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Schlock and Awe: Killer Objects Reflect More Than The Absurd, Cocaine Bear, Vampira, And More
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Schlock and Awe: Killer Objects Reflect More Than The Absurd, Cocaine Bear, Vampira, And More

March 16, 2021

In this Issue:


HORROR HISTORY

Schlock and Awe: Killer Objects Reflect More Than The Absurd

By Heather Wixson

Throughout the history of the horror genre, we’ve watched on in amazement as films like Christine, Maximum Overdrive, The Car, or even more recently in Peter Strickland’s In Fabric and Justin Simien’s Bad Hair, as characters find themselves terrorized by the most impossible assailants: inanimate objects. It’s an age-old tradition in genre storytelling, one that Elza Kephart’s Slaxx is looking to keep alive through her story of cursed jeans who have a vendetta against those working and shopping at a trendy clothing boutique.

In many cases, these films are often reflective of our own innate desires for a taste of the better life, whether it’s purchasing a fancy dress as a means of recapturing your sense of femininity, wearing expensive – but haunted – jeans that promise you an ideal figure, a classic car that helps you find the confidence you otherwise lack, or even hair extensions that have been created as a means to adhere to society’s oppressive beauty standards. Recent films like In FabricBad Hair, and Slaxx, as well as genre classics like Christine, may have seemingly outlandish concepts at their core but still resonate with viewers all the same. They connect with our own sense of longing for the feelings of acceptance and worth that we ascribe to these tokens of consumerism.

But in other instances, films about killer inanimate objects explore our deepest fears about technology and how little control we have over these objects that keep our world moving forward. Whether it’s Dick Maas’ murderous elevator from The Lift, all of our world’s technology hellbent on destroying humanity in Stephen King’s Maximum Overdrive, a bloodthirsty bulldozer in Killdozer!, a certain talking doll that wants to possess the body of a six-year-old boy named Andy Barclay, or even a killer laundry press that Stephen King also brings to life in The Mangler, it’s evident that our fascination and fear of technology taking control over our lives makes for compelling entertainment.

Then, there are the films that wholly lean into the absurdity of the notion that inanimate objects can somehow come to life all while wreaking havoc, and those cinematic stories give us as viewers an entirely different experience altogether. In Rubber, French filmmaker Quentin Dupieux challenges viewers’ expectations with his bizarre satire that is centered around a psychokinetic tire that can roll around on its own. There’s also Death Bed (aka The Bed That Eats) where the titular object in question consumes anything and everything that’s placed upon it, even requiring some Pepto Bismol when it ends up with a bout of indigestion. Not to be outdone, there’s also Killer Sofa, which is actually about a recliner, but this comfy chair becomes obsessed with a young woman and begins to amass a body count through its hilarious crimes of passion.

And two of the greatest, yet wonderfully outlandish, cult classics that involve deadly food items wreaking havoc on mankind are Larry Cohen’s The Stuff and Attack of the Killer Tomatoes by John DeBello, proving that these types of stories can be conscientiously minded and downright silly in equal measure.

Without a doubt, there is a boundless appeal that comes with assigning inanimate objects life-like qualities in horror movies, and even though we’ve been enjoying these types of imaginative movies for decades now, Kephart’s Slaxx proves that there is still plenty of terrifying terrain to explore in this endlessly engaging subgenre of horror storytelling.


After falling in love with the horror genre at a very early age, Heather Wixson has spent the last 14 years carving out a name for herself as a journalist and author in the genre world. Wixson is currently the Managing Editor for DailyDead.com and is the author of the upcoming book series Monsters, Makeup & Effects. Volume 1 is currently available for pre-order.


IMAGE OF THE WEEK

Image of the Week - Yaphet Kotto - Alien

Yaphet Kotto: May His Memory Be A Blessing

We are deeply saddened by the passing of esteemed actor Yaphet Kotto, who many horror fans will recognize as Parker in Alien and Doc in Freddy’s Dead. With a career that lasted five decades, Kotto’s impact was widely felt across multiple genres. We send our deepest condolences to his family and friends.


TINY BITES

COCAINE BEAR, VAMPIRA, AND MORE

With SXSW kicking off today, here are 10 horror films to keep your eyes on.

There’s going to be a movie about a bear high on cocaine. We’ll be in the front row on opening night.

Rotten Tomatoes looks ahead at 15 horror movies coming out in 2021 they’re excited to see.

The importance of classic horror films cannot be denied.

Horror history buffs may want to check out Glamour Ghoul: The Passions and Pain of The Real Vampira, Maila Nurmi, which Diabolique Magazine delves into.

Daily Dead has some guidance for those wanting to explore the world of international horror.

Get a crash course on giallo films with Bloody-Disgusting’s 5 Giallo Films To Stream This Week.

Killer Horror Critic revisits James Whale’s 1933 classic The Invisible Man.

Music has an undeniable impact on the horror films we know and love. Horror Geek Life explores this deep connection.

Horror goes theatrical as Screen Rant highlights 10 bloody stage musicals.

Ronald DeFeo, whose killings inspired The Amityville Horror, has passed away.

EW looks back at how Joe Cornish’s Attack The Block became a bonafide cult hit.

This opinion piece on The Washington Post has a bit of a…bite to it. I think we should send a young English lawyer to investigate.


THINGS WE LOVE

Things We Love - Fright Rags - Halloween III: Season of the Witch - Silver Shamrock

🎶 229 More Days ‘Til Halloween 🎶

Our friends over at Fright Rags have a Halloween III: Season of the Witch Silver Shamrock collection that’s perfect for your St. Patty’s Day festivities.


HEY, THAT’S US! – SHUDDER IN THE NEWS

When Catharsis Doesn’t Cut It

Best Horror and Cult Movies to Stream on Shudder

New On Shudder In April 2021: Exclusive Horror Movies, Train To Busan Sequel, Creepshow Season 2

Shudder Releases New Trailer for Horror Flick The Power

Fast Fashion Gets Its Revenge in Killer Pants Horror-Comedy Slaxx


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