Midnight Madness Blog

- 2008
- 2007

Horror as a Political Platform


What really disturbs and inspires modern horror directors?

Surely they've been desensitized by the over saturation of violence in our culture, correct? Well, they should be!

Anyhow, once you get used to the massive amounts of dyed Karo syrup and foam latex body parts, the only way to keep yourself motivated to sustain bone chilling horror is to take a quick look around and soak in what's really
really wrong with the world... Besides the fact that you're lavishly exploiting situations of human torment (Hey! You're here aren't you? Don't judge! Or maybe make a film about judging.)

It's at this point this often socially shunned genre takes on an ironic quality... A message! (other than don't go up those stairs, don't get into a stranger's car, don't eat random sticky things from the Ryerson University Theater's floor etc)

Yep, all the best horror films have 'em. Even the best Troma flicks (Don't give up the fight for truly independent cinema!)

In Xavier Gens's nightmarish vision of the not so distant future, a group of teens are on the run from the authorities of a newly elected extreme right wing government.

The film explores both the macro and the micro of this cultural worst-case scenario;

starting with some explosive scenes of civilian rioting in the big city, before tightening its focus; examining the ideals and philosophies of a demented family of extremists in the country side.

On the surface, the film plays out like a kinetically charged homage to french slasher Haute Tension meets The Texas Chainsaw Massacre...

But the driving force behind it is its scathing social commentary; Xavier Gens slices his rotary saw blades into racism, sexism and nationalism-- the sum total of ignorance; from which, apparently, there is no escape.

So you've got ask yourself: What's really scary? Getting your Achilles Tendons snipped, or sending your kids to a Nazi endorsed public school?

Thankfully both.

Expect more satire in tonight's premiere of "Diary of the Dead" which is George Romero's commentary of the inept response to the aftermath of hurricane Katrina.

By Darryl Shaw