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It is just over a week ago since the horror icon that was George. A Romero passed away. Romero will always be remembered for his groundbreaking 1968 film Night of The Living Dead but to me, his often underrated 1985 effort Day of The Dead will always take a special place in my heart. Alongside such classics as Tope Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and creature features such as THEM!, Day of The Dead was crucial to growing my appreciation of the genre during my late teens right through to today.

Horror Films As a Safe Place

El_dia_de_los_muertos_1985_1

Alongside this passion, I have always been interested in the psychology of horror films and why some love them and others, not so much. An interesting argument is that horror films provide audiences with a safe place, when the world around them is often, in itself, a scarier and more unknown reality. With all that is going on in the world, I am sure that this is something many will agree on. It is not a coincidence that American audiences in the 1930’s flocked to see Universal’s Dracula and Frankenstein films during the Depression and in doing so, launched the genre as a lucrative and dependable avenue for major studios for decades to come.

Yet, it is understandable, that people may wonder why I would find comfort in a film about people trapped in a bunker underneath hordes of the flesh-eating undead. As Day of the Dead illustrates, however, it is in the bleakest situations that individual humanity often shines the brightest. Through his approach, Romero manages to subtly place these qualities in our protagonists. This includes John, the Jamaican pilot among our human survivors who muses on why they can’t get along with the film’s military antagonists; incidentally, it also perfectly summarises why we as a species can’t help destroying one another and the planet we all call home;

“That’s the trouble with the world, Sarah darlin’. People got different ideas concernin’

what they want out of life”

Without a doubt, my favourite character is the zombie Bub, who is arguably the most human of all the film’s characters. How can you not love a zombie who appreciates Beethoven?

 

Below is my absolute favourite quote from Day of The Dead however, perhaps as relevant today as it was in 1985.

“You want to put some kind of explanation down here before you leave? Here’s one as good as any you’re likely to find. We’re bein’ punished by the Creator. He visited a curse on us. So that man could look at… what Hell was like. Maybe He didn’t want to see us blow ourselves up, put a big hole in the sky. Maybe He just wanted to show us He’s still the Boss Man. Maybe He figure, we was gettin’ too big for our britches, tryin’ to figure His shit out”

As the often used adage goes; A one-size fits all approach does not work for everyone. So why do so many employers still rely so heavily on formal interviews to fill roles and choose the right candidate? Due to the nature of interviews, they often favour those who are able and comfortable creating a repertoire with interviewers, whether they have the necessary on the job skills or not. For autistic adults, interviews can be a real barrier to work (According to the latest statistics only 17% of autistic adults are in full-time employment). This means that neurotypical individuals have a huge advantage over those who are non-neurotypical in the interview process.

As an autistic adult, I build up my own confidence with interviews through placements and I can safely say am definitely a lot better than I used to be. However, for many autistic candidates, the struggle to ‘sell themselves’ in an interview is a reality, even if they have all the right skills. Indeed, this is something I am still not naturally perfect at.

An interesting piece by The New York Times appeared in April this year which highlighted an interesting study on the effectiveness of interviews. They came to the conclusion that not only can they be irrelevant: They can be harmful, undercutting the impact of other, more valuable information about individuals.

In her 2015 book; Work Rules, Google’s senior vice president of people operations, Laszlo Bock, also talks about the effectiveness of interviews.

“Most interviews are a waste of time,” she writes, “because 99.4% of the time is spent trying to confirm whatever impression the interviewer formed in the first 10 seconds.”

Here is my first idea of how to make the interview process easier for those who struggle, including autistic individuals.

1) Bring in an object to represent a hobby or interest. 

A problem I sometimes have with interviews is getting in the flow of talking, particularly if I am extra anxious that day. So why not let an interviewee start the conversation by letting them talk about something they love. For me, this would perhaps be one of my favourite films; my VHS of the Lion King is an important part of my film collection. Friends and family have often said that I am able to speak more confidently about something I am passionate about; in fact, sometimes I talk too much about it!

Lion King

This could also be a good way of getting your personality across without the pressure of formal questions thrown in the mix such as Tell Me about Yourself. For those with autism, this question can be too vague and often make the interviewee unsure about what to say and therefore cause unnecessary anxiety.

Keep an eye out for more of my ideas in my upcoming blogs.