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Category: Religion and Philosophy

Dread's Embrace

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Fear, in philosophical terms, emerges as a profound exploration of human consciousness and existence. It's a visceral response intertwined with the fundamental questions of life, reflecting our vulnerability in the face of the one thing we are all afraid of. The UNKNOWN… Rooted in existentialism, fear encapsulates the paradox of being alive, a relentless reminder of mortality. As a primal instinct, it taps into the separation of survival and contemplation, shaping our understanding of courage amid frailty. Within the philosophical landscape, fear transcends mere emotion; it becomes a dynamic force influencing our narratives, distorting perceptions of time, and challenging our conceptions of self. It is both an intimate experience and a universal phenomenon, connecting individuals through the shared recognition of life's uncertainties and the constant negotiation between dread and resilience on the philosophical stage of human existence.

 

—A dream?—
—A False Reality?—

—Existentialism—
—Nihilism—

Or NOTHING AT ALL?
Completely Meaningless and Purposeless…

 

“The world of reality has its limits; the world of imagination is boundless.”
— Jean-Jacques Rousseau

 

Fear is like a storm of strong feelings, swirling together in our minds—feelings like worry, dread, and discomfort. It plays tricks on how we see things, creating illusions and making us imagine things that aren't really there. It messes with time, making us think too much about what might happen in the future or what's happened in the past, blurring the lines between then, now, and later. It's the reason we feel like running away, freezing in our tracks, or getting ready to fight when we're scared. Fear makes us think about the big questions in life, like how vulnerable we are, but it also pushes us to find courage and face challenges. It's a bit mysterious and hard to pin down, not fitting into clear categories, and it likes to hang out in the spaces where our thoughts and feelings mix. Fear is like a ghost, showing up when we least expect it, changing our stories into scary ones filled with worry and nervousness. Even when it's not around, we can still feel its impact, a lingering feeling that says a lot about how deeply it affects us.

 

“Dread’s Embrace” is basically a Top 10 Things That Terrify Me in Film/TV. In no order the ten things I remember that freaked me out in a Movie. Granted I am 45 and a lot of these were seen as a kid. So 80s baby all the way. Just a side note that I really harp on “conceptual horror” over just visuals. “Conceptual Horror” would be imagining you as a child, in bed, feeling this sense that you are being watched. You cannot see anything, but you look in the darkest corners of your room to see BLACK and feeling there is something there that wants you to be terrified of its presence upon you. You get the distinct feeling this thing, this entity, wants to do bad things to you or at the very least make you do bad things to others or yourself. That to me, this uncertainty, this distinct feeling of a harmful force upon you, is terrifying. That unknown feeling of dread by something you cannot quantify, but is in your space that is supposed to be yours and safe.

 

 

The Elephant Man (1980)
Writers: Christopher De Vore, Eric Bergren, David Lynch
Directed by: David Lynch
Stars: Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt, Anne Bancroft
IMDB Rating: 8.2/10 Stars
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 93%

The life of John Merrick (John Hurt), a severely deformed man living in Victorian London. Discovered by Dr. Frederick Treves (Anthony Hopkins) in a circus freak show, Merrick becomes an object of fascination and exploitation in society's eyes. As the narrative unfolds, it explores themes of humanity, compassion, and the cruelty of societal judgment. The film creates a haunting and emotionally resonant cinematic experience. The film navigates the division between Merrick's extreme physical deformity and the profound beauty within, unraveling a tale that challenges societal norms and explores the depths of human empathy. “The Elephant Man” isn’t a horror film, but as a very young child, the makeup scared me to death. I was like maybe three-years-old, watching David Lynch films. This movie is dark in tone. It looks like a horror movie. It feels like horror movies do. At times it is a horror movie. To a young child not having any real context to this, I was scared shitless. I couldn’t get enough of it. I was terrified for years by this movie. When I was finally old enough to watch it with a more mature mind. I cried… We can be boundless in our ability at human cruelty. As a young child I would walk up to my poor mother with a pillowcase over my head grabbing her leg and repeating the lines from the movie, over and over again.

 

“I Am Not An Elephant!
I Am Not An Animal!
I Am... A Human Being!
I... Am... A... Man!”
— John Merrick — The Elephant Man (1980)

 

To a hip mother in her late 20s of the 1980s this was, of course, cute to her and encouraged. Why she wasn’t teaching me Film Production College level courses at four-years-old I will never know…

 

 

The Thing (1982)
Writers: Bill Lancaster, John W. Campbell Jr.
Directed by: John Carpenter
Stars: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David
IMDB Rating: 8.2/10 Stars
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 92%

You thought clowns were creepy? Try facing the uncertainty of not knowing if your colleague is secretly a walking, talking extraterrestrial entity ready to turn your organs into an intergalactic smoothie. It's the kind of uncertainty that makes you want to hug your pillow and question your life choices.

 

“The THING” isn't just a movie; it's like that ex that creeps on your Facebook for the new girl, a pure ride into the abyss of trust issues. It's a reminder that the world of reality might have some limits, but the world of paranoia and fear? Oh, that's boundless, my friend, boundless.

 

So go ahead, watch it with the lights off, but don't blame me if you start questioning your reflection in the bathroom mirror as thing, a thing, “The THING.” “The THING” has a way of making you realize that sometimes the scariest monsters aren't under your bed—they're sitting across from you at the research station's poker table. And yes, it looks like it would really hurt to be a victim of this shape-shifting, paranoid alien. We never seen anyone in pain. They either die fast or are absorbed slowly, experiencing unimaginable terror before the body dies. My dreams, say terrifying. Cosmic Horror wasn’t even a thing in mainstream horror films when I saw this, but I remember as a kid loving this movie, and as an adult believing this to be a classic among classics. The Special Effects gave me a nightmare-upgrade to five-stars. The grotesque transformations and visceral horror make your childhood fear of the dark seem like a walk in the park. I still have dreams or elements of dreams that have to be inspired by “The THING.” The visuals to me, at the time, represented what movies could not or would not show us but this one time, they went all out and did.

 

Who can you rely on when the guy next to you might be, “The THING…”

 

 

Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
Writers: Ron Kurz, Victor Miller, Sean S. Cunningham
Directed by: Steve Miner
Stars: Amy Steel, John Furey, Warrington Gillette
IMDB Rating: 6.1/10 Stars
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 48%

You thought unmasking Jason Voorhees was intense? Jason's potato sack isn't just an accessory; it's like that unexpected plot twist that leaves you wondering. What’s underneath that sack? A suspenseful journey into the slasher movie with a mutant as the killer. I mean, who needs a shape-shifting alien that literally absorbs you with tentacles when you have a machete-wielding maniac with a mysterious face covering?

 

Back in the day, I was about as tall as a potato sack, probably three or four-years-old as well, and I'd often mix up my horror films. I'd be grappling with the chilling thought of Jason Voorhees while simultaneously picturing the haunting imagery from David Lynch's "The Elephant Man" under that sack. Talk about a mindfuck. I thought they were the same thing.  Potato-sack-Jason, at the time, was an enigma of horror surrounding Jason's possible appearance. Limited backstory. Not really sure how he is supposed to be alive, living the woods? Knew what pants and shows were at the very least. The big reveal — that moment when the sack comes off. The choice to conceal Jason's physical appearance builds an aura of suspense and terror throughout the movie, as viewers are left in suspense, not knowing the true extent of the horror beneath the sack. The impact of this revelation echoes through the annals of the genre, solidifying the potato sack as a symbol of the unknown horrors that lie beneath, forever etched in the minds of horror enthusiasts and me as a child.

 

 

Altered States (1980)
Writers: Paddy Chayefsky
Directed by: Ken Russell
Stars: William Hurt, Blair Brown, Bob Balaban
IMDB Rating: 6.9/10 Stars
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 71%

"Altered States" explores the boundaries between consciousness and primal instincts. Driven by the relentless quest to unlock the mysteries of human existence and consciousness itself through sensory deprivation and hallucinogenic substances. Where blurred lines between reality and hallucination as the boundaries of time, identity, and even physical form disintegrate. The existential terror arises from the unsettling notion that reality itself is a basic construct susceptible to manipulation. The film's vivid visual effects, coupled with its psychological intensity, create an atmosphere of dread by challenging fundamental perceptions of self and reality. The tone of this movie. The sense of dread from the soundtrack. I was, again, very young and usually would only get glimpses of this film over the years till I was old enough to appreciate it.

 

The scenes of transformation into a blob of proto-consciousness and subsequent reconstitution serve as a visual metaphor for human existence. Dr. Jessup's (William Hurt) experiments with altered states of consciousness lead him to a primal, pre-human form—a manifestation of pure, unbridled consciousness. As Jessup undergoes these radical transformations, question boundaries of selfhood and the nature of reality. The visual representation of his reconstitution underscores the fragility of human form and the transformative potential within the recesses of the mind. We all used to be something more animal. More hunter, more predator than dossal plant eater woods dweller.  This surreal imagery and tone contributes to the film's existential unease, as it explores the profound and unsettling implications of manipulating one's consciousness and challenging the conventional boundaries of human existence.

 

Perhaps A Warning To Not Try To Hack God.

 

Tightrope (1984)
Directors: Richard Tuggle, Clint Eastwood
Writer: Richard Tuggle
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Geneviève Bujold, Dan Hedaya
IMDB Rating: 6.3/10 Stars
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 50%

This isn’t about the film. It is about a mask that is literally in one or two shots of the film, that it just so happen to be in the trailer. It was either Dirty Harry “Sudden Impact” or another Clint Eastwood film around that time; where there is a scene in an amusement park, where someone is wearing a creepy mask. That always freaked me out as a kid. I cannot remember exactly what movie it was, but I knew Clint Eastwood was in it. This mask scared the living crap out of my six-year-old ass every time I would see the preview on HBO back in 1985. This gave me nightmares for years and I didn't really remember what movie it was from till recently. I remembered Clint Eastwood was in it and there was a carnival or celebration. At first glance, I thought it was “Sudden Impact." After watching the movie I realized it wasn't it. I had been thinking for months about what I saw from horror films that actually scared me to my core as a young child. I remembered most of everything but this. After thinking hard on this subject for months I finally remembered it after going through all the movie trailers from Clint Eastwood films starting from 1982 and moving forward on YouTube. After only a few movie trailers I found it. “Tightrope” (1984). Stars and co-directed by Clint Eastwood... The Killer would wear masks, but this specific mask was at an outdoor exterior scene. The mask is only in the scene for a short second, but in both the trailer and the HBO teaser the mask was prominently shown and that was the part that always freaked me out as a kid. So here is a better look at the face that terrified me more than any creepy neighbor, creature feature or alien of the 1980s

 

Communion (1989)
Director: Philippe Mora
Writers: Whitley Strieber
Stars: Christopher Walken, Lindsay Crouse, Frances Sternhagen
IMDB Rating: 5.5/10 Stars
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 46%

The 1989 film "Communion" unfolds as nightmare fuel. Based on Whitley Strieber's autobiographical account, played by Christopher Walken, of a series of real-life Alien abductions from a race of Aliens called “the GREYS.” The film explores his unsettling experiences, blurring the lines between reality and imagination. As Strieber (Walken) and his family confront the mysterious events and beings, the intricate dance with the unknown, a shadow, movement behind a door. Only a crack open. Nothing could possibly hide around the small of a crack of space. You look harder, your vision adjusts to the dark. Then you see it. A large black almond-shaped eye with no pupil, just staring at you, coldly. It’s both there and not there at the same time. You see the door creak open and then you wake up in your bed, believing it to be a dream. OR WAS IT?

 

The beings are not products of imagination; they are manifestations of existential terror. Short in stature, yet towering in malevolence, their featureless bodies and colossal, almond-shaped jet black eyes become conduits for an insidious force that defies comprehension to all that bear witness. Their presence is an intrusion into the sanctity of our psyche, a violation of the comfort derived from the familiar. The false and disjointed realities projected onto us by them makes us feel like we are watching ourselves perform in a film where we try to speak to ourselves to get out of there, but the us in the movie cannot hear us as we become a voyeuristic explorer of scenes that straddle the boundaries between sanity, insanity and stone cold terror. Love and familial ties dissolve into the pool of nightmarish aberrations, and reality itself becomes a will-less substance manipulated by unseen hands. The film skillfully crafts an unsettling tone that taps into the primal fear of being abducted by “the GREYS.” – They have haunted us for sixty years, perhaps longer, we just cannot remember it.

 

The ability to evoke sheer terror without relying heavily on explicit visuals of the alien beings capitalizes on the power of suggestion and atmospheric tension, causing a lingering anxiety that transcends mere jump scares. Apply this logic to a ten or eleven-year-old. Damn right, I was scare as hell when I saw this. The scenes depicting Strieber's abduction experiences are a masterclass in psychological horror for any era, plunging us into the depths of existential dread. The film doesn't merely depict the physical aspects of abduction; it digs into the psychological trauma and the unsettling unknowns that characterize such experiences. For those fascinated by the enigma of alien abduction, "Communion" remains a standout choice. Its ability to induce genuine unease, coupled with a haunting portrayal of the psychological toll of otherworldly encounters, makes it a fun and exciting watch if you like to be freaked out while you watch movies.

 

Abduction can induce terror through the invasion of personal space, loss of control, and the unknown. “The GREYS” mysterious presence creates an unsettling atmosphere, leaving most in constant fear and uncertainty. The heightening anxiety through psychological manipulation and the violation of domestic sanctity. The terror stems from the inability to comprehend “the GREYS” motives, leaving victims vulnerable to an enigmatic and menacing force beyond human understanding. 2013’s “Dark Skies” and 1993s “Fire in the Sky” get notable mentions for their tone and depiction of terrifying Aliens abduction sequences.

 

The Fourth Kind (2009)
Director: Olatunde Osunsanmi
Writers: Olatunde Osunsanmi, Terry Robbins
Stars: Milla Jovovich, Will Patton, Hakeem Kae-Kazim
IMDB Rating: 5.9/10 Stars
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 41%

"The Fourth Kind" was presented as a "re-enactment" of real events rather than a fictional narrative. The marketing campaign aimed to blur the lines between fiction and reality, creating a sense of mystery and intrigue around the movie. I fell for the trap myself. However, the “real events” that the film claims to make are a series of unrelated, other, random stories from all over the United States. The film was presented in a pseudo-documentary style, with reenactments of supposed “real events” mixed with both re-created footage based on the “real events” and actual "archival footage," along with interviews with the alleged “real-life people” this happened to. This approach was intended to make us question the authenticity of the story as it flips back and forth to the “re-enactment,” movie footage and the “archival footage.” Where the “archival footage” is also footage created for the film’s presentation to appear “based on actual events.”

 

This strategy received heavy criticism for potentially misleading people and exploiting the idea of real-life trauma for entertainment purposes. There were a lot of people online as well that felt cheated after discovering that the entire film was a work of fiction. An inside joke from producers to movie fans. The reality is people do "disappear" in and around the area of Nome, Alaska. They have a high rate of alcohol abuse among the locals, statistically. As isolated as this location is, it wouldn’t be out of the norm to wander off, nothing but the vastness of wilderness and not return. Exposure in the winter, bears in the summer... Man is not dominant here, even with our technology. It is a dangerous place to live. Make no mistake. Now ad hallucinational-alcoholism on top of that and I am sure you will find reports of people seeing Santa’s sleigh…

 

With All That Said…

This movie still has some good total freak out moments in it. The aliens here are completely shrouded in Ancient Alien mystery. They are complete unknowns but command so much raw horror. So extremely terrifying, the ones that have seen them with their own eyes go insane if they saw “them” and remembered that they did. The fear of the subconscious and the unknown traumas that might lurk in one's mind. Combined with the dread “they” evoke to everyone that comes into contact with them. To know your eyes have seen something, but the memory cannot pull the image, and still the mere thought of it shows the body still remembers. It has not forgotten that anxiety, that fear, that horror. Go back and watch how the abductees start to act once they know they have seen “them” and they cannot remember but their anxiety immediately rises.

 

One of the Better Examples is the Owl.

The abductees didn't remember being abducted, but the owl evoked unspeakable terror in them. Like brainwashing or being tortured. A great example of what PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) actually is. Those scenes, in particular, evoked the worst kind of dread in me. I still feel my neck prickle in those sequences. The tension never lets up once all the characters understand what it is that is actually happening. Where Abbey (Milla Jovovich) discovers something terrifying has happened to her on the audio recorder she had turned on for dictation as she was being abducted by aliens and couldn’t remember it. That whole scene is freaky and really stood out to me with unease. The idea that she was abducted by aliens but cannot remember the experience. We hear what happened on the recording, every sound and it creates a chilling sense of vulnerability, terror and powerlessness. This is the only modern-day film that is represented here. Remember this is a list of things that terrified me in Film/TV, mostly things that have stayed with me from when I see them as a child through the lens of a child. Most of these feelings are from me trying to retrospectively make sense of what I saw, how I felt and how I feel now.

 

 

The Entity (1982)
Director: Sidney J. Furie
Writer: Frank De Felitta
Stars: Barbara Hershey, Ron Silver, David Labiosa
IMDB Rating: 6.7/10 Stars
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 41%

The movie fictionalizes the real-life case of Doris Bither (Barbara Hershey), who claimed to be attacked and raped by invisible entities. Parapsychologists from UCLA observed the paranormal events and agreed to study the case. The film follows the fictionalized account of these events, incorporating supernatural horror and pseudoscience elements. The potential motivations of these entities, including feeding on human energy for survival using sexual assault as their weapon of choice. The invisible and unknown nature of the entity, the disturbing themes of sexual assault, the blending of supernatural and pseudoscientific elements, the relentless attacks, the emotional impact. Pretty much every rape scene in the film is horrific and painful to watch. From a special effects point of view it is absolutely brilliant for 1982. I mean seeing this as a young child and not really understanding the context of sex and there not be a man on a woman, but thin air on a woman just freaked me out from the time I saw the film as a child to an adult in film school. This movie still gives me ideas about what ghosts are and/or actually could be. I have a whole blog exploring the intersection of physics, consciousness, and the supernatural, into the idea that ghosts may be entities with measurable mass or formless energies that have consciousness. Drawing on concepts like Sacred Geometry and Quantum Mechanics. Considering the possibility of consciousness existing independently of organic matter. It connects various cultural representations of entities, from demons to energy vampires, and poses intriguing questions about the nature of consciousness, existence, and the mysteries within the UNIVERSE…

 

Prince of Darkness (1987)
Written/Directed: John Carpenter
Stars: Donald Pleasence, Lisa Blount, Jameson Parker
IMDB Rating: 6.7/10 Stars
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 61%

"Prince of Darkness," directed by John Carpenter in 1987, centers on a group of scientists investigating a mysterious cylinder filled with a pulsating, green liquid discovered in an abandoned church. As they study the liquid, they uncover disturbing revelations about its extraterrestrial origin and its connection to an ancient evil force that transcends time, space and reality as we now it. The liquid is revealed to be a form of concentrated anti-particles, a sentient embodiment of evil that was the inspiration of what the Christian church describes as Satan himself, seeking to escape from its otherworldly dimension of the anti-Universe. As the liquid turns their co-workers into zombies, the remaining members realize they have released the most unspeakable horror of them all. As the scientists delve deeper into the secrets of the malevolent substance, they confront increasingly terrifying phenomena, including disturbing dreams that blur the lines between reality and nightmare. The film explores the psychological and spiritual toll on the characters as they grapple with the horrifying implications of their discoveries. As the boundary between dimensions weakens, the group faces an escalating sense of dread and despair. The film's horror lies not only in the tangible threats posed by possessed individuals but also in the intangible, existential terror of an ancient, incomprehensible evil permeating the fabric of reality.

 

The concept of the "Anti-God" is explored within this mysterious cylinder filled with green liquid. As the liquid is studied by the group, they uncover ancient texts and prophecies that suggest the existence of an entity referred to as the "Anti-God." The green liquid is revealed to be a physical manifestation of this “Anti-God” in this Universe. This “Anti-God” is portrayed as a malevolent, primordial entity with the potential to bring about apocalyptic consequences with existential fear and terror of facing an ancient, incomprehensible evil. The concept plays on the clash between the divine and the diabolical, introducing a force that stands in direct opposition to conventional notions of goodness and order. That we never know what this energy actually is, but it can only be described in Christian terms of “Satan’s Father” or the “Anti-God.”

 

The dream sequences involving a shaky cam and white noise broadcasts from the future, featuring a demon-shaped creature emerging from the old Church and then later when Catherine (Lisa Blount) emerges from the old Church, used to give me nightmares for years, every few years all through my youth through college. For the viewer, this dream serves as a premonition, a foreboding glimpse into the impending terror to be bestowed onto the Earth in the fictional year of 1999 being broadcasted to the year 1987. The vagueness and distorted presentation of the demon/Catherine contributed to this lingering anxiety.

 

Lastly; in an earlier scene, Catherine and Walter (Dennis Dun) engage in a conversation about Schrödinger's cat while walking together on campus. Interestingly, as the plot unfolds, Catherine makes a sacrificial act towards the end of the film, ultimately finding herself trapped in the anti-Universe behind the mirror. One could argue that, within the movie's context, she becomes a tangible manifestation of the Schrödinger's cat thought experiment. In this analogy, her state in Limbo is in parallel to being inside a box or container, and her life or death remains uncertain until someone opens the "box" and observes her. Reopening the pathway between Universes. Existentially, this has always terrified me about this movie and movies like it. I am sure there are more buried in my subconscious but these movies still have things and concepts that still stand out to me after all these years.

 

 

Galaxy of Terror (1981)
Director: Bruce D. Clark
Writers: Marc Siegler, Bruce D. Clark, William Stout
Stars: Edward Albert, Erin Moran, Ray Walston,
Sid Haig, Robert England, Grace Zabriskie
IMDB Rating: 5.0/10 Stars
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 28%

1981’s "Galaxy of Terror" could be said to be one of the worse movies ever made. It should be on that list. The effects from the film are either borrowed from other films or were used in other similar movies that deal with the same themes. I can distinctly remember seeing the same exact effects and ship models in other movies over the years. As bad as this movie is it did hold some existential horror through two disturbing scenes I saw when I was about two or three-years-old, that contributed to my psychological and physical fears and night-terrors.

 

The first scene involves the rape of Dameia (Taaffe O'Connell), by a giant space worm. This disturbing act not only portrays a violation of the character, but also taps into her previously established fear and aversion to maggots and worms. The grotesque encounter serves as a metaphorical manifestation of her deepest anxieties, merging physical and psychological terror. She literally dies from the giant space worm raping her violently to an orgasm that is so intense she has a heart attack. What they couldn't show in the movie due to the extensive graphic nature and sexual violence in this scene, was the worm's orgasm into her. I know this is gross, horrid and disgusting, but supposedly it was filling her up with so much, so quickly, that her body died from shock. Right up till the end of the scene; which is the worm still raping her as she dies. The scene ends with the last thrust of the worm into her. The scene had to be toned down for many reasons. The MPAA had threatened an X rating, which in the 80s was a death sentence to a film making any sort of money whatsoever. Taafee herself did not want to do full nudity, which is one of the reasons she is rolled over on her side when the rest of the crew find her body.

 

The second scene intensifies the existential horror by exploiting claustrophobia.
Alluma (Erin Moran), faces a nightmarish demise as she navigates tight spaces. Her character, previously established as having high anxiety when confined, experiences a gruesome end as cables squeeze her, culminating in the grotesque explosion of her head, that is considered classic in the cosmic horror subgenre. This scene capitalizes on the primal fear of confinement and the dread associated with the frailty of the human body. Both scenes play on the characters' individual fears, transforming them into harrowing physical ordeals. From the context of a child with no frame of reference other than the screams of terror. As I look back at my very young viewing experiences in Film/TV; I laugh at some of these movies for how bad they are and funny they can be, but as a child with no context, yeah, scary as fuck.

 

Fear becomes a visceral response to the uncertainties of life, serving as a constant reminder of mortality. It is not merely an emotion, but a dynamic force that influences both our conscious and subconscious minds. Our dreams and nightmares distort the perception of time, and challenges conceptions of self. The psychological impact of fear is a storm of strong feelings that create illusions and blur the boundaries of safety. Fear is a mysterious and elusive force. The terror of the unknown and the feeling of a harmful force in one's personal space. Fear emerges as a multifaceted phenomenon, intertwining with existential questions, psychological intricacies, and cinematic experiences. It transcends the boundaries of mere emotion, becoming a force that shapes our understanding of existence. The unsettling nature of fear as both a universal phenomenon and an intimate, personal encounter with the UNKNOWN. The passing of fear leaves us contemplating the profound implications on the philosophical stage of human existence, where the line between reality and imagination becomes blurred, much like the elusive nature of fear itself.

 

Themes of existential terror, unknown entities, psychological manipulation, and the blurring of reality and imagination are recurrent from the haunting beauty within the deformity of "The Elephant Man," Jason from "Friday the 13th Part 2" to the unsettling uncertainty of extraterrestrial existence in "The Fourth Kind," and "The THING." Just a glimpse of a mask in "Tightrope," each movie becomes a vessel for exploring the depths of fear and the unknown. The thematic threads of existential dread, societal judgment, and the clash between reality and imagination weave through these instances of child-like terror, creating a tapestry of personal fears and cinematic brilliance. The exploration of psychological horror in "Communion" and "The ENTITY." The cosmic terror in "Prince of Darkness," "Altered States," and "Galaxy of Terror" showcases the enduring power of these films to induce genuine unease. These instances of sheer existential terror from my youth remain etched in my memory, lingering in my subconscious long after the credits have rolled and are still rolling.

 

 

Dread's Embrace
by Alan Smithee
11/2023


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