After seeing too many thriller movies that played the same old tunes too many times, I began to think about categorizing the varieties of Scary Stuff. Some that immediately come to mind:

Other cheap clichéd cinematic excitement arises in Scary Situations, where threats loom of:

Combinations of the above can be particularly effective. Explosions are hot, loud, and fast; as a bonus they can throw sharp and/or heavy objects at potential victims. Wild animals are most terrifying when they have pointy teeth and claws, and when they roar. Drowning is more fearsome when the victim is confined in a dark cave, or is locked in a cage as waters inexorably rise, or is tossed about in the ocean in the midst of an electrical storm, etc.

A film has to work much harder when other types of risks are raised. Poison? Hunger? Extreme cold? All are generally too slow for dramatic effect. Bankruptcy? Don't be silly. Climate change? A tough sell, unless exaggerated to the point of imminent catastrophe. Asteroids? They've gotta be on a near-term collision course. Plate tectonics? Only if it triggers an earthquake and/or sudden volcanic activity, please!

(cf. ActionMovieRules (10 Aug 2003), ...)

TopicEntertainment - TopicHumor - 2007-05-19

(correlates: TooManyMeetings, Joan Benoit Samuelson on the Marathon, CharlesRodrigues, ...)