The Truth of Horror

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I just saw The Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) for the first time. I got a first glimpse of Wes Craven’s work several days ago, had to see more, quick, and ordered a few samples.

Nightmare on Elm Street

image from The Nightmare on Elm Street series

That’s what I wrote on Sept 18: in my innocence, my ignorance. Today, the 29, I add that I was wrong. I saw one 2004 11, and said almost the same thing then about that one: the one with Patricia Arquette, as above, not recognizing the image when I mounted it here! Moron! Now what do I do? I’ll precis the earlier version, then add my 2004 statement:

2011 Sept reaction to The Nightmare on Elm Street #1:

The female lead, though her bottom was as plump as you could wish, and though she certainly qualified as a poster girl for mammalian characteristics, looked like a chipmunk. She displayed rodent teeth when her talents were taxed to show emotion. Her very cuteness was repellent, an inconvenience to an alert audience. But I’m an old man, never mind any of that. The point I want to make is simple: however little horror I’ve seen, however much sci-fi I’ve overindulged in, I now hail Nightmare as peer to The Terminator etc. in its characteristic of utter realism: total verisimilitude.

No, no, I don’t mean the nitwit teenagers. And I don’t mean the preposterous Freddy Kruger (any more than I mean the Terminator himself, or people being their own father, or the War Against the Machines). No, I mean the real people in the film: the parents, the teachers, the cops, the experts … the adults: the authorities in the film, the representatives of the society! They are totally lifelike, just like real adults:

They don’t understand a thing reported to them, they don’t do a single sensible thing, they pooh pooh all danger signs. They are immune to learning. They don’t listen, they interrupt, they dismiss. Their cosmology is as egregious as their theology.

Give the teens another year or two, get them a job, get them married, get them paying taxes, and they too will be just like their seniors.

But wait! The best is yet to come: no matter how negligent, criminally negligent, the parents are in making their teens’ sleeping environment safe, they’re still the parents! But wait still: this is better yet: No matter how inept Nancy’s father is as an investigator of the murders, he’s still in charge of the investigation!

Tina’s nightie is slashed by Freddy’s “fingers”:
her mother tells her to cut her fingernails!
But Tina’s is the last murder in which friends still standing aren’t actively trying and failing to warn the jailors
as the murder takes place:
Tina’s boyfriend, falsely accused of her merder, is hanged in his prison cell
while the gang is vainly pleading with the cops to check on him.
Nancy’s boyfriend is sucked down into his bed while Nancy is trying everything she can think of
to warn his parents. The parents’ solution is to shun her.
But the supreme illustrations of derelict authority attend Freddy’s climactic assaults on Nancy.
The cop and the cop’s cop dance a pas de deux of dereliction.

Not only can’t we fire the Valdez captain, we have to promote him! Put him in charge of safety!

Nixon? Hitler? It’s us.

I love the society of The Terminator, hell bent on getting destroyed. Elm Street has no better future.

And never mind the poverty of saviors; at least Wes Craven made a bundle. Wes Craven: truth teller.

Special note commending the casting: John Saxon, as Nancy’s father, John Saxon, as a cop: a lieutenant no less! The whole institution doesn’t listen, substitutes posing for brains. Perfect.

2004 Nov reaction to The Nightmare on Elm Street #N:

I’m just subjecting my tolerance to the Nightmare on Elm Street series of horror films. I’ve never been a horror fan in any of the media. But I devour Stephen King novels despite the genre. The Wes Craven machine has been around for a couple of decades, I keep hearing things, decide to sample, check out number one, was glad enough, not too unhappy, that I did. Wanting to see more of Patricia Arquette (based on True Romance, on Stigmata …) I check out the third Elm Street movie, Dream Warriors. And I love one thing about it so much (other than Patricia Arquette), that I have to mention it. (The problem is where: the point relates to a number of my war horses at three of my domains! I’m tempted by Deschooling because it was Ivan Illich who wrote about professions becoming priesthoods: doctrine-, not experience-driven. But I put it here at Macroinformation (for starters anyway) because of the meta-difference between our theory of professionals as tested-theory-driven and our actual experience of them (too often) as doctrine-driven; blind to experience (and to theories other than the ones they’re drilled in).

And there: I’ve said it. That’s what I wanted to say.

The plots are bullshit of course. The poet weaves illusion by writing of real toads inhabiting imaginary gardens. Woody Allen does it in comedy: mixing “real” characters with imaginary. And Wes Craven stirs some by pretending that the nightmares of certain teens are actually physically dangerous to them: that some dead freak can cut them while they sleep: from inside their minds.

Ah, but in a fiction, either accept the universe of the fiction or don’t waste your time with it. Therefore we must acccept the premise, or pretend to, while watching the movie (or we’re really idiots for wasting our time) (unless your purpose was to see Patricia Arquette).

Therefore the hospital staff are incompetent, dangerous: pure bureaucrats. They don’t listen to the patients, they impose their dogmas — and of course the patients are right. Freddie is in there somewhere.

2011 09 29 Please forgive the mess. It’s not the first time I’ve made a fool out of myself. I once said I’d never finished Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil, then I found my old paperback, and found my marginal notes all the way through to the last page! Did I know I was lying? No.

Maybe I’ll find time to reweave the whole some day. The 2004 comments first appeared at I was using the discrepancy between what the teens know and what the representatives of the society will admit to illustrate macroinformation: difference among differences.

thanx jameswood

I liked the girl Tina while she was diaphanous and backlit.
You’d think good pix would be easy to borrow.

The fragment of Wes Craven I saw early Sept 2011 involved Jason Scott Lee walking, looking very alpha male, while a female in a cross between a ball dress and a nightie runs, fear stricken, female fluff trailing behind her like party streamers. There was a lot of back lighting: we saw more, not less, of the girl’s hips and crotch than we would have seen using high speed stock at noon. The first girl to get trashed in Nightmare was Tina, above. I promise you there were again back-lit opportunities, set up and seized upon. For at least a milli-second you could see the actress’s pubic profile, right through that nightie! The library’s copy of the Jason Scott Lee DVD crashed and burned a minute or so into it, so I still don’t know what was happening: but we all know, we’re all familiar: maleness was endangering femaleness.

Also 2011 09 29 I got a better DVD of the Jason Scott Lee film. Now I’ve seen all of it. I love it.
Of course I’d long loved him: from The Bruce Lee Story, and from Rapa Nui.

Jason Scott Lee, vampire hunter
thanx propstore

The girl in the party gown turned out to be twins: vampires. So we were supposed to be glad to see them butchered: show us their ass, then cut their heads off.
It seemed to be male endangering female, then turned to Christian threatening pagan, the “good” murdering the “evil”: as though humans could tell one from the other!

I loved it. Now I’ll readily watch anything by Wes Craven: but stop short of satiety: if one could only ever know when that was!

Think of it: how is Wes Craven’s basic message any different from mine? or Ivan Illich’s?
So how come money flowed to him while being diverted away from me?

Related: Genre Justice

Horror Scrapbook

Immune to Learning
2013 10 10 I’m currently mildly addicted to Amanda Seyfried, at present am watching Gone. Exactly the same. Amanda’s girl has been abducted, the cops know it. Now she comes home and finds her sister gone, she goes to the cops. … That’s like a resurrected Jesus going to the Temple to repeat the same points about God. They, atheists as well as blaspheming demons, just tut tut, let it all go in one ear and out the other head: monopolizing the god budget to be utterly without a clue.
Like the bureaucrat who looks down at you contemptuously and hisses, “Can you proove that Nixon was lying about Watergate?”
Utterly realistic. I won’t say “believable”: there’s no reason to believe it because there is no reason to doubt it: we all experience it.
Experience dispels the need for faith.
But Seyfriend is interesting to look at: female, a peculiar female.

Experience dispels the need for faith.

2013 01 31 That was a year and a half ago. A title I put on my queue shortly thereafter just bubbled to the top of my queue an dnow I’m half through watching it: Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Yugg! crap. But: I like the girl’s bottoms, crotches …
Alright, I watched the whole damn thing. I do not demand realism in fiction, certainly not in genre movies. But there are some improbabilities that militate against an audience’s will to suspend disbelief. Several times in Chainsaw one of the murderers, the chainsaw wielder chases the skinny blond while waving the chainsaw about, the chainsaw grooming, while running in the dark, hair and hound over unpaved paths. ! Finally, he does manage to have a self-mutilating accident, but then still runs around in the dark vrooming the saw.

2014 04 15 I promised I’d mitigate my ignorance of horror films, time has passed, but only in the last couple of days have I been doing my homework. I’ll comment anew once I’ve rammed another few down my gullet.

2014 07 10 Here we are a few years later, I’ve done some homework, but not much. One minor task, watching ReAnimator, got started half a year ago and got completed only last night: I’d watch ten minute here, ten more there, streaming allowing such meagre hanging on. Two reactions I now share:
Barbara Crampton plays a blond whose dad gets lobotomized. The doctor makes lubritious hints about what she should do if she gets lonely. Meantime I’m thinking that’s she’s just pretty enough to annoy me when: they lay her down on the gurney, strap her in at wrists and ankles, restraints Schwarzenegger couldn’t get out of, and with one fell swoop strip off her gown. Pretty blond, now we got pretty boobs. Yawn, I’ve seen an awful lot of virgins stripped to their bosoms recently: Lucretia Borgia’s wedding night to cite only the most recent.

Barbara Crampton
thanx squealingtiresondirt

A minute later the severed head, slavering, is held by the head’s body between her thighs, puss to puss. Nice, but that’s still not what got me. A. In another shot a minute later the camera looks down her nude body: and there, just adorable, is her blond pubic puff, a little muff just at the muff. Oh! Wonderful.

But we’re not done: B. a minute later she’s being carried like lumber into another hostpital room. Hoardes of nude zombies have just been having at each other: blacks, big bellied nudes … And here’s Barbara Crampton’s Meg, snatch first, coming right at us. Well there’s a split second where we see crotch: oh, no, I thought, they’ve airbrushed everything away. Bt wait: in another sec we get another view. By golly, it’s the real thing: the blond beaver! Mmm. that was worth poking around for six months for.

That one (set of) thing(s); here’s another: this movie fully realizes the kind of dreck EC comix, Tales of the Crypt, trained me for in 1949, 1950, just before Mad got created. I wish I knew how to share it with Rudy who trained me to that stuff then. I tried to discuss it with Harvey Kurzman one day in 1975 — he’d been there, on hand, knew everything that happened … Maybe I’ll make time to come back and explain. Meantime I’m sure glad I’ve seen ReAnimator.

2015 09 18 I watched a flick last night that declares its genre slowly — horror — but then escalates with skill: The Harvest: another everything-is-backwards film. Terrific cast, I’m bowled over by Natasha Calis. I intrude here today to commend the films excersize of the above horror points: the authorities, the parents, the grandparents are wrong on every point: won’t investigate kidnapping, murder, malpractice. Deliberate blindness may be the key ingredient to suicide by delusion.

2016 09 20 Just watching The Harvest again, Natasha Calis. When I speak of the “truth” of “horror”, pointing out that the parents, the authorities, the cops, the teachers are closed minded, terminally prejudiced, the “truth referred to is of course in everyday life hogwash, bullshit; but not in the horror world: there Freddy dreams your dreams and you can dream his. Never mind this world; it’s true or at least plausible in that world. But hold on: the plot in the flick really could happen! No spoiler, never mind: see the movie, ponder, see what I mean.
Almost a year to the day, I’d near totally forgotten the plot: was surprised by the surprises all over again.
By golly, have to praise Semantha Morton to the skies. We don’t see what’s coming coming because we resist assuming that the character, a “woman”, a “mother”, could be so, so, so what she proves to be. Wow.

Movies A — L Movies M — Z

About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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