Thursday, October 28, 2010

THE B-LIST: QUESTIONABLE MUSICAL MOMENTS #5 – CAMP BLOOD: THE MUSICAL

Yeah, I know. It’s another slasher movie parody. But wait, this one has musical numbers! Of a sort.

Camp Blood: The Musical is a 30 minute shot-on-video short film which, by the creators’ own admission, was filmed in only two days on a budget of less than $200… most of which was spent on official Camp Blood t-shirts and beer. Despite this (or maybe because of it), the film managed to win the Audience Award at the RI International Horror Film Festival and picked up the honors for best actor and best original song from the LYM Online Horrowshow.

Alas, the following number (which is decidedly a hard PG-13 in content) is not the tune that won. But hey, you know, since the whole setup of this song is to introduce the usual set of slasher stereotypes, why not see if you can guess which of our happy campers turns out to be the Final Girl?

Well, that should have been pretty easy, but just in case you’re still not sure,  I’ll give you a hint: non-girls, whiny goth chicks, and cocaine sniffing trollops don’t typically get to be the Final Girl. That’s because, as we discussed way back in our review of Student Bodies, slasher movies often take the form of Morality Plays, a form of secular theater in which allegorical characters representing vices and virtues face a number of perils, with only the ones who stick to the moral path left standing in the end.

So why do these kids continuously ignore all of the warning signs (not to mention the Crazy Ralphs) in their blind pursuit of premarital sex, illegal drugs, more premarital sex, slovenly drunkenness, and even more premarital sex, especially once they start to notice the body count of those engaged in such pursuits start to rise? Well, most likely it’s because it only took them about five minutes to figure out that all that stuff can be pretty pleasurable. And pleasure’s not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself. Any teenager will tell you that.

But as St. Thomas Aquinas points out, “God wills some greater good that cannot be without the loss of some lesser good.” And that brings us to the big philosophical word of the day: concupiscence. (That’s kon-kyoo-pi-suhns for those of you like me who never heard that word come up even once during Sunday School.) “Etymologically, concupiscence can refer to any intense form of human desire.” the Catechism explains, however “Christian theology has given it a particular meaning: the movement of the sensitive appetite contrary to the operation of the human reason. The apostle St. Paul identifies it with the rebellion of the "flesh" against the "spirit." Concupiscence stems from the disobedience of the first sin. It unsettles man's moral faculties and, without being in itself an offense, inclines man to commit sins.”

In a sense, especially in the context of something like Camp Blood, concupiscence can be seen as our human tendency to settle for lesser goods like immediate sexual gratification rather than exercise our reason and put off those pleasures until they can be directed towards a greater good like holy matrimony. And that’s the challenge for us parents and teachers out there, isn’t it? Not to convince kids that the pleasures they’re chasing after aren’t good, but to show them that they’re not good enough. But how do we do that?

Well, your guess is as good as mine. But it was interesting to note in a 2005 New York Times article that “Catholic teenagers were far less apt to affirm belief in a personal God, to report having ever undergone a very moving, powerful worship experience, or to say their faith was extremely important in shaping their daily lives or major life decisions.” Maybe we can start by letting our kids see those things in our own lives.

Or we can just show them something like Camp Blood and say, “See, bad kids die!” Me, I’ve tried both.

5 comments:

romishgraffiti said...

If you can get over the awful cut-rate performance, the tune is actually pretty clever and well-crafted. However, keep an air-scikness bag nearby when 0:26 rolls around when the guy in red shorts and headband and exposed belly shows up. bleeeech!

as we discussed way back in our review of Student Bodies, slasher movies often take the form of Morality Plays, a form of secular theater in which allegorical characters representing vices and virtues face a number of perils, with only the ones who stick to the moral path left standing in the end.

I never thought of that and you are spot on! Kinda like my defense of profession wrestling: Good guy mops up the floor with all comers. Good guy gets prideful and arrogant and becomes a bad guy. Guy is brought low by defeat by a new David. Bing! The moral order of the universe is reaffirmed.

Anonymous said...

The discomfitting thing about the definition of concupiscence is that it fits my taste in movies....

But the point about transmitting the Faith is way serious. Last night I was supposed to be giving a retreat w/ Adoration & Confession to a Confirmation class, but it was cancelled because the schools had playoffs this week. But what's the CCC say we were made for? "To know God,..." and I think we make the mistake in catechesis of trying to get kids to know *about* God rather than know God. We've lost mystagogy.

Xena Catolica

(former) Rocket Scientist said...

Hurray! Another excellent post. A long time ago when our children were small and we'd snuggle on the sofa with popcorn and a bad 50's monster movie, we made a game out of guessing who the monster would kill first. Letting the kids loose on this one was fun. It took very little time for them to discern that the people presented as serious sinners were the first ones to become monster chow. Which triggered discussions on the seven deadly sins, corporal and spiritual works of mercy, and other serious stuff. Even though they are older now, we still discuss these issues while watching these movies. I will say that we avoid the 70's disillusionment movies where the monster wins, or all the good guys get killed. Give me a 50's morality play over these any day.

EegahInc said...

"keep an air-sickness bag nearby when 0:26 rolls around when the guy in red shorts and headband and exposed belly shows up"

Probably the most frightening thing in the film!

"I think we make the mistake in catechesis of trying to get kids to know *about* God rather than know God."

Don't get me started! Although in fairness I think you can concentrate mainly on the book stuff in teenage catechesis as long as you've got something else going on for them outside the classroom. If the room is all you have though...

"I will say that we avoid the 70's disillusionment movies where the monster wins, or all the good guys get killed. Give me a 50's morality play over these any day."

I think the late 90s to the early part of the naughts are the worst for me because everyone is a monster and there are no good guys.

(former) Rocket Scientist said...

"everyone is a monster and there are no good guys." Ouch. Too true.