The Dark of Night, an original short story to celebrate Samhain, as always. Happy Halloween to all.
At night, there exists a brief time here where impossible silence thrives. Echoes of stillness swell into a heavy mass of air, imprisoning my shallow breaths. There is a peace in that which only lasts a moment, until I start to hear the voices in my head.
In their cells, the boys pound on the sturdy bars. Against my cranial bones, their fists pummel hard and uncaring. Their persistent voices scrap against the roof of my skull like sharp, jagged nails. All four of them let out dissimilar screams, melded as one.
They are young and faceless. They never age. They scream childish, unintelligible screams, such that I wish I had been patient. Patient enough to have endured them alive for a little longer. But patience was never my strong suit.
I shout back. They do too. It never ends. Their confused thoughts are shrill and louder than mine. They pierce through my own in a blameless skull that begs to be removed. Yet there is nothing in this cavernous room that I may saw my head off with. This is my punishment due. The sanatorium made sure of it.
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A Quiet Place (dir. John Krasinski, 2018) – A small family is forced to live in silence and in hiding from sound-sensitive monsters with no seeming weaknesses.
Beautifully written, A Quiet Place exceeds scares in its presentation of humanity as hope in face of monsters.
The absence of sound assuredly builds anticipation towards sudden terror, and has conceptually works wonders for the horror genre over recent years. In the vein of Hush and Don’t Breathe, A Quiet Place relies on artful sound design for the conjuring of effective tension, without overly relying on cheap jump scares.
The brilliant opening sees the Abbott family gathering supplies in silence, their young children in tow. Trepidation turns hearts into sledgehammers, with each crease of plastic and knock-over of cans posing a fatal threat. Simply by implications, the audience is made cognizant of how every little move could make the softest of noise.
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Making a return after its supposed Final Chapter, Jigsaw has once again come under fire for championing guts for glory. Yet for all the bad rep it gets, the flak may not be entirely justified. As criticism continues to spew from every end, there is no better time than now to revisit the much-maligned ‘torture porn’ genre, and the movie that started it all.
Saw may be well known for its creative display of gore. But it was the plotting and characterisation that proved the most intriguing in the 2003 release. Such as is rarely done in horror, the film builds up a strong case for its fascinating villain, whose impetus goes far beyond pure murder intent.
Before his big plans, John Kramer was a stricken cancer patient, who survived his desperate suicide attempt. It is only with his proximity to death, did he begin to appreciate life, and it is this belief that inspired his becoming.
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The Host / Gwoemul (dir. Bong Joon-ho, 2006) – A family of four will do anything to rescue their youngest, from the monster that has risen from the depths of Han River.
Far exceeding the purpose of monstrous chaos, the creature feature finds heart in a moving story of a dysfunctional family’s last shot at redemption.
Eco-degradation has serious consequences. The Host personifies the danger into a living creature, whose mutation had resulted from chemical toxins that were irresponsibly dumped into Seoul’s Han River. With no purpose beyond destruction, the monster ravages the city and stores its human prey for food. Among its kidnapped victims is Hyun-seo (Ko Ah-sung), whose family would do anything to get her back.
As with how the World War’s nuclear anxieties had birthed Gojira back in 1954, the inspiration behind Gwoemul is also found in a real-world incident. In 2002, a South Korean employee of the U.S. military poured 20 gallons of formaldehyde into the same river, leading to anti-American protests by various environmentalist groups.
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Darkness stretched an unending distance ahead, bearing nothing but dread. Only because she insisted, I found every inch of courage I never knew I had, and began walking down the familiar road again. For the first time, I thought.
“No. Once again,” I heard her soft voice in my ear. “It all happened right here.”
There was no one here but us. Yet she spoke in whispers, as though someone might be listening in on our little secret. Somehow, I could feel its presence too. Afraid of what I might find if I tried, I stared at the vast space ahead instead, unblinking eyes dry as bone.
Serenity emptied my mind in the comforting silence that followed. I let out a scream, letting out the tension in my aching body. The void screamed back, enveloping me with palpable stillness. I wanted to do it again, but I remembered that I was not alone.
You will never be alone again, she reminded me.
Continue reading “Coming Undone”