The progressive slasher film: a hypothetical in motion

by Sean Kilpatrick

I am a student anywhere, from backassward schlock to the precision of evil. Having compiled the best elements of the Grand Guignol to German Expressionism, Thirteen Women to Universal’s monsters and William Castle, Richard Widmark pushing granny down the stairs like some kind of wistfully gnostic demon, Hitchcock, Peeping Tom, and HG Lewis, Bava and Argento, Carpenter, Tourist Trap and The Prowler, through all the 80s icons and their more recent revivals, I intend to employ the methods by which to parody our times inside the only genre that should address a thing as dirty as the present: the slasher.

Fade in: POV stalking a frat house, holding a selfie stick, entering through a window, straight white male showering, stabbed in knees and femoral to bring low, perpetrator in non-binary mask issuing screech sounds while live posting to increasing comments of approval, mutilating frat by fucking his mouth into wide gash with a giant black strap-on, razors embedded in the tip, till it comes out the back of his throat.

Dead boy in shower, The Prowler (1981)

The detective on the case lives and works in a parent basement. Every character lives in a parental basement. The police are all afraid to shoot anyone because they will get fired. He takes a break from researching the case and without explanation eats a black infant piecemeal, methodically. Meanwhile, a young woman dressed as a Native American for Halloween is violated to death with an arrow. The detective enlists the help of a dashing men’s rights activist, who has also seen the murders posted by the killer and has a big enough following to be of use. He acts as bait to lure the PC killer by trolling. They have a tense and harrowing encounter, detective unable to legally fire his weapon, but the killer escapes, leaving the detective injured and befuddled, and, in desperation, they result to drastic methods, putting out the call for The Original Night Stalker, The Golden State Killer (think Stephen Lang) to come out of retirement and into the public eye for a lifetime pass and an award if he can stop this menace.

Fast cut montage of Original Night Stalker in operation in the 70s and 80s, placing plates on couples’ backs so they don’t move, raping wives at gunpoint. Outside, in an ideal, suburban, California breeze, a man walks his dog. The dog breaks its leash suddenly and runs into a backyard, returns limping and bleeding. When we catch glimpses of the Original Night Stalker’s face, it is a giant scribble of damaged film stock. He is eating crackers in the bushes next to the backyard window of a house. Shot of a woman with plates on her back and him crying weirdly, so that the film stock leaks. A child’s voice comes out of his mouth as he mutilates her breasts. He attends his mother’s funeral in a ski mask, scribble shifting underneath it, and throws a knife onto her coffin. Back to current day, Lang sees the post, his head slowly becoming a scribble, and takes up a knife again. Huge battle with PC Killer. Original Night Stalker finally overpowering and unmasking, first the face of a minority, then pulls the face off again, a woman, pulls it again, cutting around the sides, a shriveled old white man with dollar bill earrings (press credentials spilling every which way), who grins and shrugs before Original Night Stalker cuts out his eyes and skull fucks him. The last shot is a parade / mosh pit of him being carried across a crowd of lonely, mid-thirties internet men. Back to the demented relief of their basements in happier solitude.

Sean Kilpatrick, raised in Detroit, published or forthcoming at Boston Review, NERVE, New York Tyrant, BOMB, Fence, Columbia Poetry Review, evergreen review, Hobart, Sleepingfish, VICE, Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora, Black Sun Lit, Spork, The Quietus, Whiskey Island, Talking Book, Fanzine, The Malahat Review, LIT, wrote Anatomy Courses (with Blake Butler, Lazy Fascist Press) and Sir William Forsyth’s Freebase Nuptials (Sagging Meniscus Press).


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