People often wonder what got a little gore
whore like me interested in horror movies. I like to tell them that it
all started with a mechanical shark named Bruce. That's right: Jaws was
the first horror movie to capture my blackening little heart, and it has
remained in my top 20 list ever since.
I would go over next door to my
best friend Joey's house and we would sit there, in slack-jawed fascination as
the giant killer shark terrorized the beaches of Amity again and again.
Further down the line, I discovered vampire
movies, which has become one of my favorite subgenres, my current favorite of
the theme being Interview with the Vampire. However, for
your own sake, do not ask me my opinion of the shockingly successful
movie/book, Twilight—unless you have an hour to
waste as I rant.
This love of horror has led me to join the
campus Horror Club, of which I am the current president. While my favorite genre is vampire
movies, one of my least favorite is these new “handy-cam” movies, in which
supposedly “found” footage is presented in all its grainy,
motion-sickness-indusing glory (think The Blair Witch Project andParanormal
Activity). I know this is a really hot genre right now, but I just
can’t seem to get into it. Maybe it’s the way it devalues genuine paranormal
experiences (at one time, I thought seriously of becoming a parapsychologist or
paranormal investigator). You can only see shaky cam versions of possession,
alien abductions and other paranormal experiences before you end up saying,
“that’s not real” and “this could never happen.” It further insulates natural
disbelief in things outside the realm of possibilities, in my opinion.
Another horror genre that I despise and which,
unfortunately, shows no signs of stopping, is the horror remake. Now, don’t get
me wrong, there have been some very nice remakes—David Cronenburg’s The
Fly, John Carpenter’s The Thing (yes non-horror freaks, it has already
been remade) and Paul Schrader’s Cat People come to mind—but seriously Hollywood,
enough is enough.
What new directors of remakes don’t seem to
understand is that some of the stuff they’re taking out in order to make the
films “edgier” or accessible to the new generation, is exactly the magical
ingredient that made the movie in the first place. Take, for example, the
remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street— the new
director and people in charge decided that they needed to make things “darker”
and decided to directly address the elephant in the room of all the previous Nightmare incarnations: the fact that its iconic
boogeyman, Freddy Krueger, was a child molester and child murderer. Now, this
is pretty heavy stuff which, previous to the remake, was mere subtext to the
Freddy Krueger would probably never have become
the Elvis of the horror genre if this touchy subject had been met full on. What
we originally had, instead of a creepy genuinely hated villain is one which has
become a household name and a pop icon in his own right. The thing that makes
Krueger unique among slasher villains of the 80s is that he spoke to his
victims— not only spoke to them but taunted them with his own strange blend of
intimidation and one liner jokes. Give me actor Robert Englund as Freddy with
his lame jokes over this ultimate pedophile Freddy Krueger any day.
Another thing that remakes (especially horror
remakes) do that is annoying is this: the overexplanation of the character’s
background/situation. They seem to feel the need to psychoanalize even these
fictional psychopaths. This can be best illustrated with Rob Zombie’s version
of John Carpenter’s classic horror movie, Halloween. While Zombie admittedly added
some novel touches to the storyline, it seemed as if half of the movie was
spent following budding psycho Michael Myers around throughout his screwed up
childhood, so we’d know exactly why he grew up to become a monster.
However, one of the key points and one of the
greater charms of the first movie (at least in my opinion) was the fact that
you didn’t know why he was doing it—why he broke out of the the insane asylum
and drove hundreds of miles back to his hometown, why he decided to kill again
and why he targeted this particular group of friends. All this ambiguity led up
to the film’s iconic parting shot: “He was the boogeyman.” “As a matter of
fact, he was.”
So, I guess my unheard plea to up and coming horror directors would be
this: be original, because it’s true what they say—you shouldn’t mess with
perfection. Let the children of this generation either rediscover the old
classics, or let them create their own, but leave the cimematic legacies of the
past in the past, where they belong.
Whether it’s the films she watches, the books
she reads, or the art she creates, Veronica Jourdain has always shown an
interest in the horror genre.
At 29, Jourdain, who cites Anne Rice as one of
her favorite authors, recently wrote a short story involving the Legend of the
Bigfoot entitled “Missing Link.”
“I’ve always had an interest in cryptozoology and
the paranormal,” she says.
Jourdain once had a paranormal experience that involved a shadowy figure that
followed along side of the car in which she was a passenger.
“It wasn’t an earth-shattering experience,” she
says. “Just one of those experiences that can’t really be explained.”
Jourdain plans to continue creating art based
in horror and to discover evidence proving the legends she writes about
In addition to her position as president of IAIA’s Horror Club, Veronica
also is a writer for the student newspaper, The
Chronicle, and takes a look at the ghostly legends of
the campus for its Halloween edition.