Suggested Audio Candy:
Bernard Herrman “Psycho”
It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it. Nowadays I’m seldom afforded time to sit and dissect the latest offering from the Coen Brothers or Alexander Payne as I’m far too busy watching the umpteenth new low brow slasher currently doing the rounds. To give further perspective I have yet to watch Django Unchained but I have seen Shark Night, not my proudest statistic but truth nonetheless. I often ask myself what the hell I’m doing; surely I’m regressing by starving my cerebellum the nutrients it requires to flourish and perhaps this is true. However, horror was my buddy growing up and has always been there for me in my darkest hour so I have no intention of ever dropping the baton. In that respect it is my cross to bear but bear it I do as its gifts are incalculable so long as you follow its lead and remember “it’s only a movie.”
Whereas most kids in pre-school had heads full of slugs, snails and puppy dog tails mine was filled with blood sucking leeches and puppy dog entrails. I’ve documented my early affiliation with the macabre on many an occasion and thus won’t be boring y’all with details but I can say this. I’m over thirty years older now and my testicles are no longer rested beneath my armpits, and the one constant is my fascination for the grotesque. Moreover, horror isn’t necessarily as shallow as many consider and works such as American Mary, Berberian Sound Studio and Antichrist attest to this beautifully. Some of the greatest literary minds practice horror and there is far more ingenuity to its craft than bigots seem to believe or, at least, admit to.
It’s alive and kicking in 2014 and that pleases me infinitely. The nineties were a dour time for horror as everyone was waiting for the cycle to perpetuate itself and the past ten years have shown just how thriving an industry it still very much is. In a few days I shall be making my pilgrimage to LA for seven weeks to be involved in the shoot for Bound X Blood, the long-awaited sequel to Matt Farnsworth’s social media slasher enigma The Orphan Killer and it’s great to see that old values are still holding firm. It could have been a lavish studio-asphyxiated production but instead it’s an old school video nasty made by the people for the people with its bloody heart as cuff-links. Times have invariably changed considerably from my beloved eighties but you can’t stop the wheels of industry rolling on relentless. Despite that, you can make a horror film without conformance so long as the commitment is there to do so.
There are sufficient horror inside my head to strip a water buffalo to its marrow within a handful of moments and I’ve long since resigned myself to the fact that they ain’t going nowhere fast. Whilst I enjoy their company it does mean that I still bolt upstairs like a whirling dervish so as to evade any Serpent & the Rainbow-length arms trying to grab my ankles through the bannister. As recently as last night even I made the mistake of catching glance of a dark shape in the darkest recess of my room and instantly considering that ominous figure from Sinister. Consequently I slept under the safety of my divan, no limbs protruding, just like I did as a ten-year old when I learned that Texas was known not only for owning the best little whorehouse. I even had the rickety sliding door meaning each morning when my mom bought in piles of meticulously ironed washing it wasn’t only the morning stiffy which I sported that made for that look of terror in my eyes.
Under the covers was great; nothing could get at me there, it was kind of like turning your back on Fred Krueger. Of course it didn’t stop the nefarious ghouls running amok inside my cranium but at least there they couldn’t get up to so much mischief. If you asked me why my bed was propped up by so much pornographic perusal fodder then I’d point y’all in the direction of Poltergeist. Okay so there was a little more to it than that, I’d just unwrapped a shiny new penis and it came with absolutely no instructions for usage but it was, at least, partly that pesky clown who was responsible. Gunnar Hansen never would have fitted so I watched out for glancing chainsaws from topside but who’s to say that a couple of Critters couldn’t roll beneath my bedstead when I had my back turned? I’m sure that if the dwarves from Phantasm budged up there would be space and the Demonic Toys had all but busted anyhoots.
When appraising a horror film of questionable quality I still endeavor to adopt my ten-year old head. It can be so easy to become jaded but I think, on some level, I appreciate that a lot of kids under the legal requirement may read my work and, should that be the case, then their needs must be catered for also. Then there are those of equivalent age to me who still secretly harbor desire to time travel and are willing to overlook some fairly significant failings to grab themselves a dose. My favorite films in the genre are considered trash by many and that just suggests to me that a little trash can be comforting. One day Xtro will be regarded as one of the finest B-movies of our time and when that finally happens I shall be the ensign, hoisting up its filthy little insignia and hollering “Have at you!”
I wouldn’t ever dream of forgetting my roots as it was these fleshy tendrils which were wired amongst other more logical diodes. They build up my buttercup and that is fine with me as long as films like Alien Raiders are still being filmed. Dudes like Ben Rock are no different in breed than myself, $2 million was all it took for him to leave a believable imprint on the genre and Sonny Laguna spent $5k bringing us superior slasher Blood Runs Cold. How he achieved this without taking the snuff route I will simply never know. If y’all haven’t had the pleasure of both these films then I urge you to do so without procrastination. This is where inspiration lays, horror has been in a state of transmogrification for years now but there are rich pastures ahead if we learn how to apply our passion.
Bound X Blood could so easily have become a neutered down $3.5m franchise donor if Farnsworth had any intention of selling his soul. It will now be far more modest as the guy can make this shit himself for far less and keep it real. The proof which will be in the pudding will be the blood, sweat and graft which will be apparent in every single frame and that was never likely to be in question. How will it be received? Woefully by some no doubt but this is because knives are already sharpened regardless of end product. Politics=Bollock ticks. They make a man itch and some will never see the sack beneath or the wood for the trees if you like. That’s fine and dandy, they can continue being blinded by hatred and we’ll enjoy the second slice of slasher goodness from one of the true indie visionaries currently plying their trade on the horror circuit.
As for me, I’ll continue to run up my stairs at night like Zola Budd with blisters. Every dusk I shall check under my bed just in case those Oompa Loompas have decided to celebrate their dark heritage. As I enter my chamber I shall instantly duck to evade those tentacles from Galaxy of Terror and cast my eye over to the corner in case Mike from The Blair Witch Project has forgotten his dunce hat. When I slide underneath my cozy duvet I will do my best not to succumb to the Brady Bunch from Ju-On and, should I see any parasites from The Deadly Spawn scuttling across my boudoir then I shall sleep on the lawn with Shaun Hutson and his Slugs. Actually that sentence just reminded me of another scene from Sinister which virtually guarantees that the Sandman will take a lieu night this evening. I love horror, it’s written through me like a stick of rock. It can be lean, mean and keen; more so than any other genre, just so long as you possess a head full of horrors like myself.