Warning: Technology Has Killed Horror

The Horror/Technology War

By its title, you probably think you know where this post is going.

As technology gets cheaper and piracy of the best CG software and courses gets easier, computer effects become the norm. When something becomes accessible enough, it’s used and overused in both blockbusters and indie films alike. Actors stand in-front of a green screen instead of a set and interact with people covered in more ping-pong balls than the floor of a Bangkok bar.

As much as I could write volumes about how the art of Stan Winston-esque practical effects add heart and warmth to a horror movie, that’s not where I’m going…

I want to take a minute out of my day to think about the plight of the bad guy.

The Golden Age is Over!

Think about it for a second… killers had it EASY in the pre-internet age!

Let’s take everyone’s favourite child killer, Freddy Krueger for example. Kids played outside all summer because there was nothing better to do inside. There weren’t any stranger danger protocols taught to kids. A forced friendly smile and a lollypop was all it took to lure a child into the back of a van.

I blame the prevention of child abduction on the obesity crisis. Parents are giving kids all the candy they want at home so a stranger’s cheeky Snickers won’t be enough to tempt them.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think an Oreo is enough to pull a kid’s attention away from the latest iPhone game that’s nickel and diming Daddy’s bank account.

Speaking of the iPhone… kids can now be tracked from their phone’s GPS or a tracking bracelet. Keeping a victim long enough to make a 90 minute movie with plot twists and turns would be cut short by armed police rocking up to the door.

Even getting away with it in the good ol’ days was easier. DNA evidence was in its infancy and although CCTV existed, telling André the Giant and Kenny Baker apart was difficult enough because of how bad the quality was. These things were hardly a deterrent!

The New Age of Horror

Don’t get me wrong… as a father of a 5-year old daughter, I thank the pioneers of technology for making the world a safer place. For the fictional fiends we all know and love though, it’s made life a drag.

Let’s hope that the technology we hold in our hands brings a new challenge to horror’s best writers and opens up the genre to storylines that weren’t previously available. Netflix’s Hush is a great example of how the horror of old can be seamlessly blended with the technology of new… I can’t wait to see what’s next. Until then though, give your favourite make-believe maniac your best wishes!

How to Be a Horror Fan Without Being Creepy

Hey, Horror Fan… You Are Weird!

You may have been in an environment where the only horror fan for a 3 mile radius is sat pretty damn close. Right inside your clothes, in fact. Everyone else doesn’t understand or appreciate you, so they brand you as being weird. A freak. The creepy anomaly in the corner.

They Are The Weird Ones!

Let us appreciate for a moment just how weird each and every person on the planet is. If you’re passionate about something… you’re weird. If you’re not passionate about anything, you’re especially weird. Any hobby you can think of is an outlet for the freak. The middle-aged man who’s rebuilding a 1969 Ford Mustang in his garage – weird. Even the socially accepted popular teen girl reading a fashion is a complete freak. It’s in our DNA. If everyone is a carbon copy, we live in a world of robots. When I look at an office block – all I see is a bunch of clones, but even the most confirmative people in society have their own unique set of wants, desires, favourite foods and sexual preferences.

If a magazine, website, or blog exists for something you dig – you’re not alone. If it doesn’t, create one and I’m sure you won’t be the only member for long. You’re probably not entirely the unique little eccentric snowflake you assumed you were for loving one particular thing, but that’s okay! Add together your personal combination of passions and you have your snowflake badge back to wear with pride.

Feed The Monster!

We’re all weird. Embrace it and fuel the beast. If you’re the creepy one in your group, either own it or get another group. If people can’t handle it, you probably can’t handle their fashion/car/celebrity addiction anyway.

I guess it’s taken me ranting until the end of this post to figure out that the title is rubbish. Instead of me saying “Fly high, my little social butterfly… ascend incognito into the heavens of normality”, I’m telling you to be the best horror fan you can be.

Be weird. After all, everyone else is!

Don’t be alone in your weirdness… come say hi on Twitter!

 

3 Twitter-Friendly Horror Jokes To Steal & Tell Your Friends

TWITTER IS THE NEW JOKE BOOK

Horror jokes used to be bound to those cheesy joke books you’d get from your school’s Scholastic Book Fair. Now, Twitter is the place for terrible jokes and I sure use my Twitter account as a comedy garbage can.

Do all of the jokes work? Definitely not.

With all of the internet’s information flying by at a million miles per hour, people will be complaining about politics 30 seconds after your joke falls flat and 15 seconds later, someone somewhere will have outraged a minority. People thinking you’re a comedy genius is the least of the world’s problems, so don’t sweat it.

I’ve kept all of the horror jokes below the 140 Twitter character limit and as much as it pains me… I’ve explained why the joke is funny. If you have to read that part, either the joke and/or your education have fallen flat.

Do what you want with these jokes… steal them, claim them as your own, tell them to your friends or yell at me for not being funny.

FINALLY… THE HORROR JOKES

After all the recent cash-in horror remakes, I’ve been thinking about the execution of the directors. It’s a good idea… bring out the rope.

This joke is all about the double entendre. Taking a word that has multiple meanings and spinning the result on its head. We start by luring the listener in, thinking that we are complaining about the execution of the movie direction. We then flip it around and reveal that we were, in fact talking about executing the directors.

Is Freddy Kruger’s favourite band REM?

I guess we’re in the realm of the double entendre again. Freddy obviously haunts the dreams of the unsuspecting children of vigilante parents. We dream when we are in the REM cycle of sleep. Put two and two together and we have wordsmith beauty.

Scooby-Doo is now officially the oldest cartoon ever… I know it didn’t start until 1969, but in dog years that’s 201 years old.

I know Scooby-Doo is not the edgiest of horror works, but I still have a soft spot for Mystery Incorporated. We’re flipping things around again and ignoring the dawn of animation with Gertie the Dinosaur & Fantasmagorie – swapping people years for dog years.

If you want to steal and keep up-to-date with my latest quasi-witty horror jokes, add me on Twitter @AceConnell.

The Horror Nerd’s Complete Guide to Dating

Hey there, Horror Nerd! I’m here to help you swap sad and creepy for charming and charismatic. This guide is your new life bible, so finish your microwave dinner (with your latest blow-up doll) and let’s get to work…

Interacting with Strangers

A smile goes a long way!
A smile like this will melt hearts!

Before we get into the deep-end and talk about women, you need to be comfortable in social environments.

A smile goes a long way. Sure, maybe your face is melted and you look like a nightmare version of the scarecrow out of The Wizard of Oz, but that’s no reason to not show off your pearly yellows. I know that inside you’re a morose and complex human being who would rather watch a hanging than hang out, but you’ve got to fake it ’til you make it!

If you see an old man walking his dog, shoot him a smile! Imagine the man’s Afghan Hound slaughtered and puppeted around like an animal-loving Weekend at Bernie’s if that’s what you need. Do whatever it takes to get sunlight on those gums.

The First Date

Once you’ve mastered the smile, it’s time to take things to the next level!

In this day and age, dates are made with the swipe of a finger, but the first meeting is the key to your future success. First impressions are everything, so if it takes you delving into your memory to remember the old man’s dead dog to smile… dig deep!

Taking a girl out for a nice meal is a great option. There’s time to talk and get to know each other, just avoid modeling it around the dinner scene from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and you should be golden.

Having a sense of humor and wit is a definite bonus, but keep things within her realm of knowledge. Asking a girl if she thinks Freddy Krueger’s favourite band is REM might fall flat. If she has to Google your witty remarks to make sense of them… they’re probably not going to get you very far.

Sex

Horror Nerd - Every Girl's Fantasy
Do people still buy those blow-up pillows?

You’ve seen it in the movies and sex looks pretty fun, right?

If you’ve been living your life according to the horror nerd gospel, it’s just a matter of time before things get steamier than an 80’s slasher… right before the killer takes his first prey.

Here are a few pointers to make sure things go smoothly:

When it comes to foreplay, a girl likes to take her time. Giving her a crucifix and asking her to ‘get her Regan MacNeil on‘ will almost certainly kill the mood.

Experimentation is good, but it’s probably best left until the second or third sexual encounter before you’re suggesting a new position you’ve invented called The Human Centipede. More power to you if you convince her to go along with it, but always be courteous – make sure you have plenty of mouthwash on-hand.

If you’re lucky enough, some girls like to add a little spice to the bedroom… just keep in mind that if Ed Gein did something at one point, it’s probably off the table. Like The Human Centipede, the American Horror Story Rubberman outfit is a second or third time kind of thing.

Horror Nerd Graduation

You’ve done it! You are now a horror nerd who exudes charisma and sex appeal. Congratulations! Head on over to Twitter @AceConnell and let me know how you get on. No Human Centipede pictures, please!

In Defence of Rings [Spoiler-Free]

Let me start this by saying that one of my favourite movies of all time is 1989’s Nintendo/Universal outing The Wizard. Now you know how low my bar is for cinema, you can take what I’m about to say with a pinch of salt.

On Rotten Tomatoes, Rings had the amazingly high score of 5%, so I knew I had to check it out. You may be shouting at your screen, calling me a hipster or whatever the word is for someone who likes things just because other people don’t, but that’s not the case… I just really love bad horror movies. Whether that stems back to being a child and watching Thriller on repeat until I wore out the VHS or not is a psychiatrist’s business, not mine.

Although I don’t think the hipster moniker applies anymore, it almost certainly did when my love of the Ring series began. I was a teenager at music college and the pretentious know-it-all thing to do was to love (and shout about) things from mystical far away lands. I didn’t go The Beatles’ route and slap a sitar into my music whether it fit or not… I chose to dedicate all of my pompousness to Japanese horror.

I remember not wanting to watch the Hollywood retellings of Dark Water, The Grudge, The Eye and yes, The Ring, because I was a purist. It turns out, I wasn’t a purist, I was an idiot. I secretly watched, and on the whole liked, the Western remakes (not that I’d tell anyone that circa 2003).

I know there have been a wave of phoned in sequels, remakes and reimaginings in horror recently, so when I saw Rings was coming out I tempered my expectations. My expectations were shattered further when I rocked up to the cinema and found out that even though Rings had only been out for 3 days, it had already been relegated to the smallest capacity screen. Still positive, I thought that it’d make a nice environment having people packed closely into a room, all there solely to be scared. It turns out that I was the only person there, so instead of a bustling theatre of horror fans, it was more like I had the world’s most extravagant screen and sound system in my living room. With my expectations at an all-time low, I still watched with a glimmer of hope.

I always go into movies knowing as little about them as possible. I avoid trailers at all costs, so I didn’t know any of the cast, whether Samara was going to make an appearance, or even if they’d added in some Off-Broadway style musical numbers. I said in the title that I’d keep this spoiler-free, so I’ll treat you the way I like to be treated — no cast, plot points, or anything else… just pure opinion.

I’m going to say it… Rings is the best movie in the series so far.

Maybe that’s hyperbole because I’ve only just seen it and haven’t watched the original in over a decade, but I found their exploration of the history far more compelling and sinister than the island trip they make in The Ring. There are a few jump scares and points that make you feel uneasy, but on the whole, Rings isn’t intensely scary and probably doesn’t even live up to the fright of the original. The pacing and story more than make up for the lack of scares in my eyes and it doesn’t hide behind cheap shock tactics.

I’m not claiming that Rings is the best horror film made ever, or even in the past year, but I’m here to fight it’s corner and tell you to go and give it a chance. It won’t change your life, but it won’t ruin it either.

I know I spent the majority of the article peppering in anecdotes and my history with the franchise, but I didn’t want to give anything away. I just wanted this to be a PSA to not write Rings off as a heartless sequel cash-in with no substance. The acting is great, the characters are believable and they didn’t just rehash the exact same story. The premise is in tact, but I really like the liberties they took with the lore.

Don’t get me wrong, Rings is no The Wizard, but it was definitely worth the popcorn and my time.

Let me know what you liked (and didn’t like) about Rings.