Monday, April 22, 2019

In The End

"In the end, they always win."

Boy did this sentence piss me off. So much so that, when I was 14 years old and I read a novella that ended with this depressing sentence , I immediately wrote a seven page response on why I didn't agree with this sentence and why I believed the details of the novel itself didn't necessarily agree with this conusion. If those weren't the acts of a future literature major, I don't know. It's kind of amusing to me now, that before I was ever assigned to write a response to a story and give citations from the text that supported my view, I chose to do so on my own because the story pissed me off so much. I wish I still had that spontaneous paper I wrote. I bet it's hilarious. I'm kinda glad I don't have ot now though,  because I bet it's also terrible.

For years afterward, long after I couldn't remember many details from that story, "Monsters" by Ray Garton, I remembered that line and how much it pissed me off. How much I wished it weren't true. Hoped it weren't true. See, I have a lot of experience with monsters in the world, and a lot of evidence that they often get away with their horrible deeds. It does seem like they win a lot of the time. More than they should. Hell, once is too much as far as I'm concerned, but no one asked me.

That was the problem back then. No one asked me. Very few people knew that I was alive. I was trapped in a home full of monstrous things, i didn't have an outlet because I didn't hardly leave the house, even to go to school. My mom paid tuition at an accredited home school so she'd have paperwork that proved I "was enrolled in school," but she didn't teach me much. I had to rely on myself when her patience wore out and turned to screams and threats, so I taught myself to read and write,  and after that, books were my escape. She took me to the library,  and that's where I discovered the world. I gravitated toward dark and horrible books (gee, I wonder why?) Stephen King got me through many long nights. All the pretend monsters helped me cope, but they never erased the truth.

The truth was that I was trapped. I didn't have much contact with the outside world, I didn't have formal schooling, so I didn't have much hope. What would happen to me when I grew up, if I lived that long? What kind of life would I have? The few times I pressed my mom and got any kind of response before she screamed and sent me to my room, she would vaguely say that someday she would "take me to get tested" and I would graduate high school. I don't think she really knew what was going to happen, so her answer was more of a way to make the question go away than any real solution. I felt the hollowness of that answer, and I knew there wasn't much hope there. So I threw myself into books, into fiction, drawn to the darkest stories I could find, and this story wormed its way into my consciousness by some miracle that I wouldn't even appreciate for years to come.

So I decided that I needed to read this story again if I were going to give any honest and truthful account of what it says. I mostly try to keep my past hidden under wraps so no one has to see it. Seriously,  no one wants to see that bullshit,  right? But sometimes it overflows,  and this is one of those times, so I don't really have a choice but to delve into the depths and pray it doesn't swallow us both whole.

I've  repressed so much of what this story is about that it was kind of a shock reading it again and seeing what it really said instead of what was built up in my head. It's about this guy who grew up in a  deeply religious community who saw his drawing towards the darker side of life as something evil, and his connection to horror literature as something wrong. They shunned him from their community, and started calling him and harassing him as someone evil who had left the faith. They go beyond harassing him, in fact, and start torturing him, killing his pets and doing other horrific, evil things that made me question how they could call HIM the monster (which is the whole point). Even as he receives some success as a horror and thriller writer, they still see him as evil, so he decides to return to his community and teach writing at a local college as a way of bridging the gap and showing that his talent was good all along, and he was never of the devil.

I guess I don't need to tell you that things don't go as planned, and he is still seen as evil by those of his strongly religious community. The church he belongs to in the beginning is a lot like the churches I was drawn to back when i first became a Christian: very strong doctrine, strong list of rules to follow to lead you to the truth. It almost doesn't matter what label they wear, all religious sects that adhere to such strong rules are so similar as to be almost interchangeable, though they would insist this isn't true. Basically, those who agree with their doctrine and follow it will be saved. Those who deviate...well, they will suffer.

Now reading this, you'd think that if as anything, I would have absorbed the story's warning against such religious sects and have avoided them like the plague, but of course the opposite is true. I closely followed any religious sect that gave me strict rules  to adhere to in order to please God. The stricter the better. I burned all my "secular books" and all my "non-Christian CDs," I followed strict rules about how I dressed and what I believed, and I waited to feel whole,  because that was always what was promised: that I would find God,  buried beneath all the rules and regulations. Telling me that without God I was hopeless, sick, damned, and lost was nothing new. I'd been told how bad and horrible I was all my life, so the condemnation felt familiar tome, and it offered me a way out: follow God, follow this strict set of rules, and your sick, evil self will be washed away and you'll be accepted into the family of God!

In hindsight, it definitely should have rung my alarm bells that the trap I was falling into was the same one that the lead character of this story fought so hard against. I read this story when I was fourteen, maybe fifteen, and I became a fire-and-brimstone Christian when I was sixteen, so I wasn't very far removed from the dangers this story should have warned me against. Hindsight is 20/20, I guess. I missed a LOT of the points behind this story, and that hit me pretty hard when I read it again, just how much I'd missed. The story goes on to show that when our main character was still trapped in his uber-religious community, he was suppressing his talent and the things he truly loved, like writing about dark things, and the more he pushes his true self down, the more that true self stays under the surface, growing darker by the minute, and the more that he tries to hide it for fear that it's evil, the more evil it becomes. As one of the characters in the story says, the more you call a man a monster, the more he starts to become one.

So pretty much yeah, I missed that whole entire point, and somehow in my mind the story became about a guy who could never have sex, because then he would turn evil (um, no, given some of what happens I can see why that stuck in my head, but that's still NOT what the story says, you weirdo, WTF) and I just remembered that, and the "in the end they always win," line, and I stayed eternally pissed off about it. Ok, not ETERNALLY, but I've been pissed about this story for YEARS. I hold grudges like Japanese horror movies, yo. Because like I said, I'm deeply invested in the idea that they DO NOT always win, dammit. Sometimes, yeah. Sometimes the bad and evil and sick and depraved get called the good and the right and the true, and sometimes, no matter how hard you fight against them, you lose. But not always.

Not.

Always.

Let's face it, if "they" always win in the end, then there's nothing we can do, and we might as well give up. I've felt that, down to my bones and marrow and into the deepest parts of my being. I've been through things, some things I'm going to be writing about in later posts, that have stripped me bare of anything that looked like hope. It's dark, and it's cold, and it's scary. But the thing is...I'm still here. I'm NOT dead, I'm still alive, and because I didn't give up, I get to laugh with my friends and cuddle with my cat and sing beautiful hymns in church and watch horror movies and appreciate the good things they give me because I know I'm NOT evil and sick and dirty and damned and any and all things I might have believed that made me want to give up because there was no hope.

I don't use this word very often, because I think it gets overused, but the idea that "in the end they always win" offends me. It offends me like nothing else, because what's the point, then? Why bother living and loving and trying, why bother even writing a stupid story to tell everyone that they always win, because they'll still always win anyway, so there's no point? ARGH, it makes me angry. It makes me angry because writing, for me, has always been a way to ensure that "they" DIDN'T win, in the end. That "they" won't have the last word, that they can say whatever they want and spread their lies, but I know the truth, and someday, others will know, too. Because I wrote it down. And I wrote it down in the hopes that someday, it will be read. Someone will find it, and read it, and know the truth. And that's a reason to keep going. Someday someone will know the truth.

See, as angry and offended as I was by this story, even in my wrong, twisted memories of what it was about, even when pissed off teenage me wrote several pissy pages about how wrong the story was, it hit me, the story did. It hit me and lodged in my brain and moved me to write a long, possibly hilarious, ranty letter, and it stayed in my head and in my heart all those years, even when I was wrong about what it was trying to say, it still prompted me to fight back, to try to keep THEM from winning. Even all those years when I couldn't find a light, I still tried to fight the darkness, because a tiny piece of a horror story about monsters lodged in my brain and made me want to try to keep the monsters from winning. That's why, even when I was still pissed at what I thought the story was about, even before I re-read it and got my shiny new perspective, I was still grateful to Ray Garton and his story "Monsters," because it was one of the stories that shaped my life and inspired me to keep fighting. I wouldn't be here today without that grace, that strength, that never let me give up, and as messed up as it may seem to some, God used this story to nudge me in the right direction, to give me that strength. And I'm grateful for that.

One of my favorite shows is "Criminal Minds." It's traumatizing and it usually makes me cry, but it allows me to let out some of my fear and anger at the evil things that have happened, to me and to others, and the evil things that are still happening now. In the season six premiere episode, one of the FBI agents in the show, Jennifer, got onto the radio and gave this message to a killer, hoping he would free his hostage, a little girl named Ellie. What she says here about monsters really resonated with me, so I'd like to end this entry by quoting her speech:

"I don't know for sure that you can hear me, but my name is Jennifer Jareau. I work for the FBI as a communications Liaison for the behavioral...look, mister Flyyn, I wanna talk with you about letting Ellie Spicer go. I mean, I wanna ask you to. See, I am not a hostage negotiator. I've never done anything like this at all, ever, but sometimes circumstances...it's...look, you can tell I'm not a hostage negotiator, but I am a mother, and I know what your mother did to you when you were little. What she was. What she made you watch. What she let men do to you. And it makes me so...it's just...not fair. And no one can make that better. 

I wish I could. If I could somehow go back there and make what was happening to you stop...if I could just pick you up and tell you that it will all be ok, that's what moms are supposed to do. They're not supposed to be the cause of your pain, they're supposed to make it go away. They're supposed to hold you and tell you everything is gonna be alright. They're supposed to tell you that thunder is angels bowling, and that it's ok to be afraid of the dark, and that it's not silly to think that there might be monsters in your closet, and that it's ok if you wanna climb in bed with them for just this once 'cause it's scary in your room alone. They're supposed to say it's ok to be afraid...not be the thing that you're afraid of. But most importantly, they're supposed to love you no matter what. 
What happened to you isn't fair, and it's not right, but...I'm supposed to empathize with you. Sympathize. Understand. But I can't. That would be a lie. The truth is I don't understand what you've done. I don't sympathize with you killing people all these years, and I especially don't understand you taking Ellie. What I can do is tell you what a mother should tell you. That you can't take away your pain by hurting someone else. That it doesn't make all the nights you went to bed scared and alone any better if you scare someone else the way you're scaring Ellie. 
What happened to you isn't fair, but what you're doing to her isn't fair either, and if anyone should understand what that feels like, it's you. You have the power. You can do what you wanna do. But for once, you can choose to use that power to do for Ellie what should have been done for you. You can choose letting her go. You can choose teaching her that yes, there are monsters and it's ok to be afraid of them, but it's not ok to let them win. And it's not ok to be one."


Like I said, sometimes, no matter what you do, the monsters win. But it's not ok to let them win. And it's not ok to be one.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Asking the Important Questions

One of my favorite movie scenes is in the movie "American History X" where Avery Brooks's character is talking to Edward Norton's character about how to turn his life around, and he says "I used to be like you. I used to hate like you."
Of course Edward Norton's doesn't want to believe it, because he's been a racist white supremacist all his life, and he's in prison for murdering two young black men who were trying to steal his car, and he's been beaten down and abused, but he's still having trouble letting go of his pride and admitting he needs help.
Avery Brooks (his counselor) goes on to say  "that's right, don't listen to me, don't look critically at your life.  Blame somebody, blame anybody, blame white people, blame God. I didn't get answers because I wasn't asking the right questions." Edward Norton's sneers and says "yeah? Like what?" Avery Brooks pauses for a second, then says "has anything you've done made your life better?"

That always stuck with me. I have anxiety, so I've always been plagued with "why's" and "what ifs." I look at things from every possible angle, even angles that aren't possible, I play scenarios in my head over and over. I'm constantly asking questions, and it irritates people, they tell me I shouldn't worry so much, and yeah I know they're right, but itsi the way I am. It made me stop and think, this movie, "American History X," about how maybe I wouldn't find the right answers in my life until I was asking the right questions. Just questioning and worrying about everything is obviously not going to be enough if you're beating your head against a wall trying to get out of a room not realizing you're standing two feet away from a door and you'd be out in a second if you just took the time to look in a slightly different direction. It sounds silly, but i think we do it a lot in our lives, obsess and worry and wonder and cry, but never stop to ask ourselves why, how we got here, if there's any solutions we may be overlooking because we're too focused in one direction.

Maybe there aren't any solutions though, and maybe we just need people to support us and be there for us while we live with the overwhelming fear of not knowing. Maybe the fear won't be so overwhelming if we make peace with it. If we realize we're all in this boat together. After all, even the most put-together people have doubts and fears and thins they can never know. We don't know when we will die, and we all have to live with that. No matter how much faith we have in our belief in the afterlife, exactly what will happen after we die will always be shrouded in mystery until it actually happens to us.

I used to feel inadequate, because as a Christian,  I'm supposed to be sure without a doubt what will happen after I die, so I'm not supposed to ever worry or freak out about it. I'm not supposed to be afraid of death. I've spent most of my life hiding the fact that death scares me, because I know I'll get a lecture, or advice to trust God,  or pray  and study the bible more until I'm sure. I'm saved, saved, so wonderfully saved, and I'm so glad I am, proclaims the hymn. That would be great, but it's just never happened for me, and I've spent most of my life as a Christian thinking i was a failure because of that.

When i was sixteen, i was getting a ride home from church with my pastor, and i had brought a group of kids from my neighborhood to church with me, so we were all piled in the backseat talking and laughing and probably being really loud and annoying. It was dark outside,  and we were on a rural road, when suddenly a car pulled out in front of us. There was no time to stop the car or turn. I saw my pastor's hands fly up off the wheel, I heard her scream, heard us all scream, and I closed my eyes and waited for the crash, the pain, the death. Nothing happened. I opened my eyes, and we were further down the road, my pastor had her hands on the wheel, the kids were all confused and a little scared. I could clearly see the car that had pulled out right in front of us pulling out of their driveway right behind us. It was as if someone had rewound the night, picked up our car and put us ahead of the driveway on the road where the other car was pulling out, and then pressed "play" and resumed the night like nothing had happened. We all remembered the car pulling out in front of us and screaming and waiting for the crash, but it was like none of it had happened. Even though we all knew it did.

That's a night I will never forget. I'm sure some people will think I'm lying, or making it up, or think we all imagined it or something.  Other people will think "wow, that's awesome how God saved your lives, praise God!" I go back and forth between several of those feelings depending on my mood, honestly. But in the end, I know what I saw, I know what happened...and I don't know what happened.  I'll probably never know, until one day I'm in heaven chilling with God and he can show me the video of that night and I can see the big hand come out of the sky and move our car and be like "oh cool, that's what happened then."

One thing sticks out to me now, years later, more than anything else about that night. My pastor was a really strong Christian (obviously a good thing in her line of work). She preached and spoke and sang with absolute certainty of heaven and the afterlife and what her mansion would look like in heaven. She never paused or hedged or seemed to have any doubt. In fact,  she said that having doubt was an insult to God.  If you were uncertain, if you had any doubt or fear, you had no business being in church. We would all come forward to pray every Sunday at the end of church, and she would announce that if anyone had any doubt or fear in their hearts, they had to leave the building and wait outside, because God wouldn't listen to our prayers if we had doubt. I used to think of her faith and feel totally inadequate. There was no way I should be a Christian if I had so many doubts and fears. I didn't have strong faith and I never would have faith as strong as hers. I had too many questions.

Then one night while I was thinking about this event, this almost crash that was either a miracle or all of us in the car going crazy at once, I thought about it and I realized something. What did my pastor do when she saw that car pull out and thought we were going crash?

She screamed.

She screamed just as loudly as the rest of us did, because SHE WAS SCARED TOO. It might not have been the nagging,  prolonged fear that I always seem to get, but she was afraid too. Even with all her assurance and knowledge and faith. She was scared too.

Here's the thing. The bible has all these stories about great people and their faith that never wavered no matter what happened, but it also has the book of Ecclesiastes that says there's a time to every purpose under heaven, even a time to mourn and weep. There's Lamentations, that ends with God's people in exile, asking him if he will turn his face away forever and never getting an answer. There's a man in Mark asking Jesus for healing "if you can" and when Jesus is like "um what do you mean IF?!" the man replies "Lord, I do believe.  Help my unbelief." There are these and a ton of other examples in the bible that we don't always hear about that show that people are scared, messed up, questioning, and worried, but that doesn't mean their faith isn't real. They're just human. And being human is a scary daily struggle with the unknown. Pretending that we can't have fear and faith both together doesn't help anyone. Pretending that we know everything and there aren't things we wonder about and struggle with that might never be resolved in our lifetimes? That's make believe. It doesn't make anyone feel better and it really doesn't even make us feel better. I've found that I dont get healing by manufacturing answers. I get healing by asking the right questions, and knowing they're right, even if I never get an answer.


Sunday, February 3, 2019

The Why's and Wherefores: Statement of Purpose, 2019

So I went to church this morning. It's a church I've been going to since 2004, which contrary to how I may feel makes me very old indeed. 2004 is when I graduated from college. Check it out. 2004 is also, much to my chagrine, 15 years ago. I feel older than the sands of Egypt.

So some of you may be wondering why this post is here. This is, after all, mainly a blog about horror movies, most of which I chronicle when I attempt to watch at least 100 horror movies every October.

Well, see, this blog is SUPPOSED TO BE about my life, and thus about God and sexuality and love and food and everything that makes me ME, which is why I use it to talk about horror movies mostly, because horror movies are a big part of who I am, but that's not ALL of who I am. Just a big part. A part that's fun to talk about with ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties and things that go bump in the night, because those have always been a big part of who I am. Boo.

But there's more to me, so much more, just like there's so much more to every person, in the big broken glass tapestry of who we are. So many peices, each important and beautiful when the light hits it right and it shines brightly, illuminating something that once was dark.

Even the title of this blog, "Out of the Box," and the web address "youcanhaveabigbox" is about something. Many things. One of the churches I used to go to had a concert one night, and the singer tried to teach us many songs, one of which went

You can have a big box
You can have a little box
But if your god is in the box
Your God is very small
You can have a plain box
You can have a fancy box
But if you think that God is in the box
You don't know God at all

That's how I think about God, at least the God I am seeking and eventually finding. He doesn't live in the little boxes that fit the bits of God we can see and think we understand. He's huge, bigger than anything we could ever hope to understand, and he reveals himself however he sees fit. In my life, he's revealed himself mostly in horror stories. Maybe he knew I would understand the darkness better than anything else, who knows. But I've found God more in horror stories than I have anywhere else, and I'm planning to write more about that in the coming months, but before I do, I think I have to make a post explaining this as best I can.

I was talking with someone after church this morning, and the talk strayed, as it often does, to more political matters. I've been hoping that maybe we can reach out more to people in this area who don't realize that they will be welcomed and accepted at our church, and people tell me we don't have to fly a banner to say we accept people, our faith is bigger than that, etc. It seems that I'm always in this place, trying to fly a banner and having people tell me I don't see the big picture, and it makes me tired.

If anyone knows that life is bigger than one piece in one banner, it's me. Tell the vegan who grew up catching squirrels and skinning and dressing them so she'd have food to eat that life is bigger than one label or one piece. Tell the huge diehard horror fanatic who graduated with a degree in English Literature and was baptized as a Mormon, Evangelical, apastolic Pentecostal who now identifies as an Episcopalian, that life is bigger than one title or one label.

I get it, folks. I get it better than you may realize, because my life has been a series of contradictions, definitions that didn't define me, labels that fsilef to describe me, gates that couldn't hold me, and wonderings that never ceased. Every person's life is bigger than any one definition, one banner, one truth. We're all part of a whole greater than some of our parts. I know this. But let's say we recognized that people might be accepting if one part of us, one aspect of our lives that always seems to cause conflict, one piece of us that we get sick of talking about sometimes because no one understands us and people talk to us like we haven't thought of every angle, haven't read every book we could find, haven't considered every option. What if we thought there was one church, one place, where we were welcomed to be our whole selves, where we didn't have to hide or pretend to be normal (whatever THAT means) or constantly give a defense for who we are, but were just accepted, no matter what? Don't you think we would want to seek out that church and go there? Don't you think the possibility of having a community of friends who didn't expect anything from us but were just happy we showed up, don't you think we would love a place like that?

I'm of the mind that anything that tells people we love them and we care more about God's message of love for them than anything that people might say about politics is a good thing. Love God, love others, nothing else matters to me. Anything else is too great a weight to bear. So I'm going to be posting more in the coming months, God willing, and I'm going to be telling more of my story, mostly because keeping it bottled up is wearing me down, but I hope you'll all remember and know that whether we agree or disagree on everything, we should choose love, because anything else it too great a weight to carry.

You can have a big box
You can have a little box
But if your God is in the box
Your God is very small
You can have a plain box
You can have a fancy box
But if you think that God is in the box
You don't know God at all

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

October Horror Challenge 2018 #101: "The Amazing Mr. X"



I think this movie was trying to be a film noir, but it kinda stumbled and failed. It's a shame too, because it had some ok ideas and it could have been better if about 30 minutes of boring filler crap had been cut out. Movies like this always seem to mistake long shots of people staring as poignant or artful when they're really just annoying.

In this movie, two sisters live together in a creepy old house by the sea. One sister used to live in the house with her husband until he disappeared at sea and is presumed dead, and now she can't seem to let go of his memory even though she has a new man in her life. She seeks help from a psychic, and soon both sisters are captivated by the psychic, while the new boyfriend tries to prove the psychic is a fraud.

The seaside setting is actually really beautiful and spooky, and the crows that keep popping up are good little providers of jump scares and a sense of foreboding, since crows are supposed to be harbingers of death. Like I said, this movie could have been good with some serious tweaking, because I like the idea and it works.

The acting isn't great,  but it's not terrible either, and the plot was twisty and morbid, even if the twists weren't terribly hard to figure out. It's mostly the long pauses and staring into nothing that ruin this one.  I wanted to scream at my TV screen for them to get on with it, which isn't what you want to be doing for your horror movie. It ends up being too slow and plodding to be worth checking out. Maybe they'll remake it someday and fix all the errors. Or you can just watch "Des Dioboliques" or "Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte" instead, since they handled similar ideas much better.

October Horror Challenge 2018 #100: "Rifftrax: Samurai Cop"



And I'm sliding into 100 movies with an easy one, listening to the Rifftrax guys make sarcastic comments about a cheesy 90s movie. This movie is awful, but Samurai cop's hair is spectacular! There's a lot of people getting eviscerated with samurai swords and having their throats cut, and being burned with boiling oil (eeewww...that part actually made me cringe). And the horribly racist stereotyping in this movie is almost as cringey as the violence, good lord. It's cool to see a bunch of people get stabbed and shot and pummeled by overly violent second rate action heroes. Funtimes, gentlemen.

October Horror Challenge 2018 #99: "Thankskilling"



So you know how I'm always talking about how horror movies are an art form, and they can be full of nuance, character development, irony, and an examination of the fear if death and the hope for a triumph of good over evil? How horror movies can be just as deep and meaningful as any other film from any other genre? Well this is NOT one of those films. This is a slasher movie about a Turkey that comes to life and goes on a killing spree.

That's not to say that this movie isn't fun. I had a lot of fun with it (when I wasn't wishing I could stab myself in the face because of its stupidity). I love the flashback to the first Thanksgiving, with some awesome boobs (yay gratuitous nudity!) And there's some fun gore too. I mean, really,  this movie isn't to be taken seriously (though I do love how the Turkey is sworn to kill any white man to avenge all the genocide the pilgrims did back in the day...girl, same). Don't think too much and if you like some snarky funtimes with your horror, check this one out.

October Horror Challenge 2018 #98: "Scared to Death (1981)"



This poster looks really cool. I was excited to see that I'd found another 80s horror movie that I've never seen before,  and I briefly read the description, something about a killing spree in Los Angels, the police doesn't know who is committing the horrible mutilations, but a scientist and a cop figure out what's going on and have to venture into the city's sewer system to track a killer.

Sounds great! Sounds like it might even be a slasher, and those are my favorite horror subgenre, so I was stoked. It gave me pause that a "scientist" had to search the sewer system with the cop, but maybe it's a deformed science experiment turned psycho killer? Still sounds cool. Then I started searching for movie posters to include with this review as the movie was beginning...and ruh roh, suddenly I wasn't as excited about this movie.

I thought about including one of those other posters with this part of the review to illustrate what I mean, but I feel like they give away way too much, so I'm not going to do that. Suffice it to say that the killer in this movie looks RIDICULOUS,  and a lot of the other posters showcase close-up pictures of the killer, which defeats the purpose of the movie trying to keep the killer hidden in shadow for most of the movie. If your special effects look silly, it's best to hide that for as long as you can, and plastering pictures of your horrible looking creature all over the poster for your movie or the cover of the DVD is not a great idea.

I advise you not to look up other pictures from the movie before you see it. Keeping some things to the imagination is a good thing, and seeing this killer up close might just kill any excitement you have for seeing the movie. It plays out like it's a straight up slasher for most of it's running time (and maybe that horrible costume is just a mask the killer wears for some reason) and it's a shame to ruin that.

Aside from how silly the killer looks, the movie isn't too bad. People getting picked off by a killer, cops have no clues what's going on, finally scientists step up and say "hey, something's not right here) and soon cops +science have to team up to fight this result of scientific experimentation going horribly wrong. I'm not a huge fan of the main character, Mr. Former cop, but I guess he's ok and I want him to succeed over "evil killer thing."

The gore is mostly of the "blood splashed all over cars" variety, but it still works ok. I also like how there's a cop in this movie who's willing to admit that the investigation is going nowhere and is humble enough to ask the disgraced former cop for help. Look, character development! Don't always see that in low-budget horror flicks. I guess my big problem is that this movie came out quietly in the 80s, knew its effects budget wasn't great so kept its killer in shadow, and then all the geniuses who got there hands on the movie after that were like "look how stupid this killer is. LOOK. AT. IT!" Just like trailers nowadays that give away the whole damn movie before you have to see it, the concept of "less is more" is lost on some movie promoters. Don't let that stop you from watching a mostly enjoyable flick, though. Pretend the internet doesn't exist and just come in blind. The movie is better that way.