I’m a huge fan of horror movies and I have been for as long as a can remember. When I was younger, it was about the testing of boundaries, of feeling briefly brave for not being the fourth grader at the slumber party having a total freak-out in the bottom of a sleeping bag. (I was the one who refused to go into a dark bathroom to call forth Bloody Mary, though. I was brave, not f*cking insane.) Those sleepover nights occurred during the Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, Michael Meyers years, when the sequels climbed high into the double digits and every movie was exactly the same. I came to realize that the couple who’d just had sex during a blackout they were sure had been caused by the wind – on a calm, still night no less – would end up getting sliced in four even before the wet spot crusted over. I knew the not-so-classically-feminine girl with the unisex name like Alex or Sydney would live because she noticed all the danger signs (you know, minor things like the power suddenly cutting out for no reason or rivulets of plasma running down the walls) the others so flagrantly ignored. I began to understand how viewer identification is formed not only through dialogue, but by which character is granted the most reaction shots and I’d congratulate myself for figuring out who the survivor would be even while everyone onscreen was still temporarily breathing.
It was during college that I took an upper-level course in Film Theory as part of my major. The professor chose a screening schedule comprised entirely of horror films and I was plunged into the dripping red world of Dario Argento. Suspiria scarred me and I was petrified of ballerinas from that day forward, but it was Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre with characters who were carved into like they were loins of pork that made the biggest impression. The setup – the action before the carnage set in – was what I liked the most. As the film that ushered the slasher genre as we now know it into the nightmares of our collective consciousness, Texas Chainsaw illustrated the stylistic and story conventions that are still employed today.
You know the deal. A group of older teenagers or post-college young adults arrive at some remote location expecting to have the time of their lives. The bland banter they share in the SUV on the way to wherever they’ll end up dying reveals their relationships and explains exactly why we will feel absolutely no sense of loss when a machete slices their spleens right out later on. Those eventual victims have no gaze, no awareness that the obvious signs of danger they’re looking straight at will bring about their destruction and the viewer – fully aware of each and every danger sign – disavows a connection with them on the spot because it’s just not all that pleasant to identify with f*cking idiots. The one who survives will be the girl who didn’t run around naked, the one who never believed the scraping against the car hood was caused by some errant branch. She sees what we see and she says what we’d say and she screams when we’d scream. She’s the only fully developed character in the entire movie while the others are so moronic that we just count down the minutes until they become carcasses.
Allow me to be clear here: I do not wish carcassdom on any Vanderpumper. For one, despite these lengthy recaps, I’m not invested in them enough to expend energy wishing that they kick it permanently. For another, who would I make terrible fun of if Jax and James and Kristen ceased to exist? (I know – I could just turn my attention to Southern Charm, a show a bunch of people have told me to recap. I’ve never seen it and that choice is purely a defense mechanism to protect what’s left of my rotting sanity an exposure to reality television has caused.) Still, watching the tragic and terrifying buildup to Katie and Schwartz’s wedding day has left me feeling like I’m shuddering my way through the first half of a horror movie where we’re encountered with people we know are doomed and the fact that the entire thing will be taking place in the woods only strengthens the analogy.
For the record, if this show followed the traditional iconography of a slasher, Kristen would be offed before the credits, Lala wouldn’t make it to the twenty minute mark even though she’d try to stop the killer with her ferocious set of fingernails or by offering to suck his dome, Jax would be killed offscreen because the filmmaker would realize we’d already grown tired of him, and Scheana would bite it in close-up after complaining that shellfish might get served at the wedding. There’s a chance Katie and Schwartz could make it since they are the least sexually-active couple I’ve ever seen and sex in horror is a big no-no, but they’d probably just end up killing each other so that’ll up the death count. I’d consider the potential for Sandoval to live because he’s shown himself to be relatively wise in everything other than choosing friends. He’s also not fully masculine – such a quality really helps in a slasher situation –but I think he’ll have to give his hair an overhaul in order to secure his survival. That leaves Ariana and Lisa Vanderpump, and I fully believe they’d effectively battle a masked madman before hopping onto a pair of pricey ponies and galloping their way to both safety and the sequel.
But before the real crazy can go down much like Lala does so she can secure herself a Range Rover, we have to get through the prelude and tonight’s episode plunges us dagger-like straight into the story. It was just last week when Katie and Schwartz decided to ignore the mess that is their relationship and pledge to love each other instead in a leap of optimism so blazing that I needed to put on sunglasses. With this proclamation officially decreed – and with everyone pretending to believe such a decree is actually possible for these two to pull off – the final wedding preparations are in full swing. The thing about the days before a wedding is that it becomes stressful for everyone. While the bride and groom are preoccupied with figuring out how to pay for an open bar and hoping their guests show up on time and trying with all their might not to stare into a mirror during a private moment to whisper aloud that they’re making a huge mistake, the wedding party has sh*t to take care of also. Jax and Sandoval are working to get Schwartz’s brothers into the woods so they can either celebrate their sibling’s union or do the wave when Lisa Vanderpump politely inquires about whether anyone objects to this marriage. Meanwhile, the girls are very busy smoothing Katie’s hair and telling her that her dress is pretty while swearing their undying loyalty to her via some blood oath Kristen found online when she took a break from cyberstalking an ex-boyfriend because a ritual ceremony involving bodily fluids might be the only thing that makes this particular group of friends believe someone legitimately cares.
The countdown is officially on. The wedding is in only ten days, barely enough time for Sandoval to perfect his trombone skills or for Jax to get a third boob job. Still, they’ve managed to carve out the seconds to meet up so they can brainstorm how they can get Schwartz’s triplet (!) brothers to his wedding. Being that this activity involves the act of thinking, my suggestion would have been for Sandoval to go at it alone, but at least Jax gets a smoothie made with egg whites and beets out of the deal. As for these triplets, Jax tells us they all live in their parents’ house – in the same room in what I’m imagining are triple bunk beds – and even Jax calls them “special,” a statement that both terrifies and thrills me and I want those triplets to march onto my television screen Right. F*cking. Now. Please, Lord: I ask for so little. Please have them show up in matching striped turtlenecks. Amen.
Eight days out now and the bridesmaids arrive at a shop to try on their dresses while sipping from small bottles of alcohol because this is clearly an activity that nobody could possibly do while fully sober. Katie chose some lilac number that is way nicer than any bridesmaid dress I ever had to zip onto my body. (I still have nightmares about the strapless pink one made out of the heaviest taffeta ever assembled in a sweatshop with the gigantic pleat up the back that was specially designed to make an ass appear huge, but I digress.) I am mildly confused as to why she’s picked the same ballerina heels Lara Flynn Boyle wore to the Golden Globes back when she had her old face, but the moral of this story is the bridesmaids have no reason to buy a shovel and get rid of their friend – for now.
While the girls lace up their shoes, Schwartz is in charge of heading to Dylan’s to pick out some candy. F*ck it – despite all the nasty things I’ve said about these people, I hereby pledge to take it all back because nobody told me there would be candy at this wedding and now I’m hoping beyond hope (and doing my own little ritual ceremony) to secure one of those dishtowel invites or maybe get asked to come as someone’s plus-one. Kristen? Listen, I know I’ve called you “psychotic” and “walking abject misery,” but can you maybe hook a sister up? At the very least, please send me some of the candy from the wedding, but none of the sugar-free nonsense Sandoval is peddling.