by Shaun Scott
The mass murderer with a gun and a grudge became a media fixture after the Columbine High School Massacre in 1999. Over time, the initial shock of that cautionary tale wore off because we saw it reenacted. We were allowed to cope with trauma in the most tragic way possible—by seeing it repeated: at Virginia Tech University, in a movie theatre near Chicago, at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Rather than move us to action, the spectacle of galling violence and the subsequent political fallout (and lack thereof) became normalized. The nightly news invited us to count our blessings as a society of individuals who, by and large, have never experienced anything so awful as being gunned-down in a place of worship.
In the United States of America, aggregated tragedy has a way of becoming its own genre. The specific form of violence authored by perpetrators like Dylann Roof is endemic to this era of American life, and we’ve taken its foundations for granted.
What’s the first movie you actually remember watching? Your first tangible memories of a film that you can still replay in your head to this day? For me, it’s not one movie; it’s three movies that came out around the same time–forgotten Swedish cartoon Peter-No-Tail (1981), E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (1982) and The Electric Grandmother (1982). There we have it: apparently, I officially came online at around the age of three and a half.
I have disturbing memories of all these films. Peter-No-Tail, which my parents likely recorded with the Betamax from a cable channel that no longer exists, had a scene where orphan kitten Peter accidently burns down his adopted family’s house. For real. The damned kitty-cat burns a nice Swedish family’s house to the ground. E.T., of course, has the infamous scene where HOLY SHIT E.T. IS TOTALLY WHITE IN A RAVINE, MOMMY WHY IS HE WHITE WHAT IS DEATH AM I GOING TO DIE SOMEDAY? That was pretty bad. But these all pale in comparison with The Electric Grandmother, a sixty-minute installment of something called “NBC’s Project Peacock.” The objective of Project Peacock, apparently, was to fuck children up irrevocably.
Scarecrow Video has the largest private video and physical media collection in the United States–possibly the world. Therefore, as you might imagine, we are staffed by and allied with the kinds of people who live to watch, talk about, obsess over and write about movies.
The purpose of The Scarecrow Wire is to give these people a venue to share their ideas with fellow travelers. Our content will range from studiously researched and academic to good old-fashioned frivolous entertainment, aiming to reflect a wide diversity of opinions, experiences and writing styles.
The blog will be locally grown, but not necessarily locally focused. We’ll present the voices of some of our wonderful community partners, but we also want to keep our eye on the larger world of cinema.
Above all else, we want to write stuff that you will want to read. Stuff about the movies we love (and sometimes the movies we hate). So keep watching this space! We hope to post new content around two to four times each week.
If you’d like to contribute to The Scarecrow Wire, please send your ideas to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll try to get back to you in something resembling a timely manner.
Editor, The Scarecrow Wire