Column | The horror film that makes people puke and scream out of the room

The evenings darken, fog floats through the streets and people duck into their collars on their way to movie theater or home cinema. With the horror in the air leading up to Halloween, many people feel like horrifying. There’s already a new movie in the Halloweenfranchise (The last one! Now for real!) and the rest of the month there will be a lot of horror to follow. It is, as Generation Z’ers say on social media: spooky season.

As almost always during this period, news reports appear about a horror production that is so intense that visitors pass out or leave the room puking.

This year has Terrific 2 the honour, an American slasher film about a demonic clown, called Art the Clown, who causes massacres on Halloween. Google the title and the articles pile up. The observation: because of the brutal chopping and sawing in the film, the ambulances should be ready to receive visitors at the exit. Well, such stories are mostly smart PR, free advertising for movies that usually don’t have the biggest marketing budgets. It helped the horror classic The Exorcist fifty years ago. ‘They wait hours to be shocked’ headlined the New York Times above a piece in which reporter Judy Klemesrud stands in a cinema queue and examines why the film is such a sensation.

After the performance she was surprised that almost everyone came out positively. The public had a lot of fun with the spinning head of the possessed Linda Blair. It’s not much different with the latest killer clown. I’m curious why exactly Terrific 2 has floated to the top. Still, I’ll almost certainly skip it once it reaches the Netherlands (there is no release date for the Netherlands at the moment). According to American reviewers, the fainting factor is not that bad, but you have to have something with spicy ‘gore’ to enjoy it. No one will ever mistake me for a horror hero, so it ends there.

Nevertheless, thanks to Wikipedia, curiosity can still be nurtured a bit. That way you can still talk a little bit if necessary. And quite a lot of people do that: journalist Rob Harvilla, also too afraid of cinematic misery, has even made reviews of Wikipedia pages about horror films.

Fine for pulp, but there are still artistically high-quality films that you really want to experience. The internet offers help there too. Reviews can already help. However, if you want even more certainty, you can go to the site of slate to go. Popular films that contain horror elements are analyzed there through all kinds of tables.

You can see how a particular movie scores on such factors as ‘spookiness’ and ‘gore’. That last category goes from Singin’ in the Rain (no horrific things) to saw (lots of horrible things). So this summer I could see that nopethe latest film by modern master Jordan Peele, would not be too bad.

You give up the element of surprise a bit, but in this way you enter the room a little more relaxed as a fearful hare.

Thijs Schrik is a film and series critic.

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