The Pride of Strathmoor: A horror video short review.
To our new C.H.U.D. readers and our returning O.G.’s. I bid you….
Welcome to Barry’s Basement of Oddities!
Every week, dear readers, I will deliver three short films of my choosing. Sometimes, we’ll have a theme, sometimes a stream of thought. What I’m presenting to you is part fun house ride, part classroom, and part getting wasted with your buddies on weekend. This is a horror series, but I’m here to show you the gems. It’ll be scary sometimes, funny, perhaps even thought provoking, but it won’t be boring. Don’t expect zombies.
The Story: Pulled from the journal of a racist southern Pastor in 1927, we see his sanity crumble with the rise of “the other.”
WARNING: THIS VIDEO MAY CAUSE SEIZURES
Directed by Einar Baldvin
The Rundown: So …. Beautifully animated, composed, and properly contextualized, The Pride of Strathmoor is a window into the society we used to be and an examination of a moment where the thinly veiled walls of that world began to crack.
To say that this short is an examination of racism is akin to calling the ocean moist. That’s the 1920’s for you, folks (I’m sorry to tell you this, but your grandparents were probably a little racist).
The Pride of Strathmoor is presented as dramatized diary entries from a Pastor John Deitman who sees blacks as subhuman. The story starts with him in a position of (white) power, standing in front of a lynched black man, and next to a rough and rugged ideal of an Aryan superman. Through the course of the story, we see his sanity unwoven by the prospect of the rise of black power.
We see this through his eyes as everything seems to be turning against him (sort of like that relative that was disgusted when they saw the cover art of Public Enemy’s ‘Fear of a Black Planet’). Even the kids of his town seem to have been influenced, because they are brought to him, having constant visions of crows coming for them. Even the sun has turned black as if choosing to set into the next era of post-white superiority. When the end comes, it’s as if this black hole sun (won’t you come?) has darkened everything, turning the world itself black. Even the white children suddenly have a change of melatonin.
This project is scary even if you’re not terrified of black men, migrant hordes, and liberals. I want to say that this isn’t the world we live in anymore, but a quick look around the Twitter-sphere, and it’s not hard to find people who would start a new genocide. To fully embrace this film, you will have to let yourself go to a dark place that we are still uncomfortable about.
So is this film important? I’m going to say yes.
When Hollywood tends to make a movie about race and the evolution of our society, the racists in these stories are either background characters or antagonists. Not this story. Racism and the people who worship at its alter are hard sells for a movie executive. This is one of those times where we are presented with the horror of the white psyche and the racism that poisons it. We are shown the struggle through their eyes, we experience the panic of the white man suspecting he may not be the top of the race chain. Through the media, we are forced to see life through his eyes, unable to comment, forced to argue against our better angels.
Is America any better today than it was back then?
I hope so. Then again, if you’ve seen “Get Out,” you know that white people and their “undercover brothers” have a way of screwing black culture in new and creative ways.
This is America, indeed.
What movie should I watch after this?? “Get Out,” “Twilight Zone the Movie” segment ‘Time Out,’ “Maniac” (2012)