Friday, May 7, 2010

Where's the Horror? The Not-Quite Half-Year List.

Listener SiHV said something to me recently like, "you haven't blogged about horror movies in a while." SiHV has this ultimate-barometer quality about him, sort of a male-Castle of Quiet listener archetype, so I feel like I should do what he says. The problem? Not too much has jazzed me in recent months horror-wise; I've been playing catch up with the first five seasons of Trailer Park Boys (thanks, CN!), so that's where my viewing head has been for the most part—Ricky being the Van Gogh of assholes, a divine bastard, and a role model for me personally.

Then there's the case of Tim and Eric. Man do I remember how I poo-poohed their show when it first came on. "Live-action sketch comedy on adult swim, awww c'mon!" But it's the things that I poo-pooh at first that I end up loving the most later. One day I saw the Jim and Derrick episode, and I suddenly just "got it"—these guys hate humanity—in all its ugliness, stupidity, pettiness, herd mentality, and wretched taste in graphic design—and they are going to make us laugh about it. Every shitty late-night infomercial we stayed up and watched because we were bored, depressed, drunk or stoned, Tim and Eric are gonna make us pay for it. Pay and pay and pay.

So my favorite "horror film" of the last five months is Tim and Eric's Father and Son, unquestionably their most brutal indictment yet, in part due to the glorious lack of FCC restrictions on HBO, for which this 17-min. sketch was produced. Thanks to Jason Chrome Peeler for first passing it on.

Other horror-type views that I've enjoyed so far this year are not terribly current, yet you may not have seen them. And you should.

Home Movie (2008) - Everything the over-hyped Paranormal Activity should have been, and then some. Remember your friend's overbearing, dickhead Dad? Well, imagine that guy, obsessively DV-camming every fuckin' holiday, oblivious to the fact that his twin boy and girl are downright sinister, and don't speak anywhere near often enough for kids their age. The tension builds in this one like a patient hangman's noose, steadily winding to the crunch.

Reflections of Evil (Thanks Sarzan!) - From 2002. Underground filmmaker Damon Packard directs himself as a sick, gross, troubled man roaming Los Angeles. Blindingly surreal at times, but there's narrative, and you ride it out and feel pleasantly exhausted afterward. Reflections of Evil is like no film I have ever seen, in a very good way, and reminds me of nothing. If I had to reach I'd say Anthony Wong in Ebola Syndrome, as directed by John Waters when he was still broke.

Demon Lover - Ultra-amateur 70s trash about the power struggle within a suburban coven, run by a wizard who looks like an uglier James Hetfield. Boobs, big knives, black candles and bad acting. Trust me.

Crimson Gold - Also a few years old, and not strictly a horror movie at all in the genre sense, though it's plenty horrific psychologically. For a film made in Iran, the sentiment is daringly anti-state, as a sad-sack pizza delivery guy is followed through the day-to-day motions of his progressively dismal life, until he is driven to a final, brutal act of irrevocable desperation. A crushing tale, and the director got in a fuckload of trouble for it.

That's the short list, framed as it is by the unlikely theme of melancholic pizza home delivery.


  1. After a trying spell on public transit full of my local versions of Ricky, I've been thinking a lot about your assessment of Tim and Eric. For me it's just the opposite, more of a grudging admission of Love for the foibles of humanity. I mean, the detail they put into their hyperreal versions of infomercials - it's incredible. There is something about the most uncomfortable moments - like Carol's humiliations - they feel like commemorations of the most frightened, trampled parts of ourselves.

    But that's just me. Hate, it's just a particularly magnetic form of Love.

  2. You make a great point, Claudia. I think Tim and Eric have both deeply and personally felt the sting of rejection, be it parental, societal, romantic...; they understand a very human pain, all too well, so they're making us laugh at that, too. I do think it's very loving the way they surround themselves with elder eccentrics like David Liebe Hart, Richard Dunn, James Quall etc. Thin line and all that. Thanks for the comment!