The Horror of the Everyday
Written by George Ratliff
I’ll be the first to admit that The Exorcist has haunted me my entire life. What’s more, among my list of ten favorite movies, you will find The Shining and Rosemary’s Baby. I also revere the unholy trinity of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde. But these movies and stories are not what scare me most—they are not what make me jerk awake at night dissecting sounds within the inky blackness—no, the films that scare me most are not supernatural tales, but rather the very realistic terrors of a different branch of the genre: naturalistic horror.
Be honest now, which scenario is scarier to you: mythical ghosts coming into your house to haunt you at night (half of all horror movies), or two overly-educated sociopathic boys wearing tennis whites who will torture and murder you for kicks (Funny Games)? Naturalistic horror films get under my skin because they actually could happen, or even worse, they actually did happen.
I’ve directed two additions to this genre: Joshua, a chilling bad-seed story where a couple, played by Sam Rockwell and Vera Farmiga, discover the horror of being a parent when your ten-year-old son happens to be a jealous sociopathic genius. And my new movie, Welcome Home, where a beautiful couple (played by Aaron Paul and Emily Ratajkowski) rent a fabulous villa in Italy from a website—they were planning on a fantastic relationship-mending vacation but instead uncover all of our worst fears of renting a home you have never been to from an owner you’ve never met (who might just be extremely demented.)
Here, in my humble opinion, are some of the best examples of naturalistic horror:
The quintessential naturalistic horror—I recently watched this movie with my children (yes I’m a bad father) and they literally had no idea what was coming—good times.
The Silence of the Lambs
Has a better movie ever been made? The gold standard of naturalistic horror, the film is the best possible adaptation of an amazing novel.
HorrorTalk would like to thank George Ratliff for taking the time to share with us this piece.
WELCOME HOME is in theaters and available on VOD today!