The following report is based on found web camera footage. The subject, aged 22, watched three of the scariest movies he could find on the Internet on relatively short notice so he could write about them for his “blog.” No one has seen him since…
(This is because it’s only been one day since the film was made and the subject has not yet left his room since seeing said horror cinema classics, but if you would prefer to think that this is because the subject died, that’s cool too.)
00:00:00 – The footage begins. The subject is queuing up Sam Raimi’s 1982 cult classic “The Evil Dead” on Netflix after much agonizing over whether it would make the cut for this epic Halloween marathon.
00:05:00 – The subject’s eyes are glazing over because the acting is so darn bad. The subject understands that “acting” in the classical sense is not what “The Evil Dead” is about, but, with this being the case, he wishes he could see some evil or some dead already.
00:10:00 – The subject appreciates how scary a porch bench swinging errantly in the wrong direction can be. Every thud that the porch swing makes against the side of the cabin makes him regret any mean thing he said about “The Evil Dead” during the car ride scene. A lot. Please don’t hurt him, bench.
00:15:00 – The subject thinks these kids are kind of annoying, especially that jerk-face Scott, but likes Cheryl, with whom he feels an instant connection upon seeing her sketching artistically, being a third wheel, and being totally creeped out by things that would creep normal people out. The subject hopes Scott and not Cheryl dies first.
00:25:00 – The look on the subject’s face says this: “Good news: Cheryl isn’t dead yet! Yay. The bad news: She’s being RAPED BY TREES! AHHHHHH!” (The subject has not been outside yet because he is now terrified of grabby trees who can’t keep their branches to themselves.)
00:30:00 – The subject thinks that the way Cheryl keeps calling Ash “Ashley” seems rather emasculating, which he thinks is kind of cool for the narrative arc of the movie, because it allows the character of Ash to kind of earn his way into a more masculine position rather then positing from the outset that he is some sort of survivor superhero. We are just assuming this is what the subject is thinking. Based on the expression on his face, he could still be thinking “OMG,TREE RAPE!”
00:36:50 – The subject says aloud, “That’s not where that pencil should go…” He is right. That is in fact not where pencils belong.
00:43:40 – The subject still thinks Scott is a terrible jerk-face who deserves whatever he gets from his now demonic girlfriend who got like three lines in this whole movie. Yet she still had time to take her top off. “Oh horror movies…” thinks the subject.
00:45:00 – Ash knows very well that the only way to kill his demon friends is to dismember them; the creepy voice dude in the tape recorder explicitly told him so. And yet he seems rather hesitant to go this route in spite of holding a giant axe. The subject finds this both adorable and frustrating.
00:51:00 – Cheryl gets raped by a tree; she turns. The subject gets that. Linda gets stabbed by a little pencil and she turns? Really? Why? The subject just saw Scott get scratched and clawed to hell and he’s fine. For his part, Ash will continue passive-aggressively standing in corners until it’s his turn to play.
00:56:52 – Ash has finally left his corner and broken the contact barrier, which of course involved slapping his girlfriend. The subject can’t imagine this is doing very much good, but appreciates that this might be cathartic in some way for Ash. Also, “We’re gonna get you, we’re gonna get you, not another peep, time to go to sleep…” Oh, hello nightmares!
01:05:00 – The subject wonders what Ash doesn’t understand about dismemberment. Of course that hand was going to come up out of that grave. This foreknowledge did not make the subject jump any less.
01:08:55 – The movie says it sends Ash down into the basement to fetch “a box of shells”,” not that the gun will do any good unless its got a bayonet attachment. The real reason Ash goes down to the basement is to make the subject cry; a hand could reach up through that staircase at any time, the blood-bath, the blood in the light-bulb, the blood on the projector lens, the music, and then, not that this should matter after all that other blood, Ash stepping in a blood puddle before he enters the FINAL SHOWDOWN. It has worked. The subject is a mess.
01:15:00 – In the most telgraphed yet still scary scene ever: door… hands… duh… By the way, the subject doesn’t like Cheryl anymore. She should die fo’ real. Now.
01:21:10 – And the award for most drawn-out make-up effects sequence ever goes to… Sam Raimi for the “Evil Dead!” The subject wishes Sam congratulations on his fortuitous victory. It’s all redeemed by that last rousing chorus of “Join us… Join us… Join us…” The subject will not in fact be joining them at any time, ever. He has resolved against it quite thoroughly.
01:30:00 – Netflix does not have “The Blair Witch Project,” so the subject pulls the film up through… less legal means. This taboo offense will probably get the subject killed later on, if you’re keeping track.
1:31:00 – Before starting the movie, the subject goes to his Facebook wall and reads the high-larious recommendation from his dedicated friend Ryan. “If you have the strength of will necessary to not huff about the camera the whole time, I recommend The Blair Witch Project. You have to turn the lights off and buy into it (which, I like to think, means pretending you’re the County Sheriff… who found the video camera, washed into view by the morning’s rain, and its videocassette as you hiked through Maryland’s Black Hills while re-investigating the last known location of three kids who went missing over a year ago; you’ve just spent forty-five minutes driving back to the station with the tape resting, loudly, in the passenger seat of your cruiser, and, now, you’ve settled down to watch it in the dark interrogation room [it’s the only one with a VCR] of your deserted – as it’s after five – precinct house), but, if you do, it’ll give you nightmares. But, then, I lived in Loxahatchee when I saw it. Might be different for you. Watch it anyway.”
01:32:00 – The subject chuckles. That Ryan is a funny guy. The subject does none of the things he has been ordered to do in a despicably disrespectful move that will surely mark the subject for another even more gruesome death. Here are the ways the subject blatantly disobeys Ryan’s orders: the lights are on; the subject does not pretend to be an officer of the law; and he will totally huff about the camera the whole time.
01:35:00 – “Man this camera-work sucks!” the subject complains, cheekily.
01:40:00 – The subject contemplates that it can’t be good that these kids are lost already. Also, the subject would not be friends with these people even if they gave him money and roasted Vienna sausages. Is he supposed to relate to these people? They seem like doofuses.
01:50:00 – They are still lost. The dudes are being really mean to Heather, who was way overconfident in her hiking skills and went off-map and keeps defending herself in a whiny, grating way that hurts my soul. Yeah, she totally deserves it.
02:10:00 – The subject, who cannot stand another scene where Heather hears something menacing that won’t come out of the stupid computer speakers, is losing patience with the movie. He pauses it and goes to get a slice of pumpkin pie from the kitchen. He even says to know one in particular “I’ll be right back.” The man with a machete hiding in the pantry decides not kill the subject yet. He will give the subject one more chance to redeem himself.
02:11:00 – The subject insults the camera again. The man in the pantry resolves to definitely kill the subject when he comes in for another slice of pie. That’ll show him.
02:40:00 – The subject finds the apology scene genuinely touching and the calls of help from Josh genuinely terrifying. He admits he didn’t like the movie very much, but that he definitely would have liked it more if he’d taken Ryan’s advice, turned the lights out, bought the conceit, and watched a cut of the film that wasn’t of such low-quality, being all pixelated and stuff. This show of humility may earn the subject another chance at life.
03:00:00 – The subject starts “The Exorcist” on Netflix. He has been dreading this moment since the beginning of his horror movie project. Flashback: “The Exorcist” was supposed to be the first movie he watched. Netflix malfunctioned. The subject got upset at his computer and watched “The Thing” on his iPad instead. This is like that moment when the car won’t start. Foreshadowing. Now, a month later, it is time for the FINAL SHOWDOWN! In the present: The credits roll. The subject is ready for a mind-blowing opening scene. Let’s go!
03:38:00 – The subject is rather frank about the following fact: the first thirty-eight minutes of this movie suck. Up until the moment when Regan crashes the piano party by ruining the carpet with her urine, this movie is a slow, kind-of stodgy mess. There’s a reason no one ever talks about the scenes filmed in Iraq, or the fact that Chris is an actress whose filming an anti-war protest movie, or Karras’s early scenes with his mother. You can tell this movie’s based on a really long novel told from too many perspectives. The subject thinks there are one or two interesting moments (Burt calling Karl a Nazi, Regan controlling the Ouija Board) but overall – and he can’t believe he’s about to say this – “Scary Movie 2” had the right idea when it started with the piano room scene. Yes that’s right, he just praised “Scary Movie 2” and dissed “The Exorcist.” The subject is definitely going to die. Yep.
03:39:00 – By the way, peeing on the carpet is just the kind of disturbing visual that really kicks this movie in to gear right when it needs it. The subject is ready for a ride.
03:46:00 – Needles! Needles! Blood coming from needles! The subject doesn’t like needles. Or blood. Kind of queasy. Ick! Director William Freidkin knew exactly what he was doing here. Props to him.
04:02:10 – It’s now officially Halloween! On a side note,the subject is kind of glad that this has become a murder “mystery.” It adds the right momentum in the second act, even though he’s not sure Burt the director was a character we really cared too much about.
04:14:20 – Here we go… Whoa! The subject is pretty sure you are not supposed to do that with a crucifix… and he will not “lick” you, Regan. Ewww.
04:15:30 – This movie’s greatest feat outside of the incredible-to-this-day Regan effects: getting us to believe that a strong secular character like Chris would be so harried that she would turn in desperation to a priest, and then getting us to laugh at how completely incredulous that priest is that a woman is asking him for an exorcism in 1972. The subject thinks this scene is great.
04:30:00 – That recording that turns out to be backwards English – the subject shivers through that entire monologue. It’s the contrast between soft and loud and high pitch and low pitch. If that nonsense was recited in a creepy monotone, it wouldn’t work, but the contrast is genuinely unsettling. The subject jumps with Karras when the phone rings.
04:34:00 – The subject is actually a little shocked that the iconic image of Father Merrin standing in front of the fog-shrouded apartment does not have the “Tubular Bells” theme playing over it.This image has always appeared in the subject’s head with that song in the background, so its even eerier to hear silence. By the way: “MERRRRRINNNN! MERRRRINNN!” Shudder.
04:38:00 – In spite of the first forty minutes of this film being slow and nonsensical, the subject really cares about these characters now. Max Von Sydow does an amazing job as Father Merrin in the four scenes he gets. The subject can not believe he was only forty-four when he played this part. Old age make-up can frequently blow chunks. I would never have believed the man playing Merrin was under sixty. This is the film’s most convincing make-up job.
04:40:00 – There are two “pea soup” scenes that get a lot of play forty years later – the two that involve Regan spitting up on the priests. There is a third scene, and this is the scene which makes a huge impression on the subject. Rather then projectile soup, this scene smartly has the pea soup ooze out smoothly onto a brightly contrasting purple cloth, which is just as disturbing.
04:42:00 – Yeah, the subject is pretty sure the head shouldn’t be able to go that way…
04:47:29 – The most disturbing image I’ve seen all month:
This whole movie, this whole month, was worth it for this moment, which freaks the subject out. Regan making Father Karras see his dead mother in that room; what a beautiful and terrifying picture this is.
04:54:40: The last rights. A terrific cinematic moment. The film earns this scene. Everything that happens from this point on is icing on the cake. All that matters are those shaking hands.
05:00:00: The subject shuts off Netflix. He has done it. He has survived his trial by fire, and he has grown from it. The happy music plays as the credits begin to roll. But the vague memories of all he has seen over the past five hours – tree rape, incredible gore, crucifix masturbation, and umm… piles of rocks – still leaves the subject shaken. Before he can lie down to sleep peacefully, he rolls out of bed and turns on the bathroom light. It will keep him safe tonight, keep him secure. He sighs contentedly. And then a knife slashes into his back. It tears into his spine and the subject falls to the floor in a mangled heap, cracking his head open on the toilet and the side of the bathtub on the way down. (The subject has a really small bathroom!)
Out of the shower steps the menacing figure who has done the deed. A man in a mask. He tears off the mask and laughs. It is Ryan. How did he get here all the way from Tallahassee? It doesn’t matter. The subject should have listened to his funny and profound Facebook message. Ryan kicks the subject’s body and throws the knife at him as he walks away thinking what a great quippy Facebook status this will make. He eats the last slice of pumpkin pie as the subject dies a horrible death.
Then the subject turns into a zombie!
05:00:01 Just kidding…. Zombies aren’t real. He turns into a werewolf… Happy Halloween!