Friday, 5 October 2007

The Decline of Horror

Picture from The Hollywood News

I read an article in today's Grauniad which really pissed me off. Don't worry, I don't intend to launch into the church again - there's quite enough discussion on that front at the moment - although in some ways those weirdos are again behind the whole thing.

What I'm really incensed about is the creep of censorship, the insidious ways in which those who deem themselves better than us are controlling what we can watch, what we can read or listen to, and even how we can celebrate.

Now, as reported in the article I link to above, two major supermarkets (Sainsbury's and Asda - neither of which I would be seen dead [hurr-hurr] in anyway) are no longer going to sell traditional, horror-based stuff for Halloween, focusing instead on 'alternative items' - such as hair braids for god's sake - following representations from the Church of England. These idiots apparently want to see Halloween as a celebration of the victory of good over evil, whatever the fuck that is supposed to mean.

I detect common cause with the ever-anodyne Disney corporation. There's something creepy, something that makes me uneasy about Disney versions of Halloween costumes - perhaps more than any other of the commercialised, sanitized dross marketed to kids these days. Princesses have nothing whatsoever to do with the tradition of Halloween, and should be banned from the event all together. Am I alone in wanting to pull out a .44 Magnum when I see Disney's (NOT AA Milne's) Piglet peeking out from behind a Jack-o'-Lantern? And as for that execrable Lumpy... well, don't get me started, that's all.

When I was young, we used to hear about American rituals through the imported kids stuff we'd get, but we did things differently ourselves. I read with interest that the custom of Trick or Treating started in the British Isles, thinking of it as very much a Stateside thing. For me, it was the Guy Fawkes Emmanuel Goldstein-fest. We saved up our money-raising/ begging/ menacing of the old folks for the run-up to bonfire night (which of course has a considerably longer pedigree for us inhabitants of these Northern Isles) stuffing newspaper into some old clothes and standing next to it on street corners, or - if you were moved on by some local Biffa Bacon - pushing the rubbish effigy from door to door in an effort to raise much-needed funds for Mojos, etc. Though bastardised, and somewhat to my chagrin, the Trick or Treat ritual - with a heavy American accent - is strongly re-asserting itself now, if slightly dampened as a result of the rampant fear of paedophilia that permeates everything these days.

All of this milquetoast shite is symptomatic of the censorship malaise we are currently suffering from. Sky Movies is not - quite - the most infuriating example, although their 'guidelines' or whatever bollocks they choose to call them, are not just handed down from the bbfc - they also apply their own ratings. So, the Dirty Digger and his orcs are presuming to tell me whether or not one of their programmes is suitable for me to watch. They even put pictures of guns or syringes and crap like that on screen to 'help me make an informed choice'. The bastards.

Far worse are the po-faced little warnings on film trailers - even on utterly harmless fare like Ice Age or some such - telling us that the film contains scenes of 'mild peril'. Will somebody please tell me, in the name of Astarte, WHY? What possible purpose can such a warning serve? The film-makers have already subjected themselves to censorship in the making of the film, with the legal might of the studio then checking it out before release. All of this in order not to risk offending that freak Michael Powell at the FCC. (It has always bugged me, BTW, that his father pronounces his name 'Coal-in'. What's wrong with good old-fashioned Colin?) I am an adult, quite a childish one admittedly, but an adult nonetheless. I can make up my own mind, thank you very much.

No comments: