Sunday, October 21, 2012

Horror Movies Kill!

It’s true; watching horror flicks kills… but so does everything else you watch on TV.  Apparently, every hour you spend watching TV over the age of 25 shortens your life expectancy by 21.8 minutes.  (Source)  (By comparison, every cigarette you smoke shortens your life expectancy by 11 minutes… so it’s two smokes or one hour of TV.)  So, now every time I sit down to watch a movie, I have to ask myself, “Well, I want to watch this, but is it worth trading off 44 minutes of my life for?”

Well… this week I killed myself 100 minutes sooner by watching James Whale and Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein and Stephen Spielberg’s Duel.  All three are great movies, so I think they were probably worth the 44 minutes. 

Bride is certainly an amazing and film.  The first Frankenstein is quite good, but the sequel surpassed it… largely b/c Whale didn’t want to do a sequel, so to get him to do it the studio gave him carte blanche.  He took it and ran w/ it.  Bride slips an amazing amount of sacrilege past the 1930s censors.  There’s plenty of religious imagery in it… but even the structure of the plot is an inverted Passion Play: First the Monster is resurrected, then he’s crucified, then imprisoned, then he eats a last supper where he says “Bread good! Wine good!”  Then he meets the Mephisto-figure, Dr. Pretorius, who successfully tempts him by offering him a wife.  Pretorius offers the famous toast: “To a new world of gods and monsters!”

For something a little more recent, I traded 33 minutes of life expectancy to watch Duel.  It’s a great thriller built around the urban legend of a mad truck driver who runs down randomly selected motorists.  Midway through, the protagonist utters a great bit of monologue:

“Well, you never just never know. You just go along figuring some things don't change ever, like being able to drive on a public highway without someone trying to murder you. And then one stupid thing happens. Twenty, twenty-five minutes out of your whole life, and all the ropes that kept you hanging in there get cut loose, and it's like, there you are, right back in the jungle again.” 

That’s the essence of the of the Hitchcock-style thriller: the ordinary everyman suddenly finds the bottom falls out of normal, predictable, civilized life… and you’re “back in the jungle again.”

Duel I had to watch on my own (this saving my Owner 33 minutes of her life).  Ma’am won’t watch that movie w/ me.  The Kitten once got hit by a semi – her car crushed between the semi and a guard wall, totaled the car and cracked her sternum.  She still tenses up when she drives next to a semi (mild PTSD).  So for her watching Duel is, I guess, like guys who've seen combat watching a war movie.  She watched once w/ me years ago and said, never again!

Outside of the Halloween film fest... it's been warm enough to do some motorcycle riding, and I'm going to go out again today.  Not sure how that effects my life expectancy...  I'll try to avoid any mad truckers.

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