When You Find Footage, You Find True Horror. And I’m Not Just Talking About My Bar-Mitzvah Video

My family was never big on the whole ‘home movie’ thing. For one thing, I think my parents were afraid their illegal hamster breeding operation would be caught in the background and used against them when I eventually testified against them in court (smart, as charges were later dropped due to lack of evidence). The other reason is that there’s nothing creepier than old-looking, out-of-context footage of families together.

That’s one of the reasons found-footage horror movies scare the pants off me. Literally. Not sure how it happens, but they always end up in a pile by the door by the time the movie’s over. People simply watching grainy, scratchy footage is enough to send me into a horror coma. That’s why I’ve had to watch all the trailers of Sinister with the lights on, squeezing my mom’s hand and within ten feet of a bathroom. Every time Ethan Hawke starts rolling those old 8mm films he finds in his attic, I remember more and more why I put those child-safety lock features on my satellite cable system for myself.

8mm, 16mm, camcorder, webcam…There’s just something about a physical record of horror that adds a layer of realism to the scares and thrills. Film stock is a real thing and if something supernatural appears on it, it freaks us out in a way that a typical horror flick or thriller ever could.

That’s why I threw on a pair of depends, handcuffed myself to my couch, flipped my eyelids open Clockwork Orange-style and endured a 24-hour horror marathon to come up with my list of freakiest movies concerning finding footage.

And if you’re lucky like me and have friends who don’t mind hearing you cry like a little girl in the middle of a packed movie house, go check out Sinister.

Found footage helps a true-crime novelist (Ethan Hawke) realize how and why a family was murdered in his new home, though his discoveries put his entire family in the path of a supernatural entity.

It opens nationwide October 12th.

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