Have you ever thought about the prevalence of eyes in horror movies? They’re everywhere. Horror movie titles alone are rife with them: The Hills Have Eyes, Eyes Without a Face, My Little Eye, The Eye… The list could go on.
Eyes are clearly great companions to the horror genre. But why?
Well, first of all they’re a very icky part of the body aren’t they? Just think about how squeamish non-contact lens wearers get when they see someone popping those bits of plastic into their sockets. When we’re scared watching a film, we shield or close our eyes. And when we’re scared after the film, we go sleep with the light on. Eyes and fear are intrinsically linked. They are after all the window to the soul. A look of fear in someone’s eyes is often far more frightening than actually seeing what’s making them afraid.
Horror movies such as slasher movies thrive on visual spectacle – blood, guts, severed limbs, monsters – whether we audiences are actually shown these scenes or teased by the idea of them, it is the visual horror that often makes a film like this successful and rarely any semblance of a plot.
Another trick that’s often used in horror films is where the camera (what we see on screen) acts as an eye – either the eye of the voyeuristic monster (Peeping Tom), the eye of those experiencing the terror (The Blair Witch Project, Rec), or an unwilling voyeuristic eye witnessing a horrific scenario (My Little Eye).
The use of the camera features in tonight’s movie – the photographic camera of Laura Mars. And it also includes yet another twist on the eye theme – second sight (think Don’t Look Now, The Eye). As the film progresses we learn that Laura experiences visions of people being murdered, visions that become increasingly frightening when she realises that she will be the next victim.
Will I be going to bed with the light on after this? Well, my second sight tells me that my eyes won’t be a problem, it’ll be my ears. They’ll be itching to listen to that great soundtrack again: Let’s All Chant, Native New Yorker, Barbra Streisand’s Prisoner – what a treat.