Ghosts or Gore? MU students weigh in on horror flicks

Which type of movie is scarier: a first-person witch-hunting documentary featuring uncomfortable close-ups of nostrils with some serious sinus drainage, or a horde of the living dead on an all-you-can-eat diet of human brains?

While “The Blair Witch Project” and the “Night of the Living Dead” series are staples of the annual Halloween scary movie season, every year brings a new slew of horror films for audiences to enjoy. But each year’s releases come with the same question: which movie should you spend your hard-earned cash screaming at?

When in doubt, ask your fellow students. According to a sample of the Marquette University student population, the two most anticipated scary movie releases are “Paranormal Activity 2” and “Saw 3D.”

Of the 30 students polled, “Paranormal Activity 2” notched the top spot with 12 votes, beating “Saw 3D” by three votes.

Other high-ranking movies mentioned in the survey included indie scary movie “Monsters” and spooky Clint Eastwood-directed drama “Hereafter.”

“Paranormal Activity 2,” released last Friday, already broke two records at the box office — one for the largest three-day opening for a horror film and the other for the R-rated midnight record.

This sequel to 2009’s “Paranormal Activity” utilizes the same “found footage” filming techniques and suspenseful crescendo that made the first film successful.

Nonetheless, the two films are not identical. In the sequel, director Oren Peli changes up the character formula by adding an infant child and a pet dog to the family that experiences the haunting.

These added elements made it eerier than the first film, according to Kyle Winter, a sophomore in the College of Business Administration who saw the movie on a Marcus Cinema UltraScreen.

“The director stepped it up a notch from the last movie,” Winter said. “During midday and midafternoon there were really creepy things going on that were caught on camera that they didn’t really have in the first one. It helped create a more relatable setting for the audience rather than having everything happen only after dark.”

However, if you enjoy a more traditional scary movie, where both the antagonist and their victim’s innards are visible, you should probably start lining up at midnight on Oct. 29 to see “Saw 3D,” the seventh and allegedly final installment in the “Saw” series.

“I want to know the end of the series,” said Chanel Franklin, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences. “I have seen all of them and would be left wondering what happens to various people in the movie and why if I didn’t go see this last one.”

For those that haven’t stayed current with the “Saw” series, the film’s story picks up with Jigsaw’s survivors. Some compete to continue Jigsaw’s barbaric legacy, while others seek counseling from the lone survivor of the first movie, a self-help guru.

Breaking ground as the first horror film produced in 3-D, “Saw 3D” will allow viewers to put themselves in the shoes of Jigsaw’s victims and experience the illusion of sharp, rusty objects hurtling toward their faces and blood splattering all over them without actually sustaining mortal injuries or staining their clothes.

This is part of the draw for Lauren Darnall, a junior in the College of Nursing, who isn’t easily scared by conventional, two-dimensional scary movies.

“It’s a movie that could finally possibly scare me,” Darnall said. “I’ve seen so many ‘scary’ movies that just haven’t scared me, including ‘Saw’ — I’m thinking that seeing it in 3-D will make it more lifelike.”

Others are skeptical of the movie’s new approach, such as Mike McCarthy, a senior in the College of Engineering.

“I could see it losing some of its scariness due to the 3-D effects,” said McCarthy, who saw “Paranormal Activity 2” last weekend. “People might be more intrigued than shocked.”

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