Is there room in the Para/Crypto/Fortean world for a gun-toting, paranoid, bipolar, opinionated bastard? A lonely romantic in search of his lost soul? A knight, Samurai, gunslinger, born in the wrong century? A self-destructive, doom-driven survivor seeking redemption? A heavy drinking gonzo outlaw cryptozoologist whose ego is exceeded only by his libido?
No, there isn't. That's why I'm here...

11 January 2010

Leave My Psychos Alone!

When it comes to real-life serial killers and psychopaths, I admit I have a bit of fascination. I'd like to really understand how somebody's wires can be so crossed that they become a Bundy, Dahmer, Gein, or Berkowitz. I want to understand them. I want to know who the Zodiac was, what happened to him, why he did what he did. Profiles aside, I want to know what makes these guys tick.
But, when it comes to movie psychos, sometimes it's scarier not knowing. I don't want some filmaker to try to justify or explain their actions. I'd rather wonder and try to figure them out myself.
Cases in point: Leatherface and Michael (Halloween) Myers. The original versions of both these films were much scarier than the later remakes, reinterpretations, or expanded visions thereof.
The original Texas Chainsaw Massacre was truly a horror masterpiece. It was just freakin' scary. No explanations, no motivations, no background story. Just a family of sickos living on the outskirts of society who happened to have a penchant for corpses, cannibalism, graverobbing, torture, and who knew how to cook up a great batch of sausage. Sure, we wondered why they were the "way they were", trying to figure out how someone could turn out "like that" was the big question that nagged our brains after the images on the screen faded to black.
Halloween was the first movie that scared me spitless. Not only was Michael Myers (then better known as "The Shape") a cold-blooded, remorseless killer, we then learned that you couldn't KILL the sumbitch! The only clue to his motivation was the opening scene from his childhood, when he caught his older sister having sex. His escape from the asylum and the subsequent murders of horny teens (only Jaime Lee Curtis, the town virgin, escapes alive) established the pattern for countless imitators.
But alas, both of these archetypal movie psychos have now been "humanized". (well, sorta). We've since learned that poor ol Leatherface suffered from a skin condition (gee, so do other people in real life, they don't kill people and wear their faces, though) that his family turned to cannibalism when the slaughterhouse closed down and the town died, (gee, plenty of other people have hard times, but they don't eat people), and that Leatherface's uncle came up with the whole idea since he was a former POW and had been forced into cannibalism to stay alive ("paging Donner, party of seven!")
And then there's Rob Zombie's "Halloween". Rob said he liked the original, which makes me wonder why he did what he did to it. While the original movie was set in small-town America, Zombie's remake was set in that special place called "Rob Zombieland". This is a place where personal hygeine is non-existent, every other word in any given conversation must be no more than four letters long, and every single individual is completely without any redeeming value.(I've only seen two RZ movies, and in both of them, I just wanted every character to die a gruesome, painful death and get it over with). Naturally, growing up in this environment dooms poor little Mikey to a life in the looney bin. Just how a guy who spent years sitting in his room making masks grewinto a hulk worthy of the WWE is never explained. The asylum must've had one heck of a gym and steroids were apparently administered on a daily basis (probably some kind of psychotropic treatment, I'm no psychiatrist, so I'm not sure). But I personally question the wisdom of letting murderous psychopaths pump iron.
So, Leatherface and Michael were just misunderstood (and hungry).
At least the trio from The Strangers have thus far retained their "motiveless malignity". (Lol! Quoting Coleridge referencing Shakespeare in a post about Leatherface, Halloween, and Rob Zombie!)

1 comment:

Autumnforest said...

I have to admit, we all wonder what makes someone lose their humanity enough to enjoy seeing other suffer. Rob Zombie's remake was an interesting undertaking, but it did nothing to explain Michael's supernatural can't-die features and did more to just make me sick to my stomach for trying to play our emotions about a killer. I have known some very evil people in my life. People who I could see just how they came to be the way they are.

Have you ever worked your fingers so hard doing heavy work that your fingers get all dried up and hard and numb? Then, try and touch something silk. Can you actually feel how soft it is? Is it too soft for your chewed up fingers to discern? That's sort of the mind of a killer. He's so numbed up, having not made emotional connections and having to protect himself from harmful onslaughts in a world he perceives as thinking he doesn't count, that he's numb. He can't touch humanity, can't feel feelings, can't sense tenderness. To feel something inside, he has to do something bigger and badder and nastier just to sense a bit of life from within.

You can't feel sorry for the way the killer was raised because he had never had a chance at normal from the beginning onward. He retreated from the living inside and is no longer present except in body.

It's sort of like a pit bull. No one's surprised when they attack. You don't wonder if the dog had a bad puppy-hood. You just say "it's in their nature."

Yeah, being a psychic is interesting. You can get inside the heads of killers when you're honing in on what they're up to. When a psychic gets emotional when they tap into a killer, I have to wonder if they're genuine because honestly when you make that connection, you feel what he feels and that's nothing at all that they're conscious of. It's just cold and whistling wind inside...

(shivering yet?)