Sunday, November 11, 2007

Three From Belgium (pt. 1)

"People from the city are people like us. People from the country (...) are people not like us. (...) In horror, country dwellers are disproportionally represented by adult males with no ascertainable family attachments (...). These men do no discernible work and are commonly shown lying about the home farm in the middle of a workday - usually single, sometimes in groups. (...) The ubiquity of degenerate specimens (...) is the material expression of family wrongness (inbreeding being one obvious form of wrongness). More to the point, country people live beyond the reaches of social law. They do not observe the civilized rules of hygiene or personal habit. If city men are either clean-shaven or wear stylish beards or moustaches, country men sport stubble. Likewise teeth; the country is a world beyond dentistry. The typical country rapist is a toothless or rotten-toothed single man with a four-day growth. (...) As with hygiene, so with manners. Country people snort when they breathe, snore when they sleep, talk with mouths full, drool when they eat. (...) What is threatening about these little incivilities is the larger incivility of which they are the surface symptom. In horror, the man who does not take care of his teeth is obviously a man who can, and by the end of the movie will, plunder, rape, murder, beat his wife and children, commit incest and/or eat human flesh (not to speak of dog- and horse-meat, lizards, and insects), and so on and on."

- Carol J. Clover, "Men, Women And Chainsaws. Gender In The Modern Horror Film".

In her classic analysis of horror films, Clover called this negative web of signification of rural people by city dwellers "urbanoia".

In a short series of posts titled 'Three From Belgium', I'll examine a film and two bands from Belgium which play on the urbanoia Clover describes.

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