Films: An American Terror

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An American Terror

An American Terror

USA, 2012, 85 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Colorado, Cult, Horror, Thriller
Programs: Million Dollar Movies, Spotlight on Colorado
Language: English

DIRECTOR: Haylar Garcia
Producer: Tarik Heitmann, Sam Sleiman
Editor: Haylar Garcia
Screenwriter: Haylar Garcia
Cinematographer: Anton Fresco
Principal Cast: Graham Emmons, Louise MacDonald, Joe Ablanalp, Taylor Hulett, Brian Thompson

There is truth in FDR’s statement that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself, yet within the past decade we seem to have accepted terror as a daily occurrence. We are scared of what we hear on the news, scared to lose jobs, scared of one another, scared of the foreign “other,” and many kids’ daily lives are saturated with fear. Terror and America have become synonymous.

In addressing the zeitgeist of school shootings, An American Terror director Haylar Garcia comments on national events practically as they are happening. The Aurora theater massacre occurred immediately after filming wrapped, and the Sandy Hook tragedy took place during postproduction. Many may see filmmakers like Denver’s Garcia as exploiting these events, but they are in fact holding up a mirror to the world, forcing Americans to examine the reasons behind the phenomenon of public shootings.

In An American Terror, three Denver teens bullied to the point of desperation seek help from a local redneck, because “rednecks got guns!” They devise a vengeful plot for the night of homecoming that would meet Carrie White’s approval. Yet what is being said here is that the Code of Hammurabi is not effective: an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind.

An American Terror also falls into the cycle of “torture” horror that scholars say emulates headlines of “times of war.” With some brutally graphic scenes, this film is not for the faint of stomach or the faint of mind.

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