September 13, 2007

The Scariest Thing I Have Ever Seen





And it's wasn't this. 

I went to see the remake of Halloween by Rob Zombie.  I've seen a lot of horror movies in my life, but John Carpenter's original Halloween was one of the best-- and I can prove it.

There's an important psychiatric difference between the original and the remake.  In the original, you don't know Michael Meyers.  At all.  We know a little of his background by description only.  We  don't know why he has to kill everyone ("rage" is the single unsatisfactory answer offered.)  He never talks, never runs, never jumps, never emotes, nothing.  He doesn't even die, he pauses.  He's a robot.  You never see his face, either.  He wears a mask, but that's basically his real face.  He's not a human being, he's a force of evil.  There's no person there to rehabilitate.   You don't incarcerate him, you set him on fire.  (It doesn't work.)

In the remake, however, Michael's childhood is graphically portrayed.  Cursing, torturing animals, horrible parents, stripper mom, etc.  Now, he's a person.  All his future murders are part of that context.  Is he responsible?  The product of his environment?

Does it matter? You butcher 40 people, and that's pretty much all I need to know.  But now I've sat through thirty minutes of his childhood, so it inserts itself in my judgment.  To some, that's why you need to know the context.  To me, that's the distraction to the truth of the behavior.  I don't want to know why he's butchering people.  I want to know if fire will stop him.  (It doesn't.)

It also makes the movie suck: before, you were terrified of Michael Meyers.  Now, you're not as scared, and you hate him.  You know why you hate him?  Because he's a person. 

But that's not the scariest thing I have ever seen.

Let me start by saying the movie is brutally graphic-- torture porn.  How this thing didn't get an NC-17 is beyond me.   The cursing alone hits you-- it's diarrhea, flowing, disgusting.  The violence is beyond overkill, it is relentless.  Jesus, we get it, stop killing the dead girl!  The movie is also profoundly loud, in the horror movie vein:  quiet quiet quiet DEATH!!!!!

Plenty of naked women, very naked, I'm not sure how you can be more naked than naked but somehow they are-- and they get slaughtered.  The link between sex and violence is smashed into your skull.  I defy anyone to get an erection within a week of this movie.

The movie is draining. By the end of it, you are just exhausted, empty, numb.  Nothing you see in the real world has any energy or affect attached to it, because you've been supersaturated by affect.  You need a drink.  A lot of them. Whisky.  And you are completely sickened by all of humanity.  The original Michael Meyers made the "right and wrong" distinction so much more visceral.  This just makes you want to vomit on everyone you see.  You think: every person could be a potential Michael Meyers given the right/wrong family dynamic. 

The violence is brutal, long, rageful, it is hate, hate, hate, and the victims aren't killed, they are obliterated, like a jack-o-lantern on a Detroit mischief night.   

Which brings me to the scariest thing I have ever seen in my entire life.  

So I go to the 1015p showing, along with the usual crowd of degenerates who need to see this kind of movie in the theatre at 1015 pm on a weekday.  Not criticizing, just saying.

Midway through this gore fest I need to go to the bathroom. Or maybe I just need a Zyprexa.  But as I walk down the steps, I see something that literally makes me freeze: for a second, I actually die. 

On the screen is a murder so grisly I cannot actually describe it, but I don't even see it, it doesn't register at all-- I'm looking instead at this.  What I see cannot be real.

A second later I breathe, and it's an audible gasp.  And what I see, what I see-- is this:




double stroller 


Maybe the picture is too dark.  Or maybe it's your unconscious deliberately blocking it out.  So I'll tell you: it's a double stroller. 

I'll also tell you that after the movie I waited in the lobby to see-- what did I expect?   It was a five year old girl and a three year old boy.  And an infant.   They walked out like it was nothing.  A man and woman, in their twenties-- and since you're asking, both white and obese--  pushing two kids, 3 and 4?  4 and 5?  They walked out like it was nothing.

The other people now in the lobby were murmuring, whispering, pointing, but not about the movie --?  ---!!!  ---????  No one could believe it.  Even the degenerates were horrified.

By this time it's about 1230 am.  The boy yawns. 

I found myself inventing the most insane justifications: they slept through the movie. The parents had fortunately given them all a Xanax-- or maybe they're deaf and blind?  Maybe they were under a blanket watching Nemo on DVD.

In Lancet there's a study linking ADHD to food additives.  Because, you know, that matters. 



Addendum: given the controversy this article has generated, I've posted an explanation and apology.