Saturday, March 4, 2017

Today's Horror Choices 03/04/17 - Meat & Curtains

One of the biggest struggles for me when writing this column is maintaining variation in the movies that I suggest. For whatever reason, there are just certain films and franchises that frequently force their way into day after day after day.

"Well, if I had known I weren't welcome here...."   :'(

One of these mainstays of sinister celebration is the trademark of professional bondage grandpa and personal hero of yours truly, Clive Barker. The second film in the Hellraiser series sees a power-hungry doctor carry out a series of bizarre experiments in order to unlock the secrets of the Lament Configuration.

This brings us to today's first notable observance, Holy Experiment Day. To be fair, "holy" might not be quite the appropriate term here. In the early Hellraiser canon it was heavily implied that the Cenobites saw themselves not as demons per se, but as clerics to a higher force that is beyond mortal concepts of good and evil. In any case, the Cenobites represent a religious force, which Dr. Channard seeks to explore through controlled and measured experimentation. I think that's fairly well aligned with the spirit of the day; to question and attempt to measure the power of spiritual beliefs.

You know who else experimented with the power of belief? Charles Manson. The infamous cult leader who orchestrated numerous acts of violence and murder in the 60s may as well be the poster boy for today's second observation, Courageous Follower Day. This holiday urges us to celebrate the causes to which we are so devoted that we would die for them, as well as exalt those great leaders we look up to and spend our lives in the service of. Strong leaders with devout followers aren't hard to find in the horror genre, from John Kramer in the Saw franchise and the minions who (spoiler) carry out his grand machinations long after his own death, to Damien in The Omen trilogy (no, shut up, it's a trilogy) whose disciples have a habit of putting themselves in harm's way or just outright killing themselves for funsies. There's even a number of depictions of Ol' Charlie himself, the most popular of course being from the 2004 TV movie Helter Skelter.

Then there's Gimme Skelter, a 2007 low-budget shitshow (I assume, as I will be watching it for the first time today) which tells the story of Manson's fictional son and stars today's Birthday Boy, Gunnar Hansen, as the hero. Hansen is better known for playing another loyal follower to a cult-like family of maniacs living in the Amerian southwest, Leatherface in the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Finally, we have the loose ends. Today is International GM's Day, referring to the Game Master role in role playing games like D&D or Savage Worlds. While there may be some less cliche, more appropriate choices out there, what really popped into my head when I saw this was Cabin in the Woods, which opens with a bunch of nerdy middle-aged men setting up an elaborate scenario full of perils for a party of young adventurers to interact with.

Today as also the anniversary of a number of films, but I haven't seen any of them, so I'll highlight the one which I've heard the most about, which is 1983's Curtains (which will be playing later tonight in the synchtube). I don't really know what to say about the movie since I haven't seen it yet, so here's the trailer.

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