FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Feb 17, 2010

Bloggenaire: Tim Lucas, Video WatchBlog

As I know you hang on my every word here at Final Girl, there's no doubt you recall me putting forth the call for a little social experiment last week. See, I made up a bunch of questions for my horror bloggin' brothas and sistas to answer, and I was all "If you want me to send you the questions just ask, and then you can answer them, and then I'll feature you on FG!" To my surprise, people have heeded the call! We ARE the world, my friends. If you want in, you can still get in...just follow what the French call "Les Instructions".

Now let's kick off this Bloggenaire feature with the mighty Tim Lucas of Video WatchBlog. Yes, that Tim Lucas!

1) What's the key moment that led you to click that "Start Your Blog" button?

I was impressed with what my friend Stephen R. Bissette was accomplishing with his MYRANT blog, and he told me that, for him, it was a morning rev-up exercise; he did all his blogging before breakfast and it gave him increased stamina and productivity throughout the day. He encouraged me to blog. The same day I started taking his encouragement to heart, the pun "WatchBlog" occurred to me. After that, I couldn't NOT do it.

2) Please describe your blog in no more than 3 sentences. You must include the words / phrases "morbid", "aesthetic", and "electromagnetic".

It's analogous to the impulse purchase; it's the impulse aesthetic write-up. It's more personal than my writing for VIDEO WATCHDOG, giving full vent to my electromagnetic personality, enough to be expressive but hopefully stopping short of becoming morbid. So there.

3) Bearing in mind that opinions are subjective (except mine because I'm always right), do you enjoy movies that are generally considered "bad"? Why or why not?

To me, bad movies are like another seasoning on the spice rack. Just like I have moods when I want to watch something scary or funny, inspiring or stupid, sometimes it's useful to contrast high art with something woefully or amusingly incompetent -- didn't someone once say that, without bad taste, there'd be no taste at all? Actually, it's not impossible to find good ideas or a haunting image in an overall piece of crap. Some of my most rewarding viewing experiences have come out of taking another look at movies or directors whose work initially repelled me. Very often the fault lies with us and our set ways of looking at things. One of my main concepts as a critic is that no one sets out to make a bad movie. Just because most people think a movie is bad does not mean I have to respect their opinion; most people also pick who runs our country.

4) Did you know that there exists one variety of carnivorous parrot? It's true. They live in the mountains of New Zealand, and they eat the fat surrounding the kidneys of sheep- WHILE THE SHEEP ARE ALIVE. It's horrible.


5) What's the one- ONE- horror movie you love so much you want to stick it down your pants?

I love a lot of horror movies that wouldn't provoke that particular reaction. If I had to pick one - ONE - that would, I guess it would be Fellini's TOBY DAMMIT. That wildly careening Ferrari would probably feel pretty good down there.

6) Adrienne Barbeau. Discuss.

Sassy, stacked, authoritative actress of Armenian descent, especially adept (I find) at comedy and supporting roles. I like her, I've seen her naked, but she's curiously lacking that X factor that would make me want to -- to pick a handy simile of approval -- stick her down my pants. I know lots of folks feel otherwise, and that should keep her plenty busy.

7) Why should people bother to read your blog?

Not only is it twice award-winning, it's free, and people usually pay to read what I think. Truth be told, I have actually given more to my blog than I've given to most of my paying gigs.

8) Where does Jigsaw get all the money he needs to build all those traps and buy all that warehouse space? Better yet, does he have some sort of engineering background? He must, right, if he designs all that crap?

He manages a Home Depot on the side. His father designed the Mouse Trap game for Milton Bradley, so it's in his genes. No, not in his jeans -- his GENES.

9) Several theories regarding the reasons why people would subject themselves to watching horror films (when they're so, you know, traumatic) exist. Of the following, which is closest in line with your feelings on and reactions to the genre? Feel free to elaborate. Or don't, see if I care.

a) RELIEF THEORY: The unpleasant feelings of distress cause more stimulating feelings of relief when the unpleasantness passes- the stressed arousal caused by fear becomes pleasurable arousal later on.
b) CONTINUOUS REWARD: The excitement felt during the film is the appeal in and of itself.
1) Stereotypical gender roles are reinforced: men act as protectors, women need protection.
2) Violating social norms- watching "deviant" entertainment- is exciting.
3) Experiencing heightened emotions with others makes us feel like we "belong" and we're truly part of a group.

I think the real hardcore horror fans are subconsciously using them to deal with some layer of subconscious, unprocessed pain. Everyone expresses that pain differently -- as anger, as a quest for strange beauty, as fetish eroticism. I grew up with a dead father and single mother, who happened to be schizophrenic, and without a stable home. I moved from one abusive foster home to another between the ages of 4 and 8. So I think I was thrown in the deep end at birth, and familiar with monsters from the git-go; the movies gave me the space to better understand and sympathize with their monstrosity. I also had an inborn sense of offbeat aesthetics (to return to that manditory word); the first picture I ever took with a camera, I turned the camera on it's side. I was three and I invented the Dutch angle. Horror movies present and formulate kinds of beauty you can't find anywhere else.

10) Which year produced better horror movies: 1977 or 1981? Why?

My first answer to that question would be 1966. My second answer would be 1981, probably because the MPAA rating system became less intrusive around that time, and because filmmakers had been liberated by the arrival of the "unrated" option. I'm thinking specifically of that great influx of Fulci movies that was happening around then. Also, by 1981, home video was starting to explode so you could actually see movies you'd only heard of before. BLOOD FEAST and THE CORPSE GRINDERS, for example.

Tim Lucas: blogger, thoughtful fellow

11) What the eff is up with those French and their crazy horror flicks?

I'm sure it's something to do with snails and Bataille. Actually le fantastique originated with the French, so they have simultaneously taken the genre conceptually farther than anyone, while at the same time having less money to spend than anyone, so they give us a bizarre mutant head cheese of horror. But I will never stop kissing their feet for giving us Édith Scob, Joelle Coeur and Myriem Roussel, among so many autres.

12) What's your favorite Animals Run Amok movie?

A tie: ZAZIE DANS LE METRO, or the opening titles of The Banana Splits Show.

13) If Jason Voorhees is on a train heading east at 80mph and Leatherface is on a train heading west at 65mph…why the hell would anyone ever watch Rob Zombie's Halloween?

They're kegged up, unable or uninterested in following a new story, and will gladly sub tits and blood.

14) What are your funereal wishes?

No men allowed. I want only the women who loved me to attend, and I want three songs played: Françoise Hardy's "Le Danger","Jill's America" from ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, and -- as I'm carried away -- "Telstar" by The Tornadoes.

15) Why do I have such a fondness for Shelley Hack? It's not like she's really done much to deserve it, but there it is.

Because she uses Charlie.

16) You're on a sinking ghost ship that's being piloted by a witch. What are your last words?

"Wait! I still haven't seen LONDON AFTER MID-glubglubglub...!"

17) Asking about your funereal wishes and your last words means nothing, I swear.

I was actually reading more into the Shelley Hack question.

18) Do you know where I can get some lye?

I lead a sheltered life, honeychile. I don't even know where you can get laid.

19) Weren't you glad when THAT JERK in THAT HORROR MOVIE got what was coming to him?

As much as I enjoyed him, I was so glad when Bill Paxton finally shut up in ALIENS.

20) Overall, what’s your favorite era of horror films?

The 1960s. Not just because I grew up in them, but because the genre grew up in them.

21) Would you rather be:
1) a vampire
2) a witch/warlock
3) a werewolf
4) a Frankenstein (and yes, I know technically it’s “Frankenstein’s monster” but “a Frankenstein” sounds better)
5) a Jaws

I don't want to drink blood, I do what has to be done to keep hair off my face, and I don't want to smell dead and never change clothes. I do read tarot cards and Doctor Strange comics, and I like to swim, so either 2 or 5. Ideally, I'd alternate days, 'cause I wouldn't want to swim all the time. In a pinch, I'd settle for 2.

22) If you could turn back time- if you could find a way- would you take back those words that hurt me, so I’d stay?

That depends, Stacie. If you could reach the stars, would you give them all to me - and love me, love me like you used to do?

23) What's something you want people to know about you or your blog that I didn't ask?

I actually blog very little these days.


Big thanks to Mr. Lucas! Kids, keep your dial set to Final Girl for another exciting episode of...THE BLOGGENAIRES!


The Mike said...

Wow, I thought I was clever when I thought of the Mouse Trap thing.

Great read!

Arbogast said...

The comment about the French is, how you say, priceless!

Scare Sarah said...

Thanks for bringing!

CashBailey said...

Tim Lucas is a Man-God.

His Bava book is a thing of true beauty, and worth every cent you have to pay for it.

Max the drunken severed head said...

This is one of the best interviews I have ever read! Informative AND funny!