Just keep your rabid clowns at bay and we’ve got a deal, hear me?

Sometimes you revisit an activity you thought lost to the ages and rediscover something inside yourself. Do you ever do something and remember wait, at one point that was a significant part of my personality? What happens? I know we’re complex beings with a nigh-infinite multitude of experiences that open before us year by year, but how many fundamentals can your being be composed of? Is this why it often feels overwhelming to try and boil your core essence down into digestible labels for people? What good are a few choice words to encapsulate our existence? At least make them German compound words. Every once in a while I might do something and revisit a version of myself long lost. I’ll pick up a pool cue and think that’s right, I love this game or hear a snippet of anime chatter and think back to my teen obsession.

I forgot how much I love horror films. As a kid I devoured them. The cheesier the better. I’d go through old Stephen King movies, Candyman, consumptive blobs, aliens, vampires, Puppet MasterTales From The Crypt, fleeing teenagers or anything with a weapon for a hand. Was it a Friday night? You can bet your sweet asp I’d be looking at the video store for something with fangs. It was never based on fright, I just adored monster designs. Still do. Teeth and claws, strange spinal alignments, acid spewing, carnivorous creatures. If it can dismember or devour, I’m usually a fan. When I watched, since fear wasn’t the objective, I wanted to see how they’d bend the conventions of the medium to their will. How would things pay off down the line? Would I end up cheering the predators or victims? How many cool, creepy, gory, violent things could be crammed into 90 minutes? Would the world of the film be fun enough to buy into? What rules would they establish around their villain to ensnare the imperilled bystanders? I was thrilled to play along and guess the outcome.

What happened? Well things got homogeneous for a while. When innovation ceased in the mainstream (I wasn’t dedicated enough to seek out the good stuff), so did my involvement. During my absence though, the scene has flourished. 15+ years of filmmaking mean that I couldn’t see all the great flicks now even if I chose to. Could I be in a better position? I need a posse to get together and commit to watching a ton as a personal project. I don’t like watching these films by myself. It feels pointless without excitement in the room. You want others to feed off, to hear the laughter of others and engage in that electric suspense that people in close quarters emit. When you’re alone it’s all too easy to get distracted and split your focus. Company forces you to pay attention, to invest.

How did I come by this revelation anyway? I’m talking a lot of tripe (as I do. It’s kind of my M.O. here) with no supporting motivation. Well I finally visited Open Roof Festival. A screening of It Follows in the summer niiiiii-hiiiiiights reignited that long lost passion. Enough people had been trumpeting its praises that I figured it worth heading along. It was. Egads it was. A creepy, vile premise that was so easy to insert your hypothetical self into. What would I do if I got infected? The rules were laid out and they played around with them a ton. Brilliant. Being surrounded by the buzz of an outdoor audience didn’t hurt none either.

I’ve been assigned a few films to catch up on and I fully intend to do so. The Babadook has gathered so much acclaim that I’d be a dolt not to watch. The Guest and You’re Next from the writer/director combo of Simon Barrett and Adam Wingard have reached my ears too often to ignore. Doesn’t Rec have a ton of sequels now? I’m almost loathe to seek out suggestions, because I know with my friends I’ll get a list of 50 essential films. Then again, isn’t that the goal? I could rank them by IMDB score and start from the top. Get regular sessions going. If I’m so jazzed about rediscovering part of myself, why let it die out?

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