Friday, May 23, 2008

The Origin of the Fear of Masks

Probably no one really knows this about me (well, one person does), but I have an almost paralyzing fear of masks. I don't care what kind of masks they are, I hate them. Santa Claus maks, president masks, anonymous glassy-faced masks, the mask the guy in Halloween wears, whatever. I don't like it. The surest way to freak me out (and get me to possibly hate you) is to stare at me while you're wearing a mask. I have somewhat of a history with masks freaking me out in my life that I'm not going to detail here, but suffice to say, some of my most impressionable moments of being scared out of my mind in childhood involved masks. Both benign and werewolf.

So, while I don't care for Liv Tyler, and I have no idea who Scott Speedman is, but people seem to hate him, and I'm sure it sucks, the trailer for The Strangers really terrifies me. Naturally, I just assumed it was a Funny Games ripoff (and dear god, the only movie I've ever hated more than Funny Games is fucking Salo. Pasolini deserved to be murdered after making that soul-crushing journey to hell). Next on the list would be any Lars von Trier film. That man's not even human.

But I digress. I made the Funny Games - Strangers parallel immediately, but it seems there are some seasoned horror buffs that didn't really pick up on it. But since no one's seen the film, there seems to be some debate as to whether or not it is actually a ripoff of Funny Games, or is just being marketed that way. And while I did despise every moment of Funny Games (well, in all fairness, I didn't finish it; when they blast the little kid's brains all over the wall in front of his mother, I'd had enough), I can appreciate the point it's making. Too bad it's such a condescending, elitist and hypocritical point, but nevertheless, I think it's smart.

But the one thing The Strangers has going for it, for me, is the masks. I have to admit, though I know it will be total tripe, I'll probably see it. Any movie that can genuinely freak me out, I appreciate. And sometimes a silly mask is all it takes.

(As a sidenote, I'm also very excited about Mamma Mia. I can't help it; it looks fun.)


Fox said...

I'm curious to see *The Strangers* too. I wonder if it follows the trend of sado-horror or if it pulls back a little.

Kat and Aaron informed me that the writer/director of *The Strangers* is a UT Grad. Same time as Aaron and George, in fact (sorry if I am getting too personal and alienating none Austin people...).

Also, along with *Funny Games*, many people are seeing similarities between *The Strangers* and the French film *Them* (aka *Ils*). I mean, not that the "terror siege movie" is new, but the fact that one of the "strangers" is a child makes me wonder if it's related to the same true story that inspired *Them*.

p.s. I hesitate a bit on recommending it, but I think you MIGHT like *Them*. It should be in the new release section at any video store. It's really short too. Get Tom together with some popcorn and give it a shot.

Mandy said...

Didn't you collect masks in junior high/high school, like drama and Mardi Gras masks? Or was that just me?

Anonymous said...

holy crap! funny story, i hate masks always have always will the halloween masks (one michael myers) wear scares the s*** out of me. i went to my friends house and she and her bf were sitting together and my other friend and her bf were sitting together so i was the 5th wheel, but neways we started to watch the strangers. you have them just watch it and then me, hiding under the covers crying my eyes out. i hate masks and people laugh at me for it, like if someone took a paper bag stuck it over their head and cut out holes for eyes so they could see i would be so scared.....true story......