Andrew’s Favorite Horror Movie?

Andrew tells Gothamist all about his favorite horror movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Enjoy the full article below!

Close Encounters of the Third Kind. While I realize it might not be considered a “horror movie” in the traditional sense of the genre, Close Encounters of The Third Kind is a excellent display of pure horror, at least in terms of the feelings it conjures up and plays with. It was the scariest movie I had ever seen for many, many years. The first time I saw the movie I was around 7 or 8 years old, which seems to be in the prime age range that Steven Spielberg targets with his films, and the time when childhood fears and sensitive family archetypes are the most tender.

Close Encounters is not a happy movie. In fact, almost every aspect of the film has an extremely bleak and nightmarish quality, including the overall foreboding atmosphere; the dysfunctional dynamics between husband, wife, children, neighbors, and government; and the unwanted alien penetration of our day-to-day existence. The chaotic home-lives (an element found in many Spielberg films), and the depressing portrayal of society in general, is all part of the horror. There’s the dinner table scene, where the father played by Richard Dreyfuss begins to compulsively sculpt his mashed potatoes, much to the dismay and sadness of his family, especially his adolescent son.

Being a kid, and watching his kids in the movie cry as they witness their own father’s crumbling sanity, felt horrifying to me. Later, Dad rips up their yard and fills the house with junk and dirt as he begins to sculpt an even bigger model of the Devil’s Tower mountain. These domestic scenes are just as upsetting and horrifying as the alien encounters. The most horror-rich scene in the entire film (and it’s a non-stop horror blow-out), is the abduction of Barry scene, in which Melinda Dillon’s character literally has her young son torn from her arms by an unknown and overwhelming alien force—a living nightmare for any mother.

John William’s brilliant “20th Century classical style” score adds an extra jolt of nausea to all the unsettling scenes. Close Encounters is a masterpiece of horror: a confrontation with the unknown, an exploration of the uncanny, and a trip into the darkness of our own planet as it spins in outer space—it’s definitely one of the scariest (and partiest) movies of all time.