Monday, July 19, 2010
The Saw is Family. Horrible, disgusting family.
At the moment, I'm watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. I have no good reason why, other than when Dennis Hopper died, I put it in my Netflix instant queue, and it's been sitting there ever since. Of course, nobody in their right mind wants to watch this movie with me. Hell, I don't want to watch it. But right now Carrie is in the throes of thesis hell in the other room and Jose is holed up in his room, so I can take this chance to watch a movie that nobody wants to watch.
Which leads to me sitting here, agog at the sheer insanity of this movie. As many of you know, I enjoy a horror movie. I don't go to conventions, and I haven't seen almost any of the remakes, but I do consistently own fake blood and probably would include 4 zombie movies in my top 20 of all time if you asked me right now*. But when I was a kid, I was terrified of horror movies. I remember my brothers making me watch Nightmare on Elm Street 2 when I was a kid and being aghast for WEEKS. My brothers, of course, thought it was hilarious, but the joke was on them when I began waking them up every night at 3 AM asking what they'd to if a murderer broke in the house**. I remember crying during the opening library scene of Ghostbusters when I saw it in the theater***. But every week my family would go and rent a movie from the Rite Aid down the street from my house**** and I would just sit in the horror section staring at the display boxes. It was the same unsettling curiosity I held for KISS posters, a band that my aforementioned brothers convinced me was comprised of serial killers. In retrospect, I was kind of a stupid kid if I thought a serial killer would dress up as a kitty cat.
Update: There have been 2(!) chainsaws to the groin in this movie, which is not over yet, despite my lengthy ramblings.
So yeah, by age 8 I was intimately familiar with the covers and stills of some of the worst horror movies ever made. Maybe I was subconsciously trying to conquer my fears. Maybe it was the seeds of a dumb interest that would manifest around 7th grade. I wish I could say I preferred the more high-brow movies, but it was the slasher flicks that delivered the most satisfying images on the box. Plus, there's something to be said for a good slasher movie poster*****
Which brings me to Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. The poster was one of those that I constantly looked at. For one thing, it was a mirror of The Breakast Club poster. Also, it's like a family who are 80% walking corpses. and Leatherface is wearing a suit! People freak out about how smooth Patrick Bateman was in American Psycho, but look at how damned cool Leatherface looks with a tie and carnation in his lapel!
But this movie... holy shit. It's not so much as bad, but a disgusting exercise in splatter humor. In Roger Ebert's review of the original, he said something to the effect of "this is a well-made and effective movie, but I can't imagine for the life of me why anyone would ever want to make it". I can, because it's one of the scariest movies ever made. Special effects or jerky camera cuts in the world have yet to create a scarier movie in my eyes.
But this sequel... holy shit. It's actually grueling. Remember how that first Matrix movie was interesting, like scratching an itch you didn't know you had? Then you saw the second one, and it was like someone taken a belt sander to that itch and even the remnants of those nerve endings were long gone? The TMC sequel was like that, but with gasoline and fire ants. There are funny parts, sure, though most of the attempts at humor are more unsettling than anything. And the "scary" parts are more disgusting than scary. But I think the most disturbing part about this movie is that it wasn't hijacked by the studio or whatever, this is the same director of the first one. How the fuck does that happen? Also, how does Tobe Hooper go from Poltergeist to this mess in 3 years? Yikes.
So now the movie is over, and I'm thinking about watching Carnival of Souls just to purge what I just saw from my mind. Also, that I basically wrote for over an hour about horror movies when I sat down with a much different topic in mind. Chalk it up to my short attention span, or that I wrote this while watching a movie featuring at least ten chainsaws throughout, and once again, I've subjected you to to rambling nonsense, which I apologize for. The fact is I sat to write about something very serious and a little personal, but felt so sick over thinking about it that I started watching this shit to take my mind off things and it snowballed from there. I'll write the real update in a day or two. and hey, look at it this way. I might have just wasted a couple of minutes of your time. Okay, I definitely did. But there's good odds that I just saved you a good 90 additional minutes wasted on that movie. Or not. A few minutes ago, Carrie asked me what sort of person does this movie appeal to, and my response was "the kind of person who was an alcoholic Cannibal Corpse fan in high school". and I stick by that.
*Predictably, Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, 28 Days Later, and Shaun of the Dead, in no particular order.
**My brother Rob's response one night: "Well, then I guess we're all gonna die in our sleep. Go back to bed". I do not like to dwell on the psychological ramifications this statement might have had on my impressionable young mind.
***Again, I don't like to consider how this might have affected recent educational and occupational decisions of mine.
****I swear this was a thing, a Rite Aid renting videos, but my adult brain cannot comprehend the concept of someone renting The Exterminator from the same place they buy makeup, even if Target does that now.
*****I still think the original Friday the 13th poster is one of the best ever, and Prom Night 2 is no slouch. These asterisks are getting tired, no? Google needs to get with the damned superscript already. Or I should move this thing like I vowed to do like a year ago.