Saturday, 21 March 2015
Feature - The Death of Horror? - Part 5
Just a quick one this time as we look at the curse of:
In the past, it was so much easier. If your victim was in a house, cut the phone line. If they were outside, in a wood perhaps, then no worries (unless there was a phone box knocking about, which can be dealt with easily).
Both solutions to old world phone problems are pleasantly visual: the villain, wearing murdering gloves obviously, snips at a wire to cut off his victim from the rest of humanity (both literally and symbolically), or the smashed, vandalised phone box that was all too common in the seventies and eighties. Dead easy.
Now, with the advent of these new fangled mobile phones, things are a bit trickier for the screenwriter. Maybe the battery has run out, or there isn't a signal, or maybe the foolish victim drops their phone down a toilet. Sadly, most of the solutions consist of technobabble that wouldn't be out of place in Star Trek, with a severe lack of visual stimulation. (Granted, the toilet solution is visual but how many times can it be used in films? Plus, it's stupid.)
It's something else that makes me groan in modern horrors. The moment of mobile phone exposition always brings me straight out of a film and I'm glad when it's gone. The House of the Devil had a good solution, set the film in the past. Although it is good for a few films, I don't want every horror I watch to be set in a time that is pre-mobile.
What we should do is have a horror film convention that mobile phones don't exist. All horror films are set in an alternative reality where the pesky devices were never invented. Problem solved. Okay, sometimes the writer might want to include a mobile as a plot point. Well, as soon as a mobile is shown that would mean that the film is set in our reality. Fine.
Over the coming months, as I watch a few more horror films than usual, I will document the reasons given for why the machete fodder's phones don't work. Hopefully, there will be some crackers.
Intermission - Retro Phones