For this segment of Wicked Weapons, I thought I’d take a look at the Machete, a weapon that invokes terror in a very overtly gruesome way. Unlike my last post on the razor, the machete is not a subtle weapon. It be the “Bitch it’s on!” kinda weapon. When you think of a machete, does something like this usually come to mind?
The rusted, brutal blade is a horror icon in its own right. There is an eerie presence about it, a deep dread that comes with wielding the thing with the intent to murder. Like many weapons, it’s also a tool used to hack down foliage in jungle atmospheres perhaps, or to cop wood at a camp site, or clear bushes for trails. It’s not a tool used for delicate work. You can prune down things with it, but in those cases you’d likely use something more precise and delicate. A machete is not a delicate tool. Its job is to clear out big messes. And when it’s used for killing, it will clear-cut your head right off.
That’s why when the zombie apocalypse comes; you wanna have a machete handy. It doesn’t need reloading, it’s easy to care for, it takes a beating, and it is multipurpose. When you use a machete for murder, it’s not just a simple cutting weapon. You are slaughtering something with it: outright gory slashing. You want to make your victim a mess. So when people look upon the prone forms, they can barely recognize them under all the blood. Machetes are weapons that don’t hide their ferocity. They are vicious, and they are unrepentant for it.
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There are plenty of films too that showcase the Machete. A quick Google search came up with plenty of material, the top one being the movie Machete that came out last year. It was a fun, cheesy gore fest about a Mexican man getting even with the bad guys, but it had a message under all the T & A and blood. If you can wipe the body parts flying to one side, you’d see that even though they have fun with the exploitation genre the movie is filmed in, there is a serious message about the problems of immigration in the USA, especially with America’s relationship with Mexico. It’s not thrown in your face like some films do, but it is a strong message throughout the film. And Michelle Rodriguez is in it. She’s fucking slamming! RAWR!
Another movie that I’m sure comes to mind when people think machetes is the classic Friday the 13th series. This series scared the shit out of me when I was 7. Yes, I watched this film when I was 7 years old. It might explain why I am such a...strange (yet lovable?) creature I am today. Now it just makes me laugh my face off. Jason was such a frightening creature when I was a kid: Masked undead man carrying a bad-ass rusted machete, crawling out of the lake to kill stupid teenagers.
Of course, while doing research for this article I stumbled upon what some would argue was the first ever “gore fest” slasher: Blood Feast. This cannibalistic horror film makes use of the machete to chop victims up. It seems appropriate to me that the cannibal caterer used a machete to cut up his victims in some scenes, preparing his victims for performing his sacrifices to his goddess. Something not everyone may know is machetes are considered sacred tools for Voudon and Santeria rituals. Though the caterer in this film is not practicing “voodoo” but is doing Egyptian ritual, the mystical connection with the machete isn’t lost on me. On the surface the machete is a weapon of brutal force, but it is also a mysterious weapon, with a history that goes deeper than chopping body parts and trees. Before Jason Voorhees made it his chosen weapon it was considered a sacred ritual tool for religious practices. So there is more to the machete than meets the eye. (If you wanna know more about the mystical history of the Machete, let me know in the comments. I don’t wanna bore you guys. )
But I have to admit, Jason with his hockey mask and machete is pretty fucking scary. The idea of an undead wielding a machete to kill people with is pretty awesome in my mind. And when the zombies come, you better believe I’ll have my trusty machete ready to hack their asses to bits. No one gets to steal my brain meats!
So, have you seen/read any horror stuff with machetes in it? Do share. I like learning new things from folks.