American Horrors #2: Hollywood Horror

Photo by Axel Rezinovsky

Hollywood horror is not the knife. It’s not the acid-green pus oozing from a finger stump. It’s not a zombie fetus eating its mother inside out. It’s not that sinking feeling before a corner, it’s not even the cat who jumps from the bushes. Hollywood horror is not a dead goat’s eyes hanging dangling from their sockets, it’s not blood and it’s not other.

Hollywood horror is a kickboxer with a hole in his heart. Hollywood horror is a case of mistaken identity in which an unlikely union emerges between a Prince and a woman who just can’t catch a break. Hollywood horror is knowing the plot but being stricken dumb, unable to alter, not even the parts that scrape. The scabs are what we gather to watch, a callus accelerated by the magic of Maya. And because it’s better to roast than to bore, we immolate ourselves. This is Hollywood horror: watching yourself cook, slowly, set it and forget it, convincing ourselves of the version where we get to sit at the table after. There’s no place setting, not even the one you carved in your desk. The horror is this: time doesn’t work like you’d expect.

Hollywood horror is a blind pig led by a quaint Frenchman, who tugs on his rope with an unkind phrase in his mouth. A sign of the times, as the credits roll in. Context. It’s a bird in a tree too far to see. It’s air conditioning in winter. Context. It’s a window that only opens to another room, never outside. It’s a self-administered fishhook. Context: it owns the context, which is worth far more than the problem. It’s a projection of the moon on the sun for an instant. It’s a listless camerawoman who films porn in her off hours. It’s noticing the cigarette burn on a reel, it’s the thought that noticing is enough: it’s not. Hollywood horror is a flood in the kitchen when the folks are over. It’s a sad man on a Segway. It’s Stone Hands, unable to love himself so that we must all endure his one-liners and wish that Juliann Moore was Our Mother.

American Horrors #2: Hollywood Horror

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