23 May 2005

Emotional Blockbusters?

When I watch movies made for the masses, formulaic movies designed to elicit particular audience reaction based on marketing studies, I don't usually fall for those transparent moments when the movie-goer is supposed to jump or cry. But, I fell victim to two such flicks this weekend: White Noise and Star Wars Episode III.

I won't discuss Revenge of the Sith in too much detail, for fear of blowing it for my readers. I plan to watch it a second time in a few weeks and will discuss the heavy impact of the movie on my heart. I don't agree with the critics who complain about the dialogue; we don't need the characters to tell us how they feel, they show it much better than any convoluted dialogue could.

As for White Noise, my skin crawled through this horror. The film effectively creeped me out without resorting to graphic violence or the usual things-jumping-out-behind-a-corner technique commonly found in this genre. It reminded me of The Ring, which didn't scare me at all but left an eerie sensation for weeks. Most people said the girl climbing out the TV freaked them out, but the sound did it for me. The same holds true for White Noise. The sound of static with screams and messages from beyond made me tense, not the three ghostly figures with fiendish intent. I wonder if studies have been done on the effects of noise on people, and if it has influenced the direction horror movies will travel in the future.

Such techniques work only in movies however. How can you create that creepiness in a book. I know H.P. Lovecraft can do it, but he does it through emotion. How can I engage the senses through text to create such an experience for a reader? Not that I write in the horror genre, but I'm always reading and hearing from professors about the importance of not leaving out any of the five senses. My biggest struggle is to convey these senses without resorting to my least favorite writing tool, the simile as constructed with the word "like."

Why do I dislike "like"? It's become cliche. How many poems do I have to read with strings of simile? It leaves less for the reader to interpret unless it compares some unlikely things (ex. She smokes like a rock.) "Like" has made it to my word pet peeve list, joining the ranks of "that" and any form of the verb "to be."

On a different note, I want to thank Robert and Shannon for avidly reading my blog and leaving words of kindness and consolation. Thanks. I hope I continue to provide you with worthwhile content to read.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How true! Sound creeps me out too. And I completely agree with you about "like" although sometimes it has its place. I think that "cool" is another word that has become cliche at least verbally.