I rarely watch horror movies, but I’ve seen enough to know that most of the plots focus on young white kids doing something stupid. I define stupid as entering a creepy abandon house for no good reason. Many stand up comics have good rants on the horror film behavior of black people versus white people. A complete list of these differences was teased out by comedian Orlando Jones, and it can be found here. For example, Orlando believes that black folks would never “adopt a kid who turns out to be the devil”, or “eat grilled chicken”, and these are common activities for white horror film stars. Eddie Murphy believes that horror films will never star black folks because if “there’s a ghost in the house, [black people] get the fuck out”. The movie would last 30 seconds. No needless investigations of what’s lurking downstairs. (See Eddie Murphy’s “Delirious“, it’s worth a viewing even if it means you forget about reading the rest of this, it’s just that good)
There’s some great horror movies out there known as “found footage” films. The idea is fairly simple: documentary filmmakers disappear under mysterious circumstances, and someone finds their footage. The Blair Witch Project is one such film. UCF alum created a fictional account of three film students who disappear after entering a forest to investigate a local Blair Witch legend. All that’s left of the crew is their film footage. Spooky.
The found footage genre owes its origins to Ruggero Deodato’s 1980 shocker Cannibal Holocaust. By 1980’s standards, this horror film was so “real”, so controversial, that its creator was arrested soon after it’s premiere in Italy (and yes, the films were seized as well, what great free promotion!). The plot was simple: Indiana Jones types travel to study remote cannibal tribes in the jungle, and they never return. When they don’t return, investigators re-visit the jungle to investigate their disappearance, and as per the formula–they find the missing crew’s shocking footage. Let’s face it, if someone is dumb enough to hang out with a whole jungle tribe of Jeffery Dahmers, going missing cannot be a good thing. Cannibal Holocaust contains animal mutilation, murder, rape, and absolutely grotesque images. Eventually, the murder charges against the film’s creator were dropped after several of the “dead” actors appeared on TV to explain how they shot the film. The film grossed $200,000,000, and that was in 1980. Yes, you heard me. The present value of $200 million from 1980 is, approximately, one zillion dollars. There was only one film to beat out Cannibal Holocaust in 1980–Spielberg’s E.T. The Extraterrestrial.
Believe it or not, our Florida case for today involves found footage (of sorts). In State v. Tumlinson, Mr. Tumlinson was charged with lewd or lascivious molestation of a child under twelve years of age “after law enforcement discovered and then questioned Tumlinson about his personal journal entries that described sexual contact with a child, J.T. Law enforcement was contacted after Tumlinson’s former roommates found the troubling journal entries Tumlinson left behind at their home.” (Fla. 2nd DCA 2016, Case NO. 2D15-1814). (You didn’t think I could transition from Cannibal Holocaust to a Florida case, did you? I’m not proud of the segue here, but we’ve got to talk about the law at some point) Continue Reading