Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Stick to the Roads - Travel in Horror Films

Horror films are often cautionary tales gussied up to remind us all to be safe and aware. Don't have pre-martial sex. Don't drink or do drugs. Don't wander off by yourself. If you've managed to live your life by these rules, you're Amish and I don't know why you're looking at a computer right now. However, most of us are sensible individuals break the rules but not to excess. (ok, sometimes to excess) But there is one activity that seems to advocate breaking these rules and that is traveling. Whether we go near or far there is something about being out of one's element that causes us to act out more so then usual.

The Grudge (2004)

I have friends that have gone to Japan and loved it. I feel like I would go to Japan and be greeted by string-y haired ladies at the airport trying eat my skull. Granted, Sarah Michelle Geller (I know her character has a name, but let's face it - she's playing SMG) is sensible and realizes she has to work while abroad and takes care of old people.  While we all need money to live, if I had to work in this house I would have turned around and gone home. 

The Grudge is an interesting take on the whole foreigners in a different land genre. These are not random university students who want to dick around and get drunk. They're adults. Who have jobs... and affairs. But, um, anyway... It is a fascinating and unrelenting look at a very deadly culture clash.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) 

I love my friends. So much so that we never leave each others sight. The amount of thing that could have been solved in TCM by the not-so-bright group of teenagers if they had simply stayed together is probably the most terrifying thing about this movie.

I think it's interesting to read TCM as a reaction to Vietnam but I prefer to read it as the most fucked up fairytale ever. Princess goes to the woods, fall into a witch's territory, gets acquainted with meat hooks. At it's core, I believe, TCM is about the loss of innocence with the transference of knowledge. When the youngsters exit their reality they see what happens when society turns it's back. Chainsaws. Chainsaws is what happens.

An American Werewolf in London (1981)

AAWL is a curious look at back-packing. Again, not the Hostel version of back-packing but two old friends looking for a good time. After one is horrifically killed after they wander into the Moors the other carries on, this time with a curse. Again, we're looking a the trope of the "wise-locals". The locals who should say or do more but only give our heroes cryptic, ominous messages.

AAWL is a grim look at a country that seems to have stalled. Made (mainly) by Americans, the British seem to be a people stuck in time haunted by their past. Their state is so grim that it even takes the gleeful American down. Or it could be read in the reverse, Americans upsetting the natural order of things and how it infects a country. Which has never happened. Ever. 

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