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Outer Space: Hexus Journal Pick An Experimental Horror Bakers Dozen
The Quietus , October 13th, 2017 10:06

To start our run up to Halloween, Thogdin Ripley and Philippa Snow of avant-horror publishers Hexus Journal pick thirteen films that blur the worlds of horror and the avant-garde to frightening, funny and sometimes shocking effect


Mainsqueeze (Jon Rafman, 2014)

Honestly, I could not recommend that you watch Mainsqueeze, a short film made out of collaged YouTube-Instagram-et-cetera videos and screenshots by the hip and genuinely talented Jon Rafman. I can say that it remains one of the purest and most visceral expressions of a very modern —standing in for Reddit-savvy — kind of horror that I’ve ever seen. I should admit, too: there are parts of it I’ve never seen, due to the fact that Rafman cuts in clips from online fetish videos for “crush” fans, in which crayfish are unkindly and unethically destroyed by high heels. That you can’t “unsee” is, for a horror fan, an occupational hazard. Faked-up pseudo-violence, I can take; real violence — even on crustaceans fated to be eaten — I refuse to.

Otherwise, this is a cruel and clever sewer-slew of web memes, ugly images, and deep web junk. It makes a broken washer-dryer into something out of hell. It adds a drone to passed-out sharpie pranks, and makes the prankees look like casualties of war. A fat man in a frog suit, hogtied in Shibari style, is seen to writhe against a sound-scape of dogs barking, ticking clocks, and car alarms, which would be funny if it were not so unsettling and I-should-not-be-seeing-this surreal. “Do you ever wonder,” asks a dreamy, electronic voice, “if rocks are actually soft, and tense up when we touch them?” This sounds existential — actually, it comes from Tumblr. Maybe both things are not, per this artist, mutually exclusive.