overlord to exist respectfully, and that fact was always in the back of my mind when I watched it.
But did it scare me?
No, but I would’ve been solidly freaked out if I saw it when I was twelve. The combination of body horror and the historical setting really resonates. I think I prefer non-contemporary genres of horror. Sci-fi horror, historical horror, etc. Also, the woman who was just a head and a spine? What the fuck?
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
“Found” footage of three amateur film makers who disappeared while making a documentary on the local legend of the Blair Witch. Things go awry when Heather, Mike, and Josh find themselves lost in the woods as circumstances get creepier and creepier. Heather, determined that things are fine and they just need to keep forging ahead, is frequently at odds with either one boy or the other, until Josh disappears entirely.
But did it scare me?
God, the The Blair Witch Project was so close to starting to scare me. So, so close. The increasing tension as group dynamics frayed around the edges and the creepy stick creations really grabbed my attention. I think I really dig the “found footage” genre. However, three key issues really held it back for me. One, although I believe the horror genre thrives on the information it doesn’t give, The Blair Witch Project gave juuust too little. Tied into that is my second issue: we never actually see anything scary! Not once! I was waiting and waiting and WAITING near the end for a glimpse of something—anything—to freak me out, but we never actually see anything!
Third is Heather. Specifically Heather’s screaming. I mean, it feels like Heather’s entire character was written by some misogynistic guy, which is a WHOLE OTHER PROBLEM, but this screaming, specifically, drives me nuts. Heather’s raw, animal screaming as she realizes what’s happening at the end has a certain impact on the viewer, for sure, but that impact is undercut by the fact that she’s been screaming like that for the past twenty minutes. MIIIIIKE! MIIIIIKE! MIIIIIIIIIIIIIKE!
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
A doctor returns from a convention to find strange reports in town: his nurse insisted numerous people needed to urgently see him, but upon his return, Miles finds these previously “urgent” cases have dried up. Instead, they’re replaced by a handful of townsfolk insisting something is wrong with family members: they look the same, have the same memories, but something is wrong. That night, a strange body turns up: it appears to be a vague version of the man who found it. Same height and weight, but no fingerprints. Miles figures out what’s going on and goes on the run with his old flame. Their alien replacements require the original to fall asleep in order to steal their memories and make the transition final, and Miles and Becky can’t stay away forever.
Man, the thing is that Body Snatchers leaves me with too many unanswered questions. Maybe I missed something, but I do not understand this transformation. The pod grows a duplicate, the original falls asleep, the duplicate steals their memories, but then the sleeping person wakes up as a pod person? That doesn’t make any sense, y’all.
But did it scare me?
It’s a decent premise, but it’s hindered by its age, both in terms of weak storytelling and outdated mindsets. Miles is simply not the right protagonist for this sort of story.
See ya tomorrow night, folks!