Scary movies? I wish. Heyyy, Jazz Fans, Jimmy Rudolph here from WZMB Zombie Radio Show, and it’s Thanksgiving. That puts me in the mood for reminiscin’. I remember Dad and Uncle Bert watching the game, Mom drinking in the closet, Sis listening to Donovan on the portable turntable and flicking me with tampons. Good times.
But some of my fondest memories involve walking through the fallen autumn leaves with my buddy Stu Baderscher, taking the bus into the city and going to see the latest scare-fest at the old Grindhouse movie theaters in midtown New York City. There we could see a double feature, a few previews, a couple of shorts, have a popcorn and a gallon of soda, and all it cost us was our allowance, our trust fund passbooks, some epidermal layers and a little virtue. We went back often.
One of the highlights of these trips, apart from getting punched by Mayor Ed Koch, (I thought he was a priest– turns out he’s Jewish!) was seeing “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre“. The film had such a gritty, realistic feel, with death erupting so randomly, the evil so mundane, and the ending so abrupt, it made Stu and I pinky swear that we would never go to Texas and risk being cut in half by crazed lunatics– whereupon some crazed Costa Ricans chased a guy through the theater with a chainsaw.
But times have changed since the zombie apocalypse. Looking back on those glory hole days, it seems amazing now that I ever found Tobe Hooper‘s movie scary. I even had my neighbor illegally download it for me, and far from screaming in terror, I found myself weeping whimsical tears of loss.
Maybe in the 70’s, a deformed man running around with a chain saw was scary, but now– well, it’s downright heroic. The fact is, we need more power-tool wielding lunatics out there. With zombies roaming the streets, how are we supposed to take back the city without Leatherface, or people like him? My own producer, Jamie Bogart, has been known to run with a Black and Decker on high, laughing as bloody chunks of flesh cover her from head to toe, and no one would call her a monster, would they? (Not to her face, anyway.) Nor is Leatherface a monster, anymore. Prepared with a functioning kill tool, dapper in his suit and tie, with a mask to keep the infected meat from invading his orifices, Leatherface is a hero for today.
The scene in the slaughterhouse, where one of the dead women suddenly sits up, has completely lost its punch in the zombie era. Sorry, Mr. Hooper. It’s a horror film, not a documentary. I’ve been to seven funerals where the same thing happened, just this week. She didn’t even go for the brains of her friends. She just twitched a little. What a relief!
Finally, there’s the meal scene. The family gathers together to break some bread, and maybe some head, with their new friend. Even though she rudely screams with terror throughout the entire meal (another repast killer, just like Mr. Hurt!), the family politely ignores her hysteria, even tries to laugh it off with a pleasant game of mallets n’ skulls. Hey! Lady! They’re trying to feed you, not eat you! Try walking to work through Chelsea, and see if you get the same consideration. Better yet, don’t. My ears belong to jazz, not your endless screaming.
No, Jazz Fans, “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” isn’t scary. In fact, given the current state of things, it’s heartwarming. A family picture, wherein lethal lunatics who love each other come together, young and old, for a tasty meal. And isn’t that what Thanksgiving is all about?