Friday, January 23, 2015

Nibbles Woodaway VS. Mercy Brown

Man, we're having quite the run on pseudo-journalism this week. First it's Alice Robb and her by-the-numbers caricature of the horror genre. Now it's Melinda Crow and her latest Yahoo! fluff piece entitled:



I'm not much for fluff. Actually, I'm not much for news either. The only time I click on a Yahoo! headline is to scroll down to the comments and watch the English language crash and burn in a thousand car pile up of grammatical errors and misspellings. I don't even know why I clicked on this particular article. But I did, and I immediately scrolled down to Rhode Island, assuming our Big Blue Bug was about to get a solid slamming, or maybe Tony Lepore the dancing cop.

Instead, I found this:

Rhode Island: The grave of suspected vampire Mercy Brown is in Exeter. Aren't vampires undead? So why is there a grave?

Seriously? That's the best you could do? I mean, I know we're the smallest state in the union, but that's all you've got? A one hundred and twenty three year old headstone erected over the earthly remains of a nineteen year old girl who died of tuberculosis? How is that a "ridiculous landmark?" So why is there a grave? Because there's a body buried beneath it. The body of a girl who died painfully and whose body was horribly violated afterward in the wake of Puritanical superstition and fear. 

Sorry, maybe I'm being petty, but I had a tough day. And I love this little state I live in. I wasn't born here, but I plan to die here, and I would hope that my death would be treated with dignity and not made into a tacky joke. Granted, I don't plan on being buried beneath a headstone - I'm actually thinking of adding my cremains to the ash-littered lawns of Swan Point Cemetery - but that's not the point. A dead girl's grave is not a "ridiculous landmark." 

Apology expected, Miss Crow.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

2:30

7:30pm on a Tuesday night.
Innocently watching reruns of Frasier and shoving pieces of Dove chocolate into my mouth,
When suddenly...


First Thought: "Oh, are these almond Dove's?"

Second thought: "Fuck, that wasn't an almond."

A little tongue probing confirmed my worst fear: I had broken a tooth. A long dead premolar that had never been crowned because those of us who live below the poverty line must often forgo such frivolities as shoes and food. Well fuck. There was no putting this off. I would have to call the dentist asap.

I hate the dentist. I would rather go to the ER with a kidney stone the size of a bowling ball than go to the dentist. The high pitched shriek of the drill, the pungent stench of burning bone dust, the crappy 80s synth pop piped in over the PA. Please kill me now.

So what better opportunity to pen an article about tooth horror in the movies? And I'll be avoiding the glaringly obvious choices such as 1996's magnum opus The Dentist, which I have never seen and am not in a hurry to track down for a viewing...although if it came down to a choice between watching the film and going to the actual dentist, well...do the math.

Dogtooth

Upon reaching maturity, one's dogtooth will fall out, signifying that one is ready to venture beyond the walls of the controlled enclosure in which one has lived their entire life, being taught that the word "pussy" refers to a large light fixture, and that mother will soon give birth to a dog. Can you really blame Eldest Daughter for picking up a dumbbell and knocking out her own dogtooth, eager to escape her parents home and explore the world beyond, filled with magic hair gel and Rocky sequels?




12 Monkeys

Hey... is that the cops? I'm an innocent victim in here! I was attacked by a coked up whore and a fuckin' crazy dentist!

Bruce Willis rips out his own tooth in a seedy hotel bathroom, much to the horror of a junkie pimp and Madeleine Stowe. Having realized that the futurists who had sent him back in time to prevent the apocalypse are on the wrong track, Brucie disposes of the GPS installed in a molar. Without novocaine. Goddamn.



Bug

Nobody likes bugs in their teeth, least of all Michael Shannon who, halfway through William "Exorcist" Friedman's film adaptation of Bug gets up, walks into the bathroom and rips out a tooth, convinced that an egg sac had been implanted in his gum tissue. And not just any garden variety bug either, but super intelligent government bugs installed to monitor possible terrorist  activity and eliminate their targets at will. 







Castaway

Even on an uncharted desert isle there's no escaping the fucking dentist. Washed up after a plane crash, Tom Hanks over there has plenty to worry about, but the first order of business is his abscessed tooth which is causing him a great deal of pain and threatens to cut his already precarious existence even shorter with death by blood poisoning. So, with a serious shortage of walk in clinics available, Tommy does what he has to do - knocks the offending tooth out himself with a piece of metal and promptly passes out cold from the pain. One hopes a FedEx shipment of 10/325 Vicodin will wash up on shore soon.



Space Mutiny

Look at the perfect teeth on Space Princess Leia there. No, not that Leia - this is the bargain basement Leia, the 47 year old Space Teen whose Space Dad runs the Space Ship she lives on. But when Space Mutineer kidnaps her and tortures her using antique dental drills, she loses her Space Shit. Actually, I'm pretty sure that Space Shit was the original title of this flick.



Marathon Man

Oh double derhey, like I could write an article about dental horror and not include this film. Duh. 

Oral Fixation

Fatal Attraction gets a root canal. Psychoslut honeypot becomes obsessed with her dentist and starts damaging her oral cavity in order to get Dr. Hunky to slide some of his long, hard instruments in between her pouty, glossy lips. blahblahblah misunderstanding, blahblahblah, restraining orders are ineffective, yaddayaddayadda don't bother.

So I'm back from my emergency dental appt. Things went swimmingly. I still need a crown, but the tooth won't have to be pulled and my insurance should cover the greater portion of the procedure. Anyway, I didn't even need novocaine! They sat me down, reached into my mouth and yanked off the  shard of worn porcelain that had split off from my old tooth and had been wiggling to and fro like a stalactite in an ancient cave. When the girl asked if I wanted to see it, I suddenly heard Aughra in my head:


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Grudge continues...

My very good friend Ray Garton wrote a rebuttal to the now notoriously incompetent, ignorant and stunningly shallow article penned by Alice Robb, an article which infuriated the horror community and which she has thus far refused to take responsibility for, ignoring all of the rebuttals penned thus far (including my own excellent profanity-laden response in which I took more immature pleasure than a five year old with a pillowcase full of Pixie Sticks and thirty seven puppies) and going on tra-la as if nothing had ever happened...as if she hadn't just sucker punched an entire generation of cinema geeks who have already been the subject of stigmatization for decades and then calmly walked away like the proverbial emotionless head cheerleader whose boyfriend is captain of the fucking football team.


"It was at this point that I began to wonder if Alice Robb was not, in fact, a real person but a bot and I was reading borderline gibberish.  No such luck.  She’s real, she’s serious, and she appears to be out to get horror fans.  She cites studies from 1985 and 1998 and claims they “give horror-movie junkies something to worry about.”  I think it would be more accurate to say that they give Alice Robb something to gnaw on."

Read Ray's rebuttal in its entirety HERE.
And then - if you are a true horror fan, especially a female horror fan, for Miss Robb is entirely of the idiotic opinion that we girls cannot possibly be devoted diehard fans of the genre  - write your own rebuttal, because this bullshit needs to be called out and shut the fuck down.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Silent Hill/Centralia

“It is a barren wasteland, riddled with fire, ash, and dust. The very air you breathe is a poisonous fume.” When actor Sean Bean spoke those lines in the 2001 film The Fellowship Of The Ring, he was referring to the dread land of Mordor, where the Dark Lord Sauron held sway. But he may as well have been referring to his upcoming role in the 2006 horror blockbuster Silent Hill, based on the video game series of the same name. Silent Hill, a long abandoned coal mining town in West Virginia, is a demon infested Hell where an underground fire burns unchecked, polluting the skies above with thick, gray ash and poisonous fumes. Surely, such a place could not really exist, could it?

It does, but it’s not in West Virginia, nor is it populated by religious zealots and pyramid-headed demons caught in a dimension between life and death.

The small town of Centralia, Pennsylvania started life in 1841 when Jonathan Faust (ominous surname is merely coincidental) opened the Bull’s Head Tavern in what was then known as Roaring Creek Township. By 1854, the Locust Mountain Coal and Iron Company had moved in on the property, laying streets and building lots. It was known as Centreville at first, but officially changed its name to Centralia in 1865. Coal mining was the chief source of employment in Centralia, the ground rich with anthracite, the purest (and shiniest!) variety of coal. 

Yeah. Um… Boooooring! There really isn’t much else to tell about Centralia. It was a normal little town, filled with normal little churches and schools, which at its peak boasted some 2,000 residents in the town proper and 500 or more in the outlying areas. Despite the presence of a Russian Orthodox Church, complete with Kremlin-like architecture, there was nothing that made Centralia stand out in any way shape or form from the hundreds of other small towns that surrounded it…that is, until May of 1962.

That was when five members of the volunteer fire company set out for the town landfill, conveniently located near both the town cemetery and an abandoned strip mine pit. The plan was to burn the landfill, as had been done in years past when said landfill was located in a different section of town. On May 27th, the dump was ignited and left to burn. But, unlike the fires of years past, this one was never extinguished. 

Hot ashes touched on an exposed vein of coal and spread quickly to the abandoned mines beneath the town. Attempts to extinguish the fire came too late. The burning continued throughout the remainder of the decade and on into the 1970s, the deadly carbon monoxide fumes pouring out from underground causing severe health problems among the residents and forcing many to pull up stakes and leave for greener, healthier pastures.

In 1981, Centralia became the center of nationwide attention when 12 year old Todd Dromboski fell into a sinkhole and nearly plunged 150 feet to his death in the coal fires below. He was saved by a cousin, but the seriousness of the situation could no longer be ignored. Centralia was a doomed town. 

By 1984, Congress had offered buyouts to Centralia’s remaining residents, most of whom gladly accepted and quickly relocated. A handful remained behind, despite the sinkholes, the poisonous fumes and the sinister reputation the town has earned. In 1992, all of Centralia’s properties were condemned, and most were razed to the ground. In 2002, The US Postal Service revoked Centralia’s zip code. By 2007, only 9 residents remained in Centralia, stubbornly clinging to their homes. All others steer clear as the fire beneath the town continues to burn, the coal mines it feeds upon quite capable of supplying the flames with enough fuel to burn for another 250 years at least.

On January 31, 1999, Konami released the first Silent Hill video game for Sony PlayStation. The game quickly garnered a reputation as being one of the darkest, scariest and most disturbing video games ever created. I can vouch for this. I’ve never been a gamer geek, but late one night, half drunk and bored senseless, I watched an ex-boyfriend play Silent Hill in the darkness of his bedroom, and it freaked us both out so much (both of us lifelong, hardened horror film fans, I might add) that he quickly shut it off and switched on a repeat of The Simpsons to dispel the atmosphere of uneasiness that the game had generated.

In 2006, French filmmaker Christophe Gans directed the cinematic adaptation of Silent Hill, which wasn’t completely faithful to the storyline of the games. Nevertheless, with its solemn, ash covered sets, deeply disturbing demons and the repeated, bone chilling blasts of an air raid siren, Silent Hill the movie became a smashing success, sucking cynical horror fans into a nightmare world of smoke, despair and pure evil.

So – yes, West Virginia, there is a Silent Hill. It just happens to be a few hundred miles to the northeast. And I don’t recommend you go there. The steaming, cracked roads that lead into town are warning enough: Centralia has literally gone to Hell. And though I seriously doubt that any acid-spitting creatures, perverted janitor corpses or cockroach shitting, sword-wielding bodybuilders lurk there, who knows what you might find if you should be unlucky enough to step into one of the many sinkholes there and fall into the sulfurous pit below? If you’re lucky, you’ll die before you hit bottom, consumed by the heat and poisonous gasses. 

But…what if you should survive the fall?


Friday, January 16, 2015

A Dream Within A Dream

I dream very vividly every single night. I always have. It's gotten to the point where my Facebook posts about my dreams have developed a weird sort of cult following. I dream in color. I feel pain in my dreams, smell scents, feel textures. I can read in my dreams. I can do everything in a dream that I do in real life and am usually very much aware of the fact that I'm dreaming while it's happening.

But the night before last I impressed even myself. I dreamt that my dream self fell asleep and had a nightmare, and my nightmare-having self was trying to awaken my sleeping dream self because she knew she was having a dream within a dream. The content of the nightmare within the dream wasn't anything new - I dreamt I was back at Borders, a dream I usually have when I'm stressed out - but to have a dream about falling asleep and having a nightmare, and being aware of it on all three levels? Wow. How fucking Lynchian is that shit?

I've turned some of my more epic dreams into short stories that I've never done anything with: like the one about the angel in a stitched suit of black leather assigned to watch over a baby. Or the one about the devil driving an ice cream truck and re-kidnapping kidnapped children. Oh and let's not forget the absolutely immense one I had six months after Kurt Cobain died, in which I broke into the rehab center where he was staying, befriended him and then followed him home and watched him blow his brains out again. I'm not sure if my brain is simply that crazy, or if I'm tapping into some dimension where Satan's carnival pumps a never-ending stream of dream juice out of a fucking calliope or what. But I don't fear my dreams. I don't regret them. I anticipate them. I love that I have this whole night world all to myself where I can control what happens with a flick of my fingers, sprout rainbow bat wings, experience sex with gods and create candy colored sugar castles from shit. Not everyone has a dreamworld as extensive and colorful and intricate as mine. I consider myself immensely lucky.

I haven't seen very many movies that have come anywhere close to depicting what I experience when I sleep. Dream sequences in movies always seem so structured and rehearsed - which obviously they are, so duh - but a few have come close. Pan's Labyrinth comes to mind. Lost Highway. Parts of Brotherhood of the Wolf. But anyway, I'm attempting to segue into an article on dream sequences in films and doing a sloppy job of it here, so let's just get to it already.


Prince Of Darkness
I had a dream similar to this once, wherein the train I was riding crashed and flipped, and amid the rubble and chaos I looked up and saw a massive stone angel with three faces standing over the wreckage and announcing: "I Am Metatron."

I don't normally ride trains so I'm not too concerned about this particular dream manifesting itself anytime soon. Too bad the same could not be said for the shared nightmare of the cast of Prince Of Darkness, in which a tall, spindly figure in reaper robes appeared in the doorway of an ancient stone church, apparently announcing the impending apocalypse. A static-garbled voice over announces: This is not a dream... not a dream. We are using your brain's electrical system as a receiver. We are unable to transmit through conscious neural interference. You are receiving this broadcast as a dream. We are transmitting from the year one, nine, nine, nine. You are receiving this broadcast in order to alter the events you are seeing. Our technology has not developed a transmitter strong enough to reach your conscious state of awareness, but this is not a dream. You are seeing what is actually occurring for the purpose of causality violation.

Overall, not one of my favorite John Carpenter films, but the dream sequences sufficiently freaked me the fuck out.

Open Your Eyes
Fuck Vanilla Sky and fuck Tom Cruise and his horrifying teeth. Open Your Eyes is a masterpiece of splicing, in that you're not aware of the fact that you are watching a dream unfold and morph into a nightmare. But at what point does the nightmare turn into the dream and then descend back into a nightmare again? You can't tell, and you won't until the final scene when all is revealed. At which point, you must question the decision of the dreamer to awaken.

The Descent
For most American audiences, this film ends on the highway, with a traumatized Sarah facing the ghost of Juno in her SUV. But I much prefer the original ending, in which it is revealed that the escape from the caverns was all a dream, and Sarah is still underground, trapped, with the Crawlers closing in around her. But it's okay: she's where she wants to be, with her dead daughter. And regardless of which ending you prefer - whether Sarah lives or dies, escapes or remains, kills or is killed - she is never coming out of that dark pit. She has become her own abyss and she has been swallowed whole.

Phantasm
It was all a dream. Or was it? Was Mike's big brother Jody really taken away by alien dwarves into another dimension, or did he simply die in a car crash? Is Mike dealing with his grief as he sleeps and dreaming himself into a fantasy world where Jody's death never happened, or has his trauma manifested an unspeakable evil? The possibilities are endless, and so are the cold marble hallways through which Mike runs and runs, dodging the Tall Man - a cadaverous mortician with thick yellow blood - and his army of flying silver spheres equipped with razors. And if Mike is indeed only dreaming, then he too has dreamed himself into another dream, delving deeper and deeper into the darkness of his own psyche from which he may never be able to extricate himself.

Jacob's Ladder
While they're happening, dreams and nightmares seem to go on forever. Then you wake up and realize it's been 6 minutes. You've lived several lifetimes and died numerous deaths in that meaningless amount of time. The same thing happens to Jacob, the final few seconds of his life stretching out over days, weeks and years, allowing him to experience all of the joy and sorrow he will never know. Because Jacob is not asleep, he is dying. His death is inevitable. It is the final moments of dreamlike epiphanies and torments, symbolizing his journey to the afterlife, all that remains for him to decide: will he be seduced into Hell or ascend into Heaven?

The Matrix
I feel like this every goddamned day. Every day you've lived is a lie. It was all pointless, meaningless, unnecessary. It was all just a manufactured dream, programmed by computers and injected into your brain as you lie asleep for all eternity, nothing more than a battery powering the Almighty Machine. If you knew you were asleep, knew what you were about to wake up to discover and all of the excruciating pain and betrayal that comes with it, would you still take that red pill? If I knew ahead of time that I was going to wake up and find out I was Keanu Reeves, probably not.

Every Single Fucking Movie David Lynch Has Ever Made



Seriously. Every single Lynch film I've watched thus far has had at least one dream sequence, one fantasy sequence or is one long uninterrupted feature length acid trip. Watching a Lynch film is a bit like performing a cranial autopsy on a synesthetic schizophrenia patient, peeling back a skull flap and being struck in the face with a high pressure jet of insane carnival freaks, candy flavored maggots and neon masturbatory fodder. Oh, and then watching a scale model mechanical Diablerie burst from their chest cavity in a spray of technicolor fireworks and Day-Glo guts. Only David Lynch comes close to portraying the psychopathic slideshow that goes on in my head every night.

Don't you wish your dreamscapes were as warped as mine?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Fuck you, Alice Robb

BJ Colangelo has already addressed the utter stupidness of this clueless twat woefully uninformed journalist who penned this article, on her own blog Day Of The Woman, but I very much enjoy writing in fluent expletive, so I decided to address it as well.


My attention was brought to this article early this morning and, needless to say, it pissed me off. I checked the main site and sadly, it doesn't seem to be satirical a la The Onion. Apparently, it's for real. And columnist Alice Robb - whom I've never heard of and whom I wouldn't ask the color of orange juice if I did - is serious, and honest-to-goshly really believes that Horror Movies are B-A-D and will make you a devil worshipping, puppy killing, baby eating, corpse raping, grandma poisoning all around naughty person. Okay, well maybe not that extreme, but ...well, read this ignorant, outdated shit!

What It Says About You If You Enjoy Horror Movies - by Alice Robb
(What It Says About You If You Write Articles About Horror Movies Without Knowing Jack Shit About Them - by Annie Riordan)



Alice: Movie-goers spooked by the acclaimed horror film The Babadook are in good company: William Friedkin, director of The Exorcist, has called the Australian film the most terrifying movie he’s ever seen. “It will scare the hell out of you,” he warned his Twitter followers. 
Annie: I haven't seen The Babadook yet, but it's been a long time since I genuinely had the hell scared out of me. 

Alice: That doesn’t sound like an enjoyable experience—and for many of us, it’s not. 
Annie: I feel the same way about chick flicks. 

Alice: In recent years, horror films have caused audience members to vomit and faint. 
Annie: Again, I feel much the same about chick flicks. 

LeatherFacepalm
Alice: Psychologists have shown that viewing horror movies induces physiological changes consistent with a “fight-or-flight” response.
Annie: Uh, double derhey. That's kind of the whole point of a fucking horror movie, Captain Obvious. It's supposed to serve as a safe outlet for tension and fear. Watching a horror movie allows you to experience fear safely. It's also a great way for teenage boys to see boobies. PS - who exactly are these "psychologists" you speak of and where are the links to these studies they conducted?

Alice: In 2003, scientists found that healthy men and women had a significantly higher heart rate and a higher concentration of stress hormones like cortisol in their blood if they watched The Texas Chainsaw Massacre than if they sat in a quiet room.
Annie: Again, DUH. And again, who are these scientists and where are the links to their findings? You're awfully fuzzy in that area. Also, are you aware of the fact that The Texas Chainsaw Massacre now resides in the MOMA? Have you ever even seen it for yourself? It is shockingly, amazingly and gratuitously bloodless. Yes, it's horrifying, but it's also beautiful. Film, like paint or photography or sculpture, is an art and as such, is subjective. There are probably a certain small amount of people within the general public who might have a "significantly higher heart rate and a higher concentration of stress hormones like cortisol in their blood" if they stared at a Monet painting for an hour.

Alice: For some, horror movies can even be fatal. A woman in Kansas died of a heart attack during the crucifixion scene in The Passion of the Christ. For a Taiwanese man with high blood pressure, Avatar was the last straw.
Annie: Neither Passion of the Christ nor Avatar are horror films. POTC is classified as a drama, and Avatar as science fiction. By the way, I would like to take this opportunity to mention that the first five minutes of Finding Nemo upset me terribly, and I still have nightmares about Bambi's mom dying.

Alice: Clearly, horror movies are not for everyone. But what does it say about you if you love violent or scary films? 
Annie: That I have a personality? And am mature enough to understand that it's only a movie?


Alice: You’re more likely to: Lack empathy 
Annie: Bull. Shit. Are there sociopathic horror fans? Of course there are. But I am not one of them. Nor are the many many MANY friends I have, most of whom are also horror fans, or make horror movies, star in horror movies, write horror stories, etc. Most of them are - gasp! - married with children and have large, loving families. A lot of us have pets that we have not tortured or dismembered. Most horror fans are nonviolent to the point of pacifism. Any feelings of aggression we experience find a safe, nonviolent outlet in the movies that we watch. 

Alice: In a 2000 paper in the journal Media Psychology, a team of researchers led by Richard Jackson Harris and Steven Hoekstra administered personality tests to 233 undergraduates—125 men and 108 women—and asked them to reflect on a memory of watching a horror movie on a date. (Everyone in this study had been on at least one horror-movie date; the most common movies were Scream and Scream 2, followed by I Know What You Did Last Summer and its sequel.) Students who scored higher on measures of empathy—agreeing more strongly with statements like, “I am often quite touched by things I see happen” and “I really get involved with the feelings of a character in a novel”—were more likely to report negative responses like sleep disturbances and feelings of distress.
Annie: 233 people is an extremely low number as to be inconsequential. Also, Scream, Scream 2 and I Know What You Did Last Summer are not really horror movies. They're murder mysteries/slashers. Scream and Scream 2 are spoofs of the genre. I Know What You Did Last Summer was based on a Young Adult novel written in 1973 by author Lois Duncan, whose daughter was murdered in 1989, a case that remains unsolved. I somehow doubt she lacks empathy. Also, her work has been cited thusly: "Whether accepting responsibility for the death of an English teacher or admitting to their responsibility for a hit and run accident, Duncan's characters face a universal truth – your actions are important and you are responsible for them."

Alice: Be aggressive and thrill-seeking
Annie: Again: Bull. Shit. Most of the horror fans I know - myself included - are geeky homebodies who have been bullied at some point in life for being geeky homebodies. Is it any wonder that we were fans of films in which beautiful, popular teenagers who "lack empathy" for the less popular (see what I did there?) get killed off by a monster, who is ultimately itself killed off by the geeky homebody who is often a female?

Alice: In 1998, psychologists Anton Aluja-Fabregat and Rafael Torrubia-Beltri showed 470 eighth-grade children in Catalonia minute-long clips of violent cartoons. After each scene, the students had to indicate, on a scale of 1 to 10, whether they found the scene funny, thrilling, or violent. They also asked the children’s teachers to evaluate their students’ personality traits—and found that children who thought the violent scenes were thrilling or funny were likely to be perceived as more aggressive and excitable by their teachers. They also tended to score higher on measures of sensation-seeking impulses. 
Annie: Catalonia? Also, cartoons are not horror movies. They do not depict actual living people. Just as Bart and Lisa Simpson's reactions to The Itchy & Scratchy Show cannot be counted as genuine. 

Alice: This wasn’t the first study to give horror-movie junkies something to worry about. In 1985, psychologists Marvin Zuckerman and Patrick Litle asked over 300 undergraduates about their movie preferences and looked for correlations with other personality traits. The students who sought out horror movies were more likely than others to say they would like to watch an autopsy being performed, would attend gladiator fights if they could travel back in time, and would slow down to watch a car accident. 
Annie: So, by your reasoning, everyone who views an autopsy is a serial killer in the making? You do realize that people who solve violent crimes and cure deadly diseases have also participated in autopsies, right? Also, I would worry more about people who seek out Reality TV (the 21st century version of Gladiator Games) than the people who take refuge in fictional tales of monsters. Also also, I have to slow down for car accidents - the police kinda enforce that. 

Alice: Be a man
Annie: I challenge any man to beat my knowledge of horror movies. I have been a horror fan since I was three years old, lady. I also played with dolls and held tea parties for stuffed animals. I am a walking horror encyclopedia, and amazingly, I have never hurt an animal, murdered a person or beat up a geriatric. Did I just blow your narrow little mind?

Alice: Consistent with the stereotype, men seem to experience—or at least admit to experiencing—fewer negative emotional side effects of horror films. In Harris and Hoekstra’s study, less than 2 percent of the men—but 10 percent of the women—reported sleeping with the lights on afterwards. Men also seemed to have a higher tolerance for the movies: 31 percent of the females, but only 7 percent of the males, admitted that they “looked away a lot or left the room and returned.” 35 percent of men, and 56 percent of women, recalled experiencing “general fear/anxiety” afterward. This research is nearly 15 years old, though: women may be catching up to men in horror film attendance.
Annie: Those people are not horror fans, Real horror fans do not have to look away or leave the room or sleep with the lights on because we know it's only a fucking movie! We know the difference between fiction and reality. We've been watching these movies all our lives and are therefore probably better equipped to deal with stress, anger and/or violence because we know the difference between being scared and being truly traumatized. Do you really think we enjoy watching the torture and humiliation of a fellow human being? Is that why you think we are horror fans? You clearly do not understand the genre, nor the fans, and your ignorance is an insult to those of us who did not seek this genre out but were born with it in our blood. When I watch a horror movie, I anticipate the fear because I know in the end it will be triumphed over and conquered, and myself the stronger for having faced it, even if it's only at secondhand. 

Alice: Be a man accompanied by a frightened woman
Annie: Whereas a woman accompanied by a frightened man is doubtless attending a brainless, misogynistic chick flick, a genre which teaches women that in order to truly be successful in life, one must be pretty, have a lot of money and marry the guy in the final reel, even if he's a jackass. Fuck that - horror movies taught me not to rely on anyone but myself. You may be bloody and dirty and totally alone at the end, but you're alive and you will never be a wimp again. 

Alice: In an experiment in the 1980s, a team of psychologists led by Dolf Zillmann had 36 male and 36 female undergraduates watch a horror movie in opposite-sex pairs; each viewer had to evaluate their companion’s desirability before and after the movie, and answer questions about their experience of the film. Men were most likely to enjoy the movie when paired with a woman who was distressed by it, and least likely to enjoy if the woman was unperturbed. It didn’t make the woman more attractive, though: both men and women judged their companions as less desirable as “working mates” if they showed distress.
Annie: Yeah. Because they're proven themselves to be pussies. You can't stomach a horror movie and you expect me to trust you to walk me to my car late at night and make sure I get home safely? Grow up. I'm not saying that you suck as a human being if you don't like horror movies - that's not something any of us get to choose, just like you can't help what your favorite color is, what kind of music pleases you or what artist catches your eye. You cannot consciously decide to like something - it just happens. But you also cannot simply issue a blanket statement that liking horror movies somehow insinuates that you are a semi-evolved Neanderthal cannibal with no soul and the IQ of a turnip and expect to be taken seriously. It just doesn't work that way. 

I'd just like you to know, on a personal note, that I am 44 years old, have a full time job in health care because I genuinely want to help sick people, love my mother, have lots of friends, two cats and no criminal record. My last psychological profile (also conducted in the 1980s) showed me to be a compassionate, empathic, decidedly passive person who perhaps was too nice. I've hardened a bit since then - sometimes you have to, in order to survive - something else that horror movies taught me) but I've never hurt anyone. I've also been a horror movie fan since I was old enough to know what a horror movie was. I am living proof that your article is bullshit.
So Alice, to sum up:

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Static in my Attic - Demonwarp, 1987

I saw this film. Once. When I was 17 or 18.

Well no, I didn't actually see it, per se. I watched it on TV during USA Up All Night. And when I say "watched" I mean I stared at the screen on which things were happening, sort of, in between fistfuls of Cheetos. I fell asleep a couple of times and flipped over to Headbanger's Ball during the commercials, hoping to catch the newest Savatage video.

It was directed by somebody. There are people in it. George fucking Kennedy is the star. I'm guessing he either lost a bet or needed the money really badly at the time. I can think of no other reason why he would have been in it, unless his kids were the producers or something.

I think this film was about Bigfoot attacking campers. George Kennedy's daughter gets abducted by one early on, and then he walks around the rest of the movie with a rifle, swearing he'll "get it this time." Then there are other campers. Several of them are girls and for some reason, one of them has decided that a midi-tee and a pair of sheer pink panties is appropriate camping attire. Before she can get a metric shit-ton of tick bites or a nice big splinter in her buttcheek, Bigfoot attacks and bitchslaps her to death. She makes the most of her last few moments on earth and spreads her legs wide so we can see her reinforced cotton crotch, and then flees with her blue jeaned compatriot, giving the audience a double full moon as they go.




















But then, fuck Bigfoot, there's extraterrestrial alien spacemen! And they live in a cave and turn campers into zombies! I have no idea why, but apparently they've been there for a kajillion years and have been up to some dastardly deeds in order to rule the galaxy or some such shit. One of them looks like Eileen Dietz as Pazuzu and conducts Aztec heart-ripping-out ceremonies with a little devil guy made out of Play-Doh. Who is he and what does he have to do with Bigfoot? Who the fuck knows? Look, bewbs!

Please enjoy a really shitty screen shot of the Pazuzu Aztec guy that I tried to clean up but failed because the copy of the movie I had to work with looked like it had been buried in a kitty litter box for three months, then cleaned up with lighter fluid and SOS pads.

Oh wait, here's a better shot.
Holy shit. Is that Riff Raff?


At some point, a chick kinda wanders off into the alien cave, plodding along like she's got a full diaper. When Some Guy attempts to stop her from becoming an intergalactic zombie Bigfoot slave, she turns and reveals...
I couldn't get my contact out.
I think that ping-pong ball glued to her cheek is supposed to be her gouged out eyeball. It's the best effect the movie has to offer. It may also be the only one. She kinda looks like Lisa Blount, but she's not. I checked.

Here's a crappy picture of the even crappier Bigfoot costume employed in the movie. Is it just me or does he look less like Bigfoot and more like Ted Nugent after a three day binge? Or maybe Rob Zombie after a year lost at sea. Look, I can tell that's a rubber gorilla mask that you picked up on Hollywood Blvd. Not much thought or money went into this, did it?
So other stuff happens. Shit blows up, people die, some other guy wakes up from a nightmare and you think maybe they're now going for the "Oh it was all a dream" angle, but then his girlfriend is a zombie and there are zombies in their bedroom and...wait, did they just rip off the ending of Phantasm?


For some reason, the film ends with a shot of a pretty flower in a broken frame of drywall. 
The End.

Oh, and Michelle Bauer is in this.
The End.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

To say nothing of the dog...

Dear Stephen King,

Thank you for not killing off the dog this time. Seriously. I admit, about halfway through your new book Mr. Mercedes, my heart sank down into my toenails, just as it did when I read your earlier books: The Dead Zone, Cujo, Pet Sematary, etc... I didn't want to read about another dog/cat/hamster whatever dying horribly. I peeked ahead a few pages (okay fine, I skipped to the end) to make sure the dog was going to have a Happy Ending before reading the rest of the book. Sue me. I ended up reading it in its entirety and really enjoyed it. Can't wait for Book #2. But if you kill off Odell I will give you such a pinch.

Granted, those earlier novels of yours were written in a time when the killing off of the beloved family pet was still a rather new plot device employed to let us - the audience - know, that the shit is about to hit the proverbial fan and that we are dealing with the lowest of the low: a killer/monster with zero empathy capable of absolutely anything. If he/she/it will kill a dog, he/she/it will kill anyone and anything. Killing an animal or a child is seriously the most cowardly crime a soulless dickbag can possibly commit, and as a plot device, it works in making us want to see the bastard/bitch who did it caught, beaten snotless, humiliated, tortured, killed and destroyed. I understand that as both a film reviewer and a writer. Doesn't mean I enjoy reading about it or seeing it, though.

In fact, in my humble and unasked for opinion, killing off the family pet has become a tired out, overused device that needs to be euthanized. I'm so sick of sitting down in my theater seat/computer chair, watching the opening scenes of a horror movie depicting a happy, blemish-free nuclear family prancing around slow-mo in the dappled sunlight with their beloved Irish Setter or whatever and thinking to myself "Well, that puppy will be pink slime material in about 20 minutes, when the first good jumpscare is required." And I'm always right. And I'm fucking sick of being right.


The Conjuring

For fucks sake. You haven't even lived in this house for 24 hours and the goddamned dog is already dead? I mean, thanks for allowing it to happen off-screen, but come on. I knew the dog was toast the second I saw her sad, sappy face staring into the spooky new farmhouse that her braindead owners have just purchased, most likely thinking to her doggy self: "Fuck this shit, I'm out." But no. Mr. and Mrs. Dumpy WhiteTrash leash the poor girl to a tree outside overnight and then have the nerve to look surprised when her mutilated corpse is discovered the following morning. You don't ever leave a fucking dog outside overnight in the country. #1 - it's fucking cold. #2 - there are goddamned wild animals out there who can kill it. #3 - why even have a dog if you're not going to have anything to do with it? House pets belong in the house, you self involved shit stains! They're for cuddling and sleeping in front of the hearth and ignoring the pet beds you always buy them for Christmas. Fer chrissakes, you didn't even have a fucking dog house for her to take shelter in, you just left her tied to a goddamned tree! You suck as pet owners, and I hope PETA shoves a rawhide chew up your sphincter.

Revenge of the Creature

What the fuck, man! Go find your dog!
Let's see, I'm a hot young blonde whom the Creature has already once attempted to abduct, and now he's on the loose in my area so I think I'll leave my hotel door wide open whilst I shower. Oh, and I also recently rescued a dog whom I've named Chris for some stupid reason, and he loves me very much and tries to protect me from the Creature by attacking him when he comes into my room, but whatever. I'll look for the dog later, la la. I'm too busy dancing at The Lobster House with John "The Pompous Ass" Agar to be overly concerned about my missing dog, whose furry corpse is rotting on the beach as we speak, mauled by The Creature. I'm not particularly worried about it. After all, Agar said he was probably fine, chasing rabbits somewhere. In Florida. In the middle of the night. On the beach. But I see no reason to cancel our date just because the dog could be, at thievery least, getting munched on by an alligator. I couldn't find a shot of Chris The Dog, so please enjoy a shot of a horrified musician. You're welcome.

Eaten Alive

This movie is just every single kind of vile and despicable lurking around at the bottom of a fungus ridden grab bag. It's bad enough we have to watch Robert Englund attempt to butt-fuck every female who holds still for five seconds. Worse still that I couldn't understand a single thing that Neville "Mush Mouth McGee" Brand glurbled and garbled throughout the entire film. But hey! Here's a cute little girl who has a cute little pet dog! Let's have a massive crocodile pop the puppy into its gaping maw like a handful of popcorn and enthusiastically snack away on Fluffy's bones. That poor kid, man. I see a long, liquor bottle filled future ahead of her.

Manos: The Hands Of Fate

Eaten Alive must have ben partially inspired by this festering, pus-filled bed sore of a film. Yet another kid is dragged around by her stupid skull-fucked parents into a spooky old house in the middle of fucking nowhere and her cute little puppy Peppy gets mauled to death by...uh, something. Possibly the doberman that Debby finds later, but it's never verified. Look at that poor kid. Age six, starring in the worst movie ever made and traumatized by the death of Peppy the Poodle. Watching Manos is a lot like watching all of the innocence and decency in the world get flushed right down the trailer park toilet.

The Deadly Bees

There's not a single likable character in this stiff and slightly oily British film. Well, except for Tess, the dog, who is so devoted to her owner - the cigaretty mole queen of East Puddingshire - that she will only eat the best quality meat out of her hand. Tess's reward? She gets stung to death by bees halfway through the film, squealing in agony all the while. Watching her haggard owner drop her smokes and sob inconsolably over her dead pet is one of the most depressing moments in British cinema...and considering that the bulk of British cinema is about as cheery and gay as a landfill is saying a lot.

Teenagers From Outer Space

Poor Sparky. Left to run wild in Laurel Canyon, he enthusiastically runs up to a visiting spaceship and tries to engage the aliens in a rompy game of fetch. When one of the grouchier aliens (who looks a lot like Morrisey and apparently came from Planet Brylcreem) turns his focusing disintegrator ray on the dog, it's bye bye Sparky, hello veterinarian school skeleton. At least his owners seem to be genuinely heartbroken over the death of their happy little mutt.


Evilspeak

And now, ladies and gentlemen, I give you the most disgusting and reprehensible display of puppy butchery ever to hit the screen. The film Evilspeak is torture to watch, and not just because of the dog. Clint Howard is the whiniest, obnoxious, petulant, most tiresome bag of crybaby lard ever to earn an ass-kicking. He was supposed to be the male version of Carrie, but he earns zero sympathy from those forced to endure his Gollum-like screen presence for the better part of an hour, blubbering and wallowing in his creepiness until you want to slap his doughy face right off his skull. When he finds a puppy to care for and secrets it away in his basement, you just know that puppy is Doomed with a capital D. And it is, which is what finally drives our hero(?) to the breaking point. Yeah, thanks for that scene, movie. That goddamned kid couldn't have looked after a dead cactus properly. Why bring a puppy into the fray? Why?!

So yeah.
Dear Horror Movie Makers Everywhere: STOP KILLING OFF THE GODDAMNED DOGS! And the cats. And the goldfish, canaries, kangaroos, guinea pigs, ferrets, eyelash mites and dwarf hamsters. Just kill the people, okay? I mean, if you have to - in this day and age - kill an innocent animal to make us hate the villain, your villain sucks and you have failed. It's been done. And done and done and beaten to death like the proverbial horse. Oh yeah, stop killing the horses too. I never did forgive The Walking Dead for that iconic image of Grimes on the horse, marching into Atlanta, when the horse got only five minutes of screen time before being rendered into...well, dog food. Couldn't he have ridden a banana seat bicycle instead? Or skateboarded? Why did you have to kill off the animal? We already KNOW that the zombies are the bad guys, DUH!

Time to think of something original. Please. For the love of Dog.



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