Advertise With Us||Links||
Submission Guidelines||Subscribe to Feed||Contact
Don’t Go In The Woods
by Dan Greene
So I’ve been out of town for almost a week now, in the middle of nowhere, running from bears and other critters that could most likely cause me to tap out of the octagon. Not the spiders though, those little bastards didn’t throw in on the cabin rental so they didn’t get to stay anywhere except under my boot.
Man oh man, Northern Ontario has some wild stuff hanging out in the forest. I saw lots of deer and foxes, a bobcat I think, two bears, a spider that was about an inch and a half long in the body, and that guy moved like a motherfucker too. Although I would move like that myself if the whole sky suddenly turned into the sole of a size twelve doc. Still, I think he scared me more than I did him, and I killed him. Shows you what a baby I am when it comes to big and unusual spiders. Regular spiders are fine but you know what? If I don’t know you and you look like a mean bug, then I’ll assume as much and stomp you. I’m not so tough that I wouldn’t care about the baseball sized, rock textured lump your cousin gave my friend a few years ago when you bit him, and I ain’t taking the chance on you giving me the same gift.
Spiders are one of the most feared things around and you’d think that there were more movies about them. Only problem is, insect movies tend to suck in a bad way, especially when you get to choose between William Shatner and John Goodman to fight them.
The woods used to be the safe place. Back in the day, the city was where all the horror took place, you know, in those concrete dens of iniquity far removed from the goodness of the homestead. After a while though, the city became too familiar to everyone, while the countryside started to become a little more unknown. We’ve since come to the realization that evil is fucking everywhere and so there’s no place safe from movie villains – seen Jason X yet, by the way?
But it’s the woods, the forest, the country that seems to get to us the most. Probably because it’s just not our element anymore. We’ve given it up for something more comfortable, and now half of us are scared to walk comfortably in the woods at night.
Ask someone why they don’t like to walk alone in the city at night and you’ll hear answers like, “It’s just not safe anymore, not in this city”, or “I’m not comfortable after I read what happened to that lady last week; you know that happened just up the street, right?” Things that may or may not make sense, but at least they’re more or less factual and verifiable.
Ask someone why they don’t like walking in the woods at night and you’d be lucky to hear anyone mention wildlife or anything tangible. You’ll be much more likely to hear, “There might be crazy hicks looking to rape me and make me squeal like a pig”, “But what about Leatherface”, “it’s so far from civilization”, or my favourite, “GHOOOOOOOSSSTTSSSS!!!” If you want to make my wife scream for mercy in a dark forest, Just say, “What was that sound? It sounded like oooooooohhhhh”.
And I have to ask what that’s all about. Is our fear of the unknown so strong? People spend their lives getting out of scary situations and learning to deal with the unexpected, taking kung fu lessons and hitting the gym to feel empowered, but they turn to mush in the woods. Not everyone, mind you, but I find it’s a lot easier to get someone to walk down a dark city alley alone then a dark path in the forest.
One of the best movies to portray that feeling is the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but only towards the end, when the surviving cast members are realizing that something is definitely very wrong and that they have to look for their friends. The entire movie is set in the Texas countryside and I think that the movie (and ones that followed it) had a lot to do with bringing these fears out in people. The feeling of being in the middle of nowhere and royally fucked sums it all up. It just isn’t home and home is safe and I want to go home now.
The Friday The 13th movies did add a lot to the selection of horror movies set in the woods, but didn’t really do much to make you face the fear. Everyone knew Camp Crystal Lake had a bad history, and that does account for something I suppose, like a ghost story, but at the end of the day they were just running from some retarded mutant with a psycho Mom.
A great example to come out in recent years is Cabin Fever. That group of kids went to their cabin for some partying, but what they ran into was a different type of unknown. They all got sick…. then they ran into the crazies. That whole fucking town was crazy. Cabin Fever was great in that it gave us a fear that is usually reserved for the city – biohazards. Ha, never thought about that before while you were sitting around the campfire, did ya?
So whatcha got? What’s your favourite horror movie set in the woods? As usual I left out a bunch for you.
Do you hate the woods at night? Do you scare easily at the cabin? What exactly gets your brain to overload with fear when you are walking in largely uninhabited areas? Play shrink with yourself and tell us.
Dan likes camping, lumberjacks and long walks on the beach.