American Head Charge: All Wrapped Up With No Place To Go
0 comment Thursday, May 8, 2014 |

It�s no secret that horror gets a pretty bad rap from some members of the esteemed high school clique of society. Even the average everyday Joe (or Joanne) would probably wrinkle their nose a little at you the minute you admitted having a fondness for the genre. No doubt they imagine you having a fetish for blood, an obsession with monsters and maniacs, and a potentially dangerous psychotic disorder that involves you enjoying the feeling of being scared (and most likely scaring others).
Other circles of fandom suffer the same type of generalization; when someone tells you they like science fiction, for instance, your immediate mental response is probably envisioning them in Jedi garb talking in some alien tongue to their equally delusional friends while standing in a convention line so they can get their Star Trek DVD set signed by a grown man in a furry costume. But horror perhaps suffers the most because its lovers and affectionate fans are deemed "sick" and "disturbed" for finding enjoyment (and enlightenment) in material that is considered dark at best and degenerative at worst.
The point? This video by the band American Head Charge doesn�t seem to be really helping matters any bit.
Don�t get me wrong. The actual music in this video isn�t really all that bad. I can�t say I�m a fan of the whole swinging-guitars/microphone-screaming/head-shaking scene, but there is something inherently enjoyable in the piece from an auditory standpoint. My main beef comes from the images that accompany the twisted tune. The song�s title, "All Wrapped Up," is what we are to assume is a pun, as the main character seems to be a slightly homicidal good ol� boy who has a habit of keeping bodies in burlap sacks. Fair enough, let�s keep going.
The opening for the song starts out swell enough, with a demented, music box-like intro to unsettle our minds a little bit. A puddle of blood here, a flash of a kitchen knife there, a decapitated pig�s head swinging on a hook in front of our corpse-colored keyboardist. Sure, okay. A pounding percussion sets in and soon we feel as if we�ve just taken the wrong turn at Albuquerque and have landed smack dab in the middle of Leatherface�s meat locker out in the Texan wilderness.
But after this slightly eerie buildup, the video loses its creepy touch and instead opts to soak the viewer�s eyes in as much red-dye water as possible. Thus the rest of the song plays out for all the world to see, plasma spraying upon the band members as they thrash about the sound stage and all the horror-naysayers out there nodding their heads knowingly and muttering "I told ya so�"
Now I�m no prude. I enjoy a good splatterfest like a good many of other fans do. But violence isn�t "scary" or even "cool" if you shower blood from the ceilings and have a guy juggling swine guts in the corner there all willy-nilly. Whether it�s meant to disturb like a Takashi Miike film or meant to inspire laughter ala Peter Jackson, good horror grue is always served up in powerful, effective doses, punching you right in the gut. It has purpose. Here it feels like it's being shoved down the audience�s throat.
Do you think a professional wine taster would appreciate having three gallons of vintage port dumped over his head? I�m sure he would much rather be given the time to let the fragrance waft in before imbibing it, let alone have it in a glass. To paraphrase a fairly popular saying, it�s not the size of the blood tank you have, it�s how you use it.
There�s just a certain point where the effect of genuine horror is lost and oversaturation takes hold (literally in the case of this video). I�d turn red with embarrassment if someone thought that my idea of quality horror is a man shouting his lungs out at mutilated animal parts. That�s not art, it�s just awful. Maybe some think that I�m being a little too harsh on this video. Perhaps that�s so. But as a fan of the horror genre, it pains me to see it being simplified into lowest common denominator hooey like this. Apparently all we fans really need is a bunch of people convulsing about to loud music in a tsunami of blood to keep us happy.
But hey, I never said I didn�t like the song. For maximum enjoyment, I advise playing the video and just closing your eyes for a few minutes.

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