Lethal Weapons and the Lunatics Who Love Them

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A glove with razor claws, a bloody chainsaw, a baseball bat wrapped in barbwire. Even if you’re not a horror fanatic, that insidious inventory likely brought to mind some of the genre’s most notorious killers. It would seem after all these years, each of these lunatics’ weapon of choice has become almost as iconic as the villains themselves. At least that’s the idea behind a fun little online quiz called…

Can you guess the horror movie or TV show by the murder weapon?

Hmm, I only got 13 out of 16 before having to throw in the towel. I must be slipping.

You know, archetypal armaments aren’t just limited to horror. Can you imagine James Bond without his Walther PPK or Dirty Harry Callahan minus his .44 Magnum Smith & Wesson Model 29? No, they just wouldn’t be the same. That’s because, as a number of psychologists have noted, a person’s choice of weapon can often say something about their character.

For instance, Joni E Johnston Psy.D., writing in Psychology Today, claims that serial poisoners “tend to be cunning, sneaky, and creative (they can design the murder plan in as much detail as if they were writing the script for a play). 

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He Took His Skin Off For Me

Horror in Small Doses: He Took His Skin Off For Me

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A short film about a guy who removes all of his skin just to make his girlfriend happy? Something like that probably just exists for nothing more than the gross-out factor, right? Well, don’t be too sure.

Okay, so it’s a little gross. Still, there’s more going on in director Ben Aston’s little horror-drama than just the icky stuff (which is done extremely well, by the way). Writing in her paper, The Psychological Significance of the Skin from Freud to Today, Harvard University’s Jennifer van der Grinten suggests the following…

“The skin, the human body’s largest organ, exists as a physical barrier between the milieu intérieur of an organism and everything in the outside world… From a psychological standpoint, the skin demarcates the outer surface of the self and is the part of a person most readily accessible to the observant eye; it therefore appears to be the most appropriate site for the somatic transformation of subjective  psychological contents.”

From there, van der Grinten moves into Freudian territory…

“As a semi-permeable membrane, the self exists as an ever-changing, quivering substance that exists only as a result of the physico-chemical reactions occurring between the biological substrate of the id and all of the events occurring in the outside world.

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the dark tapes

The new found footage horror anthology, The Dark Tapes, offers an enjoyably demented descent into demonology.

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So, what are demons anyway? Are they, as most of the world’s major philosophies and religions have taught since the dawn of time, malevolent spirits actively working against mankind’s best interests? Or are they, as recent skeptics would have us believe, nothing more than fairy tales conjured up through a misunderstanding of mental illness? Or maybe they’re something else entirely, something we haven’t thought of yet. Well, the new found footage anthology, The Dark Tapes, may not offer a definitive answer as to what demons are, but it’s an enjoyably demented descent into demonology nonetheless.

Like most anthology films, The Dark Tapes begins and ends with a wraparound story. To Catch a Demon opens with a couple stumbling upon the bloody scene of what appears to have been a failed scientific experiment. Playing back footage from the onsite cameras reveal that a team of paranormal researchers had set up shop in the space to test their theory regarding demons. Believing such entities to be trans-dimensional beings perceptible only to humans in a state of sleep paralysis, the group prepares a number of devices specially designed to capture one of the creatures on film.

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Savageland Sign

Savageland: The Fear of the Unknown & the Monstrous

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It might seem odd to suggest there are any similarities between the story of Dracula and the recently released independent horror film, Savageland. After all, just about everybody knows Dracula. He’s that sexy vampire dude who seduces women and sucks on their necks. That’s the Dracula the movies show us anyway. On the other hand, it’s unlikely many people have even heard of Savageland. And if they have managed to run across it, then they know it certainly has nothing to do with any nosferatu. So, how can there be any possible connection between the two?

Savageland SignWell, it has to do with subtext. You see, while it’s true that the tale of Dracula has always had an element of sex to it, that was hardly the only underlying theme to be found in Bram Stoker’s original 1897 novel. Along with its undercurrents of repressed female sexuality, the narrative also contained nods to the dangers of modernity and the saving grace of Christianity. But as pointed out in a recent article in Lapham’s Quarterly, a number of scholars believe the work to carry one particular motif that likely resonated strongly with its contemporary Victorian audience; that of the threat of the foreigner.

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The Dark Crypt of DTV: The Snare and Arbor Demon offer up a weekend of horrors

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Ever since the ancient Jews took the advice of the Ten Commandments and started taking a day off for rest and contemplation, folks have been reaping the benefits of the weekend.

In an article for the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, Ryan, Bernstein, and Brown explain “that for both male and female workers, weekend and non-work activities were associated with several indicators of well-being, and these relations were partially or fully mediated by basic psychological need satisfaction.” In short, taking time off is good for our mental and spiritual well-being.

Of course, that assumes our weekend plans go as we hope. A couple of recent direct-to-video releases explore just what horrors might await those whose downtime gets derailed by the unexpected.

 

THE SNARE

Things are unbearable for Alice (Eaoifa Forward) at home, what with her repulsive, sexually abusive father never more than a few steps away. It’s no wonder then that she would agree to play the part of third wheel on a weekend getaway with her party girl pal Lizzy (Rachel Warren) and Lizzy’s loutish boyfriend Carl (Dan Paton).

Having pilfered keys to a seaside apartment from Lizzy’s father, the trio are surprised to find the entire building deserted upon their arrival.

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