Friday, October 30, 2009

An apology

My legal counsel says my remarks about scary movies might be deemed injurious by some in the movie making community, and I should apologize.

Instead of taking the path currently popular among politicians and celebrities, an apology that boiled down actually says, "I deeply regret that my statements were misinterpreted by some weirdos, losers and morons" I'll go with option B and really apologize.

I sure didn't mean to imply that making good scary movies is easy as pie. There, that should satisfy my friends at Horowitz, Horowitz, Horowitz & O'Brien.

Yeah, making a good scary film is very hard work. That's because one has to hit some formulaic markers in a way that feels natural to the audience. I'll use as examples two films that seem quite diff but are really about the same movie, "Tremors" and "Jaws." In each of those, you have a buddy pic where a monster happens to show up.

OK, before I hear from the Monsters Union, let me say? I've great admiration for monsters in general, and the monsters in "Jaws" and "Tremors" specificially did groovy work. More than that, a lot of the formulaic horror movie constructs? They apply very directly to monsters.

Like for instance, the monster absolutely can't be shown until the second half of the movie. First half, partial glimpses are fine, but save the full on shot for second half. That builds audience anticipation, which brings me to another rule. The audience has sat there imagining the monster for an hour. If it's going to be a good scary movie, the monster must exceed their expectations.

While we're on that subject, I will say? If you want to make a really great scary movie, that hits audience in the gut and becomes an enduring film, well? You're going to have to let the monster eat somebody the audience identifies with. It's not a great scary movie, if all you feed the monster is cheerleaders, OK?

Now, now, wait a minute. My statements weren't meant in any way to condone an ambivalent attitude towards cheerleaders being eaten by monsters. Cheerleaders are fine patriotic Americans. At primary and secondary education levels, and in professional sports, cheerleaders work hard and add value.

Hmmm. Never thought about that before. Wonder why they don't have cheerleaders at baseball games. Oh, they probably don't need cheerleaders, since the players are all on steroids.

Now, that was taken out of context there. In no way did I mean to suggest that anything but a tiny minority (well, they're not tiny really, they're huge) of baseball players use anabolic steroids in pursuit of success in baseball, America's great pastime, a sport for which I've always nutured...oh, I give up!!!

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