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I’d like to start with a couple of disclaimers if I may…

This is not a treatise on the merits of either gun control or gun ownership. Recent atrocities have caused many people to engage in heated debate on this particular can of worms. Well, to call it heated debate is a bit like calling the second world war “the world championship of international unpleasantness”. I think the only way to sum up the reaction by both sides is the phrase: “totally lost their shit to a degree that hasn’t been seen since George Lucas and Gene Roddenbury started their ‘yo franchise so fat…’ contest.” (Edit: It turns out that was in a dream I had after eating too many cheesestrings.)

At any rate, I think there’s some equally cretinous people on both sides. I think the gun lovers need to realise they need an M16 assault rifle for home defence in the same way I need a Scimitar to cut my toenails. Conversely the gun haters need to accept that people who live in places in the USA where they have bears and wolverines could probably do with better protection than a frying pan or a sock full of used batteries.

The second disclaimer is that I am not perpetuating the stereotype of the “stupid American”. It’s become rather fashionable in Europe to claim that all Americans are dumb rednecks who do nothing but make obnoxious hooting noises in between personal injury lawsuits. This is only as true as me, an Englishman, dividing my time between Grouse shooting and dropping my monocle into the gravy boat. The main reason for this stereotype as far as I can see is that nobody wants to watch a reality show about 15 particle physicists staying in a beach house for the summer or “This isn’t rocket science, it’s just brain surgery”, a game show where the aforementioned boffins swap professions… With hilarious results (are you listening Channel 4?)

Right, now that’s out of the way…

If you’ve stuck with me this far then you deserve to know what the hell I’m talking about… Well, recently I’ve been seeing a lot of publicity material for the recently released “Texas Chainsaw 3D” and it got me to thinking about horror movies. Specifically, slasher movies. More specifically still, American slasher movies. You know the type, the crazed chainsaw/knife/fishslice wielding psychopath hacks his way through a group of good-looking teenagers like a Slayer fan at a Bieber concert. (Now that’s a movie I’d watch.)

There’s a couple of things I don’t really understand about slasher movies. (Well more than a few, like how does Ghostface not trip over that cloak? It’s not a great wardrobe choice for someone who does a lot of running, get a tracksuit you fool.)

For a start, movies of all genres tend to rely on the audience identifying with the main characters. I just can’t do it though. Mainly because I like to think I’d never be that blindingly moronic to go to the creepy cabin in the creepy woods where the creepy sociopath murdered all those kids. I wouldn’t open that door, I wouldn’t go down into the basement, I wouldn’t turn on the light. You know what I would do? Stay the fuck home and watch repeats of “Futurama” and eat Pringles like the sensible people who get to keep their heads. These curious little blighters are just asking for trouble and frankly, if you’re the sort of person who can’t tell that there’s something a little bit concerning about the family of hillbillies who have a little bit too much of a family resemblance to each other and live in a slaughterhouse then the gene pool is probably better off without you.

It’s a bit like the movie “Phonebooth” (I know it’s not a horror movie, smartarse). You’re supposed to feel tense because Colin Farrell’s character is in mortal peril. The only problem is, his character is such an insufferable tossbag that you spend the whole movie hoping that Kiefer Sutherland will put him out of the audience’s misery.

So the characters are all that sort of braindead oaf who goes looking for trouble but they don’t even go prepared. There shouldn’t be that much terror created by a blade wielding maniac in a country where guns are (relatively) commonplace. It’s not like if they were set in the U.K. I’d be forced to go toe-to-toe with Jason Voorhees armed only with a rolled up copy of the Guardian and my innate sense of British indignation. I’m not suggesting all movie teenagers should carry a military grade loadout when they go hiking just in care they come across “Camp Knifeinyourface,” but it’s always good for teenagers to carry protection…

Now before anyone says anything, I know that a lot of the villains are invulnerable demons, monsters, angry pixies or whatever the latest Hollywood bastard du jour is, but the point is people rarely even try. “There’s a serial killer with a knife on the loose! Oh if only I lived in the country with the highest gun ownership in the world and where you can buy a shotgun in a department store!”

Then again, it’s not just the victims who never think to start poppin’ caps in asses. How come the killers all have a trademark weapon? What is this, pro-wrestling? Are they just particularly attached to “ol’ Betsy”? Did they inherit it from a dead relative and whilst it wouldn’t fetch much at auction they hold onto it for the sentimental value? Let’s face it, as a psychopathic serial killer who slashes people indiscriminately, surely a firearm of some kind would be more efficient. Maybe they’re just being frugal. They got hit with a huge serial killer tax bill last year and are trying to keep their profit margins down. Why don’t they just write off the bullets as a business expense? Think how many more people Freddy Kruger could have killed if he’d been packing an AK-47 instead of that glove that he clearly stole from Catwoman’s gardener.

I will however, make the concession that horror movies don’t tend to survive the introduction of guns without turning into action movies (although they’re like, totally way better anyway). For some reason seeing someone get “pumped full of lead” isn’t as scary as someone being chopped up into the world’s most inappropriate hors d’oeuvres. I suppose when you think about it guns go as well in horror movies as cheesy one-liners would in a horror film. Imagine if Leatherface had claimed his latest victim and while turning to the camera and lighting a cigar proclaimed: “I guess she never saw it coming”…

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