For several rotations, her head spins around three-hundred and sixty degrees. Her eyeballs are bulging, just shy of popping out of their sockets and being propelled across the bedroom. Lizard-like, her tongue moves in and out—a literal extension of the demonic presence that possesses her. She is twelve years old, and speaks in a guttural tone resembling the failing hydraulic system of a decrepit garbage truck. A biblical plague of locusts fly out of her mouth beneath a head of hair that is as well-kept as tornado debris. As the windows shatter, there is a burning hole in the wall behind her from which a thousand screaming ghostly souls are filling the room.
It could be the scene from a new horror film, or the scene from any horror film.
Today’s horror flicks are becoming cookie cutter productions. How many times do we have to watch a screaming child claw at her bedroom floor as she zips backwards on her stomach in her nightgown? How many times do we have to watch her do a ninety-degree change in direction as she quickly slides backwards up a wall, only to be slammed against the ceiling where, at that moment, all eerie high-pitched violin sounds suddenly cease, and she drops to the floor with a heavy thud?
So often the same themes and scare tactics are repeated over and over without any thought of originality. Into the dark basement our main actor goes. Lights out. Grab a flashlight. The camera pans the room slowly until an elderly woman is spotted through the spider webs. Her head is bent down with an entangled mess of grey hair falling in creepy disarray. Will he survive the old woman’s eminent chase up the stairs? Of course he will!—the movie still has an hour to go. But he’d better watch out for the man behind him in the bathroom mirror. You’ll recognize his disfigured, hallowed-eyed face, as he’s been making more bathroom mirror cameo appearances in horror films than there are Hollywood exorcisms.
If you want to horrify (hence the name “horror”) an audience, don’t do it with “jump scares”—those sudden, unexpected surprises that completely catch people off-guard. Jump scares have a very short scare-life, after which, things quickly return to normal.
Horrification is a result of a few sinister seeds that must be planted deep within the cerebellum so they can creepily grow into something terrifying. A good horror film will rely more on pushing your psychological limits, rather than your exposure-to-gore limits. A tap on her shoulder. A cold whisper in her ear. She turns to see who is there. Nobody. Just darkness. Until…another tap on her shoulder… There’s nothing jumping out at you, except your mind imagining what might be. When you’re shuttering inside your head, that’s when a horror film is paralyzingly successful.
However, since the movie industry is struggling to break free from cookie cutter horror films, then I propose we create a new genre of movies. A genre that will push the envelope of petrifying horror. A genre that will not just have the audience on the edge of their seats, but will send them…running for safety.
Enter: Foul Odor Horror movies.
These films will bring to the horror movie industry what horror movies have been missing. Just as Dolby Surround Sound has dramatically enhanced the movie goer’s audible experience, then so too shall the latest technology enhance the sense of smell: Dolby Surround RealTimeStench.
And just what is RealTimeStench? It is created by:
- 8-cubic-yard commercial dumpsters that have been collecting garbage for at least ten years in the back alleys of restaurants that preferably discard unfinished meat dishes, blood-soaked Styrofoam meat packaging, meaty bone scraps, and raw chicken and turkey skins. These are specially selected dumpsters whose interiors are caked with years of spoiled meat grim, resulting in nothing less than housing the ghastly, putrid stench of bacterial breakdown.
- A commercial-grade gas furnace heating system designed to blow enough hot air to quickly fill a theater.
Theaters showing Foul Odor Horror films will utilize RealTimeStench systems by rigging the dumpsters upside down in the ceiling. They will be positioned so that their openings are flush with the ceiling, and hidden behind sliding panels. Air vents will be positioned inside of each dumpster to quickly deliver 92 degrees of foul, obnoxious, and repulsive dumpster air upon the movie patrons.
In addition to RealTimeStench, there are two major requirements to qualify as a Foul Odor Horror film:
1). It cannot be a horror film sequel. Originality is vital. The Exorcist was great. Should’ve stopped right there. The first Halloween was brilliant. Should’ve stopped right there.
2). The Foul Odor Horror genre will not use the typical horror movies titles that we’ve all grown accustomed to offering a lack of frightful originality. People know what to expect just from the titles (Night of the Living Dead, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Evil Dead). Other Predictable horror film titles could be: Rabid Sorority Girls Eat Planet Earth, Dead Teenagers Alive in the Sewer, Twenty Knives Stuck in the Bride’s Eyes, or Blood-Sucking Snakes in the International Space Station. Well, you’ve got a pretty good idea what’s going to happen in those films. Foul Odor Horror films will have highly obscure titles to stir curiosity. Films slated for the Christmas holiday season are: Grandma’s Teeth Rotted on the Subway, On Wednesday I Threw My Feet into the Boy Scout Campfire, and I Found Spoiled Meat and My Great Aunt Nelda in the Bloody Ice Cream. Creepy. Strange. Unpredictable. Unsettling. Horrifying.
To give an example of a Foul Odor Horror film in action, and to see how RealTimeStench is incorporated, let’s take a look at a scene from Grandma’s Teeth Rotted on the Subway…
A grandmother is riding on a subway train and eating a rancid roast beef sandwich that she unearthed from her refrigerator where it had been in a plastic bag for over two years. Though the sandwich is dark-green, black, fuzzy, and completely unrecognizable, she nibbles away. This is because: a) she has severe cataracts, b) she has a rare nose condition where she is hard of smelling, and c) she’s missing her tongue because in the first five minutes of the movie a street magician made it disappear (spoiler: the magician makes it reappear in the last five minutes of the film, just in time for her funeral. Oh, like that matters.)
Her back is to us as she eats. The camera slowly zooms in while moving around to her side. The sound of the train becomes less and less audible until it fades. In exchange, we now hear her saliva as she chews. It is the sound of gross. And gross becomes more and more evident as we are drawn closer to her mouth to witness the watery mucus secretions coating each bite, as well as a mouthful of rotted teeth. Through a series of quick flashbacks, and as the camera continues to zoom in, we learn she has a history of consuming spoiled sandwiches, night after night. Up close and way too personal, she opens her mouth to take in one last bite. Smiling as she does so, she exhales one enormous heavy breath directly at the audience…
The sliding panels in the ceiling have opened as, simultaneously, the gas furnace begins blowing the oppressive heat through the ventilation system. RealTimeStench is alive, fumigating every patron in the theater with a thick, warm blanket of foul dumpster stink…or, in this case, better known as Grandma’s Breath.
Typically, four types of experiences shall occur as a result of being subjected to RealTimeStench:
1). The Survivors: These are the people who will make it through the rest of the film. There will be that initial reaction of “Good God, who farted!?” But other than that, they’ll be back to eating their popcorn and enjoying the rest of the film.
2). The Sick: These poor souls will quickly be reaching for their air sickness bags located at each seat. Due to the high volume of retching that will be occurring, it is strongly suggested that everyone wear a plastic hair cap or rain poncho to prevent any undesirable splatter coming from patrons sitting behind you.
3). The Fainters: Chances are these people will miss the majority of the film. But no need to stress, as each theater will be assigned with a highly-trained Emergency Medical Team. These skilled first-responders will not interrupt the rest of the film.
4). The Runners: These people will just want out. And want out quickly! They’ll be running for the exits to grab fresh air and a refund as soon as they can. They’ll get the fresh air only. No refunds with a Foul Odor Horror film. That’s part of the risk you take when you purchase a ticket to smell your movie.
So, there you have it. Unless the horror movie creators begin producing truly original and frightful films, then we’re going to have to abandon that track, and move onto something a bit more different.
Even if it means raising a stink.
Copyright Ros Hill 2016