Tuesday, November 4, 2008
What is the purpose of fear? Fear can help us out when we are in a “do or die” situation. It can encourage us to be more cautious and is a way of protecting ourselves.
I have talked before about our survival self, the one that tells us when to be cautious, but we can sometimes use our survival self to be overprotective.
So how do we get rid of fear, or at least tame it in order to get what we want in life?
Let’s start by focusing on exactly what we are afraid of. Is our fear valid? For instance. Pretend we are preparing to jump out of a plane minus a parachute. In this instance our fear is validated by our survival self. We are telling ourselves that no parachute is something to fear. The fear and caution is valid.
Onto the next example. We are about to start at a new school and we are afraid that no one will like us and that we will do poorly because the teachers don’t know us. Is this fear valid? Does it threaten our physical well being? While our survival self is rearing its ugly head we need to tell it to back off. When you start to have the feeling of fear, make sure to examine it and see if it is a valid physical fear.
So now that we have figured out what to do, how do we actually stop being afraid? The Law of Attraction works such that the feeling you put out is the feeling you get back. Focus on what you don’t want and you will get what you don’t want. Focus on what you do want and…you will get what you want. Fear begets fear, joy begets joy, love begets love and the Universe will give you what you want. Simple really.
Handle your fear by asking if it is valid or not. If it is a valid fear, listen to it. If it is based on past experiences where you have been hurt or based on your own concern of failure, tell your survival self to take a risk and just do it anyway. Trust yourself.
Horror Games and Horror Movies – what elements do they contain that instill fear in their audiences?
Horror games and movies have developed over the years a very successful formula of evoking fear and anxiety in players and viewers.
Early horror films were limited in their technology and used things like lack of colour and sound to place an emphasis on the visual aspects of horror and suspense. Often times the early movies were based off of old legends and stories, like Nosferatu (1922) and Night of the Living Dead (1958).
Early video games were based on movies; the technology too was young and not very sophisticated. Early games included Halloween (1983), Friday the 13th (1985) and Splatterhouse (1988). Then in 1992 we were introduced to Wolfenstein and the Doom series in 1995. These games used new techniques where the characters were made to jump out at you and the music was used to set up the suspense.
In movies we can categorized horror into three genres:
Slasher where it’s the monster against everyone else;
Thriller/Suspense films where the emphasis is on the story and technical aspects that make the telling more effective and;
Gore – lots of violence and blood.
In videos the emphasizes is on strategic play or aggressive play. There is a heavy influence from the Slasher and Thrill genres of movies. The majority of video games are classified as “survival horror”. The games follow a formula made popular by the Resident Evil series. Techniques include:
a false sense of control over the situation
The Strategic play involves the games emphasize on puzzle solving in order to progress in the game and the avoidance of confrontation when possible. The Aggressive play involves the use of a variety of weapons and an opponent.
As horror films continue to push the envelope with the advancement of technology it stands to reason that video games too will expand out of their “survival horror” genre into something more gruesome and controversial.
While the latest release in the SAW series is not getting great reviews, Brash Entertainment is hard at work on two initiatives. One the release of SAW VI in October 2009 and the second, a new addition to the horror series of video games for Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3.
Video games based on films sometimes do not do so well especially horror films. Zombie Studios is the game developer. Interesting choice because they do not have any big name games on the market. When we think of successful horror games we think the DOOM and Resident Evil series. Zombie Studios is a Seattle based company, about 12 years old with some 22 titles available for gamers.
To their credit they are not rushing to get the game out the door but instead are taking a year to develop and work with the SAW creators James Wan and Leigh Whannell to get into the mind of Jigsaw and his victims.
Saw is not intended to be a simple “survival horror” game but more of a “horror thriller” game like the film. There will be elements from the survival horror genre like exploration and puzzles but the creators are hoping to introduce elements of gameplay not seen before in video games.
Saw, the video game will be based on the events that take place after the original movie.
So just how gruesome is the Saw game going to be? We have been promised the same quality and quantity of action as the SAW films.
Jigsaw said it best with. “Oh yes, there will be blood”.
It has been often speculated that kids who watch violent movies and play violent video games mimic the actions and become violent. We have all heard news reports of games and films being blamed for breeding murderers.
Do you think horror films and video games are responsible for children becoming violent? Would you let your children play these sort of games? Or watch violent movies and television programmes?
I think that is the easy way out – blaming others. When do we take responsibility for making informed decisions and providing the right value system and options for children? Sure it’s easy to blame a game if that is all the child knows. What behavior is role modeled for the child? What opinions are expressed around the child? We can take this argument all the way back to the old “are we products of our environment or is our behaviour all pre-programmed by genetics”?
While genetics play a part we are definitely products of our environment. It is important that children are exposed to the right behaviours and the right values. A child can be taught the difference between right and wrong. This is everyone's responsbility.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
November 1st and the malls have Santa’s Castle awaiting his arrival. Window displays are full of Christmas cheer.
With that in mind I thought I would share a few holiday heart-warmers and Christmas classics.
Christmas Evil aka Terror in Toyland
A warm, family film about a foreman in the Jolly Dream Toy Factory who understands the true meaning of Christmas. Understandably upset by the crass commercialism he sees everywhere, he dresses up as Santa one Christmas and sets out to reward good little boys and girls and punish the naughty ones!
“Better Watch Out…Better Not Cry…Or you May Die!”
Don’t Open Till Christmas
Instead of a killer Santa this film has a psycho killing Santas. A warm holiday theme.
Silent Night, Deadly Night (the original)
A young orphan learns an important life lesson about good and evil in a Catholic orphanage. When he grows up he plays Santa at a store and decides he really is Santa and that he should reward good children and punish the naughty.
So break out the popcorn and VCR because I am not sure these holiday classics come on DVD.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Psycho is a 1960 horror file direct by Alfred Hitchcock, based on a novel of the same name by Robert Bloch, about a psychotic killer. The film centers around an encounter between a secretary, Marion Crane (played by Janet Leigh), who is in hiding at a motel after stealing from her employer, and the motel’s owner, the lonely Norman Bates, (played by Anthony Perkins).
Marion Crane is a Phoenix, Arizona secretary who is fed up with having to sneak away during lunch breaks to meet her divorced boyfriend, Sam Loomis. They can not get married because most of Sam’s money goes to paying alimony.
One Friday, Marion’s employer asks her to take $40,000 in cash to a local bank to deposit. Desperate to make a change in her life, she makes the decision to run away to be with Sam and make a new life in California with the money.
As night falls and a torrential rain blurs the road ahead, Marion turns off the main highway. Exhausted from the long drive and the stress of her criminal act, she makes the decision to spend the night at the Bates Motel. The motel is run by Norman Bates, a peculiar young man who appears to be very much under the control of his invalid mother.
Although the movie initially received mixed reviews it is now regarded as one of Hitchcock’s best films and has won numerous international awards. Psycho was and remains a genre defining film. The film has spawned several sequels and a remake in 2000, but nothing comes close to the original.
The films use of shadows, mirrors, windows and water as key themes was instrumental in its success of creating suspense. The shadows are present from the very first scene, casting the appearance of bars as Marion peers out her room window. The stuffed birds’ cast a shadow over Marion as she eats and of course Norman’s mother always appears in the shadows until the very end of the movie.
Mirrors reflect Marion as she packs, her eyes as she checks the rear view mirror, her face in the policeman’s sunglasses, and her hands as she counts out the money in the car dealership’s bathroom.
Even if you have never seen the movie, we are all familiar with "The Shower Scene". This scene has been studied, discussed, and cited countless times in print and in film courses with much debate on why it is so terrifying and how it was produced, including how it passed the censors in 1960.
Psycho is definitely a horror film classic and another great Friday night video rental.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
A phobia is an irrational, intense, persistent fear of certain situations, objects, or activities.
Unconscious learning takes place to keep us safe. In primitive conditions when coming into contact with something dangerous, the mind/body would create the optimum state for survival - a panic attack. This type of learning is not of the intellectual or rational type. This type of learning takes place at an emotional level so that the response can bypass the ‘thinking brain' and can be attributed to the causes of phobias.
To become phobic, all you need is a high anxiety state paired with an object. The causes of phobias are basically giving over to your imagination. Non-specific phobias can come about either through a 'spreading-out' of panic attacks, or through a person's levels of general anxiety becoming so high that panic is easily triggered whenever stress levels are raised even slightly.
Clown phobia is an intense fear of something that poses no actual danger and while adults with clown phobia realise that these fears are irrational, they often find that facing, or even thinking about facing, the feared situation brings on a panic attack or severe anxiety. To add insult to an already distressing condition, most clown phobia therapies take months or years to cure and often require the patient to be exposed repeatedly to their fear. Known by a number of names - Coulrophobia and Fear of Clowns being the most common - the problem can often significantly impact the quality of the suffers’ life. Symptoms of clown phobia typically include shortness of breath, rapid breathing, irregular heartbeat, sweating, nausea, dry mouth, and overall feelings of dread. Like all fears and phobias, clown phobia is created by the unconscious mind as a protective mechanism. At some point in the past, there was likely an event linking clowns and emotional trauma. Whilst the original event may have been a real-life scare of some kind, the condition can also be triggered by a number of things including movies, or TV.
Attaching emotions to situations is one of the primary ways that humans learn, but sometimes the wiring goes a little wrong. Most sufferers are surprised to learn that they are far from alone in the surprisingly common, although often unspoken, clown phobia.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Halloween is not celebrated the world over but most commonly in Britain, the United States, Canada, Ireland, Puerto Rico, Japan and New Zealand.
The name Halloween is shortened from All Hallows Even (both “even” and “eve” are short forms of “evening”, but Halloween gets its “n” from “even”), as it is the evening of All Hallows’ Day, which is also known as All Saints’ Day in many parts of the world. All Saints’ Day is a day of religious festivities in various parts of Europe. Although All Saints’ Day is now considered to take place one day after Halloween, the two holidays used to be celebrated on the same day.
The carved pumpkin, (affectionately known as Jack-o-Lantern) lit by a candle inside, is one of Halloween’s most obvious symbols in North America. Funny but true, the first “lanterns” were carved in Europe from a turnip or rutabaga. The Irish believed that the head was the most powerful part of the body, containing the spirit and the knowledge so they used the “head’ of the vegetable to frighten off spirits.
Particularly in America, the symbols of Halloween are inspired by horror movies.
Perhaps my love of one inspires my love of the other.
Rosemary is initially warned that the Bramford has a disturbing history, but she and Guy simply laugh over this news, choosing to dismiss it. Early in the film, Rosemary and Guy are befriended by Minnie and Roman Castavet, an elderly couple whose apartment is next to their own. Rosemary finds them pushy and more than a little bit odd, so she is disturbed when Guy begins spending a lot of time with them.
Guy and Rosemary decide to have a child and on the night they plan to try to conceive, Minnie stops by with a special treat - chocolate mousse. Although Rosemary eats only a small portion, she soon begins feeling faint and dreams that she is being raped by a creature, while her elderly neighbors watch. The next morning, Guy tells her that she just had a bad dream and that he had made love to her during the night.
Soon after, she discovers she is pregnant; while at the same time; Guy's acting career takes off. The pregnancy is very difficult at first; Rosemary suffers terrible, ongoing pain. As the months wear on, the pains ease but Rosemary begins to suspect her elderly neighbors are not the kindly souls they appear to be. She soon discovers that her neighbours are leaders of a coven of witches and she convinces herself that they are after her child to use as a sacrifice. Not surprisingly she is not able to convince anyone to believe her.
As the movie draws to its conclusion Rosemary goes into labour, fainting and when she awakens she is told that the baby died shortly after birth. Grief stricken she takes to her bed. However, when she hears a baby’s cries somewhere in the building she suspects her baby is still alive. In the hall closet of her apartment she discovers a secret door leading into her neighbours’ apartment where the coven meets and there she finds them gathered around her baby, worshipping her son, the spawn of Satan. Rosemary considers killing the demon infant but after some coaxing she beings to sing a lullaby to the baby which quiets him.
The file is excellent at conveying all the fears, confusion and hormonal changes that occur for a young expectant mother. Rosemary is overcome with panic and paranoia. The horror of Rosemary’s Baby is found in the happenings that take place on a daily basis in the everyday events that we take for granted. The film exposes human interactions in a disturbing and negative manner. The file ending leaves the audience to draw their own conclusions about the future of Rosemary’s baby.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
1. A feeling of agitation and anxiety caused by the presence or imminence of danger.
2. A feeling of disquiet or apprehension: a fear of looking foolish.
3. Extreme reverence or awe, as toward a supreme power.
4. A reason for dread or apprehension: Being alone is my greatest fear.
What is Fear and what are the causes of Fear? In what ways can Fear be constructive and destructive? How to cope with Fear? How is human Fear different from that of animals?
We all fear, which makes Fear about the most common and the most natural emotion we experience.
Fear is based on the instinct of self-preservation and is therefore, a defensive reaction. The sensation of Fear starts with changes in your nervous system, resulting in changes in heart rate, blood pressure, secretion of stomach acid. In the most general sense, the feeling of Fear is a reaction to a threat.
On the surface level, Fear is a rather uncomfortable experience that often upsets people, paralyses them and may cause psychological disorders. Some scientists believe the emotion of Fear was first generated in the process of evolution as a defence mechanism against threats from the nature.
Another function of Fear is in the strong negative emotions caused by pain or other unpleasant experiences. There is a well known experiment on mice that proved Fear can be easily manifested by putting live beings, whether animal or human through such unpleasant experiences that the memory of acute pain stamps itself on the subconscious of the being essentially serving as preventative measure against encountering the cause of the pain again.
Finally, when Fear can be created in situations when not enough information is available for one to make a weighted decision Fear dictates the strategy. Fear in this case protects the individual from both possible biological and social threats.
In short people say “Fear” like it’s a bad thing – but is it?
Monday, October 6, 2008
Horror movies have long served both purposes. They deliver thrills by the truck load, as well as telling us stories of the dark, forbidden side of life and death. They also provide a revealing picture of the stresses of their time. Nosferatu (1922) is not simply a tale of a vampire, but offers a heart-wrenching image of a town struggling with premature and random deaths, echoing real life disasters of World War I and the Great Flu Epidemic dealth. At the other end of the century Blade (1998) is also not just a tale of vampirism, but reflects a fear of the powerful and sometimes irresponsible elements in society.
Each generation gets the horror films it deserves, and one of the more fascinating aspects these movies are the changing nature of the monsters who scare us. In the early 1940s, a world living under the shadow of Hitler identify a part-man, part-wolf as their boogeyman, whose inhuman nature caused him to tear apart those who crossed his path. In the 1990s there was no need for a part wolf component, Hannibal Lecter (Silence of the Lambs 1991, Hannibal 2001) was completely human in his calculated and highly stylized killing methods. As we move on into the twenty first century, ghosts and zombies are back in vogue as Eastern and Western superstitions meet. In an era of war and high tech, supernatural terror is more appetizing than the fear brought on by today's news headlines.
506 Bloor Street West, (just east of Bathurst Street - Bathurst Subway Station)
Google Map here.
What: The Toronto After Dark Film Festival is one of the world’s leading showcases of international thrillers and runs every October, just before Halloween. The Festival features new horror, sci-fi, fantasy, action, animated and cult films from around the world, including a number of award-winning features and shorts.
Last year's festival was attended by over 6,500 die-hard horror fans.
No After Dark Festival would be complete without the usual Tales of the Undead featuring:
Trailer Park of Terror
There are also our "Heroes In Action" Flicks. Stories of heroic action featuring self-made superheroes, justice-seeking old timers, and future Earth soldiers:
For the devoted Cult Seekers there are an assortment of five new leading edge films which make up the Festival's first ever Cult Discoveries spotlight. Everything from a gothic sci-fi horror musical to cutting-edge comedy, technicolor crime noir to over-the-top Asian gore action, and twisted animated storytelling:
Repo! The Genetic Opera
Tokyo Gore Police
Who is KK Downey?
South of Heaven
Idiots & Angels
And for the dedicated Adrenalin Junkies who like to get their hearts pumping while watching a horror flick we have on tap:
Finally, no Festival would be complete without our "Shorts". In the short film series, you are invited to check out these mini-masterpieces:
Shorts After Dark (International Short Film Showcase)
Canada After Dark (Canadian Short Film Showcase)
Enjoy the Festival!
Friday, October 3, 2008
What if anyone of you won the lottery? What would you buy or do?
I know if I won the lottery I would take a two week trip to the Bahamas or somewhere warm, to get away from a line-up of people asking for donations and funds, as well as to go and relax. I would return home, invest some of my money and send some money to Bolivia, the country of my parents for medical and food supplies. I would want to move and get a house somewhere more open then the suburbs, as well as a car. I’m not sure what car I would be interested in buying, but I’m sure it would be really nice. I would certainly get a very nice HDTV as well as the top end home theater surround sound system. It would be like going to the movies at home. After all that was completed and more, I would take a trip to Europe for a month, to get away from the everyday North America. From there I'm not sure what I would do with the money, guess I'll save up. Life would feel much more relaxing and great; I would feel like there's almost nothing I can't buy. It would certainly open much more doors to achieving goals and success.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Now this October the 5th Saw movie in the trilogy will be released, but are we ready for another bloody movie? Or are we going to get some suspense? Here’s a clip for the upcoming Saw movie.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
By: Gabriel Mendez
September 19, 2008
The Empire State Building, Trump Towers and Wall Street all symbols of the great American Dream. The difference being that the once mighty Wall Street has turned into the Boulevard of Broken Dreams. From the Lehman Brothers (now in bankruptcy) to Merrill Lynch (buyout of the company by Bank of America) and American International Group (AIG), the consequences of years of bad decision making have been quick and brutal. As investment firms stumble, markets spin, and investors shake, the questions are: Where and when will the pain end?
Over the past five days, AIG, the world’s largest insurance company, after exhausting every other option edged on the brink of bankruptcy.
At the center of it all, sits the U.S. housing market. Home prices continue to fall, reducing the values of mortgage-backed securities, (The reader will recall that many homes in the U.S. were over valued and home owners were able to borrow more money using their homes as collateral during the explosion in the housing market. This became known at the “sub-prime fiasco”).
As the housing crisis continues to spread throughout the U.S. economy, new problems for financial firms are appearing on the horizon.
In a move, not seen before, the Federal Reserve's incredible $85 billion loan, some might say bailout, of AIG prevented a full-out world panic that likely would have unfolded with the collapse of the world’s largest insurer. But AIG's sudden bounce towards bankruptcy shows how dangerously the U.S. financial system has become mixed together.
For years the mixing together of financial firm’s business covered up the large underlying risks, but now it's magnifying them. As each new thread from the crazy web has unwound during this 13-month credit crisis, a fresh problem has come front and centre. How bad things will get from here depends on how cleanly the losing firms and bad investments can be untwisted from the good ones. With each passing day the task seems to grow more difficult. By the end of the credit bust, the total losses, now $500 billion, could reach $2 trillion, according to hedge fund Bridgewater Associates.
Merrill Lynch's ties to AIG show just how difficult it might be to untangle these inter-mixed relationships inside of the U.S. financial system. During the mortgage explosion, Merrill loaned out billions of dollars worth of mortgage backed loans. To cut down its own risk, Merrill bought insurance contracts from AIG called credit default swaps, which pay off if the mortgages, blow up. Merrill holds $5 billion worth of guarantees from AIG alone.
When AIG hit the skids, it couldn't be counted on to make good on those contracts. If the insurer had remained in trouble, Merrill and others would have faced another round of losses. Given that possibility, people in the know are saying it's no wonder the Federal Reserve stepped in.
The hugh credit-default-swap market became so complicated that in some cases firms lost track of their investments. AIG, for example, begged for more money from several private money lending firms over the September 13-14 weekend. After looking over AIG's financials however, the lending firms refused any deals, concluding that even AIG management didn't know where all the “skeletons” were buried, according to a person familiar with the situation. AIG disclosed in February that auditors had found "weakness" in its systems for placing a value on its credit default swaps. In its quarterly report on August 7, the company said it was still trying to put in place a reliable system of valuing properties.
The unwinding of Lehman, one of the world's biggest bond players, won't be easy. When the firm filed for bankruptcy on Sept. 15, pain quickly spread across the financial system.
As the credit crunch plays out, one thing is certain: Wall Street will never be the same. Its new catch phrase is "de-risking," or cutting back on lending or socking away large amounts of cash.
The landscape is changing as the balance of power shifts away from Wall Street's famous avenues to other parts of the country and the world.
Non traditional firms will horn in on businesses once dominated by the Lehmans of the world. Private lending firms, hedge funds, and even sovereign (government) wealth funds from the Middle east will expand further into traditional investment banking functions such as lending to early-stage businesses.
For years Wall Street has sat at everyone’s table enjoying a free lunch. The lesson of this tale is that the tables can be turned.