Posts Tagged ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’

I Don’t Like Horror Films

September 1, 2011

This past weekend, while Hurricane Irene was creating havoc up and down the east coast of the United States, a remake of the made-for-television horror film Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark was released. The film starred Katie Holmes and was directed by none other than Guillermo del Toro. Yet, no matter who’s directing or starring in the film, I must admit that I was never a fan of horror films. Yes, that’s right, while the people I grew up with saw Friday the 13th Part Whatever, I either saw E.T., the latest Star Wars re-release or was working on my book that was destined to become the Great American Novel. Now that Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark is in movie theaters, I thought take the opportunity to highlight the reasons why I don’t like horror films.

All that Blood and Gore
The old time horror films such as Dracula with Bela Lugosi and Frankenstein with Boris Karloff were built upon good acting and suspense. The violence happened off screen. Since the 1970’s, the unofficial motto of horror films is “We give you BLOOD!” All that slicing and dicing does nothing for me. I don’t think it is thrilling or even funny. It just seems like a big waste of acting, special effects and film. A car chase, as implausible as it is in a horror film, would be a much better use of all those things.

Too Many Damsels in Distress
Why is it that the chicks in the film are always the ones who are being chased and killed by the villain? If you are going to portray someone who kills indiscriminately, why discriminate against guys? Don’t guys get in the villain’s way?  So how about having a few guys sliced and diced, just to even out the body count? After all, it’s only fair.

Eddie Murphy Was Right
If you are of a certain age, you will remember when Eddie Murphy hosted Saturday Night Live in December 1982. He did a stand up routine in place of a monologue and during the routine he talked about the horror film plot device of the haunted/possessed house. The routine goes like this:

“Wow, baby, this is beautiful. We got chandelier hangin’ up here, kids outside playin’, it’s a beautiful neighborhood, I really love – this is beaut–”

[demonic whisper] “Get out!”

“Too bad we can’t stay.”

Exactly. Horror movies that utilize the haunted/possessed house plot device beg the question of “Why don’t the characters just leave?” The obvious answer is that it would end the movie without much of a dénouement. Still, lots of times in these films the characters heard the stories about said house or place, so it shouldn’t be much of a surprise when things start go wrong. Dudes, they put a “Keep Out” sign for a reason. Don’t you think it would have been a good idea to stay away.

Of course, even with these “corrections” I still won’t like horror films. So, if you are in the mood for Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street don’t bother inviting me because I’ll either be working on another blog entry or watching Star Wars on DVD.

Sources:
http://movies.yahoo.com/blogs/movie-talk/don-t-afraid-katie-holmes-182915204.html

http://snltranscripts.jt.org/82/82imono.phtml

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Name That Genre

October 27, 2010

Movie posters not only tell you what movie is playing, they also tell you about the genre of the movie. Images, as much as the title, play a role in letting the viewer know whether the film in question is a romance, comedy, horror or action movie. So, let’s see if you can guess what genre is being portrayed based on the following descriptions

1) Scantily clad damsel in distress, if the poster is pre 1960 or realistic image in an absurd setting for post 1960’s posters.

2) Male and female gazing at each other or in an embrace.

3) Physically fit protagonist holding a weapon.

4) Main characters in an odd pose, in extreme close up or in an odd situation.

A) Comedy            B) Romance            C) Horror            D)Action

Answers
1) C, Horror. Yes, before the 1960’s the horror posters were remiss if they didn’t feature a damsel that was about to be harmed by the monster/malevolent entity. Classic poster that play on this theme are The Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Blob and The Mummy. You can find pictures of these posters here:

http://designcrave.com/2010-10-06/101-vintage-campy-horror-movie-posters/.

After the 1960’s, as movie posters moved from drawn to photographed and later Photoshopped posters, they took on a realistic yet bizarre situations. Examples of this are 28 Weeks Later, The Mist and Nightmare on Elm Street (the original 1984 release) You can find pictures of these posters here:

http://www.iwatchstuff.com/2007/03/21/28-weeks-later-poster.jpg

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/a1/The_Mist_poster.jpg

http://www.allposters.com/gallery.asp?startat=/getposter.asp&APNum=1373352&CID=ABE8DB38B5C24855B857748A2E6EC033&PPID=1&search=671&f=c&FindID=671&P=1&PP=15&sortby=PD&cname=Horror+Movies&SearchID=

2) B, Romance. Yes, From Gone With The Wind to Love Story to Titanic to The Time Travelers Wife and loads of movies in between, this is one genre that didn’t change its presentation when posters moved from drawn to photographed creations. The male and female leads are very prominent in the poster. They are either in an embrace, gazing into each other’s eyes or sharing a tender moment together. Sigh Ain’t love grand. You can find pictures of these posters here:
http://www.google.com/images?hl=en&expIds=17259,26637,27155&sugexp=ldymls&xhr=t&q=romance+movie+posters&cp=6&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=univ&ei=f026TP3HAoL78Abd9NWYDw&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&ct=title&resnum=1&sqi=2&ved=0CEMQsAQwAA&biw=1024&bih=597

http://www.moviegoods.com/movie_poster/love_story_1970.htm

3) D, Action. Arnold, Sly, The Rock, Jean Claude and Bruce don’t indulge in pork rinds and beer. They’re too busy either chasing after bad guys or running from bad guys. When they aren’t chasing after bad guys, they are lifting big heavy weapons and using them to shoot the bad guys. Movie posters such as those from the Terminator series, the Die Hard series and the Rambo series show the protagonist with a weapon and a look of “I’m ready for a fight.” You can find pictures of these posters here:

http://www.google.com/images?um=1&hl=en&biw=1024&bih=597&tbs=isch%3A1&sa=1&q=Action+movie+posters&aq=f&aqi=g1&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=

4) A, Comedy. What do You Don’t Mess With The Zohan, Get Him To The Greek, and Evan Almighty have in common? Yes, they are all comedy movie posters and they all show the protagonist in an odd pose, in extreme close up or in an odd situation. After all, the powers that be are trying to sell a comedy. You can find pictures of these posters here:
http://www.google.com/images?um=1&hl=en&biw=1024&bih=597&tbs=isch%3 A1&sa=1&q=Comedy+movie+posters&aq=f&aqi=g1g-m1&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=

Of course, not even the best designed movie poster can turn a dud into a classic, but I have to admit that movie posters of any genre look cool and some are more cool looking than others. As to which are which, that’s a blog entry for another time.

Sources:
http://designcrave.com/2010-10-06/101-vintage-campy-horror-movie-posters/

http://www.movieweb.com/news/NEa455dB7tc7cb

http://www.iwatchstuff.com/2007/03/21/28-weeks-later-poster.jpg

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/a1/The_Mist_poster.jpg

http://www.allposters.com/gallery.asp?startat=/getposter.asp&APNum=1373352&CID=ABE8DB38B5C24855B857748A2E6EC033&PPID=1&search=671&f=c&FindID=671&P=1&PP=15&sortby=PD&cname=Horror+Movies&SearchID=

http://www.google.com/images?hl=en&expIds=17259,26637,27155&sugexp=ldymls&xhr=t&q=romance+movie+posters&cp=6&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=univ&ei=f026TP3HAoL78Abd9NWYDw&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&ct=title&resnum=1&sqi=2&ved=0CEMQsAQwAA&biw=1024&bih=597

I Never Met A Slasher Film That I Liked

October 13, 2010

Recently, Nightmare on Elm Street the classic slasher film from 1984 about “the son of 10,000 maniacs” who visits people in their dreams and kills them, was redone. I didn’t see it because I don’t like films of the slasher/horror genre. While my tastes in film are of the escapist/Hollywood variety, slasher films don’t do it for me.  I need more to a movie than some homicidal maniac/malevolent entity who kills, torments or both with all the gory details displayed in living color. (Sometimes in 3D)

Since I came of age in the 1980’s, many of the people I grew up with lived for movies like Nightmare on Elm Street, the Friday the 13th series and low budget films like Evil Dead. Yuck. Still, what is it about horror films that appeals to people? Well, here’s what I think.

1.)Vicarious thrill. As crazy as it sounds some people just like seeing movies that feature running and screaming, slicing and dicing, blood and gore.  While the protagonist and companions are being chased and slashed by the homicidal maniac/malevolent entity, the viewer gets all of the excitement without the harm. He or she is sitting at home or in the movie theater, safe from all harm. Hopefully they are smart enough to realize that what they see in a movie, stays in the movie. There already is too much violence in the world, there is no need to add more. Of course, there are other ways to get some excitement in your life, but that’s a blog entry for another time.

2.) Morality play. How did the protagonist fall victim to the villain in the first place? By going camping when you shouldn’t, not leaving that house when they should, not noting what day it is, not realizing that it is all a dream, hitting a pedestrian on a deserted road and not reporting it, etc.* If the protagonists were more aware of their actions, they would not fall victim to the villain.  That can be expanded to our own lives. If we were more aware of what we do, there would be less trouble. So, let that be a warning to you. Be aware of your actions and a homicidal maniac won’t come and get you.

Just know that no matter who’s staring in the film or who’s doing the special effects, horror movies aren’t my cup of tea and they never will be.

Sources:
http://www.amazon.com/Know-What-You-Last-Summer/dp/6305017115/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1279503428&sr=1-1

*Plots of Deliverance, Amityville Horror, Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street and I Know What You Did Last Summer