Monday, February 16, 2009

From Ordinary To Scary by Morgan Mandel

Darkness, storms, cliffs, raging waters - They're all tools to place an audence in a somber mood.

It takes a bit more imagination, talent and effort to turn the mundane into scary. Stephen King did it with Christine, the evil car with a vendetta against people.

Alfred Hitchock did it with The Birds, frightening creatures swooping down and pecking at unsuspecting humans.

Then there's the classic episode of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, where the coach falls asleep and drowns in his soup. Maybe some of you are too old to remember that one. Too bad. It was a hoot, though a sad one. Okay, that wasn't a mystery, but you get the idea.

Now, get your brains working. Can you think of any books, TV shows or movies where the ordinary turns sinister? Or, would you like to make up one for the fun of it? Come on, it won't kill you.

Morgan Mandel


Anonymous said...

Well King's "The Shining" for one. A winter retreat in a fine old resort and the whole frickin property turns into a party of sinister demons bent on killing the whole family.

Sharon said...

In looking at movies and books through my grandson's eyes, I have observed that the most innocent thing can be very scarey to him. For example, we watched "Space Buddies" last night and he was crouched in the crook of my arm or his mother's the whole time. Admittedly space travel isn't a "normal" event so maybe this doesn't qualify! But I've observed that many of the things we consider quite mild or even normal can be pretty scarey to him.

Sharon Reece

Anonymous said...

Well a high-powered nail gun isn't exactly sinister but it turned that way when the workman in the ajoining building fired it into a plaster wall and it killed the customer in the booth on the other side. That isn't a movie or book but a true event.

F. M. Meredith, author said...

I loved Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. Drowning in the bowl of soup was classic.

Stephen King really knows how to write about all the things that really scare us.


Dana Fredsti said...

Well, heck, my first comment didn't take! Sigh. Here we go again:

King is definitely the master of turning the ordinary and everyday into something horrific when it comes to writing.

Movies, I prefer it when they don't overdo 'scary' musical stings (less is often much better as far as music goes in a horror movie) and things filmed in stark daylight can be so much creepier than something filmed in badly lit night time...

annecarter said...

The first movie that came to mind (because I recently watched it) is Arlington Road with Tim Robbins as a seemingly "ordinary" neighbor. Jeff Bridges begins to suspect that his new acquaintance is anything but normal and his whole life becomes skewed by his obsession to prove it. As his suspicions are played out, the viewer gets to feel those "aha!" moments with a little chill as they unfold. Enhancing the shiver is Tim Robbins' "more-protag-than-antag" face -- he doesn't look at all like a bad guy!