Recently on the UK version of the Huffington Post a Miss (or Mrs, don’t want to assume either way) Charlotte Skeoch decided to publicly deride the attendees of England’s foremost horror festival in her post The Anti Fright Fest Campaign For Hugs Not Horror. If you want to have a read then head on over to http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/charlotte-skeoch/the-antifright-fest-campaign_b_1849862.html
Firstly I didn’t realise the two concepts of the hug and horror were mutually exclusive but it would seem I was wrong (someone really needs to tell the directors of American Mary, Jen and Sylvia Soska as they were hugging everyone!!). Secondly it wasn’t the fact this writer didn’t like horror films, that’s her prerogative, it’s the dismissive way in which she approached the subject and her offensive language used towards the fans of horror that made me want to write this reponse to her.
Let’s start with how she approached the people “….that this sub-section of society are at best sado-masochists waiting to happen, and at worst blood-hungry psychopaths stashing away ideas for gory world domination, alongside their machete and Dummies Guide to Satanism”. Frankly this is not just ignorant but downright rude. For anyone that has attended Fright Fest they will be able to testify to the fact that it’s full to bursting with some of the friendliest, most kind hearted individuals you could meet. It would appear that Miss/Mrs Skeoch isn’t aware of the difference between fantasy and reality. Did everyone that saw Saving Private Ryan have desires to go and join the army? Did everyone that wanted to watch Driving Miss Daisy do so because their ultimate desire was to be part of the chauffeuring profession?
No, and to this end people that watch horror films aren’t predisposed with a will to harm others. Frankly, on a psychological level, it’s more likely to be the other way around. This is used by horror lovers as a way to escape into a fantastical world for 90 minutes or so. It is not to obtain a slice of realism in hope that they one day soon could be the next Leatherface. This was shown in the well received opening film of the festival, The Seasoning House. Whilst people were quick to applaud the film making talent it possessed, they also commented on it being an incredibly difficult watch as it was based on actual events and atrocities that occurred in the Balkans War. Unlike Miss/Mrs Skeoch, we are able to separate the real from the imaginary.
Lets look at her next comment “It’s warped, it’s wrong, it’s everything the human race should have evolved a zealous, unrelenting aversion to.” Should we therefore not be condemning the gangsta films that are currently being made? Is Avatar then not something we should reject (artistic merits aside) for portraying war? Where should the line be drawn on producing film about something someone thinks we should have an aversion to. I have a distinct aversion to Robert Pattinson but I haven’t written a blog slating those that for some reason have some form of connection with him.
But it’s okay she has tried to understand us “I tried, I really tried to like horror. I watched The Exorcist… for a bet”. When you eat a bag of revels, do you get the coffee flavour first and go “oh dear God they must all be like this. Revels are evil!!”? She has certainly missed what horror has given cinema and the critical acclaim it has received over the years. Let us stick a few names out there who have either built a name in the horror arena or foraged in it for a brief time….
Ridley Scott, James Whale, Quentin Tarantino, Tony Scott, Martin Scorcese, Alfred Hitchcock, Francis Ford Coppola, James Cameron, Peter Jackson, Robert Zemekis. I could go on and on and then you can do the same with some of our most respected actors but I just don’t have the time to list them all. They all must therefore fit under her blanket covering comment about the “sub-section of society” that “are at best sado-masochists waiting to happen”. Oh and Mr Oscar too recognises horror for being of high artistic merit. Hello Silence of the Lambs, winner of best picture. And before the word “thriller” gets brought in here, I remind you of the scene Sir Antony Hopkins (oh that’s right, someone the Queen saw fit to give a knighthood to was in a horror film) ate someone!!
What it boils down to is someone that doesn’t like horror films and deciding that her opinion therefore decrees us that do as evil and obvious pariahs of society. She goes to great extent to call herself a liberal but fails to note that liberals are such as they are not as dismissive as other sections of society but more accepting. The truth of it is that as horror film fans are obviously far more open minded and therefore far more liberal. If she stated she was part of the Christian right I would have more understanding of the attacking and arrogantly superior nature her article portrayed.
I have two final things to say on this as I could rant for ages.
1 – Miss/Mrs Skeoch come to Fright Fest next year, not to watch the films but to meet the people. Send your preconceived notions of what a horror fan is into the deepest darkest reaches of the past (where the thoughts from people who believe those of a different colour, physical ability, different societal class are not as good as others now reside). Come and give us a hug, we hug back you know. In fact we hug really really well. I for one love a good cuddle.
2 – alternatively as you specifically talked about those that went to Fright Fest as “at best sado-masochists waiting to happen” and that would specifically reference myself and a couple of thousand others we all get together to launch a law suit against you for libel. Anyone that knows I went to the festival and reads your article could then be persuaded by your thoughts of me.
Just let me know which is the more preferable number to you Miss/Mrs Skeoch.
Reported by namesy