Technology in Horror Movies
03. White Noise (2005)
directed by Geoffrey Sax
starring Michael Keaton, Chandra West, Deborah Kara Unger
First up is White Noise and as I said above, these picks are not all good. Back in 2005 I was a bit scared and it didn’t look so bad, but I have a feeling if you were to watch it today this would be pretty awful. Tech is incorporated pretty straightforwardly here, as one of the characters is trying to communicate with his dead wife through EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon).
Simply put, it’s the recording of a voice that comes in through the static (white noise) of, for example, a television. And now I just realised that tv static is a thing of the past.
02. Videodrome (1983)
directed by David Cronenberg
starring James Woods, Sonja Smits, Debbie Harry
Coming in second place is the Cronenberg classic Videodrome. We watched this horror film for our podcast, Across the Universe, but it was just a bit too much for me. There’s lots to take in with its exploration of the effects of violence and sex in society, as seen through the prism of technology, and our overall relationship with tech.
It’s an uncomfortable watch in true Cronenberg fashion, so proceed only if you enjoy the disturbing and disorienting.
01. Ringu (1998)
directed by Hideo Nakata
starring Nanako Matsushima, Miki Nakatani, Hiroyuki Sanada
And finally, a movie (or a set of them) that I can actually recommend today. This japanese masterpiece of horror, directed by the acclaimed Hideo Nakata, is a pretty flawless movie that is guaranteed to give you the creeps. The US remake from 2002 starring Naomi Watts is a solid choice if you want a Hollywood production and actual scares, but I’d 100% recommend you also check out the original.
In Ringu, a cursed VHS tape gives its viewers seven days to live – after which they will die, killed in revenge by a girl who suffered a horrible death. I’m not sure when the whole girl with long hair covering her face thing started, but Ringu certainly solidifies it.
When the week is out, the girl comes out of the television and heads in your direction, slowly. There’s no way to avoid her or death, so watching her walking/crawling towards you is pretty excruciating, though not scary in the classic sense of a jump scare.
As with other j-horror movies, Ringu is more atmospheric and creepy than scary; more plot focused, and even dramatic. That might keep you up at night, or not; it’s entirely subjective. The mere sight of her freaks me out, but if you’re looking for a good old jump scare, then the US version is a safe bet that doesn’t compromise the plot.