Darkness Equals Horrifying

        After viewing the 1961 film The Innocents, directed by Jack Clayton, in class, which is based on the 1898 novella The Turn of the Screw written by Henry James, I was reminded of how a black and white film adds to the suspense of a horror film. The dark, dungeon-like setting of the old house and resultant eerie feeling would not have been as effective if this film had been in color. The Innocents is just one example of many "Thrillers" that get their true eerie nature of the movie through being filmed in black and white.

        This horror effect is also present in many other films such as House on Haunted Hill, Night of the Living Dead, and Psycho, just to name a few. The remakes of these films, which were done in color, lost their effective ability to horrify. The intended terrifying effect of these films seemed to be lost when color was introduced. Nothing can replace the constant darkness which sets the constant-night time effect. Most people have been afraid of the dark at one point in time in their lives. Personally, I was terrified of the dark when I was younger. I remember creeping down the pitch-black hallway to feel for a light switch, just to get a quick glimpse of my bed, then turning it off to dash underneath the covers. After doing so, I would sense a creepy feeling occupying my room and my body. I would hear all kinds of eerie sounds and see shadows like those that were present in the film The Innocents. Watching this film brought back some of my scary childhood memories of going to sleep. Just to scare myself a little more, I left class to saunter in the dark to my car. I have to admit, I was scared due to the eerie feeling I had from the film bringing back these memories. The Innocent, I truly believe, served its purpose of scaring its audience. Color does not seem to fulfill this effect. Therefore, I am a true fan of black and white films.

        Remaking movies such as House on Haunted Hill, Night of the Living Dead, and Psycho in color caused these films to lose their horror effect in my opinion. One can see this if one watches the old black and white versions then the colored ones. I truly believe that if The Innocents had been in color, I would not have experienced the same horrifying reaction after viewing this film in class. I believe scary movies should be filmed in black and white once again so the younger generations will experience the effect that is present in a true scary film.

Nicole Zelesnikar

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