In the right macabre hands, body horror is a crucial tool in the storytellers arsenal for leaving truly lasting impressions on an audience.
It’s Halloween! That magical season birthed in a stew of ancient pagan and synchronized early Christian festivals that really came unto its own once the broiling American melting pot got a hold of it. Endless debates will rage about its true origin, but everyone can concede that it’s meant to celebrate the coming of harvest, to venerate the dead we’ve lost, and to maybe scare away some evil spirits just for good measure. Most folks will dress up, party, and hand out candy, but in those odd years when All Hallow’s Eve falls on a school night, most of us will be happy to celebrate at home in our PJs with a good scary movie (or TV show /“limited series”/Webisode/Twitch feed…whatever the kids are doing these days).
The question that many of us get when our friends and loved ones come to us seeking a recommendation for a celebratory spook is “I like scary things…but is it GORY!?!” which is usually followed by “I just can’t handle the blood and guts.” This is a fair observation given the odd, imperiled nature of the world at the moment, but I feel like it’s often used to relegate body horror to the realms of cheap thrills and D- movie schlockfests. In the right macabre hands, body horror is a crucial tool in the storytellers arsenal for leaving truly lasting impressions on an audience. I see body horror functioning in two distinct ways: Destruction of the Body and Corruption of the Body. Let’s dissect them, shall we?
SPOILER WARNING: This article is literally about the gory details, so be warned…minor spoilers ahead for as wide variety of films from the last 50 years or so.
A look back at the iconic action film and the landscape that it changed.
Let’s take a jump back in time, the year is 1988 and a little known actor, whose biggest role to date was in a comedic television series, the most unlikeliest of action heroes, was about to become just that. That actor’s name was Bruce Willis. The name of the film; Die Hard. To truly understand what makes Die Hard such an iconic film you need to think about the landscape of American action movies at the time of its release.
The biggest action films of the 1980s were vehicles for either Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone about muscle bound heroes who don’t feel any real pain and gun down swarms of disposable baddies without even blinking. Die Hard changed that because it’s main character wasn’t a body builder, he wasn’t a Special Forces trained badass with unlimited bullets and the ability to be shot, stabbed and blown up and then brush themselves off as if they had just walked through a cloud of dust. John McClane was just a New York cop trying to reconcile with his estranged wife on Christmas Eve. This was not an action hero, this was just an ordinary blue collar guy, someone you could share a drink with at a bar. The list of actors who were offered the role of John McClane is extensive, both Schwarzenegger and Stallone turned down the role, amongst many others, by far the strangest was Frank Sinatra who the studio had a contractual obligation to offer the role to. To think we could have ended up with an action film that had a 72 year old Frank Sinatra in the role.
You’ve heard of our Secret Santa episodes, but have you heard of our Secret Pumpkin episode? Sure you have. It’s literally this episode. We’ve gone and assigned each other some fun horror films to round out our horror month. Special thanks to After the Hype alumn Nick Friedemann for joining us this week.
Just because a showrunner is a white man, that doesn’t mean he can’t be intersectional.
You hear a lot about the importance of diversity in the writers’ room in order to have a broader viewpoint – and that’s always correct. Showrunners need to hire more diverse writers, and those writers will in turn grow up to be showrunners, and in the meantime, new voices will create more interesting and relatable stories. Truth be told, there is no room in the future for cis white men who refuse to step out of their bubble. It may not seem like it, but what we’re living through now are the death throes of their era. That’s probably what they’re so afraid of.
That’s why it’s so important to see cis white men stepping up to help create a TV landscape that includes voices and stories other than their own. That’s the future. This week, we saw two cis white male showrunners do just that.
Emily Blake writes screenplays with lots of fight scenes. She is a vocal advocate for feminism, polyamory, kink, and sex positivity. She makes most of her money as a script supervisor for film and television, but she also makes cosplays for clients out of her little apartment in Los Angeles.
This week on the pod Bryan Dressel, Graham “Tate” Mason, and Nick “I Don’t Know His Middle Name” (It’s Carl) Friedemann talk Fallen Arches – a weird, grab bag of pieces that kind of work but sometimes go a bit dark. You know, like that one Star War.
INTRO MUSIC COURTESY Bradley David Parsons inspired by JG Thrilwell
Back when trailers had no rules and totally ruled!
Man I love old trailers. They didn’t have any rules and no one really cared about them. Just show 3-5 min of the movie, have a guy who smoked an entire carton of cigarettes talk the whole time, and tell me the name of the movie. That’s it. My favorite old trailer of all time is Taxi Driver. That thing is just a short 4 min summary of the entire movie, gives away everything from the movie. Halloween is no better, and somehow, SO MUCH BETTER.
This week it’s serial killers and social media as we tackle the surprisingly fun horror comedy Tragedy Girls, directed by Tyler MacIntyre. Special thanks to friend of the show Elizabeth Hanley for the recommendation.