“Horror fiction shows us that the control we believe we have is purley illusory, and that every moment we teeter on chaos and oblivion.”
Boxcar Coffins, Bloody Marys, and Good Times
Brimming with Halloween spirit I attended Lockport’s Second Annual Coffin Race a couple weeks back. With my Nikon in one hand and a Bloody Mary in the other (which may account for the quality of some of these pictures) I posted myself on the corner of Hamilton and 10th and took a few snapshots and quite a few sips (there was more than one Bloody Mary involved). What follows is a bit of what happened.
Little did I know we were about to be pelted with an assortment of Halloween candies thrown by the racers.
‘Rum Runners’ chasing the ‘Lockport Police.’
Starting to wonder if I had one Bloody Mary too many?
When these racers veered off course I wondered if they were sipping Bloody Marys too?
Never thought I’d see a bunch of Killer Bees pushing a coffin to victory.
The Lockport Coffin Race was a fun time. There were some great teams with some wildly decorated boxcar coffins.
“God is an idea, the devil is us.”
-Joe R. Lansdale”
No way out?
Three Views of the Zombie Phenomenon
I’m about done with zombies. There are too damn many zombie movies, zombie TV shows, zombie video games, zombie bumper stickers, and zombie fuck all else these days. I have avoided zombie inspired movies and such this Halloween season for that very reason. When I saw the movie White Zombie on one of my channels last night I glossed over it. It wasn’t until I noticed that it was released in 1932 that I became moderately interested. I decided to give it a view simply because nothing else seemed more appealing (I know that’s not a sound reason to watch a movie but there it is).
I watched White Zombie with no specific expectations. All I did was try to put myself in the mindset to appreciate a movie from that time period. I must say that after one viewing (and it is a movie that I intend to view again) it is a solid movie. What I found most interesting about the movie is it got me thinking about my view of zombies. I grew up with George A. Romero zombies and to this day I will argue that his zombie movies are some of the best. But White Zombie is not in the style of a Romero movie. This movie is more in the style of a Wes Craven movie inspired by Wade Davis’ book, The Serpent and the Rainbow.
The Serpent and the Rainbow, both movie and book share the same name, focuses on the zombie phenomenon. I saw the movie first and it put a serious scare on me (Wes Craven usually does). It also left enough of an impact that I picked up a used copy of Davis’ book a few years later. Davis’ book is an engaging text that addresses the concept of zombies from both cultural and scientific viewpoints. Craven’s movie can best be described as an artistic interpretation that obviously lends itself more to horror than science, but Craven doesn’t exclude science in the attempt to scare the viewer. Victor Halperin’s White Zombie does the same. It has the elements of a classic horror movie (it is a must view if you are a fan of Bela Lugosi), and it also has a few scenes that attempt to provide a scientific reason, albeit thin, for the existence of zombies. This scientific element provides a perspective that makes both movies and the book worth your time.
Zombies are so commonplace in the horror genre today that they are bordering on cliché. In order to find some scary zombies it may be best to travel back to the 1980s for The Serpent and the Rainbow and the 1930s for White Zombie. What makes these selections scary is the sense of what could possibly happen no matter how improbable it seems, and this is what a good scare is.
White Zombie (1932) directed by Victor Halerpin starring Bela Lugosi and Madge Bellamy
The Serpent and the Rainbow (1985) by Wade Davis
The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988) directed by Wes Craven starring Bill Pullman and Cathy Tyson