these ghoulish things

Take a walk about 9pm, make sure it’s drizzling slightly & there’s not one single solitary star in the sky, put Nick Cave’s ‘Abattoir Blues’ on your Walkman – it works best with a Walkman – & you’re pretty much as close as you can physically get to the calm before the storm of the apocalypse without actually being there.  The sandwich-board wielding, picketing, sloganized prophets of doom are scored by ‘Get Ready For Love’, the death-bed converts have ‘Hiding All Away’, the events, the catastrophes,, the horror, the fire & brimstone rains have ‘Abattoir Blues’ itself, & finally the scraggy remnants of a feral population have ‘Cannibal’s Hymn’.

Perfect weather for a horror movie.

The hunch-backed, black-eyed, snarling labatory assistant to cinema’s more profitable genres. & just how we like her. Horror – & this can even include such tragedies as Hollywood remakes of Japanese & Koreans movies, & generic teen garbage – horror is just about as enjoyable as cinema can get.

Slasher. Splatter. Survival. Supernatural. Psychological. Sci-Fi. Gothic. Grindhouse. Gore. A-Movie. B-Movie. Z-Movie. Zombie. Vampire. Cannibal. Apocalyptic. Post-Apocalyptic. Moralistic. Narcissistic. Egotistic. Torture-Porn. K-Horror. J-Horror. & a big fuckin’ fistful of -ploitation flicks.

Does any other genre have quite so many subdivisions? Maybe it’s the audience, much like the subdivisions of metal – there always seems to be more than is necessary – & it’s the natural way of the horror-geek. Organise. Organise. Organise.

Villians. Pivotal, but somehow swiped from under horror’s feet by other genres. Dracula. The Mummy. Frankenstein’s Monster. Hannibal. Damien. Regan. Freddy. Jason. Michael Myers. All instantly recognisable, but ask anyone to name you a villain from the movies and more than likely you’re gonna get; Darth Vader, Hans Gruber, Voldemort, Saruman, Sauron. The Terminator. I could whine & stomp my precious little feet at this injustice, but it doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t matter because we have zombies. The greatest threat to ever lunge at us from a shadow in the history of cinema. Slow, shuffling, often mute & completely & utterly unstoppable.

Sure, they’ve been used almost to death (ha.), but that’s when directors start to get creative, they start to use their brraains. Since Romero’s classic, ‘standard’ zombie, the dawn of the millenium brought with it the ‘modern’ zombie. This zombie was fast. This zombie wasn’t always dead first. This zombie was a Nazi. This zombie could organise other zombies. This zombie was a stripper. & while I haven’t always agreed with how it’s been portrayed (see: Land of the Dead), whilst the original will always be my favourite, it’s entirely possible the zombie has evolved with our fears. We figured out how to beat them when they were shambling towards us, but they adapted & so have we. Without wishing to blur the line between fiction & reality, the zombie somehow strikes a deep & resonant chord within us & it’s fuckin’ scary!

They shit on vampires, that’s for sure.

Fiction & reality is important too. Horror is fiction. Rarely, unbearably rarely, is horror in anyway linked to reality – it’s just too…far-fetched. You can lose yourself in a horror movie like no other. No matter how much blood, gut & screaming fills the room, it’s all fiction. Glorious, unadulterated fiction. & you get scared! Is there anything better than turning off all the lights after watching a pant-wettingly scary movie, diving under the covers & squeezing shut your eyes so that face at the window, or that body in the wardrobe or that hand under the bed can’t get to you. Doesn’t it just make you feel like a child again?

Horror fans seem most often to be the most passionate of movie-goers. Casual are perhaps the fans of rom-coms, thrillers – war movies & westerns perhaps have more in common with horror – but it’s very easy to be a casual fan of the stuff that gets into the cinema because it is in the cinema – not that I wish to put you down. Horror is becoming more mainstream (a good thing, purists!) but you really gotta search for that blood-soaked Italian cannibal masterpiece. There are classic horror movies still banned in the UK – but customs tends to have a rather lackadaisical approach to imported DVDs. Engage a horror buff in conversation about horror stuff & most likely his unmentionables are doing the unmentionable.

I may be an awful geek, but I know what I love.


Today’s post-script serves to illustrate further the awesomeness of zombies. This zombie wrestles a fuckin’ shark! Zombies don’t take shit from anyone.


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3 Responses to “these ghoulish things”

  1. littlespy Says:

    I think the reason why Zombies are so significant is two reasons:

    a) they represent fairly modern real life concerns, so although they’re utterly fiction they’re a synonym for the things we most fear as a society and the relentlessness of such things be it consumerism, nuclear power, environmental damage or contagions – Sars, ebola, swine flu etc etc. We recognise that fear and paranoia and helplessness because since the Cold War we’ve had it screamed at us by the press and the various propaganda machines of governments and corporations.

    b) They’re not inhuman, they’re not demonic they’re just ordinary people who died and lord knows we’ve got plenty of those around. They’re not some mythic super beast, they’re your next door neighbour and they’re not powerful or magical, just relentless in feeding a base drive. Chilling.

    Incidentally, they’re the only horror movie creature I ever have nightmares about. They’re my default stress related dream. Which either says a lot about the power of that synonym I mentioned or about the fact that I watch far too many films!

  2. whitefrancis Says:

    So much more eloquently stated than I managed! (though my excuse can be that this blog is purely an outlet for incessant waffle)

    I’ve had extended arguments with people who maintain that zombies aren’t scary – all you do is run away, but I fear it wouldn’t be that simple.

    Incidentally to you incidental, I’ve only had nightmares about vampires. And I took him out with a swiss army knife. So yeah. Zombies 1, silly dream vampires 0.

    Thanks for reading, by the way! I can notch my visitor abacus up to one.

  3. littlespy Says:

    I think all blogging is ultimately an outlet for waffle…even the so called ‘professional’ bloggers…your waffle is equally as worthy.

    Clearly people who don’t think zombies are scary are wrong in the head. Fact.

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