"I think of horror films as art, as films of confrontation."

- David Cronenberg

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February 9, 2010

Rants: Breaking The Horror Code

Oh, Jeezus H Cripes, is the Sleaze-A-Saurus really ticked off this time. Someone broke the code. The thing that keeps horror films together as a legitimate genre and not a snuff film. That thing.

See, there are a few practical rules to any kind of movie making, especially horror films. They're basic. They are not complicated and not long.

These simple, practical rules do not come in the form of phone book sized guidelines. The most important and unspoken rule of all is this simple: Humans Have Got It Comin'. Animals, which apparently needed to be killed due to a lack of an effects budget, do not. That is not entertainment.

Humans = Evil. Animals = Good. It's that simple. Even Ozzy knows that. And he's got 4 and half brain cells.

This rule is observed by many of the individuals who make and watch horror movies. These people are, almost without fail, bright and warm people who grew tired of being sold progressively worse versions of Titanic or Mannequin 2 each year by shallow corporate hacks. However, Hollywood yuppies continue to greenlight souless, vapid films that make Biodome look like Citizen Kane.

For example A-Films, Avatar, Twilight, Valentine's Day, Wolverine and The Vampire's Apprentice all have the emotional depth of a puddle of luke warm puke - yet they rake in millions.

For horror film-makers, it's either A) Go as crazy bullshit as the shallow society around them or B) Make better movies. Again, it's simple.

However, there's was a tendency in some of the zombie B-films made by Italian and Spanish horror directors in the 1970's and 1980's that seemed to turn the clock back to the 1880's and make movies the exact same way a brainless, cross-eyed schoolyard bully would strangle a puppy for laughs on YouTube. Bitter betrayal!

Back in the 1880's, the American film making industry regularly rolled right over animals (and stunt men) and called it entertainment. Men were killed or intentionally badly injured. Animals were butchered for the sake of a quickie thrill by humans on the silver screen for shock value alone. Newsreels featured bison twisting under locomotives and wolves shot for sport as Buster Keaton and Lee Van Clef lost fingers in badly concieved of stunts - all while the camera rolled for slack-jawed twats.

This isn't entertainment.

Careless stunts, and especially animal cruelty, re-inforce the central rule that Humans Have Got It Comin'. Snuffing animals makes a film-maker look like an ugly big-shot gamehunter on safari while cradling bloody zebra foals in his fat, sweaty arms. Many of these kinds of Italian giallos and Spanish horror films were shot outside of Europe to avoid prosecution for the butchery of snakes, monkeys and wild pigs. All of this was done for entertainment's sake and bankrolled with "refined" European bread.

There's a disturbing tendency for "animal snuff" in Italian giallo movies - which is a poor reflection of European people. Although it's a bit late to pimp slap Spanish film-maker Jesus "Jess" Franco (Blood Saw, 99 Women) he certainly has it coming. His Wikipedia bio completely omits his part in portraying animal cruelty as heroic.

While watching a perfectly good zombie or giallo flick, as a bouncy bosom is dreamily heaving and endangered by actors covered in red oatmeal "gore", right out of the blue I'm presented with a cut-a-way of a small mammal under a rusty machete squirming like crazy to futilely avoid the brutal hacks into it's spine, it's stomach and it's neck - spilling real fucking animal guts all over the fucking place. The animal, still living, twitches around in pain and shock, wondering as I am: how the fuck is this selling movie tickets?

Why isn't this happening to the human characters? Why not the dumb frat boy, the loudmouth buxom wench, the wrinkled and insufferable shrew? Answer: flat out laziness. All the special effects are already inside the unsuspecting bunny, snake, pig or monkey - there's no need to pay a guy to make up a bucket of fake blood and foam core organs. It's laziness. Or, as in the arguably worst scenes of the universality maligned Faces of Death series it's one asshole guy with a camera filming more assholes do asshole shit. This is un-fucking-acceptable.

You, dear 30-second web surfer, may think I'm being disingenuous or facetious but animal cruelty goes against every fiber of my being as a horror-buff. To pay any amount of money to see an real animal get hacked into real pieces in the middle of a fake film is a cold and gutless type of retarded that only re-inforces rule #1: Humans Have Got It Comin'.

Humans, sure. Frickin' sock it to us. We, as a species, are responsible for hatred, destruction and endless confusion - we have fake death coming to us in these films for reasons that are all too apparent.

There are several sequences in Slave of The Cannibal God, Zombi and one particularly repulsive scene in Jesus "Jess" Franco's Blood Saw that have completely broken this cardinal rule of horror film while disregarding the same rules that were put in place in Hollywood 100 years ago - mostly for the lazy, the dim-witted and the sadistic: Everyone Goes Home and It's All In Fun.

To re-iterate, the "horror films" to avoid, if you aren't a brain-damaged rich kid, a sadistic ape-ling or a cowardly maniac with no soul: Slave of The Cannibal God, Blood Saw aka Bloody Moon aka Die S├Ąge des Todes, or "The Saw of Death" and Zombi.

Have a real peach of a day: End Rant.

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