As far as sports months go, it doesn’t get any better than October. We have one sport entering its second season (baseball), another just hitting its stride (football), and two more getting off the ground (basketball and hockey). It’s that glorious and rare time of year when fans of all major sports are united by an unspoken, unanimous glee.
As hockey fans, we can all probably agree that above all else, the newly-fallen leaves and the crispness in the air as we approach mid-October conjures up one thought: NHL hockey is back. But as my hunger for hockey usually approaches its peak right around now, so does my desire to dust off my favourite horror films, turn off my brain, and watch a few dumb teenagers reach an untimely but appropriately Darwinian end. It’s just what I do in October. This year, however, the line between my two favourite traditions is becoming less defined every day.
The first installment in a horror movie franchise is always the scariest. The sequels are usually just obvious attempts at squeezing out a few more dollars from an ailing formula. The same, seemingly immortal villain is back to haunt again, and the rest of the cast is made up of the familiar brand of moron too dumb to realize they’re in a horror movie. Aside from the promise of a few cheap thrills, there’s no reason to watch if you saw the original.
If this sounds familiar, you’ve probably been following the ongoing horror show that is the 2012 NHL lockout. With no cohesive plot and an aimless cast of characters, it’s beginning to resemble a big budget, poorly executed sequel. The original in 2005 — y’know, the one where the season died in the end and some guy named Gary did it — was terrifying, but the version we’re witnessing now feels rehashed and lacking in genuine scares.
It doesn’t even feel like it should be possible to be where we are. Remember in Halloween H20 (a film in which Joseph Gordon-Levitt was the first to die with, appropriately, a hockey skate embedded in his face) when Jamie Lee-Curtis decapitated Michael Myers? That had to be the end of that, right? Yeah, well they STILL made a sequel! That is what this lockout feels like.
We may be feeling like we’ve seen this movie before, but like the naive teenage victims who keep walking into dark rooms without bothering to turn on the lights, we keep coming back. Maybe the killer will have a sudden change of heart? Maybe it doesn’t always have to end with people getting hurt? Yet here we are, stuck in a bad sequel with an inevitable conclusion.
In our current predicament, the best we can hope for is this just ends up being a harmless October scare, and we can get back to watching the game we love once all the kids have taken off their costumes and decided how to divvy up their candy.
But if the recent speculation that Donald Fehr and the Players Association are planning to fight the salary cap proves true, we could be in for a sequel so undeniably frightening that it makes the original in 2005 look like a couple of siblings fighting over the last box of Smarties on November 1st.
Maybe it’s time to brush up on on those other October sports?