I just watched “It Follows” for the third time in six years. (That’s why I’m writing this post at 4:10 am.)The 2014 horror film is original and avoids the usual cliches: there is no cabin in the woods, no zombies, no heavy-breathing slasher in a mask, no demonic possession or haunted family heirloom. The first time I saw it, all I could think about was how creepy it was. The second time, my attention was drawn to the writing and direction, which are excellent.
This time, all I could think of was ethics.
Horror, like science fiction, is a genre that frequently lends itself to ethical considerations, creating rare, indeed weird, problems and dilemmas that nonetheless need to be solved by traditional ethical decision-making processes. “It Follows” is a great example.
I was looking forward to “Get Out,” the critically acclaimed horror film that has been described as “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?” crossed with “Rosemary’s Baby.” It has been called “brilliant.” I just watched it on a large flat-screen TV in an Erie, PA. Marriott.
It is not brilliant, except in that it appeals to progressive-biased critics who love its anti-white propaganda. Granted, it is that rare beast, a political horror movie, the genre best represented by the original “Invasion of the Body-Snatchers,” Don Seigel’s paranoid metaphor about the Red Scare. “Get Out,” however has no surprises worthy of the shock genre. Its basic plot, an innocent, trusting victim finds himself the object of a sick and widespread conspiracy aimed at controlling his mind and taking away his autonomy, is familiar to anyone who has seen “The Stepford Wives,” “The Tommyknockers,” “Rosemary’s Baby,” and too many lesser efforts to mention.
I see a lot of horror movies, good, bad, brilliant and terrible, slasher films, gorefests, zombie and vampire movies, paranormal, discovered footage and scifi/horror hybrids, from the best/worst of Ed Wood, to the genuine masterpieces and soon to be classics. They are an acquired taste, and most critics give all horror movies bad reviews, because they don’t respect the genre and look down on it and the artists that create them. Why did they fall all over themselves praising “Get Out”, particularly since it was not especially original in its horror elements? Easy. It is an anti-white movie.
It is a movie that takes place in a world that lives in the hateful fantasies of Al Sharpton, Maxine Waters, Michelle Obama and Black Lives Matters. Every single white character in the film, and there are over twenty of them, are condescending, rude, clueless bigots, unaware of their microaggressions (which are really macoaggressions) toward African Americans. Every black character, in contrast, is benign, wise, perceptive and fair, or a helpless victim. The guileless young black hero is betrayed at every turn by every white individual he trusts, even the one he loves. Because, you see, that’s what whites are like, that’s how they secretly and not so secretly feel about African Americans, and this is what black Americans need to understand. Continue reading →
I just watched the 2016 horror/suspense thriller “Don’t Breathe,” in which Stephen Lang, always excellent, plays a blind veteran whose home is invaded by three self-righteous young sociopaths who intend to rob him. The movie is the latest genre movies with ethical mind-benders concocted in the House of Raimi, as Sam Raimi, the flamboyant auteur behind “The Evil Dead,” “Xena,” the first couple Spiderman movies and especially “Drag Me To Hell,” was the lead executive producer here and Raimi’s protege, Fede Alvarez, directed and wrote the script.
How do I do this without spoiling the film for someone who hasn’t seen it? I can’t. If you intend to ever see the hit 2016 movie but have not yet, then just wait for the next post. Otherwise, read on.
“Don’t Breathe” becomes one of those monster movies where you start rooting for the monster, and even that doesn’t encompass the ethical morass the movie creates. Imagine “Wait Until Dark”except that the imperiled blind woman (Audrey Hepburn) is replaced by a blind Steven Seagal (the younger, thinner version), or maybe Billy Jack, and he beats the living daylights out of or kills the three middle-aged male thugs—including a creepy evil mastermind played by Alan Arkin— who get into his house.
Got that? Okay, now replace the three thugs with three attractive twenty-somethings, including a troubled young woman trying to start a new life after an abusive childhood. Continue reading →
Tgt, the ghosts of whose earlier argument in series of comments haunted me prompted a revisit to the issue of murder houses and a seller’s obligation to reveal their history to potential buyers, came back with this Comment of the Day, thought-provoking, as usual:
“…I still want to know the line that determines what ethically does and does not need to be disclosed. It was never settled. This post generally boils down to another emotional appeal that something should be done in some cases. I want to know which cases and why those. Otherwise, my argument holds fast. I don’t see multiple murders (the latest clearly having nothing to do with the earlier ones) as being any more relevant than one murder.
“I also believe Jack misrepresented my position on emotion in general. Us rational humanists still mourn our dead, though we try to celebrate their lives more than anything else. While humans are not special in the concept of the Universe, we understand that we are special to ourselves and in our relations with other people. Humanism is about celebrating human life and relationships.
“As for death specifically, I see no need of a grave or burial rites. A dead body is just decomposing flesh. It does not need to be prayed for and cleansed. The person though, the lasting effects they have had on others, the memories of them – these are all important. I cried when a somewhat distant high school friend died in a freak accident at 17. I sent his family flowers on the anniversary of his death for the next 2 years. Why? Because it let his family know that he wasn’t forgotten, that he made an impact on other lives. It let them knew that people cared… people they only knew by name. I cherish the cards they sent in response. Continue reading →
We last visited the issue of the ethical selling of murder houses in February, when the Jon Benet Ramsey house went on sale. I opined that even though Colorado doesn’t have a legal requirement that a seller must reveal the history of the house as long as it has no structural implications, there is an ethical obligation to let prospective buyers know about house-related events that might cause them to reconsider their decision to buy it:
“The truth is still this: there is something about the $2,300,000 house that makes it undesirable to a lot of prospects, and that means that even if the law doesn’t require the seller to tell interested house-hunters the story of the little dead girl in the basement, fairness and the Golden Rule do.”
The debate over this issue was unexpectedly intense. Ethics Alarms’ resident rational humanist “tgt” objected strenuously, writing,
“I don’t see how you can avoid the slippery slope question. Your basis is 50% of the population having a desire. Is that the cutoff? I think over 50% of people would prefer to live in a house where there hasn’t been child abuse. Go back a few years, and I bet a significant portion of the population would prefer to live in a house that had never had black occupants. Back in today’s world, more than 50% of the population doesn’t want to live in a haunted house. If a previous tenant thought the house was haunted, does the complete nonexistence of ghosts make not mentioning this a material representation? If an event is uncommon, does a realtor need to take a poll before deciding what is material and what isn’t?”
Karl Penny, however, bolstered my position:
“…the question is, does the realtor have an ethical obligation to fully reveal the history of this house. Well, the funny thing about behaving ethically is, it often requires us to act in ways that are not in our own immediate best interest… this may give a potential buyer a leverage point to negotiate a lower price for the house, to the detriment of the realtor, who could end up taking a lower commission as a result. No surprise, then, that the realtor would love to find a reason not to opt for full disclosure. But, if that realtor successfully conceals the house’s history from an actual buyer, one who would not have bought had they known otherwise? The realtor had a simple, human duty to disclose, even if it cost him money (and, yes, even if it cost me money, were I the realtor)….Jack’s right: this is Golden Rule time. If I am willing to treat with someone else in a way that I would not want anyone to treat with me, is that logically consistent (much less ethically consistent)? And would any of us want to live in the resulting society should everyone behave in that fashion?”