“Inside”: Christmas horror at its most extreme [Horrors Elsewhere]
I fell on Fire in the sky at age eight one night on HBO and was unwittingly plunged into a lifelong fear of aliens. For example, we had a window halfway up our staircase. After this fateful Fire in the sky night I would literally hide under that window walking past the night for years. Each night.
We used to have a long driveway in a semi-country Kentucky setting and one of my jobs was to bring the trash cans to the curb. When this particular chore was at night, I would run these motherfuckers to the sidewalk and then Reserve coming home as if my life depended on it. The way I saw it? I was alone, outside, at night in the country. The absolute perfect specimen for aliens to remove and then fall back into a sort of time chain as if nothing had happened. This kind of fear drove me, a longtime horror fan, to have a deep love for alien horror. Still today, at 36 years old.
See, not a lot of horror movies really scare me these days. But the alien horror? Even the inferior ones to send the most me in a frenzy of fear. This is why I would like to dive with you into alien horror. Film by film. Welcome to “Aliens Scare Me”. A deep dive into extraterrestrial horror films on a case-by-case basis …
Where it started: Communion is based on the alleged real-life experiences of Whitley Strieber. A fiction writer who has known “visitors” while staying with his wife and son in a cabin in New York. Strieber had written several fictional horror novels before delving into books on the environmental apocalypse and nuclear war. This was before his real life experiences really began, which he wrote about in several books including Communion and Transformation. The film addresses these two so-called non-fiction narratives.
What is it about : As for the movie (which is vastly different from the book, as most are), Whitley (played by Christophe walken) is an eccentric writer living in New York City with his young son and wife. With two friends, they venture into their secluded cabin in the woods where they are then attacked by visitors at night. Whitley receives the worst when a needle is inserted into her brain by an alien creature that had been hiding behind her dresser. He then had visions of the world exploding and his dying son. In the book he medeny that this could have been just his worst fears manifesting in his brain more than a threat or premonition from the aliens.
Whitley doesn’t remember it at first. All he knows is something is seriously wrong. And it goes down fast. He becomes frightened by the smallest of changes in the air, involving his wife and friends. He worries about losing his mind and all he remembers is that one night there might have been a bright light accompanied by an owl dream in the house – the book points out that this is an event regular for those who experience this kind of trauma; they often block their trauma memories with events involving animals for whatever reason. Fans of The fourth kind will remember what happened there too. Specifically, a white owl.
Ultimately Communion takes us on a wild, semi-gutsy ride as Whitley undergoes hypnotherapy and begins to recount being kidnapped by little blue creatures and experimented with by alien-like figures. Memeanwhile he struggles with the fear of being mecount on losing his mind as he struggles to keep his marriage together.
Why it’s scary: Look, this movie is crazy as shit. It’s just. According to IMDb, real life Whitley Strieber actually approached Christopher Walken to complain that he thought he was playing the character “a little too crazy”. To which Walken replied: “If the shoe fits.”
It’s a movie that many will watch and just call “weird as shit” and maybe even just plain bad. No one could blame them. However, for those like me than alien abductions scare hell to live? There are moments.
In the vein of Fire in the sky (which we will undoubtedly discuss in this series), the horror lies mainly in the kidnapping sequences. There are two types of “visitors” during these sequences. One of which looks more like weird blue trolls than aliens. These are not scary me as much as they remind me little ghouls in Fantasy.
However, once Whitley is taken to the ship, he encounters something more like the creepy ass. aliens we all imagine it in our minds. The effects and “aliens”Are Dollar Tree quality, but that somehow adds to the quirk of it all. Their bodies are the size of pencils, their movements just fucked up enough to freak you out even more.
The movie realizes at some point that maybe, just maybe, Walken in a gonzo performance is just as creepy as the aliens probe him; In a final sequence, the “visitors” play with him by involving a doppelganger (played by Walken). It’s just as off-putting and weirdly awesome as you can imagine.
The scariest part of the whole movie though isn’t the aliens. It is the idea of a man who deeply loves his family but simply loses his mind. For a while you even get the feeling the filmmakers don’t believe Whitley and just tell the sad story of a man who lost everything for memental illness. One of the few things as scary as aliens with bad intentions.
Where it lands: Communion is one of the strangest movies I have ever seen. Amid the aforementioned spooky kidnapping sequences, there are moments involving Christopher Walken dancing and dancing with a little troll like aliens. The whole film is full of classic walkenisms that are as entertaining as they are derivative. For example, there is a time when the aliens decide to probe him rectally quite violently (I told you it’s strange). He looks straight into the aliens face and said “I’m going to kill you.” I’ll kill you ”in a quite calm manner as if ordering a sandwich. Only Christopher Walken could get away with this performance and he does.
Across all the ridiculously batshit footage, here are several terrifying scenes for those of us who have the disposition to be unreasonably scared of extraterrestrial encounters. The movie’s biggest weaknesses are the same moments that will make it one of a kind. That’s a 6.5 / 10 for me but certainly a film that will depend on the eye of the beholder. Communion will be particularly interesting for those who like stories in which they can immerse themselves, because there is an endless supply of books and crazy stories by the subject of the film; Whitley Strieber.
He even has his own paranormal podcast titled Dreamland. Check it out.