Sunday, July 3, 2011

Before He Had a Shotgun, This Hobo Used His Thumb (and Shotgun) - 30 Day Horror Film Challenge STRIKES BACK! Day 30 (finally)

Day 30: Favorite horror character, period!

It's a question that can only be impossible for a genre addict to answer. Who is your definitively favorite character in a horror picture? Are you kidding me? Was this a trick question? I'll tell you now that any answer I give you today will change next month. Most likely next week. Probably tomorrow. Horror fans... we are notoriously afflicted with A.D.D. We have a "favorite" everything and EVERYTHING is our favorite something. We like it that way. So the question part of this challenge is valid. The "period!" is not valid and will not be addressed further. Definitive is for Miriam Webster not genre addicts. Shame on you 30 Day Horror Challenge Strikes Back. Go Strike Yourself.

Answer to the question (for today). I'm a nut for that John Ryder from the Hitcher. I think he's just groovy. Having just seen this flick for the first time (the original and not the remake) I can safely say that I have missed out many years. Rutger Hauer: You have recently helped to create a new cult superstar in the hero Hobo who just so happens to carry a shotgun. Truth Justice and Gore. You've been in more movies than I care to name. Your reputation proceeds you, and I will do no justice to it having just seen one of your finest works.

I'll give you my impression. That's all I seem to give these days. Nothing new; I guess we never said this was a "news" blog. I never thought that John Ryder would just come out and be a bad ass. I thought there was a revenge plot or some reason for his maniacal behavior. I suppose its a bit of an old story. Maybe I equate it most to the old Twilight Zone... you remember the one? Going my way? The benevolent stalker chasing a woman at every turn. A woman scared for her life. Her inner monologue plays out through the entire episode. I was pretty sure that's what I'd have here. C. Thomas Howell playing Pony Boy Curtis across the great wild west with maybe a kill or two thrown in.

Going... My Way (Read up on this classic)

That's what I expected. What I got was an hour and half blood bath with some of the most original and emotive kill sequences in the history of horror. Some clever dialogue. Some really great scares (none of them even jump scares). I got a villain to believe in. Rutger Hauer wasn't even all that witty. Maybe it's really C. Thomas Howell's anxiety filled reaction to the calm, cool, collected, insane John Ryder that really pushes my buttons. What you have in John Ryder is the quiet, methodical killer that you find in any good slasher flicks only you have believe that he actually exists out in the really real world. How many Michael Myers do you expect actually make it out of Haddenfield? Voorhees out of Crystal Lake (trips to space and Manhattan excluded)?

I'll close with this since I'll just end up rambling on about plot points and fire myself into a frenzy about that fucking Mac truck scene and what I would have done. I'm pretty sure everyone has hypothesized as to the best method for saving the girl during that scene, right? Anyway, I picked up a hitchhiker just once in my illustrious career as a driver. I was on my way from Hackettstown to Great Meadows, NJ. It's not a long drive so when I saw this scraggly old guy by the side of the road and threatening thunder clouds I figured he'd really need some help. Probably just to get back form the general store. Lesson learned when said trip turned into an hour long deluge into the damaging effects of alcoholism on the elderly and Warren county's seedy underbelly not limited to but including the Ku Klux Klan (fuckers!). I wouldn't say that this old man hijacked me. I won't say that I ever truly felt threatened. I will say that he made my car smell for a week with booze sweat and forced me to realize that the world still lives with an outstanding amount of racism in it. Shame on you world.

So it's John Ryder today. John Ryder tomorrow? Probably Michael Myers tomorrow. Maybe Rod Serling as himself tomorrow. It is the 4th of July here in the States and he's our mascot on the SyFy Network. The Twilight Zone Marathon will continue and continue and continue.

-Dr. Terror