Friday, June 18, 2021

Shaking Things UP

 I have been having a terrible problem with boredom for the past few months.  It's chemical, and it's caused by a drug called Quietipine (sp?) which yes, will keep you from having a psychotic  break, but only because it makes you so sleepy and dull and uninspired that you can't muster up the ambition to do anything florid.  At least, if you're me. Your results may vary.

It played it's part, and it helped, and now I'm off it and the difference is remarkable.  Now, I can get through the day and remain interested and engaged.  Under the influence of Quietipine, every day around 10:AM to 1:PM I would fall into a hopeless pit filled with 'You  might as well end it, things are hopeless and it won't change.'

Knowing that's not true helps.  

Knowing that's not true over a period of almost a year? Well. That fortitude begins to erode.  

You know that every day you will lose at least two hours to anxiety and despair, or to lying in a dark room to cut stimuli to an absolute minimum while you chant 'One relax, two relax, three relax, four relax...." and remember to give yourself that 'compassionate forgiveness' you're supposed to give yourself when those intrusive thoughts interrupt your little mantra.  That shit is an effort.  Your mind wants to stay in tandem with your emotions, and your emotions are driven by chemical reactions to stimuli, and when that stimuli is dulled, your higher mind, the one that knows better and sees that nothing is really wrong in your world, loses ground, inch by inch.

Well.  Enough of that shit.  

I'm off the Quietipine and suddenly I have ideas and strategies and my mind is not full of mud.  

The first thing I did was to change up my entertainment choices.  

I grew up a horror fan. The gorier and freakier the better.  (Anyone remember 'Phantasm'?  Yeah, I thought that was pretty awesome.  Stupid, I mean I'm not entirely without taste, but that was the road I travelled.  H.R.Gigers' "Alien" had me in transports of delight.)  Once I had my first child I could not do horror any more.  No way, shape or form.  Not true crime, not CSI, not nuttin'. 

That's changed, come to find out.

I decided to treat myself to a late night double feature (Frank and Rocky, Brad and Janet....) of Alien Takeover horror and Supernatural horror. (What ever happened to Fae Wray?)

It WORKED.

The Biker went to bed and I was on Netflix.

Here are a few conclusions I've come to in my quest for decent modern horror.

1. The Brits do horror like nobody's business.  They have the best fake blood, the best camera angles, the best actors and the strangest, most messed-up stories.  They know when to show you the monster, and how much of the monster, and when to hide the fucker. They don't rely on jump-scares. They know that the horror that is only partially seen is scarier than the monster that lumbers through the whole damn film, every scale and drop of mucus detailed lovingly. 

2. Anything that relies on hallucinations isn't worth your time.  It's like the cheat "and then the little boy fell out of bed and woke up."  It's lazy storytelling and plays the viewer for a fool.

3. Brits have a real thing about barf, parasites and being cocooned. I don't know why this is.  Ask your mother.

4. A shitty, unhappy ending only works if you've been coerced into sympathizing, even a little bit, with the monster.  Otherwise it's just abusing your audience, who are there, after all, to be entertained, not sent into a weeklong drug and drink binge. 

5. Stephen King, for the most part, really hates his audience.

6. If it's Spanish, pass.

7. If it's Japanese...well, that's a matter of personal taste.  I tend to find Japanese horror distancing.  It is, however, gorgeously crafted stuff.

8. Unless you are H. R. Giger, you cannot make a monster that will provide the same fright/shock/horror value every time it's shown.  And H. R. Giger, sadly, has passed.  Keep that monster in the shadows, partially obscured, seen in glimpses.

9. Possession is an overworked trope and it makes me yawn.

10. Everybody knows five minutes into any given film that stars teenage protagonists exactly what's going to happen, to whom, why, and when. Add some humor, add a twist, like Cabin In the Woods, that's OK, that's entertaining.  But personally, I have a hard time sympathizing with teenager-horror.  ("Let's hide in the abandoned abbatoir!  Sure!  And what the hell, let's get high, wander off from the group, make a lot of noise, and fuck.  It's just a high risk situation, after all!')

I am thrilled that I can once again watch horror movies and stay at a personal remove from the action.  Just a hairs' breadth, that's all it takes, and I lacked that for years.  Man, I am making up for lost time. 

The best one I've seen recently is 'The Ritual'.  It moves, it gives you just enough story, and you're guessing right up until the last scene.  Excellently done.

The most perplexing has been 'Apostle'.  I mean, watch the thing, it's a gorefest and it's excellently icky, but there are so many loose ends that if it were a sweater you wouldn't be allowed to wear it out in public. Plus the protagonist, acting as a spy in the plot, is the skeeziest, most suspicious-looking human being I've ever seen.  If he walked into a store I owned I'd have him followed by security.  

So there you go.  Stay up late some night with a good friend, or a good pillow to scream into, and get your socks rocked.    Dare ya!

11 comments:

Madam Arcati said...

Hello dear
I am so pleased that you are now in a better place than you were. Knowing those feelings are not true is a big help.
I am also pleased that you appreciate British horror films. I believe 'Hammer House of Horror' used a particular colour fake blood called 'Kensington Gore'. How classy is that.

Jon said...

Horror films just aren't the same without Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing and Vincent Price in them. Jx

Jennifer said...

I've been considering finding and watching that Swedish horror film from a year or two ago...Midsommer? Have you seen it or heard of it? I've been wanting to see it for a while now.

ProximaBlue said...

I'm glad you're off that stuff now!

I'm more suspense than straight up horror. One of my all time favorites is Guillermo Del Toro's first movie called, The Devil's Backbone. No matter how many years pass it is still exquisite! The cinematography is beautiful, the special effects have a perfect ambience and the story is intriguing. Well-acted too.

We can't keep up with movies, but last year we caught up to seeing IT 2 and then decided to watch Doctor Sleep. SPOILER ALERT: Ah, I'm traumatized! There is a terrible scene, it breaks the rules!!!!!!!!!!!! You don't murder children on screen for any reason! IF I spoiled it for you, sorry, not sorry. I wish I had never watched it.

Steve. Because 'Steve' is almost as nice a name as 'Paul'. said...

Madame Arcati: Welcome to the Machine! Glad to have you! And British Horror has always been the very best in my book. I didn't know about the Hammer Horror color, but that's cool trivia. My favorite, favorite Brit horror movie of all times is: THE ABOMINABLE DOCTOR PHIBES. That was a damn tightrope walk and it WORKED. Funny, sly, repulsive, ridiculous, frightening, peculiar and camp as tits, man. Hats OFF.

Steve. Because 'Steve' is almost as nice a name as 'Paul'. said...

Jon: I could not agree more! Three of the greats who only got better with age. The only American actors who could compare were Lon Chaney Sr. and John Carradine.

Steve. Because 'Steve' is almost as nice a name as 'Paul'. said...

Jennifer: I've run across it on Netflix. It's on my 'to watch' list too. It sounds incredible! I love the 'remote village cult' trope!

Steve. Because 'Steve' is almost as nice a name as 'Paul'. said...

Melanie Reynolds: You have more patience than I do. I can't do just plain suspense unless there's a nice pig sacrifice at the end of the waiting. And I read the descriptions first on Wikipedia before I watch a movie, because if there's any baby killing or incest or rape or shit like that, nope nope nope. That's cheap and it's vile.

Jon said...

Interesting factoid: All three great Hammer Horror actors were born within two days of each other... Jx

The Mistress said...

"Midsomer Murders" is about all I can handle.

Ms Scarlet said...

Haha! I'm with The Mistress on this one!
Sx