I’m rubbish at remembering Easter. My awareness of it starts with the four day weekend. Eventually I get a card from my mum and I remember that I’ll be expected to attend a roast, bring some kind of chocolate egg for my younger sister and token gifts for the rest of the family. This usually dawns on me with horror around Good Friday.
I won’t lie, I find it stressful. This year has turned out to be particularly stressful as I’m not seeing my family but have failed to put anything on the post. After a bit of soul searching I realised this is because I don’t get Easter. Like most typical UK holidays it’s steeped in a confused mesh of Christianity and Anglo-Saxon history. Like all family holidays I find it a strange mixture of comforting and uneasy. Comforting because it’s a ritual, I see my family and uneasy because it’s a ritual and I see my family.
It got me thinking, as many things do, about horror films. Why do people constantly make horror films about holidays and ritual events? Christmas, Valentine’s Day, proms, birthdays and Easter. OK, it’s partly because it’s a nice easy theme to stick with and everyone gets the premise. But it’s also because of the sense of the uncanny. These traditional days are confusing, unbalanced.
These holidays don’t know who they are or what they’re about. They have no clear identity. If they were brands (see Christmas) they’d be failing. There’s conflict at the heart of them, their history is a muddle, their message is ever changing and their identity is a free for all (see Coca Cola’s Christmas). Easter is about Jesus rising from the dead (see zom-bie noun), but it’s also about eggs (they were traditionally not allowed over Lent), but it’s also about the spring and bunnies (Anglo-Saxon festivities). It’s an amalgamation of largely forgotten traditions. It has no clear identity so I don’t take it seriously.
Then you’ve got the personal aspect. The pressure of occasion, the presents, the family relationships – and what’s more horrifying than having a happy, family-orientated, traditional day turned on it’s head? It makes me anxious.
All of this lends itself well to the horror genre. They can highjack a holiday with ease. So if like me, you’re rubbish at remembering Easter, here are some films you can watch instead: