October 2008


I am The Cyberwolfe and these are my ramblings. All original content is protected under a Creative Commons license - always ask first.
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The problem with horror

Tolerant picked up “The Haunting of Hill House” the other day, and seemed surprised that I wasn’t really into watching a horror flick. I’ve watched a lot of them over the years – my first roommate was a huge horror fan, and since it was his TV, I pretty much had to watch them or leave our tiny apartment to get away from them. Anyway, the modern horror flick all has some heritage of the Jason movies, in which you find a handful of teens-to-twentysomethings and unleash a homicidal maniac on them.

You see, the problem with these movies is the suspension of disbelief. You have to turn your brain off to enjoy the movie, otherwise you sit there talking to the screen asking why the victims are being so damned stupid and unprepared. I have trouble turning my brain off.

For example, we will use the episode of “Criminal Minds” that aired this past Wednesday. A couple driving from one place to the next via old country roads finds themselves too tired to drive any further. They happen across a lonely country inn, and opt to get a cabin for the night. Lo and Behold, the guy who runs the joint is our serial killer, and he likes to torture his victims physically and psychologically before killing them.

In the morning, the wife mentions what she wants for breakfast while they are getting dressed, but she can’t find her underwear for some reason. Then room service is delivered a few minutes later. The wife goes to move a chair and discovers it is bolted down. The couple realize neither one of them ordered breakfast, and gather up their stuff to leave, suspecting they may be in trouble – only the door refuses to open. Just as the doorknob comes apart in the husband’s hand, the window shutters all start slamming shut.

This is where the couple freaks out. If it was me, this would be where I stop being freaked out and get pissed. A quick inventory of available weapons would be made: none on me, and the furniture is bolted down. I do however always carry a Gerber multi-tool, which would then be used to unbolt a chair to break into suitable club-sized pieces. The tool would then be used to open the door, either by manually releasing the catch through the broken doorknob or by removing the hinge pins so I could pull the door down – but I would leave it in place until I could plan a trap to catch our serial killer.

You see where I’m going with this? I would always be the guy that survived, but chances are I would also defeat the bad guy before any of my companions died unless he kills someone to start the whole ball rolling. After a while, watching these gets a bit tedious.

Another thing about these movies is that somehow the Sci-Fi channel has decided that these are the root of the Sci-Fi genre and keep making them, or flicks about mutated monsters that eat half the town. This is not sci-fi, it is horror and I wish they would knock it off.

On a side note, “Hill House” does not follow the serial killer pattern, it is a good supernatural thriller, and the house is just too cool. The movie is worth watching just to see the house.

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