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Halloween Horror Film Retrospective: It Follows

In 2014, a remarkably original horror film came out in the way of It Follows.

The plot was simple.

A near unstoppable, malevolent "ghost" is following you incessantly. Not running, or flying, just walking. It is always somewhere coming for you, but at a near leisurely, albeit deliberate, stroll. The kicker, however, was that if you were able to get laid, you would then pass this coital phantasm on to that person.

As a defense against this walking hard on, you too could run, or drive, or even fly across the globe to get away from it, but the brilliant conceit was that it was always coming. It was only a matter of time. And if it caught you, you were dead. And not only would you be dead, but it would then begin following the person who passed it on to you. It would continue down that line until it hit the original adulterer.

Pictured above: The sex demon ... on its way to kill you. But not before it gets an Ensure in its system because its tired.

That conceit, the tone and cinematography of the film, and its general sense of uneasiness made it at the very least an exciting new foray in the horror genre.

Upon its release everyone was abuzz with excitement. There was a stream of positive reviews. What followed (hehe) was an ongoing discussion of the film's symbolism. Now I'm not afraid to admit I'm a relatively learned guy. I've read a book or two. But I have about as much interest discussing a film's symbolism as I do discussing corn removal techniques with my great aunt. Was the "ghost" a reference to STDs? Was it a comment on our cultures continued puritanical views on sex? Was it just a message to young people about practicing safe sex?


You can make up your own mind in this case, and guess what, it'll be the right answer. Symbolism in film is like that huge goiter on the cashier's neck at the grocery store. You both know damn well it's there but there's really no point in discussing it.

What I find infinitely more interesting is discussing the "rules" of the film. How does this thing operate? Where did it come from? What started its sexual bloodlust? If you flew from North America to Europe, would it just wade into the Atlantic Ocean and walk across the seafloor until it reached land? Why is it an old lady in a bathrobe in that one scene?

These are the important questions.

One technique not explored in the film would have been to sleep with a prostitute. That way you could be assured of getting rid of it for a small fee, and it would clearly keep moving to different individuals.

Shown above: this weird, anachronistic clam phone, one of many props never allowing the viewer to pinpoint the movie's time period. Side note: she's reading The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Symbolism perhaps? DON'T CARE

While this seems to be one of the better ideas, it isn't without its issues. For one, there was always the chance that it could still catch any one of those people and bring it back. If the hooker was unaware of it following he/she, it could catch them off guard and then it'd go right back to you and you'd have to start all over again. Also a lot of prostitutes do heroin and/or crack (and take whole days off to do it, slackers...) which makes them very susceptible to death by copulation succubus.

But I believe I've found the ultimate stop to this horrific creature. It's not pleasant though.

To ensure the follower would stop, you'd have to sleep with a dead person. I know, I know, I said it wasn't pleasant! But there's a thing coming after you to kill you. You got to do what you can to stop it.

Post necrophilia, I believe given the film's stated rules, the creature would simply cease its reign of terror.

It'd be all like "Hey, no fair! I can't follow this person and they can't get laid anymore. They're dead."

And I'd be like, "Not my problem, undead Dr. Ruth. I'm going to Smoothie King. You can come if you want something, or stay here if you want to be a little crybaby bitch about this."

And the phantasm would be like, "*sigh* fine. You know where the closest one is?"

"Yep," I'd say.

"Cool, I'll follow you there."

"Nice try, pal!" I'd say. And we'd laugh and laugh and laugh, and I'd put my arm around this weird thing that now resembles my old boss and we'd walk off leisurely, albeit deliberately. And then the screen would go black and that'd be the end of my version of It Follows.