After watching Rubber of Quentin Dupieux – a story about a killer tire- I decided to make a list of otherwise harmless things that terrorize mankind for one reason or another( in the case of Rubber for no reason).
Plants: As we all know plants are absolutely harmless, look great in our gardens and taste great in our food. In fiction, however, they tend to be slightly more aggressive.I was surprised to find out how many films involve in one way or another killer plants that threaten mankind for various reasons. A few examples examples of films that involve killer plants are The Little Shop of Horrors (1986), Jumanji (1995) , The Happening (2008), and my personal favourite: The Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (1978).If you watch this one make sure to watch the first sequel as well just to see George Clooney running away from popular pasta sauce ingredients.
Insects: Ok I get it, a lot of people get freaked out by insects. Spiders, Cockroaches, worms- apparently these creatures have somehow come to be repulsive to the human eye. Sure, in some countries certain insects are considered a delicacy but I have personally never met anyone who pointed to a cockroach and said ‘Aww, so cute! ‘. Anyway, the list is quite long in this category and it contains films such as Arachnophobia (1990), Mimic (1997), Bugs(2003), Mosquito (1995) and of course David Cronenberg’s The Fly (1986), back when he wasn’t directing gangster films but sci-fi nightmares.
Vehicles: The concept of the killer car that somehow comes to life and attempts to run over a character is something that I see surprisingly often in films and TV. I suppose the fear of vehicles is somehow related to the fear of ‘the machine’ and technophobia, which was first expressed during the industrial revolution. Personally, I find my car quite docile and I have a great relationship with it. A lot of fictional characters do as well- like the Knight Rider or the guys of Supernatural . But occasionally it turns out that your car is in fact a demon from hell, or possessed by the spirit of an evil witch-doctor or it simply develops its own will, decides that it hates your guts and murders you . A few notable films: John Carpenter’s Christine (1983) – Christine is a Plymouth Fury and she is beautiful, Killdozer (1974), Joyride (2001) , Maximum Overdrive (1986), I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle (1990) , The Car (1977) and-in a way- involving a kid’s bicycle Rubber (2010)
Clowns: I have actually never met anyone who enjoyed having a clown at parties as a kid. On the contrary, I have met a lot of people who dislike clowns and a few people who fear clowns. Let’s face it: Clowns don’t look fun. They look out of place.They look like the bass player of a black metal band after a unicorn puked all over his corpse paint. Their jokes are usually old and overused and balloon animals are not as fun as they sound and they pop as soon as you get home. It seems that some of the kids who were traumatised by the presence of a clown at their party grew up and got a job in the film industry. The result is films like : Clownstrophobia (2009) – I haven’t watched this one but just off the top of my head I am guessing it has something to do with clowns and restricted spaces. Clown(2007), Clownhouse (1989), Fear of Clowns (2004), Killer Clowns from Outer Space (1988) and of course It (1990).
Body Parts: Body parts can kill people in real life as well. For example, death by strangulation may involve the killer’s hands around the victim’s neck. The real issue with body parts in horror films is that some times they have a mind of their own and they act against the will of their owner. They may even be detached from their owner or transplanted in someone else’s body. Certain harmless body parts might be dangerous in horror films as well. Examples include: Body Parts (1991), Idle Hands (1999), Killer Tongue (1996), The Hand (1981)- Directed by Oliver Stone, The Eye (2002), Teeth (2007) – which is about a vagina with teeth apparently… and what I would recommend to those who have already seen a lot of weird stuff : Pervert ! (2005)
Dolls: Dolls are traditionally the favourite toys of little girls. They enable them to develop social skills and keep them occupied so that their parents can enjoy a glass of wine after work. Dolls are created in the likeness of humans in the same way that humans are supposed to be created in the likeness of God. Kind of creepy if you think about it; After all there is this ancient taboo about playing God that has been expressed in several ancient myths and is still expressed in contemporary fiction. What is more, the very fact that dolls – these plastic, inanimate objects- are modeled after humans places them into the uncanny valley, rendering them slightly disturbing. Just have a look at the work of Hans Bellmer and you will see what I mean. Anyway, killer dolls are apparently a popular theme in films: Devil Doll (1964), Dead of Night (1945), Bride of Chucky (1998) , Child’s Play (1988) -This one has also four sequels, Dolls (1987), Pinnocchio’s Revenge (1996)- yes, really, Dolly Dearest (1992).
Others: There are three more films that I feel obliged to mention in this post :
–Rubber(2010): The killer’s name is Robert, and he is a tire. An actual tire that came out of a car at some point. Robert enjoys rolling around in the desert killing people. This film by Quentin Dupieux is actually way more fun than it sounds. As it comically stated in the opening scene, Rubber is a tribute to ‘No reason’. The cinematography (also by Dupieux) is really good, the plot has a nice flow to it and Robert makes for a likeable main character despite being a tire. I love Robert.
–Killer Condom(1996): Try to get what this is about. This German film seems to address the unconscious fear of castration that according to psychology which originates in the phallic stage of development. Don’t take this kind of plot lightly, it goes deeper than you think.
–The attack of the Giant Moussaka(1999): I am so glad I could include this masterpiece in this post. In fact, subconsciously I might have created this post for the sole purpose of including this film. The plot revolves around a moussaka that mutates after being hit by an alien beam and attacks Athens. All the characters have their own peculiarities and throughout the attack they have their own interpersonal conflicts to resolve as well. The moussaka is not as likable as Robert the tire and doesn’t look appetizing at all. However, the writers do make an effort to give it some character, especially in this scene where it travels on the motorway at night and you can really feel that this food is lonely and lost :