Thursday, 27 July 2017

My George A. Romero Wake

I had a little wake for George A. Romero on my own, in the shed. He was a big chap for me and many others who were formed in the 80's. Were the 80's the heyday of horror? I don't know, but it's a thing...not necessarily a true thing, but a thing.

Romero was zombies. I quite like zombies. Cute, bits falling off, all shambly and oooooharrrg - teenagers without all the attitude. If the 80's were the heyday of horror, perhaps this is the heyday of the zombie - right here and now. And that's Romero, isn't it? The Walking Dead, 28 Days Later, Shaun of the Dead, Juan of the Dead (brilliant Cuban zombie romp), and on, and on...zombies are entrenched in modern popular culture and Romero's the father of all that and a bag of doggy biscuits. As a legacy he left us a great big zombie baby and it's growing at an alarming rate.

Romero's favourites of mine, though, were Creepshow, Monkey Shines, and The Crazies...I watched Creepshow at the end of the week as a final salute, but plenty of you have seen that, and this isn't about movies, per se...this little post is about how I felt about them.

This was my week of horror movies - my Diary of the Dead...hohoho.

Day One - Sunday: I have a confession to make - I don't like horror movies. I don't enjoy be grossed out, freaked out, or bored. Sometimes I appreciate horror movies - the construction, the acting, the vibe...but very rarely do I 'enjoy' them.

I started off light, like warming up for a working out I didn't want to do, and watched 'Scary Movie'. The idea, this week, was to force myself to watch movies I'd never seen, and force myself to watch them beginning to end whether I was enjoying them or not. Scary Movie sucked. Building up to a slightly heavier set, I watched 'Cabin in the Woods'. I didn't know anything about it, and going in after 'Scary Movies' I found it pleasantly enjoyable, and shouting at the TV for the characters to die. Overall, it was a good day. Scary Movie 1/10 if I'd been a teenager. Cabin, 7/10. I surprised myself, thinking I didn't like horror movies and frankly enjoying Cabin - proved myself wrong straight off the bat.

Monday: 'Viral'. Cheap and cheerful, mildly annoying characters, and a maddening refusal for most of them to die. I enjoyed it well enough, though. I'll give it a 6/10.

Tuesday: Stupid movie day. Further confession - I've torn my shoulder and couldn't be bothered to search for a movie, so I just watched what I could on Netflix. 'Funhouse Massacre' and 'Cockneys vs Zombies'. Both absolutely shit, hence my enjoyment factor was multiplied by two as I generally like shit movies as long as they're watchable. 2/10 on face value, with a x2 multiplier for campy-shitness rounding them up to a 4/10.

Wednesday: Freddie vs Jason. I watched this for nostalgia, more than enjoyment. It was fine. Middle of the road. 5/10. I followed it up with 'Let us Prey'. I tend to quite like anything from the Irish Film Board, and I really enjoy Liam Cunningham. It was daft, over the top, and very watchable. I'm giving it a 7/10. One of the better nights in my horror week.

Thursday: Jaded, I think. I searched in vain for something on Netflix I could be bothered to watch. I tried 'House of the Dead II' just because I quite like stupid video game adaptations, but it was unbelievably dire. I like 'Resident Evil', even 'Doom'...they're just fun. This, however, wasn't. I said earlier about the Irish Film Board, who were behind 'Stitches'. I tried it and hated every single character so much I turned it off. I watched 'The Void' after that. The set up was great, the effects, the pace...but my god. The dialogue and script were so awful it killed it. I didn't watch either to the end, and Thursday was a bust, and nearly broke the week for me. So, after resolving to watch every film this week 'til the end, I failed three for three.

Friday: At this point, I didn't have the stomach for anything horror, or a movie at all. I ended up watching 'The Tournament', for no reason at all. It was watchable (Robert Carlyle, Kelly Hu and Ving Rhames - and Liam Cunningham, again). Nice change of scene. 6 or 7/10.

Saturday: Thinking about how I felt about horror. Loads of other films to watch, but honestly? I enjoy writing horror, but watching horror feels a little like a busman's holiday. I don't want to watch most of the things other people watch and rave about. I like sci-fi, and action, and comedy, and for preference in the horror field - comedy horror, or cheesy horror...overwhelming dread and unrelenting misery just aren't my bag. I thought about a rewatch of something funny (Tucker and Dale vs Evil, Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, Final Girls) but watch this instead:

I've been thinking about horror the whole week. That's what a wake is, isn't it? A farewell, but a chance to reflect, too. A farewell to Romero, certainly.

It's not a dead genre. It's flourishing. Novelists like me struggle, maybe, but the horror genre (with regard to movies and games in particular) is massive and shows no sign atrophy.

Shame for me, good for many others.

Saturday night, after Creepshow, I turned off the PC gratefully, sank into my armchair with Joe Hill's 'The Fireman', and for the first time in a week enjoyed something with no reservations, no qualms, and no expectations at all.

Love you x

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