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Schlock and Awe: Killer Objects Reflect More Than The Absurd, Cocaine Bear, Vampira, And More
The Bite #152

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

March 16, 2021

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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 and is the author of the upcoming book series Monsters, Makeup & Effects. Volume 1 is currently available for pre-order.


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.



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