7 May 2012


I think it's about time we admitted that we've not been kind to our horror movies. At its worst, there was the video nasty scare of the 80's during which any film to feature a weapon sharper than a wooden spork found itself banned. The Daily Mail, several politicians and religious organisations felt that it was in our interest to keep this genre off the shelves and away from our impressionable eyes. Because of this, films like The Evil Dead and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre became illegal to distribute on video due to an alleged moral corruption that thankfully the press, the government and the God botherers could never be accused of. Those hypocritical big three were the equivalent of Joseph Fritzl slagging off McDonald's for reducing a child’s life expectancy whilst snugly warming himself by his family made, eco-friendly, baby-furnace.

Nowadays we can thankfully watch whatever the hell we want. If I want to see a manatee get fucked up the arse by a crying Jesus and a cheese dildo then the odds are good that Google can help. The naughties has therefore had to find a new and inventive way to mistreat the horror genre. Rather than censoring them, the movie industry has instead more damagingly commercialised them. Anything with a brand name has been whored out, remade and sold to a brain dead public with no idea of their heritage. Once upon a time horror movies were made for a small budget and relied on imagination and creativity to appeal to an audience. Today all it needs is a recognisable title, a comfortably unchallenging formula and a production credit for Michael cunting Bay. In the 80's we forced The Last House on the Left to sit outside in the rain with a packet of crisps and some lemonade. Now we're making it walk the streets in a plastic mini-skirt as we ponder how else we can fuck it for cash. As crappy sequels to these shitty remakes prove there is always one more orifice to stretch out and exploit.

Thank God then for Sam Raimi! The Evil Dead was considered the worst of the video nasties but praised by horror fans such as Stephen King for it's boldness and originality. Now in our current time of crisis he has once again raised his head and given us Drag Me To Hell.

The film was released in 2009 which was coincidentally the same year as Rob Zombie's sacrilegious Halloween 2 and Bay's own Friday the 13th. Quality aside, Drag Me To Hell was therefore a standout for simply being a new film. The fact that it included scenes in which an old woman gets a ruler to the back of the throat and a stapler to the head was simply an erotic bonus.

The film starts with an ambitious but kind hearted bank loan officer played by Allison Lohman doing her best to impress her boss for a promotion. Rather than wanking him off under a flannel however, she unusually decides to work harder and prove herself genuinely worthy. To demonstrate her eligibility for the role she concludes that the best thing to do is reject a third mortgage extension for an old, snotty gypsy with a manky eye. It's a well known fact in employment that your superiors love displays of sociopathic hatred towards the elderly so well done to her for trying!

This scene is basically what would have happened in Spiderman 2 had Doc Ock not interrupted when Aunt May was begging for her payment extension. All that we can take from this is that Raimi likes writing about old women in poverty and then making them beg. I can only imagine the depths that his version of Calender Girls would have sank to. I am picturing a cross between The Queen and the end of Requiem For A Dream and I'd be disappointed if Bruce Campbell didn't make a cameo.

Reacting to her imminent eviction, the gypsy causes a bit of a fuss by having a little grovel and then announcing she's been shamed. I imagine it was a similar scene to the time Sarah Jessica Parker was denied a bale of a hay and a couple of sugar lumps. Luckily however, no matter what age you are, the bank security are always more than happy to physically toss you out on your arse to make you look a cunt. In fact, old women tend to be the easiest to throw due to their general frailness and the satisfying crunch as they hit the floor. From my experience it sounds like a fat man stamping on a Cornetto and then crying... Hope it's not just me with the erection.

Recently I did a stint working as a checkout monkey for a high-profile supermarket chain. During my sentence, a super skank of a woman sneezed onto her palm and then proceeded to hand me her money. I don't know if she did it out of trampiness or to simply degrade me even further but the end result was a three week cold that left me near death and worried I'd contracted aids. With the coughing and spluttering emanating from Drag Me To Hell's Hungarian hag, Allison Lohman's character proves herself a saint by not hitting the panic alarm straight away. The ungrateful old bitch doesn't see it this way however and as is often the way with an angry gypsy, decides to put a curse on her.

From this point on some unusually nasty things start to happen. Lohman finds an eyeball in her food, gets tossed around a room, kills a cat and then starts violently menstruating through her nose. She also discovers that she has three days to save her soul from a powerful demon during which the troublesome crone from the bank keeps popping up to play a dribbling game of mouth to mouth. Honestly, the amount of times that Lohman and the battleaxe make lip contact is both unnecessary and grossly enjoyable. After watching them repeatedly kiss throughout the movie you start to think this might actually be a twisted, rom-com and wonder when the two are going to get over their prudishness and just shag. To me it seemed that they were just one smooch away from a full on, sloppy session of Granny-lingus. To say I had blue ball would be an understatement.

As the Demon gets angrier and more violent, Raimi brings his camera's trademark kineticism to the table. In many ways, this film is the exact opposite of the amateurish looking Paranormal Activity which relied on a slow build up and left most of the horror to your imagination. Beyond taste and sensitivity, Raimi skilfully leaves nothing off-screen. This is most obvious in a scene in which the gypsy has an anvil dropped on her head causing her eyes to pop out and her guts to burst out of her wrinkled, flat face. Raimi's horror films may not be the best examples of subtlety, but fuck it- I get more pleasure from seeing an angry, talking goat than imagining what kind of Kermit like frog monster is making the door wobble in Paranormal Activity.

Drag Me To Hell isn't a perfect film but that doesn't matter. The effects are a little ropey in places but never as bad as the rotting Disney character suit they used to play beast in X-men: First Class. The dialogue too is a little flat to start with, but this is a Raimi film. I don't watch The Evil Dead for the dialogue in the same way I don't watch 12 Angry Men to see Henry Fonda fucked by a tree.

Contrary to the DVD box, nor is Drag Me To Hell the scariest film of the decade, although there are some tense scenes in it. From the point that Lohman forgets Zombieland's 31st rule of checking the back seat until she goes arse-over-tit in her new blue coat, the movie is just good, old fashioned fun. Unlike something as crap as Hostel, the gore here is not used to illicit feelings of disgust but rather pleasure. This is basically the monkey brain eating scene from Temple of Doom but stretched out to 90 minutes. Kind of like a roller-coaster- it's fast paced, thrilling and although it's unlikely to cause ejaculation, it will be just as enjoyable each new time you strap in.

In a time where Bay has been given free reign to fuck the quality out anything we once loved, Drag Me To Hell deserves to be championed more than it has been. It's been three years since that film hit cinemas and nobody has even mentioned cashing in with a sequel yet. Although it's not the only decent horror movie that has been released since then, it is in a depressing minority. Where this mistreated genre is concerned, we have entered the age of the moron. Thank God for films like this one and well done to Sam Raimi. This might be an inferior cousin to The Evil Dead but it's related nonetheless and that can only be a good thing. What it lacks in Bruce Campbell it makes up for in granny slobber- so check it out and enjoy.

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