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!

Jul 27, 2010

Bloggenaire: Craig Moorhead, Your Guignol is Grand

If you paid attention to the names of the members of yesterday's Film Club Coolies (or, you know, visited their sites), then surely you spotted Craig Moorhead's Your Guignol is Grand. I always enjoy reading Craig's take on various films or even the genre itself- but he doesn't blog enough for my liking. Maybe if we all band together and visit his site a whole mess, it'll be seen as some sort of call to action and he'll write more. Internet Citizen Power!

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

Pretty much when it became at all conceivable to do so and after a much more talented friend of mine put up his own site. This was waaaaaaay before I had anything to blog about, which is what I like to call being ahead of the curve. (The friend's site no longer exists, else I'd send you there, as it was totally sweet.)

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

I will describe the blog in just one sentence. It will also rhyme and that is how I will impress everyone. 'Your Guignol is Grand' blogs the morbid aesthetic / with panache and verve that's electromagnetic.

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?

This depends. Are 'Night of the Creeps' and 'Final Destination 3' bad? If so, then yes, I do. And people shouldn't judge horror films so harshly. But if not, then hell no I don't! I only watch the best! Why would I waste my time on such trash?

Why: bad horror movies are less predictable and 100% funnier than good horror movies.

Why not: Good horror movies are scary, and that's what I came for - the scary.

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.

I did know that - it is called the Kea and resides in New Zealand. But then my day job is at National Geographic. Advantage - nerd.

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

My pants movie is definitely 'Poltergeist'. Saw it in the theater when I was six and I blame it for my life long horror-ahol addiction. If I'm wearing something baggy, I'd get 'The Thing' and 'Halloween' down there, too.

6) Adrienne Barbeau. Discuss.

Adrienne came into my life through 'Creepshow' and she's been here in the living room ever since. Great actress, intense presence, kind of a mooch.

7) Why should people bother to read your blog?

Oh, guys - it's a really good read! And it's not just a bunch of press releases about junk coming out, whether or not it's any good. It's about stuff I'm excited about. And if you want, you can leave comments about what you're excited about and we can talk that way and then I can find new stuff. It's so much fun, you guys! You gotta see!

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?

It sort of makes sense that he'd be a super-rich geek, doesn't it? There but for the grace of Microsoft goes Bill Gates, ya know?

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.

Boy. Jeez. Gosh. Hold up... calculator. Okay. It's not C.1 or C.3, I know that. And it's not really A. I'd say it's primarily B and C.2 I'll show my work below:

I love being scared and always have. This is closely related to loving comedy and laughing. It's all about suspense and surprise. They work exactly the same way, just in different tones. This is why those in the horror world tend to have pretty great senses of humor and why Jerry Lewis once made a movie about a clown that led children to the ovens during the holocaust. Horror and comedy are conjoined twins. So if I'm watching a movie and feeling scared, I am totally being continuously rewarded (B).

If the movie goes after polite society in some way, that's great, too. Especially when it has a specific societal target it is attacking. One fun example is 'The Faculty', which put forth the message 'If you sniff white powder, you are a cool human being. If not, you are an alien from another world.' That kind of thing is great. Torture porn is not included in this category, however. (C.2)

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

'81. '77 has lots of good stuff, but '81 has the best mix of good and bad. It had stuff like American Werewolf in London, The Burning, Friday the 13th and Evil Dead on the good side and Final Exam, Ghost Story, and Heartbeeps on the bad. It was a trippy time for horror movies, fighting against the growing conservative atmosphere of the Reagan administration and stumbling around like a drunk, headless chicken trying to figure out the slasher formula. Hilarious and terrifying. Simply the best.

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

Yeah, I know, right?

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

'Jaws' is pretty much the best made horror movie about an animal goin' nuts on somebody, but that answer feels pedestrian. Let's say 'The Giant Gila Monster' instead, since 'Jaws' doesn't include much hotrod action and 'Gila Monster' - oh my God - really does.

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?

To prove to everyone that nothing is sacred.

Then later to prove to yourself that some things are, indeed, sacred.

14) What are your funereal wishes?

I have a deal with the wife - we'll have a family plot, a great big cast iron display of me in a rocking chair (totally encased in cast iron) sitting next to a fire place. Since she'll be cremated, she'll be in the fireplace. Assorted dead pets will be napping nearby.

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.

The Stepfather. Sometimes that's all you need. Bam.

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

"What was it I wrote on that questionnaire that time?"

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

Wait - "funereal" wishes? Would that be, like, I wish sorrow? Or just a sad wish? Is this a trick of some kind?

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

I don't, but back to the "funereal" wishes. It obviously means something, else you wouldn't have spelled it like that twice. Goddang it. I'm perplexed.

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

Yes - the baby in 'Dead/Alive'. That's one of the most satisfying monster deaths ever.

Wait, holy shit - I just got that 'lye' comment...

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

It's the 80s, all the way. It was never simultaneously scarier and dorkier than that. The best.

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 think a warlock. Because he's not as played out as a vampire, but he's still got all his smarts and junk, even when he does monstrous stuff. And he looks like Julian Sands, prolly, which doesn't hurt. So, yeah. Warlock.

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?

I've seen 'The Time Machine' and 'The Time Travelers Wife' and that one part in 'Superman' and, Stacie, I've seen what happens to time travelers. It is NO JOKE. So - no.

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

On Thursdays I blog in my underpants.
Big thanks to Craig! Stay tuned for another exciting episode of...THE BLOGGENAIRES!


Stacie Ponder said...

Why do I like Ghost Story? Is it bad? I haven't seen it in forever, but I remember digging it a bunch. I saw it at the drive-in when I was young and I remember being scandalized by Craig Wasson's penis. IN THE MOVIE, I mean.

Also, is 'funereal' a word I made up? Why didn't anyone tell me?

John Eno said...

No fear: 'funereal' is a real world, used by dozens of bona fide grownups the world over, every day.

Stacie Ponder said...

Excellent. I thought it was a perfectly cromulent word.

John Eno said...

It's basically the Platonic ideal of cromulence.

Thomas Duke said...

...and Homer Simpson is the Platonic ideal of himself. He represents the everyman...wait, do I smell donuts? Hmmm...donuts...

Strange Kid said...

Excellent Bloggenarie... entertaining, exciting, engrossing.

And what to we have here? Yet another blog for the "collection." Click. Follow. Complete.

Craig said...

'Ghost Story' is good in its badness. But it is ever so rich with soapy melodrama and not entirely with the scares.

Yes, funereal is a fine, fine word. And it haunts my dreams.

Thanks, Stacie!

TheodorePuertoriquez said...

I wanted to ask John about something since Poltergeist is his favorite movie. Do you believe all the people who claim that Stephen Spielberg took over the direction from Tobe Hooper because he was fucking it up but still gave him credit?

If so, wouldn't that mean that Stephen Spielberg made three of the best horror movies ever made and don't you wish he would give up all the Abraham Lincoln/Munich crap and become the new Eli Roth?

TheodorePuertoriquez said...

Oops, I thought that's guys name was John. I meant Craig. There should be some way to edit your comments.