Thursday, October 29, 2009
Boo and stuff
It's the witching season and everybody knows what that means. 187 cable channels and not ONE decent Halloween movie is playing, not even en Espanol.
I realize that comment may have opened me up for accusation of being "judgemental" and Lord knows nobody wants to wear that scarlet letter in these times. Nazi pedophile would be easier to bear! But like Steve Martin, Martin Luther, Martin Luther King, Don King, and the Kingston Trio? Comes a time when a man must say, "Here I stand, I can't do otherwise, and hang down your head Tom Dooley" or something a lot like that.
Hollywood perhaps believes it's making horror movies. Mere typo, they're to be forgiven. What they're making is horrible movies.
Saw 87, or whatever number they are up to now? That isn't scary at all. I'm from the generation upon which "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" was first launched, so I was there at ground zero when "Gore is more" cinema saw the light of day. Nobody thinks such movies are really frightening, not in the least.
If one wishes to make a horror film, the formula is fairly simple. Characters the audience can identify with and root for are menaced, and stuff jumps out at them unexpectedly. That's all there is to it really.
We don't need plausible explanations of how all this came to be. If you say there is a thirty foot long nuclear mutant alligator living in the sewers under Manhattan, then I will go for it. The reptile can even be an accomplished violin player, I don't care.
Just give me somebody in peril that I can root for, have stuff unexpectedly jump out at them, and we're cool.
Now, there's a totally different genre of Halloween movies that couldn't in their wildest dreams be scare fodder, but are still loads of fun. I'm not going there, as I'm a very busy person, what with the whole vetting process for my nomination as Halloween movie Czar in the Obama administration.
There are two ways to scare people with movies. Cerebral cortex or spinal chord. Very very scary movies, hmmm, let me do a partial list...
Something wicked this way comes
The Lady in White
The Mummy (orignal version with Karloff)
All it takes is somebody to root for, and stuff jumps out at them unexpectedly. Pocket your $40M in special effects. Dudes and dudettes in Hollywood? Ain't like this is whaddya call 'em, one of those Quantum physicals?