Tuesday, 4 December 2012

30 Day Horror Challenge-Day 14: An egregious misuse of the 'based on true events' claim

For the next 30 days (or whenever I stop being lazy and finish it), I will be giving my fingers short bursts of exercise by completing the 30 Day Horror Challenge, found here. Hopefully it will give you a bit of insight into what horror is for me. Don't forget to check back every day for a new installment.

Day 14: An egregious misuse of the 'based on true events' claim.

There's bound to be some more prime candidates for this (for example, The Strangers is based on the director having a stranger knock on his door one night and finding out that person burgled people who weren't home during the night, and Texas Chain Saw Massacre was inspired by Ed Gein, who you may note was neither based in Texas, nor is known for his chainsaw usage), but I'm going to go with a pet peeve here; The Amityville Horror. A prototypical haunted house film, I suppose I am mainly taking aim at the source material (a novel by the family who say they were haunted as per the events of the film). The remake is well done, tense, and just generally one of the better horror remakes, but the original is slow, boring, dull and cheesy, so it will take the brunt of my complaints. Sure, the babysitter getting locked in the closet is thrilling, sure the father waking every night at the same time is eerie, sure the idea of the family being overtaken by a past evil is intriguing, but the film is a turkey, and the real life events as questionable at best. You'd have to be a fool to have ever believed this nonsense. The real life claims even involved Indian burial grounds or some nonsense, and the entire treaty of the film and book is the house infecting people with the evil before them, but the ultimate rebuttal is the lack of this evil continuing to people who lived in the house after (which isn't examined in the film at all). I think I find there to be some distaste in the film, since it is so closely tied in with a book that is exploiting actual real life tragedies, and I do find it reprehensible that the book or film would ever try to sell the story when the truth is pretty much just as horrifying; a young man had a psychotic break and killed his family, and some opportunistic assholes decided to capitalise on it.

Tomorrow, please let there be kittens and rainbows.

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