The item on the list that I picked first was Boris Karloff’s Thriller “The Grimm Reaper”. I surprised myself, and actually really enjoyed this film. I know that this was not done purposefully, due to the age of the film, however what really took the cake for me was the fact that it was done in black and white. Not only did the black and white cast an eery effect from the beginning, but it was incredibly dark and shadowy. This gave me the impression that anything could jump out at anytime.
I found that I couldn’t peel my eyes away from “The Grimm Reaper”. Why is that? Well I felt really immersed into the story. This happened early on, as the host introduced the story and the cast. (Apparently I really seem to enjoy the host thing, which appears to be the theme this week, wahoo!) I’ve noticed that sometimes I can never really get into horror films because they seem to start so abruptly. I don’t feel like I know who the cast is, and I don’t understand where the plot is supposed to go. Here, I definitely did not have this problem. Being able to immerse myself in the story and the characters immediately really helped me. Go host! Not only did I feel into the story before it really even started, but it really kept me on my toes through all the plot twists. I thought I knew exactly what was going to happen, but then it went in a totally different direction and completely shocked me with what happened.
Next, I decided to watch “Night Gallery: Certain Shadows on the Wall”. I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t quite as captivated by this story as the first one. I think that is because it lacked the intro that “The Grimm Reaper” offered in the beginning. Also, I felt that it didn’t “scare” like the first one did. Even though the story was suspenseful, I did not get the same thrill that I got watching the first.
I feel like in both of these films that I viewed there was an element of distraction. Not necessarily distraction like “hey, look over there while I do something else”, rather that the story revolved so much around one character to distract and surprise us of what was really going on. For example, in “The Grimm Reaper”, the painting is introduced solely to produce scary thoughts when looking at it. However, as the story goes on the new husband is introduced as the “scary” one. But yet again that was another distraction, and we find out that the nephew is the one causing all the madness. As we turn against the nephew, we learn that it is the painting that is just as sinister. All of the plot twists really keep you on your toes and your heart racing. This same scare building concept was seen in “Certain Shadows on the Wall”, when the Doctor is made out to be the sinister one, who then gets ousted by his sister who is even more sinister.
I think that both “The Grimm Reaper” and “Certain Shadows on the Wall” would fit the category of “horror” as defined by Stephen King. He describes horror as “fear that is not entirely of the mind. Horror invites a physical reaction by showing us something physically wrong.” I think that when the painting bled, and the ending where the nephew had been murdered simply showed that there was something physically wrong to be afraid of. Also, when the shadows of the sister and the doctor that appeared on the wall gave the same effect.