Thursday, April 1, 2010

Anti-nightmares

f I did dream, which I don’t, I suspect I’d likely have my sleep eroded by nightmares. I enjoy horror movies. For Christmas my son bought me the first eight Friday the 13th movies on DVD. We watched them over a course of two days. We’ve watched them twice more since then.

Jason Vorhees, wearing a hockey mask and slicing and dicing every passer-by, is an iconic figure. Devoid of any human character he is an hilarious metaphor for arbitrary death and destruction: the existentialist’s re-envisioned version of God. Rob Zombie’s remake of the original is a sensational reimagining of a cult classic.
I enjoy most of the slasher titles. Nightmare on Elm Street, Final Destination, Camp Blood. I grew up in the 80s when it was impossible to rent a video without studying shelves filled with grim video nasties each one trying to outdo its predecessor with gore, guts and gruesome grisliness.

When I’m not watching slashers I might decide to change the pace by settling down in front of a good old fashioned zombie movie. Zombie movies help me unwind if I’ve had a tough week teaching. I’m not sure why. I just know that there’s something soothing about the sight of a frustrated hero facing a crowd of brain-dead corpses and being able to bludgeon and decapitate as necessary, without fear of repercussions. I don’t know if this reflects an unconscious desire.

I grew up watching Hammer House of Horror on TV. For those unfamiliar with Hammer, they were a UK based film production company that churned out some surprisingly effective scary films. Aside from the inevitable output of Dracula and Frankenstein flicks, Hammer also produced some delightful ‘anthology films’ collections of short and scary stories, each connected by a unifying theme and shown within the same movie. For those unfamiliar with the style of movie, check out Dr Terror’s House of Horrors and Tales from the Crypt.

I recently wrote a horror novel about a sadistic lunatic running amok in a UK theme park. That was a lot of fun to write but it only kept me awake at night because I was using the evenings to get the words on paper.

But none of this stuff ever enters my dreams. Mainly because I don’t dream. And the truth is, if I ever thought that my sleep would be disturbed by an imaginary assault from a zombie, psychopath or serial killer, I’d start watching programmes about fluffy bunny rabbits and cuddly puppy dogs.

6 comments:

  1. You're too sane for your own good.

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  2. Kathleen,

    Phew! I convinced someone that I'm normal :-)

    Ash

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  3. (snorting with laughter)

    I also make part of my living as a teacher. Your comments about the room full of zombies almost had me rolling on the floor!

    Hugs,
    Lisabet

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  4. Lisabet,

    Next time you've had a difficult day's teaching, sit down in front of a good zombie film (I recommend Zack Snyder's Dawn of the Dead) and catch yourself smiling at inopportune moments.

    Best,

    Ash

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  5. I remember a lot of these movies from when I was a kid. Especially "Tales from the Crypt" based on the old EC Comic stories. That was actually a very good movie.

    I've never been that big on the slasher movies which always seemed to me if you;d seen one you;d seen them all. The exception being the Rob Zombie remakes of the Halloween series. Those have turned out in my opinion to be superior to the originals.

    Garce

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  6. Garce,

    Rob Zombie's remakes are excellent entertainment. I know what you mean about the 'seen one, seen 'em all' similarity of the genre. But I love the way writers/producers continually strive to be more original with each gruesome murder.

    Best,

    Ash

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