I believe great movies, the ones loved in many nations, are usually just exceptional instances of escapism. There’s a reason family dramas set in Midwest households don’t make much money, and that’s because nobody wants to imagine themselves stuck in a house with their family, especially in Nebraska. People want to watch romances, comedies, and political thrillers, so they can pretend for a moment that they, themselves, are loved, funny, and smart. Of course, if asked honestly, most people would like their lives to most resemble a porno film. Myself, however, I am quick to point out that my second choice is not so typical- an Italian horror picture.
It’s not that I have a particular love for the language, or for that matter, even a comprehension of it. I had to pull the title of this essay off a container of gelato, which includes Italian phrases so diners can express the pleasure of their experience “authentically”. What I do have a particular love for is the genre’s sense of reality, and when I say genre, I’m referring to the two movies I’ve seen. My favorite was a thrilling combination of serial killers, boarding schools, a girl with the power to mind-control insects, a vengeful monkey, and the music of Iron Maiden brought together in one incoherent mess. If only the mess of my life could be so interesting.
To be fair, the plot elements of Italian horror films are not even the most important part of my premise. In fact, I would gladly forsake the good (an ape who would avenge my death), if I never had to face the bad (swimming in a pool of shit and body parts in the basement of a crazy governess). But the attitudes of these characters are something I wish I, and every person I know, would adopt forthwith. They react to news of everything with an accommodating air. Whether it be that dinner reservations have been delayed or that your roommate’s been found dead in the shower, it’s met with a concerned shrug and a trip to the pantry for a snack.
If the recovery time for witnessing a bizarre, ghastly death is two seconds, imagine what it would be for crashing your parents’ car, probably no more than one second. Then there’s breakups, bee stings, socially awkward meals, chronic illness, and the list goes on- who cares! Everything would be greeted with a nervous pause before a quick return to normal breathing patterns. Unfortunately, I know that this utopia is just another dream I will vicariously fulfill with mail-order rentals of movies with names, roughly translated, like Suspense-A-Rama in Bloodland. And as much as I would love for humanity to adopt the behaviors of the people in these films, I would also be happy if, at least just once, I could throw a mutant child into a lake of oil and set the whole damn thing on fire.