Showing posts from August, 2014

i have been stabbed, shot, poisoned, frozen, hung, electrocuted and burned

Before I get into the topic for today, the first recap of the new iteration of this blog: (By the way, here are links to all six recaps of the first year—the Groundhog Day year: Day 62 – for your information Day 121 – how else could you know so much? Day 180 – it would be great to stay for some of the other events Day 240 – it’s your choice. so what’s it gonna be? Day 300 – round and round and round we go Day 363 – and you’d be an expert ) Phase Two of this blog began with a week of The Ring . Day 1 (366) – seven days established the new format for the blog while, in trying to generally review The Ring I got stuck on the “message” of the movie regarding television. That topic continued into Day 2 (367) – i hate television and into Day 3 (368) – how far down do you think it goes? Then, I got into the “anti-romanticization” (though I didn’t coin that term yet) of the small town in Day 4 (369) – everything sheltered, protected and comfortable . Day 5 (370) – she just wanted

watch a few movies, take a few notes

Image the Scream trilogy [“hypermodernism”] can be identified in two ways: (1) a heightened degree of intertextual referencing and self-reflexivity that ceases to function at the traditional level of tongue-in-cheek subtext, and emerges instead as the actual text of the films: and (2) a propensity for ignoring film-specific boundaries by actively referencing, “borrowing,” and influencing the styles and formats of other media forms, including television and music videos—strategies that have further blurred that once separated discrete media. (Wee, 2005, p. 44) So, there’s that. I’ve covered most of what’s said there, but given more time, I would love to get into the specific references, say, to other movies. Also, given the movie right now is in the early scene of Sidney alone in her house (she’s about to fall asleep and when she wakes up is the night the killer(s) call her) and I kind of want to deal with set decoration, oddly enough—there is an interesting old fashioned aesthetic g

my mom moved out and abandoned me

“Monsters in movies are us, always us, one way or another. They’re us with hats on.” - John Carpenter Everybody in a slasher film has some sort of family issue. It may be minor—Annie’s dad being a shouter in Halloween —it may be major—Sid’s mother sleeping around and breaking up at least two marriages in the process in Scream —but it’s there. The killer will have his own family issues—Michael Myers’ being left with his irresponsible sister is both a failure on the part of his parents, arguably, and on the part of his sister, for whom sex with her boyfriend is more important than familial obligations. The slasher film, I’ve said before, could be taken as a response to liberal developments in American society going into and, especially, out of the 1960s. September 3, 1967, in the Los Angeles Times , Reverend Ross Greek called runaways “a national crisis” (Houston, 1967, p. F1). And the biggest danger was exposure “to the three-letter hazards of pot, LSD, STP and sex” because none othe

nice solid R rating on our way to an NC-17

"The death of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetic topic in the world." - Edgar Allan Poe, "The Philosophy of Composition" To understand why we like horror, we have to understand a couple other things: 1) gothic horror led to modern horror, particularly the slasher film, and the slasher film led us to so-called torture porn and, 2) there's a thin line between horror and pornography (hence the nickname for that last subgenre there). After all, as Clover (1987) puts it, "horror and pornography are the only two genres specifically devoted to the arousal of bodily sensation. They exist solely to horrify and stimulate, not always respectively, and their ability to do so is the sole measure of their success" (p. 189). A good horror film is a scary horror film, generally speaking. And, a good porn film is an arousing porn film. The writing, the directing, the acting--these are secondary to the scare/arousal. Too on-the-nose? (Watching S

i'm not randy

Scream 3 gives us a woman in the shower in its opening sequence, but at least her character’s an adult. She’s quickly dispatched, no time for depth or characterization. She’s simply a tool to... well, to make Cotton’s death even more complicated. It’s also a good example of how the female attacks are more drawn out than the male attacks (more on that below). (I’ve actually only seen Scream 3 the one time in the theater, so I’m not fully prepared for what’s coming.) But, my chosen topic for today is not strictly speaking this sequel. It may come up, but I won’t force it. ... One more thing before this gets serious again. From Merriam-Webster : randy \ˈran-dē\ adjective : sexually excited Full Definition 1 chiefly Scottish : having a coarse manner 2 : lustful, lecherous randi•ness noun Origin: probably from obsolete rand to rant. First use: 1698 Synonyms: concupiscent, goatish, horny, hot, hypersexual, itchy, lascivious, lecherous, lewd, libidinous, licentious, lubric

some stupid killer stalking some big-breasted girl who can't act

“And only I can get him.” - Nancy Thompson, A Nightmare on Elm Street The opening sequence to Scream 2 includes a remake of the opening sequence to Scream under the guise of a film-within-the-film Stab . Heather Graham in the stead of Drew Barrymore is not just sitting around making popcorn, about to watch a movie. She’s still making popcorn but inexplicably, also just getting into the shower, because the film-within-the-film is a bit more stereotypical of the slasher film than Scream was or Scream 2 is. Given how Sidney slept in more girly wear in the first film, it’s notable that she has grown up and at college she sleeps in boxers, just one detail in blurring gender lines, something that comes along with the slasher film. It’s not necessarily a coincidence, by the way, that her name is Sidney, the name alone sitting right on the brink of male/female. Clover (1987) and Keisner (2008), just to name a couple, make a point of the names of the Final Girls of horror: Stevie, Mar

it's all a movie. it's all one great big movie

Original title: Scary Movie , Scream was never a comedy. Keeping it (relatively) simple today. Listening to the commentary track with Wes Craven (director) and Kevin Williamson (writer). Right away, Williamson brings up the self-referential nature of the movie, which is obviously a key feature of the film; in the reality of the film horror movies exist, slasher films exist. What works especially well in Scream , of course, is that the self-referential nature, even when funny, even when clever and cute about it, never really drops into self-parody. The movie is played straight. Tidbit: Craven got Barrymore to cry by reminding her of a news story she told him about regarding someone burning a dog. Tidbit: MPAA censored the amount, I guess (since the intestines are still there) of what we see of Casey’s boyfriend’s intestines hanging out. And, Casey’s intestines. I mentioned yesterday how Casey takes refuge behind the television. Craven doesn’t reference that but he does say the t

like something out of a horror movie

You probably are familiar with the opening to Scream even if you haven’t seen it. A phone call, a quiz about scary movies, and death. Casey (Drew Barrymore) notably takes refuge a couple times behind the television. This in a film that invokes the trappings of both modern technology and horror films (i.e. content you might watch on that television). Billy (Skeet Ulrich) refers to his and Sydney’s (Neve Campbell) relationship as... well, here’s what he says: I was home watching TV. The uhhhh...Exorcist was on. It got me thinking of you... it was edited for TV, all the good stuff was cut out. And it got me thinking of us. How two years ago we started off hot and heavy. Nice solid R rating on our way to an NC-17. And now...things have changed and...lately we’re just edited for TV. Before he leaves her house, Sydney offers him a PG-13 relationship and opens her nightgown to show him her chest. We don’t see it, though. The characters are blurring the lines between film/television and (t

write us a happy ending

Before I get to the topic I intended for this, the seventh day of The Blair Witch Project , there’s something a detail I’ve left behind. When Heather, Josh and Mike find the “cemetery” with the seven rock piles, Heather mentions a story Mary Brown told them about a pile of rocks. We were not privy to said story. As Heather explains in her journal in the Dossier , “I cannot FUCKING remember what she said about that because I was freaking out trying to keep the interview to two mags” (p. 161). Given the brief (but important ) bit we get in the movie with Mary Brown, it’s hard to believe that the interview came anywhere close to two magazines (mags). The CP-16mm took 400 foot magazines and 400 feet is 16 minutes, so that would mean Heather would have been trying to keep the Mary Brown interview shorter than 32 minutes. We only see Mary Brown for maybe 1-2 minutes total (I haven’t timed it). Gotta wonder, in the reality of the film, what else they got from Mary Brown. Anyway, a potential