Where Nobody Knows Your Name

It’s Halloween, the happiest holiday of the year. For ghouls like me, at least. But when it comes to my traditional gorging on horror movies, I’m going to have dip into my own personal collection. Again. The seasonal offerings at theatres are sparse and lame. Ever since the Saw franchise packed it in, we can’t even count on one of those showing up every October like clockwork.

One of the only genre releases in the offing is just another damn remake. And even for a remake, it already feels old. “You Will Know Her Name,” declared all the posters in the ad campaign that started before the glut of summer movies began months ago. I would look at those posters, some of them damn near ten feet long, dangling from the rafters of the local multiplex, and think, “No, actually. No they won’t.”

I'm sorry, I don't think we've met. And you are...?

I’m sorry, I don’t think we’ve met. And you are…?

I knew the film in question was yet another version of Carrie, not some more intriguingly titled terror called You Will Know Her Name (I might have gone to see THAT). But I, unlike, it seems, Hollywood, also knew that the target demographic hasn’t even heard of the original 1976 movie starring Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie. They probably haven’t even heard of the 2002 television remake, since they would have been infants at the time and nobody was watching NBC back then either.

But they went ahead with their ill-advised ad campaign regardless. And if anybody knows Carrie White’s name now, it’s because they saw it etched on her box-office tombstone. Not a twist ending by anyone’s reckoning. From what I hear, it’s a bland, uninspired and incorrectly cast remake. At least the TV remake had Angela Bettis and Patricia Clarkson, who are both odd enough to bring the creepy. And it had my brother-in-law, Jeremy, as editor. Even at a whopping 132 minutes, it worked, the performances were solid, and the key massacre scene took advantage of what modern special effects could offer. I still fondly remember the high angle shot of the water on the floor rippling away from Carrie’s feet before she proceeded to electrocute everyone. Nice touch.

For the record, I begged (BEGGED) Jeremy to cut that awful coda that had Carrie survive her confrontation with Mother and go on the lam with her buddy, presumable to have a series of Incredible-Hulkesque adventures as they travelled from town to town getting into wacky misadventures due to Carrie’s unfortunate tendency to wig out and commit mass telekinetic murder. But it wasn’t his call. Obviously, somebody had the delusional idea that this TV movie might serve as a pilot for a regular show. The Nielsen people quashed that dream in a hurry.

Start the counter, because eventually we’ll have to endure yet another remake (or bad-idea sequel) of the classic Stephen King story. Carrie is still a marketable name, provided you actually mention that name a few times when you’re trying to build hype for your movie. Seriously, ad-campaign monkeys, if you need me to tell you how to do your job, drop me a line. I’m here to help.

Being of unsound mind and sick sensibilities, I like to follow weird crime stories. Not the kind of boring hot-blonde-chick-goes-missing-in-tropical-paradise crap that CNN likes to beat to death over the course of weeks and months of non-stop coverage. I’m intrigued by the seriously what-the-fuck cases out there. And if it has a Canadian connection, all the better.

Witness all those single running-shoe-clad feet that have been washing up on shore in the Vancouver region for years. That case is awesome! Less so if you’re the owner of one of those wayward unidentified and unmatched feet, but otherwise it ranks a solid ten on the intrigue-o-metre.

Then there’s the truly creepy story of Elisa Lam, the 21-year-old student from Vancouver (yeah, that place again). When the story first broke in February of this year, the news media picked it up and showed some of the footage of her acting strange in an elevator, just a matter of minutes before she would wind up drowned in a rooftop water tower of the infamous Cecil Hotel in L.A. Read more about the Cecil Hotel if you have any doubt that some places seem to naturally draw evil bizarro shit like a magnet. More recently, the whole video has been released, but don’t expect the nightly news to show it to you. Four minutes is too much time to take out of their nightly schedule. It might interfere with the sports-highlights reel.

Elisa was only discovered weeks later when tenants of the hotel complained that the water was an odd colour and tasted funny. Setting the inadvertent liquid-cannibalism aside and ignoring the fact that it was effectively impossible for her body to wind up where it did, least of all if it was a suicide, the creepiness factor rises exponentially when you look at the unexpurgated security cam footage. Way outdoing any of the “found footage” horror movies that have infested the genre since Blair Witch in 1999, knowing where this unsettling video ultimate leads makes it absolutely spine chilling.

Unsurprisingly, the L.A.P.D. didn’t bother to come up with any sort of satisfying or logical conclusion and they’ll never solve the case, just file it away. Morbid armchair detectives will continue to mull over the clues for a long time to come, adding it to the list of horrors that have revolved around the Cecil.

Yeah yeah, I know Halloween is supposed by be about fun frights and silly spookiness. But if you want to see the face of real horror, follow the links. If you dare.

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