Surviving Horror With Horror
How is everyone? Yinz doing okay?
Yeah. Me neither.
I mean, I knew it would be bad. But I think after election night I was just in shock for a few weeks (not to mention an alcoholic stupor). Then there was the denial. Rogue electors! Voter fraud! Anything to usurp us from the impending nightmare.
But the inevitable came to happen, and now America is under the rule of an orange megalomaniac and his white supremacist puppet master. And in less than a month he’s managed to outdo even my most pessimistic expectations with his Muslim travel ban, atrocious cabinet picks, disastrous military operations, outrageous lies and massive cover-ups. Not to mention his promises to gut the EPA, allow climate change to destroy our children’s future, pollute our rivers and destroy the international economy.
Did I mention I’ve been watching a lot of Hammer horror movies? Because I think the two things are connected.
And when I say I’ve been watching a lot of Hammer films, I mean I’ve been watching a lot of Hammer films. Probably over 20 at this point. And not just the Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee stuff (although holy shit that stuff is so good) but I’ve also been diving off the deep end into the ultra-obscure stuff. The Witches, The Reptile, Plague Of The Zombies, X The Unknown, Paranoiac, Nightmare, you name it, I’ve hunted it down and watched it.
I find it curious that I’ve fallen so hard for these films as of late. The plan was to spend the next four years trying to inject myself with as much sugar-coated happy fun time escapism as possible. I certainly started my post-election viewing habits that way. The boyfriend and I sat down and watched every single Muppet movie. This was ostensibly because he hadn’t seen any of them. But the truth was I just wanted to surround myself with fantasy. Become immersed in a happy world of good friends, good music and good times. I wanted to go somewhere the bad guys (who aren’t even really all that bad) always get it in the end, the good guys always win, and everyone helps everyone no matter what because that’s what good people (or Muppets) do.
But I guess that kind of backfired? I don’t know. All I know is that, with rare exception, I left each Muppet movie more depressed when I came in. I think they were too happy. Too upbeat. Too positive. I just can’t deal with all that…love, right now. To see a world with nothing but happiness, sunshine and Gonzo is to see a wold I long for, all while knowing I’ll never have it. It’s the same problem I had when watching Amazing Grace and Chuck. Being confronted with an ideal world, while living in a world that is one step away from a dystopia, just isn’t a nice feeling.
So in that way I suppose that the Hammer films have been a nice middle ground. The overwhelming number of Hammer films I’ve seen so far have all followed a very strict formula:
- Bad guy does bad thing.
- Good guy finds out who bad guy is.
- Bad guy dies an incredibly gruesome and satisfying death.
- Good guy wins with an immediate cut to credits.
Also, surrounding all those points are beautiful cinematography, fantastic musical scores, wonderfully campy acting, amazing set design, and incredibly tight ending. The things I like about the Hammer films are the same things I said I liked about giallo when I wrote about them in 2015. They’re just immensely satisfying. Yeah, they may take you on a dark ride and things may get a bit twisted an tragic along the way, but at the end of the day the good guys will prevail and evil will be vanquished.
That must be what I need right now. I don’t want to see an ideal world where everything is great, I want to see a fucked up, dark and disturbing world, albeit one with a somewhat happy ending involving Peter Cushing laying the smackdown on some motherfucking vampires.
Just like the real world, the world of Hammer films is one of monsters. And in Hammer films, the monsters get what’s coming to them. I still hold out hope that the same can be true for our world as well.
But in the meantime I’m doing more than hoping. While my ability to protest and get involved on the ground level is limited here in Tokyo, I’m donating what I can to help the causes that I feel will the most in need during these dark times.
And fuck shit up. That shit about how punching Nazis is actually bad? No. No it’s not. Shut their shit down. Anytime. Anywhere. Anyhow. See some racist asshole spouting his bullshit in public? Limit the ways in which he an spew bile from his hateful mouth. Do it in anyway you feel comfortable. If that means just getting in their grill, do it. If that means throwing eggs at them, do it. If that means beating the everloving shit out of them, do it. Don’t give them a moment’s respite or rest. Shut their shit down. Make them crawl back into their pathetic little caves. Then set the cave on fire.
It’s what Christopher Lee, a man who literally killed Nazis, would want.