When people think of horror, their mind immediately goes to the downfall. No one would blame them, it’s Halloween season after all. The leaves begin to die back and fall from the trees in rich shades of brown and orange, they are much more prone to dark, stormy nights, especially when they darken earlier. There is a beauty and a terror associated with every season, especially as we experience increasingly inclement weather and natural disasters like hurricanes and bushfires, the world can be a scary place at any time. time of year.
If we’re talking about horror cinema, which we are, the same can be true. There’s a horror film for every season, with all four distinct tones, styles and moods fully exploited to juxtapose or complement a chilling story. Summer has the blood and guts of the beach the lost boys and Jaws. Autumn has appropriate festive characteristics like Halloween and Trick or treats. Spring is a little harder to find movies specifically, but there’s the twisted May Day of The wicker manand of course 2004 Spring. But the real scare season, the one where the mood of the season perfectly matches the horror genre, is the time most associated with the wholesome cheer of the holidays, Christmas lights, and New Years celebrations. If you looking for something cold, turn to the coldest season of the year: winter.
While Christmas is merry and bright, winter sets a dark tone
Take off the ornaments of festive cheer that come with the season, and what do you have? Long dark nights, thick blankets of snow, and freezing cold, even if you’re in a part of the world where it doesn’t snow. Winter is very dark in itself. Aesthetically, there aren’t many colors, the sky is dark, and it can make for a very desolate horror movie. Scandinavian horror movies, from the various countries that practically embrace the Arctic like Norway, Finland and Sweden, arguably all of Northern Europe, know better than many just how cold and dark things can get.
The film that best takes advantage of the 18 hours of night that can come from a Swedish winter is the 2008 Thomas Alfredson movie Leave the one on the right in. The 2011 movie 30 days of night works with the same concept: vampires will thrive in places where things get darker, longer, faster, lacking sunlight even during the day. Leave the one on the right in takes this in a different and more beautiful direction, a dark romance between a childlike vampire and a human boy. The film can make your room feel colder, even when the colors inside are coolly muted, it is calm and moody, making it the embodiment of both the beauty and the terror of sub-zero temperatures. zero, relying heavily on beauty, even for the murders are truly gorgeous.
A frozen wasteland may be the scariest monster of them all
I’ve written before that nature is the scariest monster you’re likely to face. Even if you fear the things that come after you, if you happen to be stranded in the middle of nowhere, what is most likely to put you in danger is being stranded. That’s the crux of survival horror, that basic fear of being thrown into a situation that you have to endure but are in no way prepared for.
The frozen tundra is a terrible situation, the physical inconveniences of cold weather are taken to an extreme. Hypothermia and frostbite, plus the usual dangers of survival horror like starvation and deadly animals. That’s where we see movies like Grey and TV shows like AMC Season 1 Terror. Whether a plane crashes in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness pursued by hungry wolves or on a 19th century Arctic expedition that is beset by ice, it is bitterly cold and our heroes are stuck. Rather than things rising from the bottom, what makes these frozen survival horrors terrifying is that things deteriorate further from the initial crash, leaving most of our survivors dead or their fates unknown.
In Terror above all, more than the characters hope to be a polar bear, it’s a horror of real human suffering. It includes the true story of how HMS Terror and Erebus were ill-prepared for the voyage, exposing the fleet to scurvy, botulism and lead poisoning, but also how the intense cabin fever that all crew members experienced must have felt under an incredibly stiff navy. hierarchy sank into paranoia and madness.
Being stuck indoors can be scarier than being stuck in the snow
You don’t have to be in a survival horror movie to dread the idea of being snowed in. The freezing equivalent of the dark and stormy night is far more likely to present serious dangers if attempted to escape by car; rain can be expected, but snow can be impenetrable for days after a blizzard, and that’s not even mentioning black ice. Drive carefully, everyone. So even if it is in the comfort of a home or a hotel, the danger is not always where you are trapped but with whom you are trapped.
The tension can really mount when you’re stuck inside your own home, something we’ve all had our fill of the past couple of years. Being stuck with just yourself and your own mind is bad enough for your sanity, but being snowed in can turn into a life or death situation when stuck with someone dangerous.
Stephen King wrote the original novels for two of the best examples of this: the brilliant, realized by Stanley Kubrick in 1980, and Miseryrealized by Rob Reiner back in 1990. The roads are snowy, your car has already suffered the effects, and even though you’re somewhere with all the comforts of home and your needs are met, you’re either stuck with an overzealous fan or a alcoholic husband and father who fell under the influence of supernatural forces. Your most obvious forms of evasion have been stripped from you and you are left with two options: kill or be killed, with your opponent having the upper hand.
Survival films are not always horrors because with ingenuity and perseverance, we can triumph over the elements. Misery and the brilliant are true staples in the horror genre because while you may not be suffering from the effects of freezing, being snowed in with someone threatening your life can be even worse.
‘The Thing’ is the perfect winter horror movie
So far, we’ve covered winter as a set-up that makes a film look dreary and colorless, as a frozen landscape that can be a terrifying natural force, and as a weather condition that can leave people stranded without nowhere to go. . In closing, let’s talk about the movie that most masterfully combines all three elements to be one of the greatest horror movies of all time, and the best example of why it’s the scariest time in history. ‘year.
John Carpenter The thing was released in 1982 and features Kurt Russell and keith david, two members of a research team in Antarctica who accidentally encountered a deadly, shape-shifting alien. As the creature takes them down one by one, the team’s mistrust and paranoia become an even greater threat. This film is much acclaimed for its incredible monster design and practical effects, and a story that inspires and terrifies to this day, but I want to point out the excellent choice and use of the Antarctic setting.
Blood and fire stand out in the snow, MacReady’s rough beard ends up covered in icicles, and the physical effects of people freezing as their means to call for help are cut. The mental effects of not only being stuck with a monster, but increasingly hostile co-workers build and build to an uncertain and hopeless end. A barren, dark backdrop, a struggle to avoid frostbite and isolation with someone or something out to harm you.
The thing is the perfect horror movie to watch this winter, and while holiday horror movies in particular can be mixed in quality, there’s enough horror to keep you chilling if you watch the big picture. freezing. Remember to stay safe and warm this winter, everyone.