Monday, July 30, 2012

On Names


With the tragic events that took place in Aurora, Colorado now over a week in the past, with the media furor dying down and the shock thinning out, I wondered if a post like this was necessary. I decided that it was. To those connected in some way with the event - seventy injured or dead, and countless others suffering from the effects thereof - to all those involved directly or via some degree of separation who might find my site through some errant search, my site's name might seem gauche or flippant. At worst, it might be considered exploitative.

Dollar Theater Massacre! was a name I came up with for a film that I'll in all likelihood never make. The idea was that it would be a horrendously violent homage to everything I love about going to the movies - particularly horror movies, and particularly in the second-run theater that's become one of my favorite places over the past five years. I co-opted it for the name of this blog because I liked the sound of it. It seemed to fit everything I wanted the blog to be.

Strangely enough, violence in movies isn't something that I take for granted. In real life, I find violence abhorrent, which makes watching violent things to the degree that I do intermittently bothersome. While I'm as big a splatter fan as the next guy, genuine suffering (or its depiction as a form of entertainment) isn't something I tend to enjoy.

Most of the time, it's easy to separate fantasy from reality. Horror films operate within a contained space very distinct from the real world, in which consequences for actions are extremely dire. By ramping up the level of danger and terror within this space, we have an arena to explore our fears and confront threats that are too awful to engage with in reality. At the same time, the divide between reality and the world of film is thinner than we often consider.

When he opened fire upon the citizens of Aurora, the gunman (who deserves no notoreity, and who I refuse to name) pierced the wall between film and reality. What should have been an opportunity for relaxation and recreation became a grim reality stripped of escapism.

By maintaining the use of my blog's title, I'm going to keep on operating within the realm of film, within the imaginary realm. We need to continually reclaim this space against reality, to hold fast, to keep on dreaming, in hopes that one day our violent nightmares will remain just that. Then, when the credits roll, we'll all be free to wake up and walk out into a world free from selfish, mindless, heinous acts such as those that occurred last Friday.

I wish nothing but the best for those affected by the tragic events of last Friday. My heart goes out to you all.

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