Spring didn’t scare me, but it was definitely engaging.
Among all of the films shown in class, Spring was probably the most diverse in terms of its genre. It was classified as a science fiction, romance and horror film. This is what paracinema is all about – mixing elements of different genres like a stew. Watching Spring was a unique experience. It had its scary moments, but I think that it focused more on the romance between its two main characters, Evan and Louise. As a horror film, Spring dealt on the fear of the unknown. The audience doesn’t really know what Louise is. We see bits and pieces of her transformation here and there, when different parts of her body suddenly turn into reptilian creatures. However, we only get to know about her condition when she explained it in detail in the latter part of the film. This part, when she explained the reason behind her transformations is the science fiction part of the movie. Lastly, Spring had elements of romance. The bulk of Spring showed how Evan fell in love with Louise, how we courted her, how she dismissed his advances but eventually gave in in the end. Spring was also like Beauty and the Beast because when Evan finally discovered that Louise was in fact a mutant, he looked past their differences and still loved her despite his condition. We could also use May as an example of this mixing of genres. Aside from the elements of horror in May, there was also a romantic comedy aspect to the film where we witness May obsessing over her friend, Adam.
Spring was a good movie to watch after Pontypool because both films showed the unconventional side of horror movies. In order to be effective and have an impact on its audience, horror films do not necessarily have to be scary all throughout, like Evil Dead and The Autopsy of Jane Doe. Sometimes, mixing the horror elements with comedy or romance could actually work. Spring was enjoyable to watch because Evan and Louise’s relationship seemed genuine and real. Both characters had their own struggles to live with – Evan still felt saddened by the death of his mother and he felt lost and unfulfilled as a person. On the other hand, Louise has lived with her mutant condition all her life and lived in isolation because she didn’t want anyone to know about her abnormality. Because of their own struggles, it seemed as if they were destined to meet each other and were meant for each other.
Until now, I still do not know how to feel about Spring. As I mentioned, I liked how it was different from the other movies we watched because it dealt with Evan and Louise’s relationship. But I was honestly expecting to be scared since it is a horror movie after all. The opening scene when Evan was talking to his mother was pretty haunting for me and I thought that the scene was already setting the tone for the horror that is to come. But the scenes after that weren’t what I expected to see. At least in Pontypool, the zombie scenes were still surprising but in Spring, I felt like Louise’s mutant transformations should been explained in more detail.
Jancovich’s article talks about the blurred boundaries of the horror genre. A genre is figured out based on a person’s taste formation. This is identified using articles and reviews made by writers and movie enthusiasts. However, in relation to the Sleazemania article, we should keep in mind that one’s perception of a movie also depends on one’s cultural context. Jancovich mentioned that “issues of cultural authority and power and normally inextricably bound up with the conflict between different taste formations”. The article made me wonder what exactly is a horror film? Compared to other genres which have a more structured definition, the horror film is more ambiguous and flexible. In Spring, I struggled to figure out why it was considered as a horror movie because I thought that it lacked the horror elements that I saw in the previous films. But as I mentioned before, even if it didn’t scare me, it still engaged me. Spring still made me think, it made me feel. And ultimately, I think that is what makes a horror film horror. It makes evokes different feelings on its audience – anger, frustration, sadness, joy and more. Spring isn’t your typical “mainstream” horror movie, but it’s a whole new experience in itself.
Source: Mark Jancovich, “Genre and the Audience: Genre Classifications and Cultural Distinctions in the Mediation of The Silence of the Lambs.” Horror, The Film Reader (Routledge, 2002)