Monday, November 3, 2008

One Blood Shake and a Side-Order of Blame

And quick please. What am I and a few other 'content creators' blogging about? Well, check out this article about a killer filmmaker. I love horror movies, thrillers and pulp...but here's part of a real story from today's newspapers:

Edmonton filmmaker heads to court in script-written murder-case


November 2, 2008 at 6:44 PM EST

EDMONTON — In a case police call a diabolically cruel convergence of art and life, local filmmaker Mark Twitchell will appear in court tomorrow charged with first-degree murder.

The 29-year-old fervid fan of the psycho-slasher TV show Dexter is accused of luring now-missing JohnnyAltinger to a garage and killing him in a scenario that resembled Mr. Twitchell's latest film project – in which a man is abducted, tortured and hacked to bits.

“We have a lot of information to suggest he definitely idolizes Dexter and a lot of information that he tried to emulate him during this incident,” alleged Edmonton police homicide Detective Mark Anstey.

Dexter, a program on the Showtime network, follows Dexter Morgan, who studies blood spatters for Miami police but leads a secret life as a serial killer, hacking up victims in the name of vigilante justice.

One recent comment on Mr. Twitchell's Facebook social networking site noted he “has way too much in common with Dexter.”

Wow!? Not since my induction into horror screenwriting, marked by a secret blood sabbath and ceremonial branding, have I seen anything more painful. Not only does this old chest-nut of blaming the usual triggers sell papers, but some actually believe it. The usual 'triggers' are blamed for someone with bad fucking wiring. In 1957 it was comic code, Rock and Roll in the 50s and 60s. Rap lyrics in the 90s and now video games, and today...Dexter. As always, the entertainment industry will see collateral damage. It's all done in the name of protecting children, but in reality it's just an insidious form of blaming something deeply troubled in an individual. While I'm sure it's true, he was obsessed with all these things, to blame a TV show is founded on ignorance, fear and dubious evidence.

Let me ask you, my fellow horrorphiles, what springs to mind when I use the word 'romance'? Knowing next to nothing about romance stories myself but full of prejudices anyway, my gut conjures up images of lurid Fabio muscles, heaving bosoms and Shatner-esque line delivery. It has hardly brought out the romantic in audiences and made them sex-starved. But another article bags to differ. This one in The Winnipeg Free Press:

Teen pregnancies tied to tastes for sexy TV shows
November 3rd, 2008
CHICAGO - Groundbreaking research suggests that pregnancy rates are much higher among teens who watch a lot of TV with sexual dialogue and behavior than among those who have tamer viewing tastes.

"Sex and the City," anyone? That was one of the shows used in the research. The new study is the first to link those viewing habits with teen pregnancy, said lead author Anita Chandra, a Rand Corp. behavioral scientist. Teens who watched the raciest shows were twice as likely to become pregnant over the next three years as those who watched few such programs.

Of course media is convenient. I'm curious to see these serial killer and sex-starved teens histories explored. Family influence (or lack of it), peer influence, inner emptiness, lack of a moral compass, economic background and histories of mental illness should be the first place to start. But for now, the entertainment industry will do. Until some journalists and 'experts' actually start REALLY exploring and actually dig further, all you can take from it is another sad case that will be forgotten in a few days. At least, until the trial where the same half-assed theories rear their ugly heads once again. Maybe it's a savage brain stew that involves all of the above. But, for me, some of us humans just aren't 'hooked-up right' and there's no figuring it out.

I think horror entertainment can empower us to endure the hardships of life, which we all face without exception, whether we be literature snobs, Trekkies, or devotees of bodice-rippers, monster-shlock, or Clue. And please do what the supposed experts cannot: take the time to separate the issues instead of lumping them together into bad journalism and histrionic jumble. Be sure to acquaint yourself with the players while your at it.

And in case your wondering and have trouble distinguishing between reality and fiction, that bit about ceremonial branding and blood sabbath was a lie based on a stereotype. Now, off on another draft of my horror script. And as one of my favourite authors, Hunter S. Thompson said, "Welcome to The New Dumb."

For other opinions go here.
And here.

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