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!

Apr 20, 2010

Bloggenaire: Max Cheney Considine, The Drunken Severed Head

Ugh. My dear dudes, dudettes, and 'tweeners, I know I've been remiss in posting these Bloggenaires. I have no excuse. None! I won't even pretend to have one, although I'm tempted to make something up about...I don't know. Something about wigs. Mehhh, I got nothin', so it's best to get the Bloggenaire ball rolling again with the winner of the 8th Annual Rondo Award for Best Blog, Max the Drunken Severed Head of...The Drunken Severed Head! Don't ask how he types.

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

I can't remember the exact moment, but several things came together. I was a co-moderator at a Yahoo group called the Universal Monster Army, and was having a blast talking about old horror movies, monster movie toys and memorabilia, weird news, and generally cracking wise. Also, I had started doing interviews to share at the UMA-- with folks like Ted Newsom, creator of the "100 Years of Horror" series. And everyone was starting a blog. So I thought I could too, and jumped on the bandwagon. And why not? I like both music and being driven!

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

My blog is viewed through electromagnetic impulses that create a picture on a monitor, sending out waves that soften and numb the brain. This anesthetic aesthetic both lessens and enhances the morbid aspects of my posts, much as vermouth cuts and sweetens the gin in a martini.

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?

Well, horror, sci-fi, and fantasy films were long considered junk movies. Many of my favorite flickers have had someone say they're "bad." (Yes, I said "flickers"-- I love me that alliteration, no matter how outta date I gotta be!)

I've enjoyed LOTS of bad movies, where ineptness in writing, cheap production values, and bad acting provides unintended, but socko entertainment! Just as long as the pace is quick enough to compensate for those deficiencies. I just don't admire bad movies for their shortcomings. I'm perverse, but not THAT perverse.

A slow-paced well-made film is one thing, but a draggy badly-acted cheapo is another. Longueurs in a Cocteau film can add to the experience, but the same doesn't apply to Ed Wood. But I can say that playing Bela Lugosi in a stage production of Glen or Glenda, as I did over a decade ago, was one of the most fun things I've ever done.

My favorites include Horrors of Spider Island, Teenagers From Outer Space, Devil Girl From Mars, and many Bert I. Gordon movies.

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.

If they're political sheep, I want to see this!

No, but seriously--this doesn't surprise me. Nature isn't always benign. I once saw a raven carry off a small rabbit, then eat it alive on the roof of a neighbor's house. It was traumatizing.

Gimme monsters ripping up bad actors instead! Although I do have a pet snake which eats live minnows, and my wife raises venus flytraps, so a bit of the bitch side of dear Mother Nature is on view at our house.

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

THE TINGLER! (I can't believe someone hasn't beaten me to that gag before!) Actually, as a severed head, I never wear pants. I have been seen with undies on my head, but that's another story.

Oh, I suppose Bride of Frankenstein. Yeah, I know it's a cliched answer among historians and devotees of really old horror movies, but as a little kid sneaking out of bed to watch on a late-night creature feature, I was blown away by it, and forever marked by it. I was very spooked by the scene of the Monster appearing in the flooded pit and killing a man, and later by the scenes with Pretorious in the mausoleum. I was also moved by the tragedies that befall the Monster, and shocked by the explosion at the end. (Oh great, I spoiled it for ya.) I don't watch it often, but when I do, its effects on me are undiluted by time. But The Orphanage, Alien, and Black Sunday would all stand up to many repeat viewings. And it's nice to stick Barbara Steele down one's pants.

6) Adrienne Barbeau. Discuss.

She will forever be the crabby daughter on the Maude sitcom and the bitch in Creepshow to me. I can't accept her in Swamp Thing-- too nice.

I wish she'd played a nightgown-wearing bisexual vampire just once in her career, though.

7) Why should people bother to read your blog?

See answer #2 above.

And to appreciate your blog all the more. (Wink, wink.)

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?

I think he must be a character who escaped from a Bond film. 007 and his adversaries all seem to be rich, and geniuses with gadgets.

9) Several theories regarding the reasons why people would subject themselves to watching horror films (when they're so, you know, traumatic) exist. 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.

As someone who actually has a degree in sociology, I ought to be able to bullshit a great answer. But I'll stick with instincts and experiences and say a) and b) of the psychological theories and # 2 of the social theories are the most valid, and overlap. They can be simultaneously true-- distress being one aspect of the excitement in the "continuous reward" explanation. It's akin to the sensations of taste-- sweet being edged with bitter, and one flavor in one food providing "relief" to the sensation of another food.

Say, I just used another "taste" metaphor, like I did in answer #2. I wonder what Freud would say...

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

Except for the the totally whacked-out The Sentinel, and Suspiria, there isn't one horror film from 1977 that I ever want to see again. 1981 produced these rewatchables: An American Werewolf in London, The Howling, Dead and Buried, and Scanners, plus some interesting sci-fi films.

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

Hard for me to say. Don't know how to put myself in their place, because I can't speak through my nose. But they gave us Diabolique, Eyes Without a Face, Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast, and Gance's I Accuse, so they must be as smart as they think they are.

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

Well, it sure ain't The Muppets Take Manhattan. Or Frogs, which has the slowest attacks on people ever filmed. Not Willard, because it spawned Ben, which foisted that awful Michael Jackson song off on us. Maybe Kingdom of the Spiders, just for the scene where a woman is so freaked by seeing a tarantula on her hand that she impulsively shoots her hand off with a gun. Or possibly Night of the Lepus, just 'cause it's got giant bunny rabbits.

Hmmm. This is a toughie. I saw Food of the Gods at a drive-in a coupla years ago, and LOVED it. But Them! is an intelligent, handsomely-made film about giant ants gone amok, and do you realize how unlikely THAT is? So I guess it's a tie between Food of the Gods for the camp value (a giant killer chicken!), and Them! for being the best all around animal attack movie.

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?

As the masochist said when asked why she hung around her bad-tempered boyfriend, "Beats me!"

14) What are your funereal wishes?

I wish to never need to have a funeral, but in case I can't roll out the back door when Death comes looking for me, I guess I'd like to have a shindig for my friends that's a cross between a New Orleans-style funeral and a Halloween party. A fun-eral, if you will. With a big screen video message from me from beyond the grave, mwah ha ha ha!

You're invited.

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 in a past life, you WERE Shelley Hack. Yeah, I know, she's still alive, but don't bother me with details.

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

Boo to you, too! And abra cadav-- glub!...hic!...glub...glub...

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

Now I'm worried. I'm thinking of that final scene in Psycho where Norman Bates is thinking to himself in his mother's voice, "I'm not even going to swat that fly. I hope they are watching... they'll see. They'll see and they'll know, and they'll say, "Why, she wouldn't even harm a fly..."

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

I don't. And that's no lie. (Oh, ain't I a SCREAM? Don't answer that.)

Don't use lye. Carpet beetles are much efficient and thorough at removing flesh.

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

YEAH! He deserved it! Always bein' a smart ass! Making puns! Pretending to be something he's not!

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

I guess it's a tie between American films from the 1930s and films from the rest of the world in the 1960s.

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

Why don't you offer a Boogey man as a choice?

Okay, don't look at me like that. I'll play. I guess I most wish to be a were-Frankenstein, cause once a month I'd really like to scare people as the character I most enjoyed being on Halloween, as a kid.

But I'd settle for being a warlock for the merchandising opportunities. Man, I could clean up with the Harry Potter craze! (Yeah, I know vampires are also hot, but who the hell really wants a mouthful full of blood just to get young women all emo?)

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?

Of course, darling. You're my final girl.

You're always kind to me--you amuse me so much, and so often--how could I have said such things?!

Please come back--and BRING BACK MY BODY!

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

It won't cause a sudden loss of vision-- anymore-- or an erection lasting more than four hours, and it's low calorie! It has some cool interviews and art, features a poem I wrote about Boris Karloff that impressed Pierre Fournier of Frankensteinia, and was complimented by Cool Ass Cinema as being like the old Famous Monsters magazine, but for adults. Those last two are distinctions I'm especially proud of.


Big thanks to Max. Stay tuned for another exciting episode of...THE BLOGGENAIRES!


forestofthedead said...

Such a great interview. Max rocks and you rock for interviewing us crazy bloggers.

Max the drunken severed head said...

I feel like "The Blogginaires" has now jumped the shark.

Still, I'm grateful to have the "Special Guest Star" spot for this installment!

Thanks Stacie!

deadlydolls said...

Well played sir, but how dare you hate on Frogs! It's the culmination of everything perfect this world could possibly create: Sam Elliot, pipe cleaner spiders, racial tension, grumpy old people, and the world's most expressive toads in existence.

Or not. Them! is amazing. Well played indeed.

B-Sol said...

TDSH is one of the venerable blogs that I looked to for inspiration when I was first thinking of getting into blogging. I somehow succeeded anyway.


Max is the coolest :-)

Jeremy [Retro] said...

great, great, great!

Ruben Romero said...

While we're on the subject, I tagged you for this other list thingy. Top ten something-er-other...

Chris 'Frog Queen' Davis said...

Great interview!!


Anonymous said...

What up, Max! Good to see you get your due from the awesome Final Girl.

Stacie, I don't comment much and you don't know me, but I'm a fan.

Max the drunken severed head said...

Thanks everyone for the wonderful comments! It's nice to get such praise from people who put out such good work in the blogosphere.

I Like Horror Movies said...

I can only aspire to have my head stumble about in the same great drunken stupor! Yay for Max!

Jose Cruz said...

Great interview, Stacie! Both you and Max have the power to make me laugh till blood pours out of my nose. Your hilarity makes me forget entirely about my nasal trauma. Keep up the great work!

Porfle Popnecker said...

Of all the bloggenaires in all the blogs in all the intranets, I hadda walk into this one.

Oh well...we'll always have Vasaria.

Max the drunken severed head said...

Carl, Joe and Porfle--

Let's get together sometime and have a Bloody Mary. Or a Bloody Karen, or a Bloody Josie, or...

Porfle, you know the problems of one little blog doesn't amount to a hill o' beans in this crazy world...