Sunday, June 7, 2009

Racism in horror flicks: brown people magic is scary, guys!

I love movie reviews. Especially movie reviews of bad movies. Or at the very least movie reviews that not only point out why a movie is bad, but illustrate its ridiculousness so efficiently that I find myself in a fit of giggles, which then allows me to mock the director for being such a dumbass.

Aren't we sick of the tired cliche of the bad and scary thing being caused by none other than the magic of brown people? Hollywood never gives us a movie where the antagonist is a scary Christian using his or her love for Jesus to magically attack and frighten people, or using it to malevolently steal souls. How many horror movies involve pretty white kids going backpacking to a foreign country, only to be attacked by OMG MUMMIES AND GYPSIES, and A VOODOO WITCH!!!

I wonder what about this "other" magic fills white people with such wonder.

Anyway, rather than fill the page with rage, here's an excerpt of Nick Mamatas' awesome review:

Drag Me To Hell, the first horror movie by Sam Raimi in a long while, is a short and silly piece of anti-Roma propaganda that at least has a decent theme: don't be a social climber.

As it turns out, in the world of Drag Me To Hell, "gypsies" have the power to summon up a lamia (here a demon from hell) who can drag people, bodily, into hell. Indeed, in 1969, a little boy who steals some jewelry from a "gypsy wagon" has just that happen to him despite the intervention of a Mexican spirit medium. "We'll meet again," the medium tells the, uh, floor, after the little boy is dragged to hell.

So, to sum up:

Little boy steals a necklace from a Romany woman: gets dragged to hell three days later

Adolph Hitler kills 500,000 Roma during the Holocaust: nothing happens after three days

So there are two problems here—the first and most obvious is the trafficking in the sort of stereotypes and libels that continue to inform the persecution of the Roma worldwide, the second is that the movie ends up making no sense. For you see, forty years after the little kid gets dragged to hell, a Romany woman finds herself unable to pay the mortgage. Of course, she has the power to drag people to hell, but she can't seem to scrape a few extra bucks together? Here's what I'd recommend:

DRAG YOUR ENEMIES TO HELL ($5000) (Pasadena, elsewhere)

Have hateful enemy? I shall have him tormented for three days by shadowy figures and special effects, then dragged bodily to hell! Results guaranteed! No transgression too small! Take Paypal, bank check.

Write to Sylvia Ganush:

It is not okay to contact this user with other products or services.

See, that would solve the problem of the movie right off. If Roma (or Indians, or the less intimidating sort of Will Smithian black folk, or woppy old ladies or whomever they give powers to in movies these days) had magical powers, they really wouldn't have problems. You know who'd have the problems? White fucking people would have the problems.
Sam Raimi sucks so bad. Not to mention the complete inanity of the title "Drag Me to Hell" which indicates a first-person command, not a freaked out white girl struggling to not be dragged to hell. So now Sam Raimi sucks and is a moron.

Finish reading here. Seriously do it.

Also, reminder to send in your animal pics. I know you got em. I want em.
H/T: Alas, a Blog for link.