There’s something wrong With West Virginia
Everybody fantasizes about going to their own personal dream places that only beloved films could immortalize onscreen. People have dreamt about going to back to the fictional town of Shermer, Illinois to somehow relive their glory days as a whiny teenager when pangs of nostalgia hits. Women have fantasized about going to Barcelona to fall in love and somehow get tricked into a threesome with someone as charming as Javier Bardem in Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Guys have fantasized about going to Barcelona simply to somehow become someone like Javier Bardem. But, I will tell you where people do not fantasize about. It’s a place so disturbing that it takes the silver award for the location nightmares are made out of. (Obviously, Elm Street takes the gold in that category.) And that horrifying place would be—wait for it—WEST VIRGINIA. Don’t laugh.
What’s wrong with West Virginia? Lush forests and guaranteed scenic rides down the countryside—what could be wrong with that, right? EVERYTHING that’s what! It may seem like just an ordinary dot on a map to you, but many unsuspecting characters in horror films have made the same wrong assumption as well and they unfortunately did not make it to the sequels. Speaking of which, with this week’s release of Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead, there is no better time to examine some of the reasons why West Virginia gives most horror fans the heebie jeebies onscreen.
In horror films that take place in West Virginia, a redneck is as common to see as Christian Slater’s face on a straight to DVD feature. These rednecks are trouble as they most always will instigate a fight with somebody who actually observes the civilized rules of personal hygiene. In the horror film Timber Falls, a couple (played by Brianna Brown and Josh Randall) is threatened by a group of hill billies and then forced to purchase moonshine from the goons to save them from a far worse fate. What’s insane is that this frightening sequence was only the start to this couple’s problem. You see, redneck bullies are usually just the generic henchmen in these horror films. If life were a Super Mario Bros. video game, they would be the “Goomba-equivalents in this world. Although more fear-provoking than their inability to floss or brush their teeth, they are usually just the “calm before the storm.”
Horrible Direction Givers
When driving through West Virginia, make sure you have a good GPS system or you will be more screwed than Bai Ling at a Hollywood film premiere. (I’m talking about both her sex life and fashion sense by the way.) The reason why I say this is because everybody that is asked to give directions in a West-Virginian horror film is typically shady characters. These characters are usually people who were once just orally deficient redneck bullies that have turned into rotten-toothed old men who inhabit rundown gas stations. While getting lost in the mountains of West Virginia in Wrong Turn, Chris Flynn (Desmond Harrington) makes the unfortunate decision to ask a one-toothed elderly man for directions which leads him quite literally down the road to hell for the rest of the entire film. It was this movie that has made me carry a map on me on every road trip.
Inbreeding and Cannibalism
Horror films have taught us that in West Virginia inbreeding and cannibalism go together like peanut butter and jelly. As well as being orally deficient, the villains in these films also prove to be genetically deficient. Movies like the Wrong Turn trilogy which feature a family of cannibalistic mountain men lead by the deadly “Three Finger,” have proved that in the land of horror, there’s a thin line between incest and cannibalism. Cameron Romero’s (son of George A. Romero) latest film, Staunton Hill also features a tight family in the human flesh eating business in West Virginia. If this doesn’t turn you off visiting this state, I don’t know what will.
Eerie Supernatural Forces
If there aren’t any inbred redneck cannibals hunting you down, you can pretty much guarantee something supernatural is going to run amuck. X-Files: I Want to Believe called on retired agents Scully and Mulder for their paranormal expertise in West Virginia. While in 2006’s Silent Hill, Rose (played by Radha Mitchell) enters an alternate and demon-filled reality and loses her daughter in Silent Hill, West Virginia. Let’s not even get into The Mothman Prophecies…that ghostly story is actually based on actual events. (I still feel scared to answer my phone late at night because of that film!)
The Home of “Buffalo Bill”
In Silence of the Lambs, we learn that West Virginia is the dumping site for serial killer, “Buffalo Bill.” (Played by Ted Levine) To this very day, every time I hear Q Lazarus’ Goodbye Horses, I feel like putting on an excessive amount of clothing layers.
So there you have it! Although in real-life, West Virginia may be known for its coal, incredible mountains and white water rafting, on the big and small screen it’s known for cannibalism and people killing within their kin. (Hmmm…quaint.) What’s the most truthful depiction you may be wondering? That’s up to you to decide. All I know is that I don’t trust being anywhere that’s only a 7 hour drive from a state that makes anybody’s ass cheeks clench up if they hear a banjo.
Be sure to catch WRONG TURN 3: LEFT FOR DEAD on DVD and Blu-ray and send any questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org