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Over the years, I have concluded that much of American entertainment is a morality play.
Pro Wrestling is one such example, and the teen slasher flick is another.
The repulsive behavior of the Talibaptists (or should I call them Christofascist?) on the HPV vaccine issue is an example of how the medieval religious right buy into, and feed the culture of death that we see with Jason, Freddy, and Chucky on film.
Specifically, death in most slasher flicks is preceded by sexual impurity.
Sex=Death.
So the you can associate right wing views with the trashiest of the modern culture:
* Slasher flick sexuality.
* Dead baby joke sensibility on abortion.
* Public health as Zombie movies
* What else?
They are more than wrong, they are trashy.

Originally posted to LunkHead on Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 09:05 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Black Max, Jimbob, lgmcp, BobzCat, tommymet

    Is it just me, or do other people think that if the right wingers got fucked more often that they would be better people with better policies?
    It's not that they need sex, it's that they need more good sex.

    6/24/05: Charlie the Tuna Creator Dies En lieu of flowers, please bring mayonnaise, chopped celery and paprika.

    by LunkHead on Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 09:04:50 AM PDT

  •  Very good point (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LunkHead, lgmcp

    The slasher movies are, at heart, morality plays right up there in ideology with "Everyman."  And pro wrestling is nothing more than bad, bad soap opera performed by steroid abusers in tights.  Very Republican ideology.

    If you ever find yourself in a theater playing a slasher movie (God forbid), don't watch the movie, watch the audience.  Or spend a few minutes taking a gander at pro wrestling, but again, watch the audience.  The depth of vapidity and back-brain savagery on display is astonishing.

    And damn SciFi Channel for showing wrestling now.

    •  The Cautionary Tale (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LunkHead

      has naturally always been a major genre.  

      Don't take candy from strangers, the witch will put you in the oven.

      Don't go out walking with young men, you'll end out raped and murdered.  

      Don't have a queer romance, you'll have to commit suicide in the last chapter so the book can make it past the censor.  

      I don't follow modern horror movies, but it's interesting that they utilize this age-old trope.  

      The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function -- Edward Teller.

      by lgmcp on Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 09:33:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  dunno about full-on morality play (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LunkHead, lgmcp

      but i did notice that in just about every slasher flick, there's always a couple that get offed while doing the horizontal bop.

      weather forecast

      The palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise. - Paine

      by Cedwyn on Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 10:10:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Just re-read 1984 (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cedwyn, LunkHead, lgmcp

    and my previous junior high reading didn't fully grasp the purpose of the sexual repression that Oceanic society had codified.  

    1984 scared the hell out of me, reading it again today.  Most of the themes Big Brother espouses, Power as an end of itself, sexual repression, constant war as a way of maintaining domestic stability, are straight out of the neo-con press releases.  

    I wish 1984 had robots and aliens in it, or some other unrealistic fantasy to take the edge off.  I understand it's a warning and supposed to be frightening, but we're a lot worse off than we were in 1947.

    2000-2008: The Eric Cartman Presidency

    by scottman on Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 09:36:40 AM PDT

  •  I'm going to add films like (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LunkHead, lgmcp

    "Saw" "Hostel" and other films in the "torture/snuff" category. How else to desensitize the masses to torture. The al-Qaeada video executions are just another example of how we are fed a diet of desensitizing media - would any of be surprised to discover that most of the hits on those websties showing the decapitations are from the USA?

    "My case is alter'd, I must work for my living." Moll Cut-Purse, The Roaring Girl - 1612, England's First Actress

    by theRoaringGirl on Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 10:13:15 AM PDT

    •  fed desensitization vs craving desensitization (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LunkHead

      I'm pretty sure the creators of those films were more interested in making money than in desensitizing the masses.

      You could make a case that people are semi-consciously looking to be desensitized as they try to deal with the fact that they support a government that runs torture camps and kills civilians with impunity, but I'm not sure you could make the case that the creators of crappy horror movies are intent on desensitizing people. I don't think people are fed this kind of thing, I think they seek it out.

      •  I will chose 'fed desensitization' (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LunkHead

        After all the "hullaboo" about "The Closer" I read here, most are being fed a not very healthy diet of high density, empty calorie crap on a shingle. I blame the MPAA rating system,a ctually.

        Movie Ratings are given according to sex and language, and not violence. which is why a partially naked female will rate an "R" and a fully naked male will rate an "X". excuse me, I mean NC-17.

        http://www.mpaa.org/...

        "My case is alter'd, I must work for my living." Moll Cut-Purse, The Roaring Girl - 1612, England's First Actress

        by theRoaringGirl on Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 11:12:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Air Force One was rated R (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LunkHead

          and I'm pretty sure it was only for violence, as there was no nudity or language that I would have remembered.  Or maybe the studio asked for an R rating to draw in an older crowd, who knows...

          2000-2008: The Eric Cartman Presidency

          by scottman on Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 12:53:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Count the number of 'obscenities' used as well... (0+ / 0-)

            They, the Ratings board, sit and count the swear words, amount of violence, whether or not a female has her top off. The most famous example, or oneof most famous, was "Eyes Wide Shut". The difference between a "G" rated film and a PG-13 can be as little as the Forest Fire in "Bambi"

            from the MPAA website: .... An R-rated film may include strong language, violence, nudity, drug abuse, other elements, or a combination of the above, so parents are counseled in advance to take this advisory rating very seriously.

            PG-13: "…A PG-13 film is one which, in the view of the Rating Board, leaps beyond the boundaries of the PG rating in theme, violence, nudity, sensuality, language, or other contents, but does not quite fit within the restricted R category. Any drug use content will initially require at least a PG-13 rating. In effect, the PG-13 cautions parents with more stringency than usual to give special attention to this film before they allow their 12-year-olds and younger to attend. If nudity is sexually oriented, the film will generally not be found in the PG-13 category. If violence is too rough or persistent, the film goes into the R (restricted) rating. A film’s single use of one of the harsher sexually derived words, though only as an expletive, shall initially require the Rating Board to issue that film at least a PG-13 rating. More than one such expletive must lead the Rating Board to issue a film an R rating, as must even one of these words used in a sexual context. These films can be rated less severely, however, if by a special vote, the Rating Board feels that a lesser rating would more responsibly reflect the opinion of American parents."

            "My case is alter'd, I must work for my living." Moll Cut-Purse, The Roaring Girl - 1612, England's First Actress

            by theRoaringGirl on Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 02:33:49 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Slasher films (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LunkHead, BeninSC

    are definitely reactionary, having emerged post-Vietnam, post-Watergate and had their greatest initial output during the Carter Administration.

    Many, if not most, horror films are inherently progressive, even subversive of the status quo. The presentation of a monster which can disrupt the fragile institutions of society so easily is itself a comment on the viability of those institutions, and the unconscious desires of the audience to see those repressive values undermined. Slasher films are in some ways an anomaly, betraying a far more conservative and repressive project.

    One of their more notable features is the way that the protagonist (young, female but not necessarily feminine, intelligent, alert, resourceful) eventually has to appropriate the same kind of violence that the killer already possesses. Often, her survival depends on being able to take the weapon away and become a killer herself, become the monster she is fighting.

    These films posit a world as a very dangerous place, fraught with perils behind every corner, in which sexuality, self-absorption, irresponsible behavior, and a lack of awareness and preparedness can have deadly consequences. The only solution is to engage with the same level of violence as the enemy.

    The message isn't as simple as "sex=death", rather, it's that in order to destroy the monster you must become just as monstrous. I think that's the subtext that offers a more intriguing comparison with the current right-wing ideology.

    In some ways, the early slasher films were a reaction to the progressive films of the late 60s and early 70s, and to the youth movement in general. Movies like Night of the Living Dead and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre demonstrated a society irretrievably corrupted and degenerate. Sometimes nihilistic, they were deeply critical of and cynical about the prospects for American culture to redeem itself.

    In contrast, the slasher cycle seems to argue for the kind of reactionary values that dominated the mid-70s and into the 80s: if American society would put aside the introspection and self-examination, stop all the partying and the loose behavior, move beyond the traumas of the past, and be ready to assert itself with violence if necessary in all affairs foreign and domestic, then all would be well again.

    It's definitely worth examining the reactionary aspects of post-60s popular culture to see how the current ideology has been nurtured and sustained for the past 30 years. We might then begin to recognize how deeply ingrained these ideas have become, and how the media reinforces them on a daily basis.

    "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." -- Groucho Marx

    by BobzCat on Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 10:26:39 AM PDT

    •  slasher (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LunkHead

      I bet most horror films, in terms of strict quantity-of-films-made, are of the Friday the 13th/reactionary type, though I bet the most influential are the more ones with more complex ideological backbones. Probably doesn't hurt that those are way better movies, generally speaking.

      •  Another Note (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BobzCat

        The Halloween movies begin with a boy being unalterably and unredeemably evil at age 6 or so.
        Interesting thing though, John Carpenter did Halloween, and They Live, which is arguably the best anti-reactionary film done in America in the 1980s.

        6/24/05: Charlie the Tuna Creator Dies En lieu of flowers, please bring mayonnaise, chopped celery and paprika.

        by LunkHead on Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 11:17:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Pure evil (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LunkHead

          is another reactionary element: pure evil is unambiguous, the audience is not expected to identify in any way with it, it must and will be expelled. At the same time, pure evil is a constant presence against which we must be constantly vigilant.

          Vampires, mad scientists, man-made-monsters, cursed people, ghosts, zombies, even psychos like Norman Bates possess a inherent human quality which makes them sympathetic on some level. That identification with the monster is an essential aspect of the progressive horror film.

          Once the monster is identified as pure evil (or purely alien, as in the 50s), and the responsibility for its existence laid at the door of outer space or the gate of hell, then there is no culpability on the part of society, no introspection to come to understand the nature of the behavior. It's often a defining attribute of the reactionary film.

          I think Carpenter is playing coy about his scripts. He claims to be utterly naive about their implications, but I don't buy it. My guess is that he understood what was happening at the time of Halloween, tapped into something there at the end of that decade, and turned it into an iconographic work of art. Later, understanding the implications, he could pen something like They Live, which condemns the results of unbridled reactionary ideology, and understands that the true source of horror is not in the purely evil, but in the unmistakably human.

          "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." -- Groucho Marx

          by BobzCat on Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 11:35:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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