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Road Through Time

by Mary Soderstrom

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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Horror Disconnect: A Prize for the Chainsaw Massacre Guy While Death Tolls Mount

Tobe Hooper who made The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 40 years ago is getting a lifetime achievement award today at Montreal's FanTasia Film Festival.  The festival, started 18 years ago and which has thrived when other Montreal film events have struggled, is presenting a long line-up of horror, speculative and sci-fi movies at the moment in several Montreal theatres.

The news of Hooper's award made the front page of the respected French-language daily Le Devoir  today with the headline "La peur en héritage," which translates to something like "The Heritage of Fear." What irony that the rest of the headlines detail one dreadful thing after another: more Israeli bombing in Gaza killing 67 people on Tuesday (The New York Times says "at least 20" for what that's worth), a precipitous decline in the number of Northern Gannets nesting on Ile Bonaventure in the St. Lawrence estuary, and Western nations playing catch-up in Ukraine and Malaysia Air affairs.

Seems to me that there is a real disconnect here between what's happening in the real world, and what popular culture is and has dreamed up. 

True, Jesus reportedly said "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof" in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:34) which supposedly refers to how we should not worry about tomorrow.  According to Aristotle, a tragic play offers catharsis, by "cleansing the heart through pity and terror, purging us of our petty concerns and worries."

But why do we need horror films and stories now?  Wouldn't we be better off trying to get to the bottom of why governments seem to be unable to govern and "civil society"  in so much of the world is performing very badly?

Just asking, at the moment....  The time for action is coming. The quote from the Dalai Lama is extremely relevant. 

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