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Why real fear beats pretendy fear every time

Just last week I went to see the new Australian schlock-horror movie Wolf Creek 2, in which a mad-as-a-cut-snake outback serial killer, played by actor John Jarret, sadistically kidnaps, tortures and ultimately knocks off a series of predictably naive - and even more predictably pert - young backpackers.

John's character - Mick Taylor - is, not to put too fine a point on it - an absolute bam. Dangerous, threatening and genuinely scary. If you've ever met one, you'll know what I mean.

Which is kind of interesting, because some years ago I actually met Mr Jarret - pre the original Wolf Creek film - and found him to be … dangerous, threatening and genuinely scary.

And this was in real life. (Well, as real life as a coffee shop in Nimbin, New South Wales, the Marijuana Capital of Australia can ever be).

Now, I'm not sure if John was doing a De Niro - you know employing the method - completely inhabiting a character before playing him on the basis of instinct, or if he's just really like that, but either way, Wolf Creek always struck me as the most perfect piece of casting since Ally McCoist played a faded footie player desperately trying to save a wee diddy Scottish second Division team in the 1999 Robert Duvall mega-dud 'A Shot At Glory'.

By the way, if you happen to come across Wolf Creek 2 in your local video shop - or available as a budget download online, don't bother. It's rubbish, proving once again that sequels are nearly always a total waste of time. Rocky 2, Crocodile Dundee 2, the lamentable Dumb and Dumberer - everyone a heap of steaming pony and trap.

There is of course one exception to this rule - one classic sequel that's much better than its big brother, due in no small part to its magnificent screenplay, complex plot and dynamic acting performances.

Godfather 2? Nah, the superb Holiday on the Buses.

I'm not a huge fan of Horror movies as a genre to be honest, but I must admit to having had the y's frightened off me way back when by the likes of Psycho and The Exorcist.

Watching them again isn't the same thing but at the time - back in the day - their originality and believable performances absolutely did the trick, necessitating brown underwear for avid movie goers of all ages.

I find as you get older, it becomes hard to create genuine fear on the screen. After all, it's a totally contrived sort of fear, safe fear really, pretend, nothing at all like the genuine article, which is probably just as well since real life fear isn't what I'd call good old-fashioned entertainment for all the family.

Real fear is actually being kidnapped, sexually abused and killed, I should imagine. Watching it happen on the screen - to someone else - isn't the same thing at all.

Real fear is being chased down Great Western Road by half a dozen pissed up members of the Maryhill Fleet, an experience which incidentally can result in world record breaking sprinting by the prey, due in no small part to pure naked adrenalin, which if it could be bottled, would no doubt be the preferred substance of choice by the likes of Lance Armstrong.

Incidentally I'm perfectly comfortable with the notion of winning every fight I've ever been in by distances ranging from hundreds of yards to a short nose, since I always knew that neither my negotiating or Kung Fu skills wouldn't be any use against a team of steaming Neds with made to measure shoulder chips and irredeemable 'wee man' status.

(Mostly because whilst my negotiating skills are reasonable, my martial arts ones are non-existent. Hey, I'm a lover, not a fighter.)

Working in criminal justice I've actually known a few so-called hard men - in a professional capacity of course, semi-professional if I'm being honest, and the reality is, most of the time, they're not hard at all - on their own and stone-cold sober, that is.

Being one of a bunch of blokes intent on kicking the keech out of one solitary victim is hardly the act of a fearless gladiator, after all, a detail which most of them, I've found, would - straight and sober - ruefully acknowledge.

However, like the afore-mentioned Reg Varney and Blakey classic sequel, there's also the odd exception which proves the rule.

I have met some genuine psychopathic types for whom there's no acceptance or affection possible. There aren't too many of them thankfully, but I'd be a liar if I said they didn't exist.

I'm thinking in particular of a notorious Glasgow hard case you'll probably have heard of who was possibly the most carnapcious, aggressive, volatile and - let's face it - stone-mad individual I think I've ever met.

A fellow by the name of… hang on a minute.

No, I've just checked, he's still alive, so I'm not taking the chance.

Now that's fear. Real fear. Unlike Wolf Creek 2 which is simply boring.

And let's face it, no one ever wet themselves from being bored, did they?

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