Thursday, August 27, 2015

Nineteen Ninety-No.

So here we are, back in the nostalgia again, this time the Nineties. Thanks to the Millennials, we get to revisit everything that made me take refuge in basement raves until the lights came on and I was forced out into the real world to get a job and start becoming the "fiscally conservative-socially liberal" no-fun butt boil I am today. Today I am Camie 4.0, Wife and Mother Edition, teetering on the edge of nostalgia wallow for the Nineties, with my ass sticking out into the 2010s, struggling to keep from falling into the trap.

I'm gonna make it, world! Yeah!
After graduating from high school in the early 90s, I dove into my baby adulthood with zeal. Hanging out late into the night with my DJ friend at KUCI, the college radio station of my future alma mater, I dug into the crates for Shoegaze, challenged the FCC and heard crazy stories direct from some pretty big-deal rap artists of the time, who would stumble in at 3 a.m. to schlep around with whoever was in the station (mostly, us). When we weren't at the station, we were at the raves, hiding in the bathrooms pre-show until our hookups gave us the all-clear. A five-dollar cover was serious stuff for an 18-year-old at the time.

My twenties were a mess, as they're meant to be. I spent most of my money on Depeche Mode, Fangoria and Empire, bourgeoisie crap at the mall, and brownie sundaes at Norms. And I was a major brat. I snuck into the orchestra section at Phantom and threw Cheerios at people. I snuck into U2's Pop tour with a camera between my legs and then less than 15 minutes later, chucked it into the crowd and loudly declared the concert a toilet of musical diarrhea, stomping back to the car with my equally shitty girlfriends to go drinking on Sunset before the band laid into their third horrible song. An accelerated student since first grade (GATE, honors, AP, etc.), I failed the first year of college because I was too busy playing Mortal Kombat in the cafeteria. Or sneaking into Magic Mountain with my friend Rami (Christ, did I ever pay for anything?).

But mostly, I snuck into films. Problem was, there weren't any films worth sneaking into before Scream came out. And when it did, I lost my shit. I'm serious, I saw it at least 20 times from Christmas 1996 until they finally pulled it out of cinemas in late 1997. And like the fool I was, I thought everything after Scream would be just as rad. I went to all the shitegeist that followed: The Faculty. Disturbing BehaviorI Know What You Did Last Summer. Urban Legend. Urban Outfitters. I was hungry for that great Scream experience. I wouldn't get it again until Halloween: H20 in 1998, the year I discovered Asian horror—and Ringu.

I look back on The Blair Witch Project—which rounded out the decade and (for me) didn't come close to delivering on its promise—as the film that shut down the teen horror ensembles (or, as I like to call them, "Dawson's Shriek") and ushered in the two letters that, when paired with the most unlucky number, stir primal fear into the hearts of horror lovers everywhere: PG-13. But how can you say that—silly rabbit—when Blair Witch was an "R"? Well, because it was a big-ol' cussfest, duh. Samuel L. Jackson would've been proud of that script.

Thanks to Blair Witch, the studios figured out that they could put even more asses (i.e., under-seventeens) in seats by making horror films that, well, implied horror. So we got The Haunting, a modest hit that got everyone raiding the coffers for more films to CGI I mean remake. Somehow, out of all of that, we got Dark Castle and the fun R-rated William Castle remakes, but the studio diverted from its original purpose two Castles and one Castle-ite film later (Ghost Ship, with that opening scene I heart), while the PG-13s survive and thrive.

I have only ever truly loved ONE PG-13 film: Drag Me to Hell (2009). What about Poltergeist (1982)? PG. What about The Watcher In the Woods (1980)? PG. Drag Me to Hell is like that potato ice cream I had in Idaho in 1985: it's so good, but like, how?!!

Obviously, Sam Raimi is how. But he can't make every PG-13 horror film. Otherwise, I'd beg him to go back and remake all the other films that assaulted our senses in the Nineties. Starting with Urban Outfitters.