For those in the US, the State of the Union address is this evening. The speech originally coined by President Franklin D. Roosevelt is a yearly event marked lately by matching costumes, bejowled white guys, and angry women. I for one am willing to concede that this once important speech has become a bit of a scary movie. Like the best slashers, horror-comedies, or dark fantasies these well-orchestrated performances can be both terrifying and ridiculous. Political pundits and comedians alike are primed and ready to go for tonight’s presidential gabfest. Whole drinking games have been invented to keep things from getting too dull. Whether you want to drink the boredom away, study every moment in fine detail, or watch the Best Forgotten Political Horror Movies instead here are all the ways the State of the Union Address and horror movies are the same.
5. There are very clear rules for the State of the Union just as there are in horror movies.
Never go investigate a noise. It’s just a serial killer and you are walking into a trap. Don’t have sex or drink alcohol and for Gods’ sake never, ever split up. The rules for the address are not the same, although I’m guessing being loaded and macking on your significant other in the Capitol Building would be frowned on. The rules for the President’s speech are just as abundant and arbitrary.
You must applaud or harumph all statements depending on your political affiliation. You must convince all those in your party to do things that would otherwise be ill-advised. Keg stands and stupid laws aren’t that different. They both have lasting effects, are precariously balanced on faulty logic, and could make you vulnerable for years to come. It’s best to be overly optimistic if someone suggests a terrible idea. Lastly, no matter what is happening, blame everyone else. That one works great for both horror movies and the speech. As easy as it is to kick the can down the road bad decisions have consequences. Just ask Jennifer Love Hewitt.
4. All parties are dangerous.
The good thing about this one is it applies across the board. Parties in horror movies are just cattle calls for victims. They are basically buffets of impaired idiots just asking to be slaughtered. Obviously Republicans and Democrats don’t throw deadly raves, but they can be just as cutthroat. Political parties are anti-safe spaces where you either get on board, ride or die, or get out. There is no room for different thinking. You must assimilate because resistance is futile. It’s a little pessimistic I know but I’m a GD Independent. What can I say?
3. Three-fourths of it are boring AF punctuated by moments of high drama.
Most horror movies, even good ones have whole segments where nothing happens. Usually, there are flashbacks to things that happened in the past and dissections of events best forgotten. Lots and lots of pensive hand wringing and teary-eyed questions are a mainstay. What did we do to end up in this mess? None of that is very interesting. We are there to see some blood. The more the better.
In the address the same is true. We don’t want to hear statistics or watch people clap and frown on cue. Boring minutes spent yammering about half-truths are not fun. What is fun is watching the few unexpected beats of completely spontaneous dialogue and montages set to pumping 80’s tunes. Might I suggest we just make the address a montage of your greatest hits set to the tune of John Cafferty’s Hearts on Fire from Rocky IV? I think we would all enjoy it a lot more.
2. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Any time there is a power imbalance there is the propensity for abuse. If those in power are greedy, ignorant, or evil it’s dangerous. As much as our Founding Fathers tried to protect against corruption with checks and balances, it happens. The days of Abraham Lincoln are over. The government is a business that sometimes works better than others. It is designed to work for the people, not against them. Sometimes that doesn’t happen and when it doesn’t, we the people need to rise up like the best “Final Girls” and Ellen Ripley things. In most horror movies the people with the most power dictate the rules. In the case of The Purge the powerful invented a bloody holiday to control the masses. We aren’t running wild in a state-sanctioned murder day, but we all are gouging our ears out with boredom. It’s possibly just as bloody.
1. No one wants an expository dump.
Expo dumps although sometimes necessary are not fun. There is nothing good about an overly chatty character or an overly verbose President. If that character happens to be the quirky old guy or gal who is a fount of information on the strange happenings that’s especially true. We want the information down and dirty. Give it to us fast so we can digest it, make a plan, and move forward. We aren’t there to hear you drone on, we want just the facts and then back to the action. Keep to the point and only veer off script if you are going to deliver a zinger. Speeches should be pithy and clever. Maybe let Tucker and Dale deliver it from now on. I could watch Alan Tudyk all day.
If the State of the Union bores you to tears or makes you angry we have several lists of things far more fun to watch tonight. Click here for all our best-of lists or binge USA’s The Purge, HBO’s The Outsider or Hulu’s Castle Rock. They were all great!
As the Managing Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre entertainment. I grew up with old-school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. My work can be found here and Travel Weird, where I am the Editor in Chief.