Saturday, August 29, 2009

Horror Movie Rules: Rule #1 Overkill

Okay, I know I haven't posted in like forever, mainly because I've been filming my awesomesauce Film Final about gold disco boots, but I digress. To make it up to all of you faithful readers I'm coming back with a vengance. So without further ado, I give you the first in a series of posts detailing my favorite horror movie cliches, the first being...


* Pronunciation: \ˈō-vər-ˌkil\
* Function: noun

1 : a destructive capacity greatly exceeding that required for a given target
2 : an excess of something (as a quantity or an action) beyond what is required or suitable for a particular purpose
3 : killing in excess of what is intended or required

Ever heard the expression that anything worth doing is worth doing well? No one knows that better than horror films.

Example 1: The Overlook (or Overkill) Hotel
I had the pleasure of seeing a midnight showing of Stanley Kubrick's The Shining recently and I noticed something. Steven King, the author of the book on which the film is based, must have been dead set on the Overlook Hotel being quite possibly the most evil/cursed/haunted place on the face of the earth. Look at the facts... the Overlook Hotel was...

1. Built on an Indian Burial Ground
2. Secluded in the mountains, to ensure maximum isolation syndrome for the caretakers.
3. The site of a heinous murder in the 70's
4. Overseen by a psychic cook.
5. Most definitely haunted.

Okay, built on an Indian Burial Ground AND the site of a gruesome murder AND impossibly far from civilization? Seriously? All three? Really? It reminds me of that Friends episode where Phoebe plays with Monica's dollhouse and claims it has an attic ghost from being built on an Indian Burial Ground AND a giant radioactive dog because it was also built on a former Nuclear Power Plant.

You might be thinking that this is a one time incident... but you would be oh so wrong. King made similar claims about the house in his miniseries Rose Red. For those of you unfamiliar with Rose Red, or it's real life counterpart, the Winchester Mystery House, here's the skinny...

1. Built on an Indian Burial Ground
2. Constructed by a crazy lady to be a veritable maze of terror because she believed she was being pursued by ghosts, not surprising considering...
3. The Seance Room, which came in handy with her...
4. Maid from the Bahamas who practiced Voodoo, who was present when...
5. A little girl disappeared in the house, just like...
6. A famous actress also disappeared in the house, right next to the kitchen where...
7. Their uncle hung himself in front of the children.

There's even more, but why? Number 1 is enough reason for that house to have more ghosts than fangirls at a Twilight convention. Oh wait, now I remember... OVERKILL. Just making sure that there is no possible way for the house to be anything less than utterly terrifying.

Example 2: Just Keep Shaving
Also known as the gross out factor. This is the point in a movie where the filmmaker literally goes out of their way to make their film, bloodier, gorier, and in some cases awesomer.

I hate to beat a dead horse and I know that reference Cabin Fever all the time... but seriously let me set the scene for you. It's the end of the movie, nearly everyone's infected, and one of the remaining damsels in distress decides to shower in infected water... and shave her legs. As she shaves, her skin is literally falling off her legs... but she KEEPS SHAVING! Now what's wrong with this scene...

1. You're about to die and you decide to spend some of your last moments... in a shower? Shaving your legs? Really? Really?
2. Showers, as most of us know, use water... the same water carrying the disease. And you want to bathe in it? Really?
3. And in this moment of peril, you want to... shave your legs? Seriously?
4. Then once your skin is falling off you want to... keep shaving?

Here's a clue... STOP SHAVING! For those of you who've seen the film, you'll note a pattern of this kind of behavior. Other examples include...

1. Rider Strong performing a "Mercy Killing" with a shovel... while he's holding a gun.
2. Lighting a dying hobo on fire... again while holding a gun.
3. Hitting a deer and having it's legs shoot through the windshield and spurt blood.
4. Death via. Harmonica

Of course Cabin Fever is not the only film guilty of this rule. Zombie movies are some of the worst culprits, and even thrillers chime in once in a while, take Se7en for example. Killing someone by force feeding them til they burst? Terrifying. 6 more gruesomely creative murders... overkill... literally. Not that there's anything wrong with that.


Example 3: Why won't you die?
Jason Vorhees, Michael Meyers, Jigsaw, Predator, heck even Terminator... why the heck won't they DIE! Sequels! That's why. Consider Jason Vorhees for example...

There are 12, yes 12, films in the Friday the 13th series and Jason has been killed and resurrected multiple times. For those of you keeping track.

1. Jason supposedly drowned whilst attending Camp Crystal Lake as a child
2. He was stabbed with a machete
3. Killed as a result of an axe wound to the head.
4. Attacked and killed by his neighbor Tommy.
5. Resurrected using a fencepost as a lightning rod.
6. Chained to a boulder and left at the bottom of Crystal Lake
7. Resurrected by a psychic
8. Drowned in the lake again
9. Resurrected by an underwater electrical cable
10. Melted by toxic sewer waste
11. Resurrected again... not really explained how.
12. Killed in FBI sting
13. Manages to pass his black heart on to another being
14. Resurrected by his sister and niece
15. Stabbed with a mystical dagger, and subsequently dragged to hell
16. Unexplained resurrection
17. Cryogenically frozen and taken to space, then ejected onto Earth 2
18. Resurrected by Freddy Krueger
19. Supposedly... finally killed... until the next sequel.

Yeah... Consider this also, the 10th film in the Halloween series came out yesterday. OVERKILL

Well, that's all for now :) I'll be back with another Horror rule in the next few days.