This ode to ’80s slasher films is unexpectedly on-point and even sort of touching

07.07.16 9 months ago

“I don”t really like scary movies, except when I want to be scared.”

That logical conundrum was shared with me across the table as I had lunch with my sons the other day. I wrote about Toshi”s experience with the film Halloween and how it seemed like an important developmental step for him as a person, not just as a film fan, and I took some heat for it from some of the readers. I get it. Horror films aren”t for everyone, and for some people, they are never enjoyable. They simply don”t like the experience.

But for those of us who love horror films, there”s usually a moment that we remember as a flashpoint for that love, and it normally involves being so scared that we go into a sort of shock sitting there in the dark. I miss that feeling, honestly, and there are times where, as a horror fan, I feel like a 90-year-old heroin addict who has long since lost the ability to feel the high. Every once in a while, a filmmaker is able to make me feel that same jolt, but it”s pretty rare that it is sustained for an entire film.  There are times when I wish I could see scary movies through fresh eyes.

That”s why I am so oddly moved by the absolutely crazy new video for “A New Beginning,” a song by Wolfie”s Just Fine, a musical project by Jon Lajoie, one of the stars of the TV series The League. If you”ve seen that show, you no doubt remember him as Taco, and I”ll admit that I was guilty of buying that the guy we watched for season after season is the “real” Jon Lajoie.

He not only made the music here, but also wrote and directed the video, and I think I have to declare myself a fan of Wolfie”s Just Fine as a result now. First of all, great film nerd name for a band. Second, the song is strangely lovely considering the subject matter. And third, the video is one of the best tributes to the odd appeal that slasher films hold for fans.

Check this out:

Right now, we”re seeing lots of people pay homage to the genre films they grew up on, something that become more and more common in the last 20-30 years, and I think it started with the generation of filmmakers that includes Joe Dante, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Brian De Palma. They were the first real film nerd generation, fluent in genre and willing to wear their influences on their sleeves. I suspect that one of the reasons we have so many remakes and regurgitations these days is because the generation in charge now absorbed some of the wrong lessons from the way that generation approached homage. Instead of using that love as a jumping off point into something new, a la Raiders of the Lost Ark or Star Wars, what we get now are actual direct restatements of something that already exists.  No matter what you think of them, films like The Force Awakens or Terminator Genysis offer us such familiar experiences that they feel unnecessary.

Mad respect to Lajoie for this one. It”s as sincere and technically accomplished a tribute to the enduring appeal of this particular type of horror film as last year”s excellent The Final Girls.

Wolfie”s Just Fine”s album “I Remembered But Then I Forgot” is available now.

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