Archive for category Rants

The HORRORS of Getting Older

Turned 31 this past week, which is scary enough in that “30 was tough but now I’m INTO my 30s” sorta way, but the experience has me thinking about how I perceive “Horror” films, these days. Generally, the once nerve racking experience has become pure escapism, losing myself in someone else’s impossible horror (zombies, vampires, grab-boids) to avoid the really terrifying stuff (never being successful, mortality, Oprah). However, as a child the experience was different.

Children watch scary movies because they’re curious, or they’re not supposed to, or just because they’re there, but their experience blends the line between the two aforementioned categories above. The child brain returns to the reality of the movie when darkness falls, they have to go in the basement, or during the always horrifying bedtime. Child-like fear is a more intimate personal matter that ignites their darkest imaginations.  So, here’s a random list ranting about horror film moments that affected me in my early scary movie going.

My first traumatic scar, shared by many children of the eighties, was the unexpected encounter with Large Marge in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. While it’s such a cheap scare, the execution of it is perfect, especially in the early 80′s when Tim Burton wasn’t familiar as household-name-creepy. No one saw THAT face coming.

Of course, I’ll never forget my virgin viewing of Night of the Living Dead, specifically those early scenes, Ben trying to secure a house he’s unfamiliar with while keeping Barbabra safe in the process. While he’s off crushing zombie skulls, Barbabra is sitting despondent on a chair unaware a lone ghoul is lurching down the hall towards her. The tension was tough to handle as an eleven year old, and I can clearly remember sitting on my brother’s bunk bed having to keep glancing down the hall to make sure nothing was coming. Today, I find most of that film is goofy and slow when I watch it, and while I think the opening series have a timeless macabre merit, it’s not quite as terrifying as it was that first time.

Disturbing is a another word we toss around a bit these days as an aesthetic, and unfortunately the desire to see something that disturbs us has opened the door for the Eli Roths and Uwe Bolls of the world to produce garbage, but what will disturb one is a very personal matter. As silly as I find it today, the first film I found disturbing was Seven. Today, because I’ve seen about a dozen parodies of the famous “What’s in the Box” scene, I find it hard to take the film serious anymore,  but my 15-year-old super idealistic self was not prepared for the concept of a man’s wife being put in a box. I remember being there with my first highschool sweet heart and instantly thinking about her being decapitated. Tough stuff for a teenager then, pretty tame by my current standards.

I’ m not sure whether I should be sad or relieved that movies don’t still impact me in this raw, unguarded way anymore. Mark Twain once said that common people don’t see the rainbow with the same joy as the Savage because they know how’s it made, and perhaps my desensitization to fear has changed my viewing pleasure of the horror film in a similar way. Good horror films still make me not want to get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, but the twisted faces I see in the dark usually don’t last much past the same night of the viewing. There’s just no fear like a child’s fear.

Does anyone have a horror moment that still haunts them?

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Odds and Ends

I haven’t made a legitimate contribution to this blog in a solid six weeks mainly because I’ve been busy purchasing my first home which, combined with working every day, is more time consuming and stressful than I could have imagined. [INSERT PUN ABOUT HOME PURCHASING BEING A "HORROR"].  So, rather than a series of fully-developed posts, I’m going to touch on a few things here that I’ve seen/done/been thinking about/etc and hopefully you, Dave Rogers dear readers, will accept this as a post.

First up, I managed to check out Paul, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s take on the sci-fi genre.  I’m a huge fan of Shaun of the Dead, which I’ve seen at least a dozen times, and I’m always excited when Pegg and Frost have a new project in the works.  In case you’re even less up to date than I am, Paul is about Graeme and Clive, two sci-fi/comic book fans from the UK who attend Comic-Con in California and take a road trip in an RV around the Southwest to visit notorious UFO-related locations.  As their trip is barely underway, a car blazes past them on the highway and suddenly crashes into a ditch.  Walking out of the wreck, the two friends find a small alien who promptly lights up a cigarette and begins talking.  Clive immediately pisses himself and passes out while Graeme speaks with the creature.  Though Clive is uneasy, the two agree to give Paul a ride to an unknown destination while the FBI is close behind.

I enjoyed Paul, though not nearly as much as Shaun of the Dead or even Hot Fuzz but I suspect that my opinion will change with subsequent viewings.  Pegg and Frost are masters of paying homage to the genres they choose and I know I missed at least half of the references in Paul because I’m not the best with my sci-fi knowledge.  I was, however, one of the few in the theater to catch a Jaws reference which made me realize I’ve seen that movie more times than anyone probably should.  There were dozens of other references that I’m sure no one caught.  References aside, I thought Paul was fast-paced and funny throughout with great supporting performances from Bill Hader, Joe Lo Tuglio, Kristin Wiig and Jason Bateman.  I’m definitely looking forward to a second viewing.

Shifting gears, I finally watched The Thing on Blu-ray which I picked up about 6 months ago.  I’ll probably lose horror fan points here, but this was only the second time I had seen the movie.  The first time was about 7 years ago via a mediocre quality DVD rip.  I remembered liking it but not necessarily why I did.  This viewing made those reasons very clear.  Most importantly, it’s scary and suspenseful.  I know that should be a given with horror, but sadly not many contemporary efforts manage to pull it off.  John Carpenter’s film creates a feeling of isolation and uncertainty about who the viewer can trust at any given point.  The lines between protagonist and antagonist shift abruptly throughout.  Even at the film’s bleak, perfect final scene, we still don’t know what’s going to happen and Carpenter doesn’t tell us.

Especially in Blu-ray quality, The Thing is also a showcase of how old-school latex and corn syrup gore special effects trump modern day CGI.  That autopsy scene is particularly nasty as Wilford Brimley (in his pre “Diabeetus” days) excises gooey intestines and organs from the victims.  I forgot how much I enjoyed The Thing and I’m glad that I took the time to remember why it’s considered a classic of the genre.  On a sadder note, a The Thing prequel focused on the Norwegian crew that initially discovered the alien is planned to be released this year.  I wonder how that one is going to end…ugh.

Moving on…I’m pretty sure I mentioned this at some point in the past and that it’s old news now but Stephen King has announced a new book in the Dark Tower series called The Wind Through The Keyhole.  The book is set to be released in 2012 and will take place following the events of Wizard and Glass, arguably the series’ strongest book.  Or possibly it will take place before the main narrative of Wizard and Glass begins.  King has been contradictory about the book’s premise thus far.  Either way, here’s where I’ll advocate that you should read the entire Dark Tower series if you have no idea what I’m talking about.  Or maybe you shouldn’t.  That’s what brought this topic back into my mind.  I was talking to a friend about the series who said he was into it until the very end (and then he pretended to erase something with an imaginary pencil – you’ll get it if you’ve read the books).  I have always raved about the Dark Tower books but I think I’ve always skipped over the fact that the ending was underwhelming to say the least and King’s insistence on inserting himself as a character was annoying.  Conceptually, I get it – that the worlds of the Dark Tower are all interconnected, which means that we too (and therefore King himself) are included.  I actually like that idea a lot but did he really have to spend a whole book writing himself into it?  I’m ranting now.  I can’t lie though – I’ll purchase the new book on the day it’s released, stay up all night reading it, rave about it, and then in a couple years I’ll look back and cite its flaws like I am now.  I’m so predictable.

Lastly, it looks like we’re going to get Trick ‘R Treat 2 sometime in the near future.  Last week, an ominous “Sam WILL return…” message was posted on the official Facebook and Twitter accounts for the film.  Sam, if you haven’t seen the first film, is the demonic child/thing from the most popular story segment.  I think a lot of horror fans are excited to hear this news, even if it’s not confirmed yet.  The first Trick ‘R Treat was a collection of four horror stories ala Creepshow but rather than being standalone pieces, all of the stories intertwined in subtle ways.  Better than any other films that have tried, it managed to really capture the essence of a creepy Halloween night.  Watching it, you can almost smell the brisk Fall air and hear the rustling of dead leaves.  Hopefully the film studios will have learned from their mistakes and will give Trick ‘R Treat 2 a proper theatrical release instead of bailing at the last minute.

So, there it is.  A real post.  Finally.  Don’t worry, I’ve got more to contribute here and maybe after I get through the horror (I crack myself up) of moving, I’ll get back to my regular half-assed posting schedule.

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Blu-Dawn… of the Dead?

Last night, I finally got around to watching Romero’s Dawn of the Dead in its new glowing Blu-Ray format and found mixed emotions swarming into me like zombies into “one of those NEW indoor shopping malls.” If that quote shows how “dated” the film has become then try it through the crystal clear lens of Blu-Ray. Since my sixteen-year-old self plopped down 99 cents to rent the VHS from my local drug store, I have purchased Dawn four times: the clunky 138 minute cut on VHS, then DVD, a re-mastered theatrical cut that released a week before the remake hit theaters, and the Blu-Ray. While each addition has moved a little further from the grainy classic I remember seeing as a kid, the clarity of Blu-Ray is leaps beyond any other format shift. Is this a problem or am I just a nostalgic nerd?

Well, watch Dawn’s second act, the chopper escape, which epitomized the somber mood of Romero’s wasted world: a desensitized hell under cloudy skies. The muted colors of the vignettes: the militia army having a field day-massacre out in the sticks, the now-formulaic re-fueling scene, and the gunning down of zombie children once presented an excellent foil to the upcoming third act’s “dream world sanctuary” with its surreal displays and glamorous mannequins. Now, the entire film is eye straining neon lights, turning the gray overcast skies to “Blu,” and the softening the atmosphere for the worse, almost raising the dead by resetting the zombie’s complexion to a much more life-like hue.

What we gain in return is a bizarre almost comic book experience accentuated by the vibrant tones of the Monroeville Mall being splattered by Savini’s ridiculously bright blood – that looked like Kool-Aid colored paint even back on 78′s VHS – and the vibrant blues of the SWAT uniforms have this old grainy classic looking like a stylistic Tide commercial.  For those of us that have practically memorized every frame, seeing the movie in this bright new world does provide a new layer of detail and images that have gone previously unnoticed, making the film feel fresh, but the shift also takes the classic out of its element and strips a little piece of charm away. Gone is that beautiful grainy touch, a fog laden film where zombies lurked out of their holes in back rooms of tenement houses, into abandoned hangers and elevator shafts. The isolation and hopelessness doesn’t quite translate into a dramatic arch when everything is painted with a big top circus colors.

Still, at the end of the day its a mixed experience. There will most likely never be another definitive zombie film, so it’s nice to see Dawn again, for the first time, in a new fresh format but there’s just something missing without the muted tones and dark atmosphere. However, I’m sure I’ll be back to bitch when I buy my fifth copy of Dawn on “Hologram-Ray” ten years from now.

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Horreality Rant

Here in modern America, you know what I hate about our society… Well, a quite few things, but today the rant is on voyeurism in entertainment. You know that reality television and webcam garbage that everyone besides me loves. I get the appeal. Success is hard, so its a lot easier to watch successful people succeed or fail than actually work on your own life. That’s all great, but I would prefer if my beloved genre didn’t whore themselves out to the trend.

Most people probably noticed this trend earlier, but for some reason, this week just happens to be my turn. Earlier this week, I caught the straight to video bad sequel Wrong Turn 2, that basically rehashes the plot of the original except this time the deformed inbred hillbillies hunt the crew and cast of an ill-fate reality show that wanders into their woods. To make matters worse, it stars Henry Rollins, remember him from the 90s when his hit song, “I’m A Liar”, put The Rollins Band on the map? Well, now he does bad horror movie sequels. Paired with this lovely experience, I happened to notice that my other favorite punching bag – yes, I have life outside of making fun of you Mr. Zombie – After Dark Films, had a film in the works called The Task, which chronicles the misadventures of reality show contestants that have to spend the night in a jail only to fall prey to the ghost of some former crazy warden or something like that. Who cares?

But as I said, its nothing new. There’s been a host of these horrible films: FearDotCom, My Little Eye (2002), Voyeur.com, Treasure Hunt (2003), WatchUsDie.com, and I’m sure the list is much longer. What really makes me want to act out the last scene of Oedipus when I see films like this is the fact that horror films suffer the critics wrath, often deservingly, for being formulaic, which makes me think; “just perhaps, basing an entire sub-genre on another formulaic medium isn’t going to help matters much.”

Well, at least no major and beloved franchises jumped on that band wagon… Oh that’s right, I had gone to a hypnotist to forget about Halloween Resurrection. Guess that $4,000 just went down the toilet. Remember the eighth Halloween movie, It was right around the time that the franchise decided it needed to start randomly throwing rappers into every movie to make up for the fact that the prequels had all been so predominantly white that people started to think they were cast in Utah. (Come on Halloween even Nightmare on Elm Street had a young Larry Fishburne by part 3). What the hell was I talking about? Oh right, no more “Reality Trend” based horror movies. It’s weakening the genre and  more embarrassing than washed up one hit wonder rock stars or racism by omission. I think that was my point?

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Horror Fans Want Formulaic Garbage.

I’ve come to the conclusion that except for myself, my co-writer Matt, and a handful of our readers that the majority of horror fans embrace repetitive swill as cinema. For the past thirties years, the only ingredients one needed to invent a horror frachise was to create a character that people might want to watch kill other people, over and over again. While I’d like to blame the slasher franchises of the eighties I recognize that Universal and Hammer would recycle their classic characters: Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolfman into dozens of scenarios and even cross-overs, long before anyone conceived a predator aiming three red dots at an alien, and while Freddy verse Jason was probably just the description of two yokel idiots duking it out behind a bowling alley. While the same could be said for Godzilla fans, or Rocky fans for that matter, (maybe those two should fight) I still find it the invasion of formulaic sequels, remakes, crossover, and sequels of remakes and sequel cross over most offensive since horror is dripping wet, saturated with them as of late.

To prove my point, let’s see what’s on the docket for the near future of the genre. Hmmm.. Let’s start with Scream 4, I really don’t think I need to type any more than that, but I think it’s a safe bet to say that any horror movie featuring a cast member from Friends (Leprechaun included!) should not be watched. While I respect, in retrospect, the original Scream for its tongue and cheek commentary on the genre I think it should have stopped there. Who out there was just dying for the next Scream movie, anyway?

YOUR ASS IS MINE!

Next up Final Destination 5. I never thought this franchise would release enough movies to screw up their numbering method, but here where are. While the franchise’s latest entry not only returns to standard numbering practices it also convinces genre Rockstar Tony-”Have you got any shotguns in there” -Todd to return to playing…what the hell was the point of his character, again? Anyhow, part of me kinda liked this series for removing “the middle man” from the slasher movie “Victim-Killer-Death” dynamic, but the other part of me finds this franchise plays out like the angry ghosts of Rube Goldberg and Wile Coyote teamed up to reek overly complex havoc on stupid teens. Does it always have to be a nineteen step process to lock two stupid blonds in the tanning booths can’t we just drop some anvils on their heads?

Children of the Corn: The Dweller is in the works, which, horrifically, is the seventh or eighth “COTC” movie depending on if you count the TV remake of the original. I find the fact that this yellow undigestable grain looks identical in your toilet to how it begins on your plate more terrifying than any moment of this unnecessarily inflated franchise. If King knew what his story would have become I think he would have eaten the paper he typed it on and let it fall into his toilet with the yellow vegetable impersonator in question. Another one of these movies? Really?

Hellraiser: Revelations. I know people love this franchise, and Pinhead is awesome in that dry-wit, dark humor Freddy-esque way, but I never really understood this franchise. You have torture horror headed up by an angry pin cushion from hell who gets owned in every film when somebody solves a puzzle box. Why don’t they just do a YouTube search for the Rubik Cube Champion. I easily found a guy that could solve one with one hand in seventeen seconds. Fly him over, and Pinhead will be back in hell before the opening credits finish. Love it or hate it, the ninth entry in this franchise is on its way.

LeatherFace 3D. I hate 3D. It has finally come to that. Once a novelty, now a cheap selling point, 3D is just another excuse for crappy writing and lazy cinematography, not to mention, it’s the last thing a franchise that’s been a mess since its legendary original, needed. The three sequels in the original chain of movies, Dennis Hopper and Bill Mosley antics aside, have been mostly unwatchable even with a cameo from Ken Foree. Now, they’re pushing the remade chain of movies up to the third link and put the 3D stamp on it? Count me out.

Next up, my co-author Matt will be ecstatic to learn that one of his all time favorites, Shrooms, will soon have a sequel that is also allegedly in 3D…more details to follow.

Also in remake-sequel news, Friday the 13th Part 2 (take II 2011?) is still in development talks, which makes you wonder what happens in 2041? Will the next generation of Jason watchers remake the franchise for a third time and shouldn’t they, soon or later, update the mask to one of those new-fangled modern goalie masks that looks like a football helmet and a motorcycle helmet cross bred? That might be the fresh start this franchise needs.

I could go on… There’s talks of Candyman 5, a Child’s Play remake, A Pet Semetary Remake, another Cloverfield, a fourth Underworld etc…

The very existence of these many remakes, rehashes, redos, re-imaginings, reboots, and sequels that won’t die illustrates the truth that people are paying for anything with their franchises tag on it. If we have indeed become that simple of fans of than what aspect of these movies keep filling the seats? Perhaps, it is the ancient Greek tradition of the anti-hero, also often adopted by Shakespeare, which allows the viewer to identify with a flawed creature who we simultaneous love and hate as we take pride and pity in their ruination. Yeah, probably not. However, we do form a dysfunctional “buddy” relationship with our slashers, be they silent or wisecracking, enjoying in their homicidal success and the finesse they do it with, but secretly rooting for them to fail, be defeated. Bizarre, but totally, true.

While I’d like to believe that the whole depreciation of the American horror genre’s intelligence could be as simple as identifying with comic-book like super-villians, constantly waiting for the next issues no matter how bad they are, the truth is that the formula itself has its own attraction. For example, for some ungodly reason, Matt and I sat down and watched the original April Fools Day, which actually boasts a body count of ZERO, but plays out the slasher formula in the same manner. Of course, there’s the previously mentioned Final Destination which has no killer proving further it isn’t about the post-mortem punchlines or the looming silence of a hulking man. Maybe, we just liked to watched people get offed.

That concept is pretty easy to believe in a society that worships pathetic reality talent shows that are set up in the same format: a group of people that are going to be eliminated one by one in the next twelve weeks…scary isn’t it? Maybe, if they come up with a show where they actually kill these idiotic participants then I’ll actually have something to watch in lieu of the crappy horror industry. In the  meantime, one of the only original horror flicks on the horizon in the American horror genre is Kevin Smith’s Red State, and waiting for him to breathe some life into the genre is just sad.

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The Last Exorcism: More First Person Horror For The Sake Of It

With Last Exorcism done at most every theater and Paranormal 2′s first TV spots starting to pop up, I draw a long sigh and wonder when the horror will end. First person narrative, made trendy again by Cloverfield, has pretty much run its course of being novel, creative, and (the biggest misconception) scarier. The format (which I’ve only seen two directors deviate from and make it their own: Romero and Neill Blomkamp: Diary of the Dead and District 9, respectively) of “here is some found footage and the viewer should be horrified as they realize the people on these tapes are already dead” is about as worn as the end of nun with a bad attitude’s ruler. How many “and they are still missing to this day” can we swallow before it becomes as tired as waiting for the villain to rise up for one last scare?

Last Exorcism did not do much to deviate into originality either. The basic run-down is a former faux Exorcist is making a documentary to expose all exorcism as fake; until, of course, he stumbles upon a farm with a girl that actually has a demon in her, or does she? Well, the movie plays with what’s fake and what’s real as it winds down to a “big twist” that is mostly unprecedented and out-to-lunch, but somehow also predictable. While the movie itself has the ability to hold your interest, it’s truly another film that has a creepier trailer than the movie actually delivers and anything remotely creepy has been exposed by the previews, leaving the movie unarmed in average-land. And to paraphrase our buddy Rob Zombie from last month, mediocre equals forgettable.

So why did this film get a good deal of hype and theatrical attention rather than a straight to SyFy Channel kick in the pants? Perhaps the best way to answer that is with a second question: would it have been marketable, reeking of average-ness, had it not been filmed in the super trendy first person?

Perhaps, we will never really have the answers to these questions, but I think its time to embrace the horror that in a world where kids live their days on YouTube soaking up the work of camcorder artist that horror films with shaky hand-helds are here to stay (not to mention other genres…anyone up for The Virginity Hit?).  Such a fate is not terrible for the horror genre, but as we start to accept the style as an established sub-genre I think it’s time to shake up the format and no longer accept substance-less films as genius just because they’re disguised in first person. Those smoke and mirrors should have defogged back in 99′ immediately after that kid finished playing with himself in the corner and the girl with big nostrils dropped the camera. -FIN

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Let Me In Trailer Released – This Just Isn’t The “Right” One

As you’ve probably seen on a variety of other blogs and movie sites, the first trailer has been released for Matt Reeves’ Let Me In, the upcoming remake to the much acclaimed (and personal favorite) Let The Right One In.  I’ve been dreading this thing since hearing about it more than a year ago and while this trailer hasn’t inspired rage in me, it has only furthered my suspicion that this film will be a completely unnecessary rehash of the original.  Based on the shots included in the trailer, it seems that Reeves has worked to keep a lot of Tomas Alfredson’s stylistic dark imagery and maintain the tone of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel but something seems, well, wrong to me here.  The source material was never meant to be set to some moody rock song, Colorado just isn’t Sweden, and I don’t remember Oskar to be the kind of kid to whisper “do you think there’s such a thing as evil?”

Beyond those surface details and nit-picky complaints, I have doubts that Reeves will have the balls to explore the uncomfortable topics of sexual attraction amongst pre-teens, pedophilia, castration, and gender confusion in his remake.  These are the elements that make the book and original film so disturbing and intriguing.  I think that, best case scenario, we’ll end up with a film about loneliness with a vampire twist.  But wait, we already have that and so much more.

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Martyrs Remake To Star Kristen Stewart, Lose Intellect

The perfect Martyrs cast

The perfect Martyrs cast

Sometimes I try to limit the amount of cynical content I write on this blog to avoid sounding like I’m just being bitter for the sake of it.  But when news like this comes along, I’ve got nothing else to work with.  That’s right, if it wasn’t bad enough that the Twilight producers are aiming to remake Martyrs, producer, Wyck Godfrey, is now saying that he wants Kristen Stewart to play one of the leads (presumably Anna).  Why don’t we just go ahead and cast Pattinson as the brutal torture guy?  Back when I bitched about this remake a few weeks ago, my esteemed co-author, Chris, joked about possibly having the pleasure of seeing Stewart punched in the face repeatedly.  He was joking but it looks like we may get to see that after all.

In his interview with Fearnet, Godfrey also noted that they “are doing it for an American audience with an American cast” which I can’t help but read as “doing it for a stupid audience with a stupid cast.”  Citing that the original movie is “not remake-able in its form for an American audience,” Godfrey seems to reveal that either the sheer brutality or intellect of the original is too much for American audiences to consume.  How sad and insulting is that?  So, as I had initially hypothesized, it seems like we’re looking at yet another unnecessary dumbed-down remake.

Yeah, I know.  File this one under the “pointless bitching about remakes” category.

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The Dark Tower: A Ron Howard Film? Color Me Skeptical.

darktower1News is hitting the blogosphere this morning that Ron Howard and producer Brian Grazer and writer/producer Akiva Goldsman have purchased the film rights to Stephen King’s The Dark Tower - easily my favorite books he’s written.  Previously, J.J. Abrams had purchased the rights from King for $19 (you’ll know the significance if you’ve read the books) but returned them to the author after realizing he wouldn’t be able to do the series justice.  It is being reported that Howard intends to shoot a movie that will lay the foundation for a TV series.

While I think The Dark Tower deserves some kind of film adaptation, this news makes me nervous for a couple of reasons.  In my ideal world, each book from The Dark Tower series would be made into a series of HBO or Showtime episodes ala True Blood (well, minus all the vampire sex).  I really don’t see any other way to do the books justice because of their intricate plot layers, flashbacks, and character depth.  Inevitably, any kind of adaptation will inspire ire from fans for one reason or another but I think an HBO approach would significantly reduce complaints.  Howard seems to be talking regular cable, which really sucks.  The Dark Tower books are often gritty, violent, and sexual.  Obviously they’re going to lose most of that by airing on NBC or something.

Also, is Howard really the right director?  He’s brilliant and responsible for some great films but how will the director of The Da Vinci Code treat our epic hero, Roland?  I felt more comfortable with Abrams owning the rights as he is a more experienced sci-fi/horror genre director and writer.  Then again, he did write Armageddon and Mission Impossible III.  Bah.  I guess I’m one of those ire-filled fans I was just writing about.  I’ll never be completely satisfied with the end product, I’m sure.  Let’s just hope this doesn’t go the route of IT – a great and very violent/graphic book dulled down by network television.  Do our boy Roland some justice, will ya?

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Serbian Film – Artistic Statement Or Bloody Excess?

Srpski film-SERBIAN FILMWell this one has me waxing all philosophical.  I’ve seen several posts on a couple of my favorite film blogs, Pajiba and Filmdrunk, about the upcoming horror/gore movie Serbian Film (Srpski Film) that screened recently at SXSW.  From the trailer, which I will embed below with the warning that is a)EXTREMELY NSFW and b)RIDICULOUSLY GRAPHIC, Serbian Film seems to be Hostel with about 200 times more intense sexual violence.  We’re talking shit that might even make Antichrist‘s mutilation scene look tame.

The plot, which I have not investigated further than the trailer, appears to be about Milosh, a semi-retired porn star who is lured into doing one last film for a large sum of money under the condition that he is not allowed to know what the film is about.  Unfortunately for Milosh, it seems that he’s become trapped in the world of “high-art pornography” which appears to ride the snuff film border or even cross it and he is forced to do horrific things to save his life.  I’ve read that it has one of the most disturbing endings ever written.

So, for better or for probably worse, my interest is piqued mainly because of the morbid curiosity that we all have.  That is, just how realistic, how gory, how disturbing can something be?  I’ve been able to sit through Hostel, The Girl Next Door, Antichrist, you-name-it without any noticeable effects on me.  I will say that of those aforementioned films, The Girl Next Door was the most difficult to sit through because the violence was perpetrated on such innocent victims, it was so sexual in nature, and most importantly because it felt so degrading.  And that’s just what Serbian Film looks like to me – degrading pornography.

Don’t get me wrong – I certainly don’t take issue with pornography as a whole and in general, I don’t find it to be aimed at degrading women.  Feminists, go ahead and beat the shit out of me here but that’s where I stand.  However, there are certain types of pornography that are most certainly aimed at degrading women and I derive no pleasure from viewing them.  I’ve had the misfortune of seeing a few things where women are purposely meant to either look stupid or be abused and I don’t like that at all.

Now, it seems that Serbian Film features several of these elements.  There’s a graphic shot of a donkey punch (look it up) in the trailer, which is nothing short of terrible.  Of course, I don’t know the full context of all this sexual violence, as I don’t know the entire plot (not that I can think of a way it wouldn’t be terrible) but it makes me internally debate what “the line” is.  What’s too much?  Is anything really?  I’m a firm believer in freedom of speech and expression and film falls under that.  What I’m left wondering is if Serbian Film legitimately has anything to say about the violence it depicts or if it’s just another attempt at being outrageous.  I’ll lean toward the latter, but I may be wrong.

There’s bound to be further outrage about this film but not only am I going to see it, I will defend its right to be made.  I’m in the camp of “if you don’t like it, don’t watch it.”  There’s some nasty shit out there already and this is just another one to add to the pile.

Seriously, don’t watch this trailer:

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