The Sixth Sense (1999) & The Castle (1997)

Dr. Goh decided to show us two movies belonging to two very different genres… one which I dislike the most and one which is my favourite category of films of all time; *horror and comedy respectively.

“NOoooo!! I don’t wanna watch a horror film!! Not here!! What if I scream?”, these thoughts were going through my head as Dr. Goh was explaining the reason why he chose such contrasting films.

Throughout my entire lifetime, I’ve watched no more than 5 horror movies (The Final Destination is considered horror for me). Therefore, I was quite nervous, especially since Dr. Goh said that this is one of the best horror film (“Oh no… best as in… it’s scary? Really scary??”).

The Sixth Sense (1999) Official® Trailer [HD]

Apparently, The Sixth Sense (1999) is a popular film and many of us have watch it or at least heard of it (I’ve heard of it and told myself to never get near it). So I had my scarf with me, ready, in case I need to cover my eyes with it. I braced myself as the film started playing.

~Thoughts that ran through my head~

******************************* middle of the film*******************************

“Hmm… it’s not as bad as I thought… except for a few scary scenes where I had my eyes covered …. It’s actually quite interesting…. “

******************************* after the film*******************************

“Noooo!! Why?? Why did it have to end this way???? Such a sad ending!!!”

Nonetheless, it was such an interesting twist that I didn’t see it coming.

Audience’s Reaction to the Film

We were told by Dr. Goh to observe the audience reaction to a horror film. So what makes a film frightening? From my observations, sound plays an important role in creating suspense and making something seem much more frightening than it really is. The music primes you to anticipate something to happen. Emotional arousal is achieved when something visually shocking is combined with a loud ‘unpleasant’ sound.  There are, of course, other elements of the film which made it frightening. However, I will discuss this under “A Comparison between Comedy & Horror Films”

The Castle (1997)

I couldn’t find the trailer for this movie so here’s a clip which I found (the first scene of the movie).

This is an Australian film about how the Kerrigan family fight for their rights to their house after the airport threatens to claim their land, along with the other houses in the neighbourhood, to make way for the expansion of the airport. Some of my friends didn’t find it as funny as I did. Well, for me, what made it funny was the fact that they mentioned things that are very obvious. It was so lame that it was funny! But it’s the kind of funny that makes you want to bang your head to the wall. It’s a different type of comedy as compared to the classic, Mr. Bean, where you feel like you couldn’t breathe because you can’t stop laughing!

A Comparison between Comedy & Horror films

Rowan Atkinson (more well-known as Mr. Bean) gave a talk on what makes things funny entitled “Laughing Matters”.  Considering that he’s the most well-known comedian of the century in this era as Mr. Bean (in the previous century, it was Charlie Chaplin (16 April 1889 – 25 December 1977)), he’s the best man to speak on this topic.

Charlie Chaplin as we know him

Charlie Chaplin as he is

He began by pointing out that most people think that visual humour is a thing of the past when sounds are not incorporated into films yet (eg. Charlie Chaplin). Nowadays, comedians talk. However, he pointed out that visual humour can be found in today’s films as well.

Rowan Atkinson as we know him

Rowan Atkinson as he is

“What is funny?”

Rowan Atkinson identified 3 basic principles of visual comedy:

  1. An object can be funny by behaving in an unexpected way.
  2. An object can be funny by being in an unexpected place.
  3. An object can be funny by being the wrong size.

According to Rowan Atkinson, “The things we laugh at are closely related to the things which frighten us”. Below are 2 similarities:

a)     Sudden appearances/disappearances

b)    Transformation (Turning one thing into something else)

The difference is:

a)     In the object that appeared/ disappeared suddenly

b)    In the object that it transformed into

It is fascinating how two such contrasting emotions are brought about by similar principles at work. It would be interesting to investigate further. For those who are interested in this documentary “Laughing Matters”, click on the link below:

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