Cannibals, werewolves and tentacles: The web searches that bring you here.

Blog statistics are a fascinating gateway into the collective unconscious. While the identities of those who’ve visited my blog remain anonymous, their mouse clicks remain on record and provide an insight into the topics that interest them most. What occupies people’s thoughts during those moments of procrastination when they are not writing that report for their boss or essay for that class? Cannibals, apparently. More specifically, Ruggero Deodato’s 1980 horror film Cannibal Holocaust, a film that’s still considered controversial after 32 years and, likely due to its continued notoriety, received the most “hits” on my blog. If they’re not seeking information on cannibal films, people are looking into the Canadian teenage werewolves of Ginger Snaps which, as far as I’m concerned, is a much better use of their time.

Periodically, I will write about topics other than horror films, though these topics are as equally strange and macabre. Heinrich Hoffmann’s darkly comedic children’s book Der Struwwelpeter (1845) has garnered a great deal of interest on my blog, as well as the eroticized anatomical art of Jacques D’Agoty and anatomists of the 18th-century. The mythological vagina dentata and Japanese ‘tentacle erotica’ draw a fair amount of interest, as one might expect.

Celebrities and famous artists predictably top my statistics tally. People have searched on marquee names from art history including Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Odilon Redon, and Hannah Wilke (though the latter is lesser known), as well as contemporary visual artists Loretta Lux, Marcel Dzama and Shary Boyle. And, 45 years after her death, Jayne Mansfield still attracts a large amount of attention. I only wrote about her in a post last week, and she’s #22 on the list of “all-time” top searches. Of course, her story is a ‘perfect storm’ for achieving immortality on the Internet: a beautiful, buxom starlet, who reportedly dabbled in Satanism, died young and in most grisly manner (depending on which account you read, she was either scalped or decapitated in a car accident). We are, as a species, a ghoulish bunch.

Here’s the top 30 searches, according to WordPress:

cannibal holocaust 577
ginger snaps 287
holocaust 279
struwwelpeter 253
loretta lux 247
odilon redon 246
max ernst 246
vagina dentata 184
daguerreotype 123
tentacle erotica 109
cannibal 97
jennifer linton alphabet series 94
walerian borowczyk 91
max ernst collage 84
der struwwelpeter 78
hannah wilke 70
contes immoraux 67
drag me to hell 56
agoty angel 49
anatomical art 46
jayne mansfield 45
marcel dzama 43
the descent 40
macabre art 37
drag me to hell old lady 37
best animated movies of all time………… 33
holocaust pictures 33
redon 33
irreversible 28

Now, get back to work…

p.s. One of the funniest web searches I’ve seen to date would be this one: “horror movie with a women who seducing and kill men with her vagina.” Hey, who am I to judge? Incidentally, there is such a film — not surprisingly, it’s Japanese and called Killer Pussy. You’re welcome.

Der Struwwelpeter: family values with that delightfully Germanic edge.

Kids these days, they just don’t respect the rules of polite society. Those cornerstones of civilization — good manners, etiquette, and an attention to personal grooming — have fallen by the wayside in this era of “enlightened parenting”. Gone are the good ol’ days when you could terrify your kids into socially-acceptable behaviour.

I propose that we rectify this situation. Tonight, when you tuck little Madison into her bed, rather than reach for that tired old copy of Goodnight Moon, you read her a story from Heinrich Hoffmann’s Der Struwwelpeter instead. Does little Maddie have a propensity for playing with matches? No problem. This issue is summarily addressed in The Dreadful Story of Pauline and the Matches, a cautionary tale that concludes with predictably tragic results. Does your princess continually suck her thumb? Reading her The Story of Little Suck-a-Thumb should effectively nip that bad habit in the bud.

The German children’s book Der Struwwelpeter was written by Heinrich Hoffmann in 1845 when the author couldn’t find any literature suitable to read to his young son. So popular was this book that Mark Twain created an English translation called Slovenly Peter in 1848. Amongst its many cautionary tales is the story of Kasper, a boy who chooses not to eat his soup and consequently wastes away and dies. My personal favourite is the aforementioned Suck-a-Thumb, in which a young boy refuses to heed the warnings of his mother and has his thumbs cut off by a ‘roving tailor’ with an enormous pair of scissors. (Now try sucking your thumb, kiddo).

Struwwelpeter has been republished in English by Dover this past year. Grab yourself and Maddie a copy before they disappear off bookstore shelves.