Thoughts On The Horror Movie Genre (But First, An Update On My Basil Plant!)

Y’all? My dad brought my basil back to life. I KNOW! Apparently, you can’t just leave it in the bitty plastic pot it comes in. You have to like, PLANT it. In dirt. Well I don’t “do” dirt. But my dad does and now Lazarus (the new name of the plant) is now alive again. The more you know! But Dad has problems of the herbal kind as well, as his mint plant has now pretty much eaten his entire garden. My immediate reaction, of course, was to make a joke about the story in Creepshow when the plants ate Stephen King. At the last minute I thought better of it, because my Dad has never seen Creepshow and talking about man-eating plants would probably land me in the loony bin again.

My basil plant in six months

It got me thinking about how much I reference horror movies and that (for some bizarre, unexplained and troublesome reason) a lot of people don’t watch horror movies. I must sound like a lunatic! Celebrating Mother’s Day? Poor Mrs. Voorhees and her darling son Jason. She loved her son. Therefore she needed to massacre the entire staff of a summer camp. Sounds perfectly logical to me. Nightmare on Elm Street? You burn me alive? I gore all your town’s teenagers in their dreams. Tit for tat, really. And don’t get me started on Carrie. Every year (and it’s been a LOT of years since I attended a prom) I gleefully watch Carrie White wreak havoc on the teenage assholes who made her life hell. And while I’m on that subject, if you have seen the movie (I’m sure you have) but haven’t read the book? DO IT. The film of Carrie is fantastic, and Piper Laurie gnaws every piece of scenery she can get her terribly permed hair on to, but the book is sooooooo much better. You’ll never look at another horrible teenager texting on her bedazzled iPhone while whining that her mommy and daddy only got her a BMW instead of a Lexus without thinking *FLEX.* That might not mean anything to you now, but if you read the book, you’ll get it.

Then there’s our beloved Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Your poor deluded friends will probably back away in terror, but just try bugging your eyes out and saying “Mah brother makes head cheese. He makes it REAL GOOD.” They’ll be shaking in their bedazzled Ugg boots, and you’ll be laughing your ass off. It’ll be great.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the relatively new genre of what has been called “horror porn” or “gore porn” or “Eli Roth movies.” Thin on plot, heavy on entrails, I’m not as much of a fan as I am of, say, Roth’s early film Cabin Fever, which in my opinion is the perfect combination of gore and humor. Movies like Saw or Hostel and their endless sequels really only interest me because I’m a huge fan of FX makeup, and as the audience is peeing themselves in terror and vomiting in the aisles, I’m there thinking “Hmm, I wonder how they did that? Prosthetic? Breakaway glass? Interesting.” But as we all know, I’m a big dork.

Lest you think I’m made of stone, there ARE movies that scared the living shit out of me. I actually needed a BREAK during The Ring and stared at the wall for a little while to catch my breath. Session 9 is another super scary movie that has practically no gore, but scared me to death. And I’ll admit it, The Blair Witch Project, the first time I saw it in the theater (not so much on subsequent viewings) had me curled up in a ball with my face buried in my popcorn. So I am not without feeling.

You stand against that wall and think about what you’ve done, young man

But in closing, I will give you my biggest pet peeve about the state of horror movies these days. NO MORE PG-13 HORROR MOVIES, PLEASE. The MPAA can suck my ass, because they cut and chop these movies so that they can get bigger audiences, and that? Is SUPER LAME. Horror movies are for adults. Adults and junior high kids who get their older brothers to rent them for their junior high sleepovers so that they are guaranteed to never sleep properly again. It’s a right of passage. Stop mucking it up, movie industry. If I’m going to rent a horror movie, I want to be HORRIFIED. I want Regan from The Exorcist spider-walking down the stairs. I want Kevin Bacon getting an arrow through his throat. I want zombies eating a living person’s entrails.

If I wanted a PG-13 horror movie, I’d rent The Notebook.


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