Saturday, October 22, 2011

Facing the Paranormal - Not cool, mom. Not cool.

Today's challenge asks, "What is your favorite supernatural horror movie?"
Funny, I just saw the third addition to this movie trilogy... like just an hour ago.

I'm talking about Paranormal Activity.

If you haven't seen any of these movies, this is where a normal person tell you that you "just have to see them!" I'm not going to do that. As I told my friend tonight, scary is relative, but these movies take a step beyond scary for those of us who know God and have a fear of demons. As a Christian (born again - no, I am not ashamed of my faith), I know that demons are very real and can come into our lives in any shape or size. What is in my arsenal to battle them? I am God's child and I have 100% faith in that. I have found in recent years that those of us who take demonology and Christianity to heart, we find these movies extremely unsettling. Atheists, Agnostics, and people of little faith tend to find this franchise laughable and claim that The Fourth Kind (a reality-based movie about alien abductions) is the scariest movie of all time. I've seen them both and I gotta say, I'm more apt to believing in demons than I am of E.T. Some of you may not be enjoying this small paragraph, waiting for me to get to the heart of the blog, but I feel that this paragraph about my faith is just as important and makes a wonderful introduction to one of the scariest movies I've ever seen.

These movies are the perfect example as to how a little bit can go a long way. There is no serious plot twist. No super, special effects. Not even top billing actor names in it. It scares us the old-fashioned way - with anticipation and fear of the unknown. Simplicity is genius.

I first saw Paranormal Activity when it came to the big screen in 2007. Married, with a 4 and a 2 year old, my list of friends to go see this with was very short. I went with my mother... who is one of my best friends anyway. We really didn't know what to expect, just watching another reality-based horror movie about a haunting.This whole idea of making the movies look as if they really happened was getting really tired. The Blair Witch Project set this trend off in 1998 and in all honesty, the over all effect hadn't been matched let alone surpassed.

That is, until Paranormal Activity.

I'll admit it, these kind of movies give me a horrible headache and make me nauseous at time with the unstable movements of the camera, but I struggle through them because I know that the end result is always worth it.

In the first movie, you have Katie and Micah living in a very ghostly condition in their house. Micah buys a camera to capture this "ghost" and proof of his presence at the very beginning. Katie's back story is that she's been haunted by this presence on and off her entire life. Early in the movie we learn that she is in fact not being haunted but a demonic presence manifests around her.
My mom and I instantly become tense at the mention of "demon".
Before long, Micah's poking and prodding the manifestation makes things worse at the house and Katie wants them both to just ignore it & hopefully it'll go away.
It never does.

That night, leaving the theater, I was stuck with driving separately to my mom's house. I was freaking out the entire way there - desperate to stay close behind my mother as she drove to her house in front of me. She was kind enough to race home and run into the house, locking the doors behind her so I could have a conniption fit outside as I twisted the knob of the door in desperation.
Not cool, mom. Not cool.

My mom and I insisted that my sisters, Mandy & Jessie, see it as well. They watched it that following weekend and casually walked into our mom's house afterwards to tell us that they thought the movie was "okay." My mom and I were shocked at their lack of response. But as soon as my mom turned her back on them, Mandy and Jessie both gave me a face that declared, "We officially have the willies!"
None of us slept for close to a week.

Paranormal Activity 2 was release in 2010 and this time, we learned that there was safety in numbers. We all four went together.

In the second movie, we meet Dan and Kristi (Katie's sister). This is not fully a sequel and it's not a prequel. It's a side story, really. Same crazy things start happening to their home as it did with Katie and Micah in the first movie. The only difference is that Kristi doesn't remember her childhood being like this and her main focus is protecting her young son, Hunter. Clearly, in this one, the "presence" (I can't use the d-term anymore, It's midnight and I'm a bit freaked out. Sorry. How's that for reality?) is interested in possessing the baby boy. The same sorts of things occur in this one as it did int he first one: doors open, doors shut, shadows movie on the wall, unexplained noises are throughout the house... and people are dragged off by an invisible person.

 We all rode together in mom's car as we left the theater. My dear, sweet mother feels that she wants to take a late night drive through a creepy cemetery on the way home. She rolls down the windows and creeps through at about (what felt like) .0005 miles a minute, and making a strange moaning sound. This makes all three of us girls crouch down (as far away from the rolled down windows) and squealing in fear.
Not cool, mom. Not cool.

And that brings us here, to October 21, 2011. Paranormal Activity 3 opened tonight and this time, we're doing it right. Just me, Mandy, and Jess. Our mom is on a getaway with our dad.

This movie is a prequel, taking us back to 1988 so we can experience was the sisters, Katie & Kristi, have experienced. Same creepy stuff happens, moving objects, shadows, noises, dragging people... and a few extra things that made me want to wet my pants. Just because they all happened in the other two movies does not mean they are any less scary. And this time, we get answers. I thought this movie was awesome.

Thankful that our mom isn't with us to scare the pants off of us, we have a pleasant dinner afterwards, visit and then part ways. Peaceful drive home.... *stops*... wait a minute. I live with mom and dad in lieu of my divorce.... an they are OUT OF TOWN!!!!!
I'm sleeping alone tonight, folks. With all the lights on and one eye open.

Not cool, mom. Not cool. (love you!!!!)

And thank you, Paranormal Activity franchise, for keeping it fresh, simple, and helping me make memories with the three important ladies in my life.... sweeping the disgusting, torture-porn franchise of SAW under the rug... all the while causing me to poop my drawers as an adult. Good stuff.

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