I’ve discovered scary movies late in life: I still don’t love the ones where people’s heads are being used as punch bowls, but I don’t mind the occasional (tasteful) blood bath. This doesn’t sound that earth-shattering unless you appreciate that my childhood aversion to horror movies was less a dislike than a full-blown mental disorder.
All my neuroses, I like to think, are a result of early exposure to the genre, although apparently I was already messed up in utero: Legend has it I came out wearing a cravat saying, “I’d kill for a stiff drink – the interior decoration in that joint was apalling.” That never happened, but there have been several other signs of mental fragility, and since my parents are both fairly normal, most people assume the apple kind of projectiled off the tree and rolled down a hill into a ditch somewhere far, far away.
Abnormalities aside, I don’t think I’m the only kid that’s been traumatised by watching these films at a young age. I’m not sure what the go is now at primary school parties, but in my day it almost always involved watching a horror movie at the end of the night, which meant that I had to sit in the toilet for the last few hours singing the theme tune to “Pirates of Penzance” until someone picked me up.
In the interest of upcoming generations, I’ve devised some not-so-scary alternatives to the classics. Basically, I’ve left the chilli in and removed the seeds. (It’s a rubbish analogy but I’ve lost my creative mojo after reading about things like Wittgenstein’s notion of the essentially philosphical nature of humour): let’s just say that the guy wouldn’t survive on the comedy circuit.
A Nightmare on Oak Street.
Running parallel to Elm Street, Oak street is the birthplace of acne-riddled Frederico Kruger, a lonely Hispanic boy with scissors for hands. His dreams of becoming a proctologist in tatters, he now uses his digits for other pursuits, such as decoupage and paper tole.
The Sixth Pence
What happened to my career?
Impoverished Jewish girl in Dickensian London spends five pence on a box of matches before blowing the remaining one on a pack of Twisties. Fagan takes her into his pack of car thieves, and not long after, she and Oliver Twist run off to Vegas to get hitched. Six months later, he swaps her for a bowl of porridge. “Moving”, “genre-defying” and “courageous”, this anachronistic masterpiece will leave moviegoers worldwide saying “please sir may I have some more.”
Snakes on a Train (in Maine)
Continuing his obsession with abstract titles, the director of “Snakes on a Plane” brings us “Snakes on a Train in Maine.” The plot is as follows: a guy from New England finds two snakes on a train, throws them out of the carriage and the movie ends just after the opening credits. A lesson David Ellis could have profited from the first time round.
Do not be fooled by Elizabethtown’s location in the “rom-com” section. Noone who has laboured through the original will deny its capacity for inflicting trauma on the least discerning of movie critics. My re-imagined offering, “Dullsville”, centres around a group of townsfolk forced to sit in a darkened room watching Elizabethtown on repeat while being forcefed biltong. (While the premise may be equally chilling as the original, no clips from the 2003 film are featured.)
Friday 31st: Hockey just got real mixed up.
Dyslexic Jason Vorhees misreads his hockey grand final date (Friday 13th), turning up weeks later on the 31st. Still reeling from the truancy of their star player, his embittered team mates beat him with pucks, one of which hits his temple, claiming his life. Frederico Kreuger makes paper chains for his funeral.
The Chair Switch Project
Somebody picks up one chair and switches it with another. Nothing happens in this minimalist masterpiece, much like the original.
Linda Blair is just a normal girl, or is she? She isn’t, and her mother is worried. With only a collection of stamps and an elderly mailman for friends, Blair starts to exhibit increasingly bizarre behaviour, one of which is watching season 1 through 8 of Gilmore Girls. A priest is called and burns every copy at the house as well as those in all DVD stores within an 8 mile radius. Slowly recovering, her fetish for philately reawakened, she falls in love with the mailman but dies shortly thereafter from spinal injuries originating in her neck. She donates her collection to the Gilmore Girl recovery centre in Nevada.
See now… isn’t that nice? Now I’ve just to figure out a plot for “When Carrie met Sally.” *
*All contributions considered.