Author Comment
JPFeral
Sadako slave
(11/26/02 12:32:34 am)
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Television in horror movies
Okay, here's a little thought that was bouncing through my head today when I was in the video store.

What do you think makes 'the thing that comes out of the TV' a recurring element of horror movies?

I found myself thinking about this while looking at Videodrome and Poltergeist, and I realized that when I was a kid, I found the TV to be a slightly ominous, threatening thing. Is it because the black void of the TV screen while it is off is like a Nietzschean Abyss? Is it because the images on the TV seem to transcend time and space, producing a hallucinatory or clairvoyant quality to it, like a crystal ball? Is it because the TV is an inanimate object but still has the feeling of being slightly alive? (Most inanimate objects, even computers, are designed to respond to human interaction. We tell the phone to dial, and it dials... we tell the computer to print, and it prints... push a button and make it work. But the TV... when it's working, we - the humans - aren't doing anything. We sit passively while the TV pushes images at us... making the TV seem, in a way, autonomous and 'alive')?

Other questions: do you ever get the feeling that the TV is watching you? Or that a person/creature on the TV is looking back at you? Do you feel as if the TV is a connection to 'another world,' like a portal or anchor to the outside world (much in the way a crystal ball could be a portal to a spirit world)?

Last thought... recovered schizophrenics have sometimes said that before they recovered and while they were still unmedicated, the presence of a television would often intensify their hallucination and make it harder for them to tell fantasy from reality.

Any thoughts?

rustonmire
further down the Spiral
(11/26/02 12:47:21 am)
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Well you covered the bases pretty well there...
I just have to go back to the idea of mirrors. Think about how many times we see a reflection in the blank tv screen during the film. I think it's instructive to note that the tv in Samara's loft reflects the images of Noah and Rachel as he says... "not alone." Think about it. How much time did Samara spend watching herself reflected in the blank screen? How well did that tv even work? Did it even work? Imagine the scene of samara staring for hour upon hour staring at her reflection in that little tv... slowly... over time... able to force her will into the tube... bringin her own nightmares, fears, and anger to actual life on that screen... and thus... the first "tape" is made.

sweet dreams.

inteferon
everyone will suffer
(11/26/02 1:59:40 am)
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Re: Television in horror movies
IMO, itís a powerful subversion of a normally benign (not really, heh), ubiquitous everyday item. In other words, everybody has one and you can scare the bejeezus out of (and sell more movie tickets to) more people than, say, those who have S&M/B&D dungeons in their basement.

Wildezword
Sadako slave
(11/26/02 3:24:40 am)
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stuff
Normal everyday things become dangerous in horror movies. :)

The movie "Requeim for a Dream" had me scared of the refrigerator though its technically not a horror movie. :)

In many movies, horrible things come after if you take a shower. So, people get scared of taking showers.

Stuffed animals are "evil" in scary movies. So, people get scared of their Barbie dolls after a seeing a scary movie.

And if you're a US politician or related to a political family there is a tendency to die in a plane crash, but that has nothing to do with movies.

inteferon
everyone will suffer
(11/26/02 3:54:02 am)
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Re: stuff
Where was the fridge again in Requiem? (Great movie, but I forget the fridge, heh)

Woapalanne
further down the Spiral
(11/26/02 9:08:17 am)
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Re: stuff
Inte: when the mother starts to really lose it, she sees the fridge start to attack her. This is towards the end, before she ends up... you know where, not gonna say spoilers ;)

http://www.ucrats.com - UC Rats!

Everyone will suffer.

inteferon
everyone will suffer
(11/26/02 12:36:47 pm)
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Re: stuff
Thanks for the reminder. Then it qualifies as horror: I wonder if I can squeeze that delish, younger Jennifer Connelly into the Miss Horror contest for a lifetime achievement award. :smokin

sinsincere
out from the well
(11/26/02 1:34:01 pm)
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Re: stuff
Maybe it has something to do with the amount of staring we do, when watching TV. Sounds and images and static and stuff comes out of the TV, but we just sit there and take it in like zombies. And the things we see on television are part of our everyday lives - people in sitcoms live "normal" lives, we watch the news about "real" life... so when the television is used in a slightly less-than-normal way, it's like... what have I been staring at?!

But most of all, I agree with Inteferon's theory... it's an everyday object that practically everyone has, and even for people who don't, it isn't a really *strange* thing. Just a television. So we never think of it as being something other than "just" a television...

___

sin with sincerity.

Wildezword
Sadako slave
(11/26/02 5:22:43 pm)
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yep
Its when the mother starts going bonkers. He beat me to the answer. ;(

AngryVortex
Sadako slave
(11/26/02 5:29:56 pm)
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Re: yep
As I heard in a Cowboy Bebop episode a while ago: "[The television] barrages you with images until you lose your sense of reality."

Isoline
out from the well
(11/26/02 7:59:00 pm)
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Re: yep
I can't remember the title of the Cowboy Beebop Ep but yes, and they were pretty disturbing images too. The episode involved an assassin who through various forms of invasive treatment became efficient but psychologically unstable by the time Spike and crew got to him.

You say psycho like its a bad thing!

mellybeanTC
further down the Spiral
(11/27/02 11:26:20 am)
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static
i loved horror movies as a kid! had no problem realizing it was just a movie, fake blood, etc.

what truly scared the bejeezus out of me, and i mean heart keeps pounding for many minutes afterward scared ... one night i was home alone, age 11 or 12, and i was watching cable. the image went off and to static. i don't know why, but that TERRIFIED me. i remember being too scared to move, too scared to reach for the remote, i don't remember how long it took for my parents to get home but i remember my mom explaining it was just the cable going out from a snow storm north of us.

anyway, all these years (i'm 36) later, if the TV or a radio station goes off suddenly and there's static, i'm scared out of my wits. so you can see why i LOVE the ring ... the static comes on and stuff comes OUT of it *lol*

peace,
mellybeanTC

tenebrae99
everyone will suffer
(11/27/02 11:26:36 pm)
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Things out of the TV
I think it plays on a subconcious fear we have when watching a horror film. That fear? Well, the screen -- either in a theater or your TV -- is a barrier between the viewer and the movie. The monster can't come and get you. Jason will not turn, look at you, and attempt escape in order to to rip you to pieces.

But...what if he could? :)

Addendum: Not to be picky, but seeing as how this applies to more than just The Ring, could it maybe be moved over to the horror board?

Edited by: tenebrae99 at: 11/27/02 11:27:37 pm
Isoline
citizen of the Loopworld
(11/27/02 11:43:01 pm)
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Re: Things out of the TV
Interesting you mention that Melly, sounds similar to my fear of a Nuke War when I was young. You know what triggered my flights into fear. Hearing the emergency broadcast signal or seeing it on a TV, to a lesser extent, hearing civil defense whistle tests during the summer. Its like during those moments of static or the CivDef tones, the world freezes and those two things could either spell doom or be merely a false alarm.

You say psycho like its a bad thing!

inteferon
everyone will suffer
(11/28/02 12:20:25 am)
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Re: Things out of the TV
Same here, Isoline. Any whine from any source with that test signal frequency used to jangle me but good. Thanks for the 20th century flashback. *sighs*

Nymistra
Sadako slave
(11/28/02 2:15:58 am)
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Re: Television in horror movies
Supposedly, in western homes, the television occupies the place that other cultures reseve for the house shrine or god. TV is our God--as Brad Pitt says in 12 Monkeys--Look, listen, kneel, pray.
-nymistra

James Mason SH
Sadako slave
(11/28/02 4:57:26 pm)
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Re: Television in horror movies
I too am scared for some reason when I watch static on my tv. I'ts like you are watching some strange broadcast you cannot comprehend , and that never stops. And that sound sure is freaky !

Isoline
citizen of the Loopworld
(11/28/02 10:54:35 pm)
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Re: Television in horror movies
I would hate to think Manson (Marylin that is) had a point. God is in the TV.

You say psycho like its a bad thing!

Felix Underhill
manipulator of the Virus
(11/28/02 11:08:44 pm)
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Re: Things out of the TV
tenebrae99 stated: "Well, the screen -- either in a theater or your TV -- is a barrier between the viewer and the movie."

Has anyone else besides me dreamt that they had walked through a television or film screen? I love to do it whenever I get the chance. :)

Sadako's Apprentice

VespertineHotrod
shambler
(11/29/02 1:09:06 am)
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An observation I once had.
I think we tend to diefy the devices of our lives because though we are supposed to be in control of them, we really do rely on them for an awful lot. I don't think anyone here would like never to watch televsion again, listen to music again on a CD, or Tape, or even Vinyl. With television comes movies, and our need or desire to be in the experience by going to a theater and immersing ourself in that finite world. I know, I cannot live without my computer, if not for internet and email, for the fact that it saves me from using a typewriter and whiteout, and then there are computer games. A friend of mine who has unfortnately passed, made a student film in three vignettes that sorta touched on how we get effected by these devices. It was called "Permutations of Machine Relavancy and though I never saw it on the web I heard from others that did.
The first vignette that had a male actor looking rather contently at the television and being lifted up of his sofa and drawn through the tv tube where by it would cut to a side view of the television shaking and making struggling noise, which culminate in a blood curdling scream and an explosion of blood and pig vicera flying out of the screen and all over his living room. The message...TV slowly destroys you, shut it off!
The second vignette had a kid playing Quake 2 at his computer and then through some rather nice stop motion animation the computer plugs into his body and takes over his brain and programs him into a video eyed zombie running around shooting real people around him. The message of this short was simulated violence lessens our empathy to real violence.
The final video vignette had a mundane looking woman, perhaps a housewife listening to the radio spout messages of buy this buy that, as she becomes more and more frightened and bewildered looking hearing the deluge of messages, the radio then morphs into an electronic leech that latches on to her brain and then it shows her roving through aisles at a supermarket with blank stare on her face succumbing to conspicuous consumerism. The message..avoid brand loyalty and stop spending unwisely. I think all of these images speak volumes of how we cosider ourselves masters of the machines and media we produce but in the end they mostly waste our time, money and perhaps beliefs. His teacher gave him a passing grade but suggested he seek therapy.

inteferon
everyone will suffer
(11/29/02 2:18:55 am)
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Re: An observation I once had.
I found this very interesting. Thanks.

Felix Underhill
manipulator of the Virus
(11/29/02 2:21:11 am)
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Re: An observation I once had.
VespertineHotrod, if you could ever get those films online, I would love to watch them. It seemed to me that he hit a little too close to home for that teacher. ;)

Sadako's Apprentice

StrangenessDSS
further down the Spiral
(11/29/02 2:43:08 am)
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Re: An observation I once had.
I don't think anyone here would like never to watch televsion again, listen to music again on a CD, or Tape, or even Vinyl.

I haven't watched television in over a year, despite having a perfectly good television in my room. I only play games on it, I can't stand watching it. And I don't listen to CDs, tapes, or vinyl... all my music is on my hard drive.

That said, I certainly use many devices. I play a lot of video games, and use my computer for many, many tasks. But I understand the things I use... I control them, they don't control me.

Isoline
citizen of the Loopworld
(11/29/02 2:59:57 am)
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Re: An observation I once had.
Oh my God, VespertineHotrod, I think I must know you because I too know that film and its creator from college. E-mail me ASAP please....

You say psycho like its a bad thing!

Edited by: Isoline at: 11/29/02 3:24:33 am
VespertineHotrod
shambler
(11/29/02 3:23:17 am)
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Re: An observation I once had.
Okay, got it, check your box and lets talk.

inteferon
everyone will suffer
(11/29/02 3:32:19 am)
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Re: An observation I once had.
Heh. Samara unites old friends. That girl unfairly gets a bad rap!

coweatman
shambler
(11/29/02 10:43:02 am)
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tv
i usually only watch the simpsons. if i had vh1 classic, i'd never leave the house, though.

matt

Isoline
citizen of the Loopworld
(11/29/02 6:35:36 pm)
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Re: An observation I once had.
He He, Samara probably never envisioned this. That was probably the most miraculous thing ever to happen to me online. COOL!

That said the film is not available for viewing on or offline and is unlikely to be for an indefinate period time. The creator of the film commited suicide later that year and his family really shut all his friends and those that knew off from any sense of mourning him and celebrating his life so it (the film) was appropriated along with all his legal possessions to be hdden away like most everything concerning him. Sorry Felix, looks like its lost to us.

You say psycho like its a bad thing!