Most every horror fan has heard, at one time or another, some variation of the questions, “Why do you watch that crap?” Sometimes it’s more accusatory, “How can you watch that kind of crap?” Or maybe it’s: “You’re a whack job.” Once I even got, “So, you like horror movies, huh? Wow, that’s an ugly shirt.” I realize that’s not a statement about horror movies, necessarily, but I was irritated nonetheless: My shirt rocked!
See, an enjoyment of scary movies is often equated with negatives from general perversion, to a lack of intelligence, to bad fashion sense. It’s not just fans that are unfairly maligned, either. As genre master John Carpenter quipped in the June 2000 issue of Fangoria, “If you direct my kind of pictures, you are kind of a ghettoized guy anyway. Horror directors are a little above pornographers. Just a hair.”
Well, kids, I’m here to prove the naysayers wrong, to show that even though I dig fright flicks, I’m still capable of deep thoughts.
I spend most of my days exercising my brain with scientific ponderables such as string theory, or philosophical musings like, “If a tree falls in the forest and only Helen Keller is around, does the tree make a sound?” Then I’ll bring it around to horror with something like, “Since Jason Voorhees has died and been brought back to life, does that technically make him a zombie in Friday the 13th, Part 6 and onward? For that matter, is Frankenstein’s monster a zombie? Is there a difference between a zombie and a reanimated corpse? Of course, I mean a George Romero-style zombie, not, like, a voodoo zombie which is another matter entirely.” Then I snap out of it and realize that I’ve been talking to myself for 15 minutes and people are beginning to stare and back away.
Recently I engaged in a debate… err, with myself… regarding whether or not paper is 2D or 3D. In the end, I decided that paper is, in fact, 3D; though its width is negligible, it’s still there. Stack a bunch of pieces atop one another and you’ll prove it.
Right about now you’re saying to yourself “What does any of this have to do with anything, and…dear lord, is Stacie drunk?” That’s neither here nor there. My point is, aren’t 3D horror movies effing awesome?
A Quick History of 3D
Though 3D movies have been around nearly as long as motion pictures themselves (patents were sought as early as the 1890), horror began popping off the screen in the medium’s heyday, the 1950s. Whether it was animals-run-amok action style ( Bwana Devil ), comedy style (Spooks! featuring The Three Stooges), sci-fi style ( It Came From Outer Space ), or plain old monster style ( Revenge of the Creature ), audiences were getting their scare on while wearing dorky cardboard and cellophane glasses. Heck, even Alfred Hitchcock got in on as Grace Kelly felt three dimensions of strangulation in Dial M for Murder .
Eventually the public grew tired of the gimmick, much as they do with any other fad or craze. Just hit up your local thrift store and see how many Thigh Masters and Macarena CDs have been “generously” donated. Despite some exploitation flicks making use of the technology, most notably 1969’s The Stewardesses (which would go on to bank over $100 million; never underestimate the power of 3D boobs), audiences had had enough of those red and blue glasses.
The Return of 3D
It all came around again in the 1980s, when horror fans were treated to three-dimensional monsters (Parasite), sharks (Jaws 3D), evil houses ( Amityville 3D ), and, perhaps most famously, a three-dimensional Jason ( Friday the 13th Part 3D ). Who could ever forget all of Mr. Voorhees’s gross antics, like the eyeball that flies out of both poor Rick’s head and the screen? Or the other eyeball, offered up to the audience by the crazy doomsayin’ townsperson? That’s cinematic gold, people.
I was lucky enough to catch Friday the 13th Part 3 late last year in all its multi-dimensional glory at a 25th anniversary screening. I put on those dorky glasses and I was like a kid in a candy store, sporting a big goofy grin the entire time. Of course, the fact that the movie is over 25 years old made me feel old — I remember seeing it during its original run… but then I had a Crystal Pepsi and regained my youthful vigor just like that.
I loves me some 3D. It’s just the most ridiculous, best thing ever. Lucky for me,the fad is making yet another comeback: The forthcoming remake of My Bloody Valentine is said to be a 3D effort, Final Destination 4 too. One of my favorite franchises and one of my favorite gimmicks are now two great tastes that are going to taste so frickin’ great together. Look for me at the theater on opening night — I’ll be the one with the big goofy grin and the dorky glasses. If you catch me saying to myself, “Hmm…are lemons inherently sour or is that simply the way my tongue interprets them?” please don’t stare. I’m being deep.Read More