Screen Violence is not a record about horror films, but it is a record steeped in horror imagery. There are repeated mentions of blood, guts, and drowning. There are frequent hints of something sinister just outside the frame. The phrase “final girl,” familiar to all fans of who treat horror as more than a novelty, is used to devastating effect. Still, the songs themselves are rooted in personal storytelling.
“I liked the idea that there was stuff we could dig into lyrically,” Mayberry says about landing on the title Screen Violence after rediscovering the phrase on a list of potential band names. “Horror is a lens that you can tell these stories through.”
The horror aesthetics from the record extend out into the touring show, which kicks off in Houston at White Oak Music Hall.
“I've seen the visuals and I will need to not get creeped out during the show,” Mayberry says.
If you’re thinking that you should be brushing up on the horror classics ahead of the performance just so you’re in the right frame of mind for what Chvrches is ready to unleash, you’re in luck. We asked Mayberry for her horror movie picks to experience the Screen Violence tour.
Brian De Palma takes the Stephen King story of a bullied teen with a fanatic for a mother and creates the most iconic prom scene in cinema history. The third act of this film is basically peak “mess around and find out,” when an entire town learns a valuable lesson about how pranks are bad. You will never think about pig’s blood the same way again.
There are a lot of movies that exist simply to gross out an audience, and very few of them are any good. No disrespect if Flower of Flesh and Blood is your jam, but most of those types of movies don’t have a lot of meat on the bone. Hellraiser manages the feat of taking the repulsive and making it alluring. It features some of the best practical special effects work of all time, and the Hell Priest - you probably know him as Pinhead - is one of horror’s great iconic characters.
When it comes to the title “greatest horror movie of all time,” there are very few films that can realistically claim it. Halloween is one of those films. It’s a masterclass in shot selection, editing, acting, and direction. Ignore the mess of continuity that comes after it - seriously, there are three different movies that are technically Halloween 2 and four different that are Halloween 3 - and just take in how bold John Carpenter’s vision is. Plus, it features one of the best soundtracks of any movie in any genre. (Fun fact: Chvrches and John Carpenter have done remixes of each other's work.)
If Hellraiser uses repulsion to draw you further into its web, Videodrome is something of its cousin. Instead of trying to charm you, however, David Cronenberg’s body horror classic wants to turn you on. It’s a fever dream of a film that dares you not to be turned on by its delights; you may not be able to understand it, but you won’t be able to deny it. Long live the new flesh.