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The Student Newspaper of MAST Academy, since 1991.
The Student News Site of MAST Academy

The Beacon

The Beacon

GALLERY: Prom 2024
GALLERY: Prom 2024
April 7, 2024

Nightmare fuel

By Giorgia Cattaneo
Truck Editor

Coraline, 2009 directed by Henry Selick, is a children’s horror movie if that makes sense. With an animation style familiar to Tim Burton’s, Selick also directed The Nightmare Before Christmas—the film gives off a fantastic and terrifying aesthetic.

The story follows eleven-year-old Coraline Jones, who recently moved to the Pink Palace Apartments with her parents. Her neighbors are incredibly eccentric, two elderly retired actresses who have nine stuffed dogs and a Russian man who owns a mice circus. Coraline remains disinterested, clearly upset about the move.

She deals with two parents who pay her little attention, placing more importance on their work. While exploring her new home, Coraline discovers a secret door. Seemingly nothing at first behind is a tunnel leading to an alternate world. This world is a bright and colorful comparison to her bleak real life, everything Coraline ever wanted, except that everyone has buttons for eyes.

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Things begin to take a dark turn when the Other Mother asks Coraline to stay with them forever and sew buttons into her eyes. When Coraline refuses, she is forced to use all her resources and courage to make it out of the “perfect” world, save herself and others all while the rest of the other family tries to keep her there. 

With bright curious eyes, protagonist Coraline Jones enters the other world for the first time unbeknownst to the horrors it secretly holds. (Source:

This movie is truly a masterpiece, a “family” film that managed to be traumatizing and terrifying to children—and adults—everywhere. Selick’s’ traditional stop-motion animation style is used in the story and provides for some incredible cinematography. The use of colors, or lack of, contrasts between the two worlds, showing the transition of the worlds as Coraline herself changes from the beginning to the end.

The storyline is incredibly well written, and the fantastical world-building is executed perfectly, making it truly more than just a “kids” film. It is the perfect movie for people who want to watch a scary movie without getting themselves into a genuinely gory and horrifying experience. It perfectly borders on fantasy and horror, making it a classic scary flick that everyone should see at least once. 

Scream, 1996, directed by Horror Icon Wes Craven, whose most notable films include the Scream franchise, A Nightmare on Elms Street, and The Hills Have Eyes. Scream is known as a meta-horror, often referencing other horror movies, all while reflecting the characters’ actions and surroundings in the film themselves.

It borders satirical but done most intelligently with a twist that just works. The characters openly talk about horror movie cliches,  sometimes ironically committing the same cliche as they ridicule it. The movie opens up with the murder of two teenagers, where our killer, Ghostface, is revealed. It is a slasher movie, and the gore is perfect enough to be scary without being overly-gross.

The film’s heroine is high schooler Sydney Prescott, who is still mourning over her mother’s rape and murder. Sydney becomes Ghostface’s target; the killer begins stalking and terrorizing her, all while still picking off town members in the most hilariously gruesome ways. 

In the classic Ghostface costume, the killer- Ghostface- taunts their next victim with their bloody infamous weapon of choice. (Source:

Craven here re-invented and revitalized the slasher-horror genre with the Scream franchise. The modern horror classic manages to be witty and scary at the same time. It somehow provides the tension and seriousness of a pure horror movie while almost self-parodying, though never crossing the actual parody lines.

Its incredible cast serves to benefit the film, with iconic actors such as Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courteney Cox, Matthew Lillard, Rose McGowan, Skeet Ulrich, Drew Barrymore, and Henry Winkler. The film truly transforms itself into an incredible timeless work of art. 

The Shining, 1980, directed by Stanley Kubrick, is one of the most iconic films in history. Relying on Kubrick’s well-written innovative style, the movie is slow-paced and builds the audience up with unease. Kubrick is also known for his films Lolita, A Clockwork Orange, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Doctor Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, all of which are now cult-classics alongside The Shining. The film is based on the story written by horror icon himself Stephan King, but Kubrick essentially used the book as a skeleton for his version of the film.

The story follows Jack Torrance, a recovering alcoholic and struggling writer, who, along with his family — Wife Wendy and five-year-old son Danny– go to spend winter in the isolated Overlook Hotel in the Colorado Rockies as the new winter caretakers. His son, Danny, is plagued by “the shining” giving him psychic abilities and visions of the horrific events the Hotel holds. The family is snowbound, and Jack’s already rocky sanity begins to deteriorate from the supernatural influences that reside in the Hotel. He slowly begins to unravel into a homicidal maniac fixated on killing his family. 

Kubrick’s cinematography captures a tense moment between spiraling Jack and traumatized son Danny.  (Source:

The Shining is a horror masterpiece; it does not rely on cheap scares but rather preys upon the human mind. It is a psychological horror that leaves its audience on edge, terrified of each scene. Kubrick is known for the lack of answers given, leaving the audience to make sense of what was seen. The film flashes images of gore—usually through Danny’s visions—and does it in the most subtle and genius ways. Kubrick’s cinematography and visuals only add to the horror effect involving its audience even more.

The performance by both Shelly Duval and Jack Nicholson in the film is one reason the film is a cult classic. Nicholson’s performance as Jack Torrance was fantastic. Nicholson goes all out for it, from his crazed look and appearance to his visual and verbal acting. Shelly Duval plays the terrified wife’s role with perfection, slowly falling herself into insanity from the fear Kubrick truly instilled within her, between and during takes. Her performance as Wendy is raw and real. The Shining is truly a film to go down in the history books. It is a must-watch for any horror or movie lover. 

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Nightmare fuel