What's Your Favorite Scary Movie?

     How exciting is it to learn that your Film and Literature class will be presenting one of your favorite suspense-filled novels, The Turn of the Screw (1898), by Henry James, and then get to watch the 1961 film adaptation, The Innocents, directed by Jack Clayton. While I enjoyed both, I could not help but notice how movies of yesterday and movies of today use the same techniques in lighting, music, and overall feel of the movie after revealing the secret.

     The best example of today's scary movies to present this point would be M. Night Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense. This movie's plot and the basic plot of the novel share the overall theme of a caregiver sent to take care of a seemingly "angelic" child or children with supernatural issues. While this is true, when comparing the two movies, The Sixth Sense and The Innocents, one discovers a rather interesting movie strategy.

     In both films our children have a secret. Whether they see multiple ghosts, or the same two every time, it is up to our adult main character to discover this and help the child in his or her own way. Before the discovery in each film, all characters are dressed in a normal fashion, light-colored dresses and street clothes; and the overall feel of the movie starts out tense, as suspicions continue to build. Upon the discovery of the big secret, both movies move from a lighter feel to a scarier one with darker lighting and even with actual dresses going from white to black.

     Another way these movies go for the more visual scary scenes are with the actual appearances by the ghosts themselves. I thought it was brilliant on both directors' parts to hold off on these sightings until after the discovery of the secret to create more suspense for the entire audience. Maybe it is just I, but I would like to see a version of The Innocents in today's time to see the improvements that could be made.

Ginny L. Snow

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