Tuesday, 13 April 2010

the horror, the horror

the end of today brought with it a chilling fact - i have three evenings now to tie up the remaining parts of the album.

not three days, three evenings. fifteen hours maximum, not even factoring in time for the optional extras like making dinner. still, things are shaping up okay, i have a couple of minor adjustments to make to 'Toil' and i still have to try and make 'Singalong' sound vaguely good after a couple of grumbles from the crew now affectionately known as Team Grope.

speaking of the Gropers, shame on me for doubting Kev and Jacqui, they had it in hand the whole time. just three more days to go and their work will be done, and their names forever written onto the plaque of gratitude that hangs in some imaginary hall somewhere in a mansion i don't own.

i'm shitting a brick.

so i'm going to distract myself, having just finished for the day at 1am, due to resume tomorrow. if that's not a horror, then consider this:

i recently got a chance to finally watch Paranormal Activity, until recently my brother's choice of shriek-inducing horror. i was excited given the reports. here we go though: film achieves cult status, filmed on a low budget, won some critical awards, mostly video camera footage, a lot of hype, 'human' (read: unlikeable) characters, otherworldly plot, suspense building to six or so seconds of excitem--

i could be talking about the Blair Witch Project, and you can remember how that turned out. yep, shitty. for five seconds of PA i was totally sold, then the credits rolled, all the best bits prior to that being the stuff i knew was going to happen thanks to the trailers.

rather embarrassingly, do you know what the scariest film i've ever seen is? i kid you not, but it's The Grudge 2. no, not even the Japanese one, the Hollywood one, widely regarding as a steaming pile of crap (see IMDB: 4.6/10 - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0433386/). the reason for my liking it is probably people's main reason not to like it: it has no point whatsoever.

the first Hollywood Grudge film was a straight (and shit) remake of the japanese film Ju-On - same director, i think, just changed for the mainstream. Grudge 2, meanwhile, was a mixture of bits of Ju-On 2 and the proposed but never completed Ju-On 3 which was sacrificed in order to get G2 done. the result is a plot which makes no sense, starts weird, continues weird, ends weird but scares well. the supernatural beast is the same we got to know in the first one, but in this film it branches out to levels that are just never explained. contrast that with PA's demon and demonology, and at every step there's a clear reason for what's happening. there's no mystery, there's too much reason. since when have demons been reasonable.

also Sarah Michelle Gellar dies in The Grudge 2, which is a fucking brilliant idea that should happen in every single film.

honourable mention then goes to a film i saw shortly afterwards, The Mist. it's based on a Steven King novella, which guarantees nothing. it's a low budget, quite poorly acted b-movie masterpiece again featuring the supernatural, with little explanation at the start as to what the hell is going on, though we're fed a tiny part of what's happened later on. but again, merciless beasts that don't seem to obey reason or have purpose, coupled with an ending that switches from supernatural horror to a much more emotional horror, and then smashes you in the mouth with an ending that would be gutting if it wasn't so hilariously brilliant.

okay, okay, i'm overselling it now, it wasn't brilliant, but it was solid and i like its style. so what have we learned? that sometimes good horror comes from not understanding why the horror exists, what it's up to or what it wants.

which brings me to not a film, but a book: House Of Leaves. i finished reading this recently after it crippled the minds of [edit] radio's Kev Lawson and nu-folk's own Jim Lockey, as well, i found out later, as my buddy Steve Sharman, who works in a mental institute and sees some scary shit. if you look into his eyes you'll see it. once i saw what it did, i had to know why, but half of the book's power is not knowing why. it takes the idea of a supernatural beast and replaces it with a house. yep, a house. no, not a haunted house, as such, but an entity that is a house. maybe. it's never explained, that part.

i'll try and explain, it's a book written from the viewpoint of a character, going through the notes of a deceased old man who is explaining the events captured in a documentary that he claims doesn't exist, which itself documents a house which doesn't obey the laws of basic physical space as we know them, and may or may not be possessed, or serve a purpose. footnotes are scattered everywhere as the tales spin-off onto a tangent, followed by some textbook-like theory, followed by snippets recounting the documentary (which is told like the 'story') which will then give you just enough information about the events which are either about to happen or will eventually happen, only not enough information to piece together a) why this is happening, b) how this event concludes or c) when down the line it occurs.

it's a masterclass in storytelling, and undeniably rewarding, even if the continued
manipulation of space and time will leave you genuinely wondering
about the intentions of your own house, not
to mention incredible art direction
where appropriate descents
are represented

not to mention


all too often leaving you with endless burning questions as to the whys and hows, which quite remarkably by the end you won't mind if they're answered or not, such is the twisting experience along the way.


true horror. it's all about the lack of understanding, the inability to comprehend the nature of its existence and the complete uncertainty as to whether there's a way to master the threat.

which all ties back to my progress with the album quite well, don't you think?

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