To sum it all up, The Proud and the Dumb is a fast-paced and funny political horror story that plays well with genre tropes while presenting its “monsters” with a opportunity for redemption. It is part dark comedy and part battle cry for reform. This short but sweet tale shines a light on the issues facing society today in a wholly entertaining yet less than fleshed out way. It seems to offer a brilliant but kind of stilted suggestion for how we might change course.
Parkison’s novel is quite chilling even with its slow buildup. The story’s pace means every chapter ends with either some new revelation or some progression towards something worse, and the rotating perspectives means creates dramatic irony that pays off with each new chapter. This allows the story to earn its more fantastic moments, as the realistic, recognizable horror permits for it’s absolutely wild climax.
Now, we are witnessing perhaps the most substantial change to the horror formula to date and the rise of a new sub-genre. These modern films focus far less on gratuitous violence and concern themselves more with a journey that leads us to tragic ends. This new crop of horror is more cerebral, less conventional—films which have been called “art house horror”—even “post-horror.”
But who could ever have believed that these bold, gaudy pictures, accompanying as they do such twisted, mendacious stories and fantasies, could ever do permanent harm to impressionable young minds? On the contrary they have a certain cute (now kitsch) charm and add spice to life!