Saturday, May 3, 2014

How True Detective Reeled Me In By Scaring Me To Death

I wasn't sure how to approach this post. When I write I often find myself spending the first paragraph talking about not knowing how to begin whatever I'm about to say. This time I know what I want to say I just don't know a) in what order, b) how spoiler-y it might get and c) how inflammatory some parts might be. Or how long it'll be. I just know I can't sleep until it I get it out. Maybe not even then.

I guess I'll just say c) sorry in advance, I guess. It's not like I can get boycotted or anything, b) I'll try to not give anything away but some basic plot things I talk about happen just a couple of minutes into the pilot and a) I'll try and not jump around too much.

I don't watch horror movies. Period. Full stop. I don't like horror movies. I don't dislike/avoid them because they're 'scary'(they're not), I just get literally zero enjoyment out of sitting around watching poorly-lit people walking really slow until something jumps out and stabs them. TO ME, it seems like the most un-fun way to spend 90 minutes. 

That being said, I immensely enjoyed the Rob Zombie movie The Devil's Rejects because it taps into the one thing that can really, truly scare the shit out of me: the cross between serial-killing and that weird gray area that combines parts of Voodoo(including West African and Haitian but mostly 19th century New Orleans), Santeria, ritualized sacrifice/torture, and mental illness(these four combined are henceforth referred to as 'stuff'). Some good old-fashioned Southern Gothic, only turned up to eleven.

Except True Detective turns it up to about a 14.

This stuff doesn't scare me because I think it's 'real', because, well, it is and it isn't. Ghosts aren't real. Paranormal activity isn't real. There is no Bigfoot or chupacabra. Healing crystals didn't do anything for Andy Kaufman and they won't do anything for you. New Age products and services are just snake oil for your brain. Now, I'm not just taking a crap on the religious people because believe me, I know about a billion atheists who believe in ghosts and can't put two and two together on the irony.

I'm not saying this so I can make a smug face in the mirror while adjusting my fedora and patting myself on the back for enlightening the sheeple, I'm saying it to set the stage for why that stuff scares me.

The things I'm talking about when I refer to the gray area are scary because they're plausible. Because they happen. This television season I watched all 13 episodes of American Horror Story: Coven and the only interesting part was the stuff based on Delphine LaLaurie(played by Kathy Bates in the show). You know why? Because it happened. And the scariest thing?

It doesn't matter why she did those things or what power it she believed it would bring her, because she just did them.

The people or groups who are involved with this kind of stuff are not the people who get on cable news to scream about their religious freedoms being attacked or how they're treated by the media or why they feel persecuted all the g.d. time.

Because they never got around to monetizing their faith.

They're too busy practicing it.

And(here's my main point) it doesn't matter how much you or I believe in it, because THEY believe in it enough for you, me, that guy, those kids over there on their field trip, and everybody else. Isolation + unhinged + parts of any of a hundred creation myths thousands of years older than any blonde-haired blue-eyed person has heard of is a recipe for me getting the heebie-jeebies a hundred times out of a hundred.

I don't have to believe in Carcosa, or the Yellow King, or gris-gris, or the proper functionality of a devil trap(pictured above). That doesn't stop the person who does from abducting and torturing me until they dump my methamphetamine-and-LSD-filled corpse in a bayou. Or using my bones as part of their next shrine.

I quit smoking in July of 2012. This show made me want to smoke more than any stress I've had in the last 22 months. When I started watching the show I had expected it to be something in the vein of Se7en. If it had been anywhere in the realm of that movie I would be asleep right now instead of telling tens of people how an HBO show scared me so shitless I was physically ill during almost every episode.

Or maybe I just really dig crazy hillbilly occult stuff?

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