June 24, 2005

Screaming in the theater.

At a horror film, do people in the audience scream? Usually not, right? Today, I screamed three times -- out loud -- seeing "Land of the Dead." Each time, I felt embarrassed, because no one else screamed.

So, what do you think: is it idiotic to scream? Do you like when people scream or is it annoying? Or is it good if a lot of people scream but annoying if only one fool is a screamer? In my case, it was genuinely involuntary. I was not trying to be cute.

(Go back two posts for my comments on the film itself.)

29 comments:

Dirty Harry said...
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Mark said...

It would've been pretty funny if the lone screamer was a guy.

Dirty Harry said...

You get a pass. You're a girl.

I have no problem with people reacting to a film in whatever way. Going to the theatre is about the communal experience. Your screams are part of that. They wouldn't bother me. Talkers however deserve a slow painful death.

I see you liked it but have you seen "Night, Dawn, or Day of the Dead?" How does it compare?

Mark the Pundit said...

People applauded when Darth Vader first came on the screen in Revenge of the Sith. So no, screaming is not out of the norm.

Ann Althouse said...

Dirty Harry: I've seen "Night" and "Dawn" but not "Day." I also greatly enjoyed the outside of the series zombie movie "From Dusk 'Til Dawn."

Ann Althouse said...

And I agree that a guy as the only one screaming would be just pathetic.

Often I'm the only one laughing. I feel I'm performing a service as a laugh leader.

Mark said...

If only screaming was as contagious as laughter.

Dirty Harry said...

I'm often the only one laughing. Like at everything George Clooney said during "Solaris."

The remake of "Dawn" is actually pretty good and "28 Days Later" is clever as well.

Ann Althouse said...

I watched the first half of "28 Days Later" and liked it for a while, but I was watching it on DVD, took a break and never bothered to finish it -- just had my son tell me the ending.

Paul said...

I snicker when I hear someone scream in the theater. Unless it was me. So go ahead, I like to snicker.

Kathleen B. said...

I think there is usually screaming in the audience at horror films, though admittedly I am not an expert. I don't think it is annoying at all - I like the communal atmosphere of the movie theatre (otherwise why pay the $10?)

Often I am the only one laughing, and that can be kind of sad, in a "what is the matter with you people?" way.

you may not have been trying to be cute, Prof. but I think it is anyway!

and can I get any love for Shawn of the Dead here people? come on, that was just hilarious. or is this a moment of cyber-laughing, where I am all alone?

Dirty Harry said...

"Shaun of the Dead" was a classic! I can't believe I forgot about one of four films I actually loved, loved, loved during last years disastrous movie season.

You are definitely not alone Kathleen.

Ann, you watched "28 Days Later" perfectly. Last half was a bit of a dud.

Dave said...

I never understood the appeal of these types of movies.

They are all rather boring, IMHO. So, I'd more likely be snoring than screaming. But that's just me.

Ann Althouse said...

Dave: I find nearly all movies boring. This one wasn't. It had good story, good characters, and great looking cinematography.

F15C said...

The comment about talkers reminded me of an 'incident' at the movies. Five friends and I went to an Imax presentation of Matrix III. There was guy in front of us who had obviously seen the movie before and was telling everyone in earshot what was about to happen. We asked him three time very nicely and diplomatically to quit talking. He ignored us. About two minutes after our last request I could not take it any longer. I stood up, bent over right next to his ear and screamed at the top of my lungs: "SHUT THE HE## UP!". Then calmly sat down. He did not speak again throughout the movie. Or possibly ever, I'm not sure. I don't normally do things like that and did not think about it - it was totally spontaneous. Even got a decent round of applause...

F15C said...

I forgot to comment on screaming in context with the movie. I think it's fine. It is part of the movie experience, just like laughter, and sighs.

But not talking... :)

Ron said...

Ann: Good of you to scream! Honest emotion is wonderful! You weren't thinking about Kelo, were you?

and if it makes you feel any better I find most lawprofs boring. But I'm here, and having a fine time...

Jonathan T. Kurtz said...

Back in the 70's I went to see "Play Misty for Me." During the knifing scene I was embarassed beyond belief because my date had her hands over her eyes and was screaming at the top of her lungs. (Nice lungs too.) Then I looked around the theater. Most of the women were doing the same thing. Scream away.

Steve Dispensa said...

I can deal with screaming, but GOD HELP ME, I HATE CLAPPING. It pisses me off every single time. Insensitive? Unappreciative? I don't care.

I'm not sure why it's wrong to clap at movies, but that doesn't prevent me from knowing that it's true. :-)

Drethelin said...

f15c, you need to be careful doing that, especially if you've got a good pair of lungs. You can cause actual pain and possibly permanent damage to people's ears if you're not careful.

Not to say they might not deserve it.

in regards to screaming, I don't mind others screaming, but I don't think I ever have, though there have been moments when I've covered my eyes, before I was sufficiently inured to horrible sights( ie the girl in the closet in the ring, or the one in the attic in the grudge).

As far as laughter goes, I often find myself the only one laughing at jokes that noone else gets. I'm not sure if I'm just more attentive, but an example includes in "Be Cool", at the beginning when chili is talking about movie ratings, he goes "You know you're only allowed to say the F-word once if you want to keep a pg-13 rating? You know what I say to that? Fuck it. I'm done"

or maybe I'm just the only one that enjoys self-rerential jokes.

F15C said...

Drethelin, you are right of course and after the 'moment' I fully realized that and would have apologized to guy if he would have stuck around. I am normally very easy going and am usually the moderator in uncomfortable situations like that. I did feel guilty later as the thought crossed my mind that I might have startled him into a heart attack or something. While he was fully deserving of a public dressing down, he was certainly not deserving of any physical harm.

F15C said...

The sentiments expressed in the comments so far generally seem to be it's ok to scream - if you are female. Sane enough, as it acknowledges some attributes that are basic to humans.

But it made me think about how this discussion would flow on say, the Democratic Underground, or similar far-left board. Would the responses be in similar veins, or would political considerations reign, skewing the responses away from a common human experience.

This may sound silly and trite, but I am concerned about the seemingly growing ideological divide between left and right in our country. And, I look forward to the time when the common beliefs and values binding us together as Americans are once again stronger than the forces pushing us apart.

Hence my wondering if this subject if discussed at DU would reflect the common ground or ideological split.

Sadly, I suspect the latter.

Ann Althouse said...

f15c: I think some lefties read this blog and participate in the comments. Anyone out there have a problem with the double standard for screaming?

At rock concerts, it's always the men screaming, isn't it? Back in the 60s (and 40s and 50s) the girls screamed out of sheer sexual love for the male singers. But beginning in the early 70s or so, screaming -- or yelling, if you insist -- became a male thing.

Men may attractively yell but not scream.

chuck_b said...

Can men scream? I don't think so, at least not from fright. We might yelp or gasp, but scream? "A screaming man"? "A man's screams"? Maybe under torture.

My dad is terrified of snakes and the sight of them will produce yelps. As a child, I used to concoct all manner of elaborate ambushes around the house with rubber snakes set in inconspicuous locations... I got some great yelps. It's no wonder he didn't help pay for college.

Like Ann, I am often the laugh leader in the theater. Or even, the lone laugher. One memory stands out, during Todd Solondz's "Welcome to the Dollhouse" when discussing some other character referred to as "an asshole faggot" Dawn 'Weiner Dog' Weiner tried to tell her boyfriend/rapist, "Just because he's gay doesn't mean he's an asshole." I laughed so loud it was just like screaming. Noone else thought it was funny, but for whatever reason I was extremely amused.

I don't find scary movies scary, but I do get startled sometimes.

Kathleen B. said...

"Anyone out there have a problem with the double standard for screaming?"

good question. I admit that my initial reaction is discomfort. I am just really sensitive to ideas that women are "weaker," which a double standard of screaming does imply to me. and it seems quite patronizing. That said, I wonder if anyone would doubt that it is social fact in America that women scream more in scary movies, and that seeing a guy scream in a movie would be weird and/or make people laugh, especially if he is the lone screamer. Since that is the way it is for now, it doesn't seem that profitable to be upset when people point it out. I also think has to do with word choice as well - we associate "screaming" with women, so we don't really use that word to describe what men do (they "yelp" or "yell"). So I question whether men really don't scream, but when they do we just call it something else.

chuck_b said...

Isn't a scream kind of a full-throated, almost from-the-diaphragm kind of event? I don't think men do that. Not from fright. I think there's a difference, and I'm not sure if it's social or biological.

Matt said...

I'm a liberal, and I have no problem with screaming, clapping or gasping in movies so long as it's a rational and appropriate response to what's on screen. If, on the other hand, it's for the purpose of being an asshole or drawing attention to yourself, it's not appropriate, period.

Ann Althouse said...

I always scream rationally.

How about the disgusted outcry sound: "ugh!" Is that one okay? I did that a lot at "The Fly" -- the one with Jeff Goldblum. Afterwards, the person I was with told me I was being ridiculous. But she was one of these people who would make all sorts of noises indicating her disapproval of decisions the characters made -- as if they were real people and they could hear her and might reconsider their foolish ways.

Then there's hissing. Do people still do that? That was big amongst college students in Ann Arbor years okay. It can be really amusing or idiotic -- depending on the film.

Matt said...

A reaction that's authentic (be it grunting, hissing, cheering, screaming, or gasping) is almost always going to be OK. But I can't stand people who talk for talking's sake. When I saw "The Ring," behind me were two women who spent the entire movie saying "Oooh! This is so scary! Girl don't go in there!" This did not, in fact, make the movie more scary.