The Gory Good Bits

Monday, May 18, 2015

Episode 24 - Madness, When Literature Attacks!

In which Vic and Matt fend off papercuts... and madness!

Join the devilish duo for the second episode in this two-part series for a discussion that spans from Kubrick's iconic The Shining to the Master's of Horror episode Valerie on the Stairs.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Vic's Vault: Oh, the Horror! – The pervasive nature of horror elements

I’m going to come right out and say it - Horror is the most dramatic and controversial of the entertainment genres. Storytelling that uses horror elements goes beyond provoking thought and inspiring emotion. It has the ability to shock, stun, and insult its audience. 

The best stories have at least a little horror in them. Many influential writers and directors had their beginnings in horror. Spielberg directed Duel, a made-for-TV horror flick in 1971, four years before he directed Jaws, the film that had all of America questioning whether or not they should swim in the ocean. Following Spielberg’s career, The Goonies and Gremlins all feature elements that have the capacity to keep kids up at night – and stay with them into adulthood. 

The Goonies's One-Eyed Willy - Giving kids the willies since 1985
From stories of childhood adventure to the brutality of war, Empire of the Sun tackles the darkness of man and untold psychological horror. The Indiana Jones trilogy, famous for misleading an entire nation into believing that archaeology is way sexier than it actually is, pits Indy against a slew of horrors – both good and evil. The Ark of the Covenant will melt your face off, the Sankara stones can deliver life or fiery destruction, and the Holy Grail grants eternal life – if you are wise enough to choose the right vessel. In each of these tales, great good and great evil are shown to be different faces of the same coin – all through horror elements; slavery, war, angry gods, cults, fascist dictators, and a decent amount of practical effects gore. 

The Ark of the Covenent -
"It is something that man was not meant to disturb."
Spielberg’s 1998 war drama, Saving Private Ryan won 5 Oscars and is by no means considered a horror movie. However, the protagonists are largely powerless in the face of all too human horrors, pushing the audience to think and feel, while being shocked and stunned. Spielberg is just one director of many (one that I am particularly fond of), if you take a look at any well-known director, I’m willing to bet that he/she took a swing at a full on horror feature at some point in their career.

Saving Private Ryan - The horror of War, in Technicolor!
A recent study revealed that watching horror movies actually burns calories – what other genre can boast of literally raising your heartbeat and pumping your adrenaline to the point that it may actually be considered exercise? When you sit back to enjoy some good horror, you’re actually buckling in for a ride that may take you places you definitely don’t want to go – but you’re trapped now and it’s guaranteed to clench the stomach and quicken the breath.

The success of a horror movie can be in its cheap shock value – sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll (that will undoubtedly go terribly wrong). Even in the “cheap” a horror movie can ask hard questions and ultimately bring the audience to wrestle with the more difficult aspects of their lives; betrayal, the too soon death of a loved one, assisted suicide, abortion, and the myriad of other horrors that are all too real. This is where the horror fan is eventually desensitized and actually empowered to feel as though they could take down any number of possible threats that may at any moment appear in their lives – “You never split the group up!”/ “Why is she hiding in such an obvious place?”/ “Kick him in the balls and RUN!”

Maybe pretending that one can be prepared for the worst helps us sleep at night. It might make all the difference when the proverbial devil pays a visit. As Palahniuk’s Fight Club discusses meaning and passion in life, so does horror. Undoubtedly, more bodies are going to pile up in the course of a horror movie – but it doesn't take away from the indomitable nature of the human spirit that is showcased in every film in the genre. 

In the end, it’s all just a matter of taste – how much horror are you willing to handle? How much horror do you actively enjoy? Many horror fans subscribe to the same mentality as the rough and tumble driver of the Porkchop Express. I don’t want to invite comparison, but, in the spirit of Jack Burton, "I can take it." 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Episode 23 - Books of Power, When Literature Attacks!

In which Matt and Vic consider the unfathomable!

In part one of a two part conversation, the devilish duo talk CthulhuconPDX. From Firbolg Publishing and K.M. Alexander's The Bell Forging Cycle we dive into the subject of Books of Power! Films discussed: Theatre Bizarre, The Ninth Gate, and Mercy. Special review at the end featuring Pumpkin Cinema and Blood & Gourd

For a bit more on CthulhuconPDX, check out these posts from Cat's Corner!
Our run in with Cthulhu himself
Vendor Room Romp
CthulhuconPDX Breakdown