Friday, May 21, 2010

They Live... to kick ass!

I'm watching They Live, the John Carpenter political horror movie starring Rowdy Roddy Piper. The movie with the longest, most awesome fight scene in the history of cinema.

There are a lot of 'political' horror movies. Films that find the terror in class conflict and cultural conflict. A lot of zombie movies are thinly disguised metaphors, for commercialism and mindless consumption, authority, mass movements, hidden sins... the list is endless. Some are more overt than others.

Films based on classic dystopian novels like 1984 and Clockwork Orange and those inspired by them like Brazil and Equilibrium that explore the twin and opposite fears of chaos and tyranny can easily be classified as political horror, while existential nightmares like The Matrix co-opt the paranoia of political dread to narratives more vaguely metaphysical.

The perversely playful low budget horror Society offers the same kind of alien overlords metaphor for the power elite of society that They Live embraces, with an added frisson of the sexual panic of effects heavy Cronenberg style body horror. The Torchwood miniseries The Children of Earth comes full circle to the understanding that the real threat are our own human leaders.

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