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Old 09-17-2013, 08:32 PM   #25
Remaking My Soul
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Horror
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Originally Posted by Ash28M View Post
I completely disagree. Whether or not you like films like Hostal or Saw they were the most relevant films of that time. They were a direct result of 9/11 and its aftermath. They weren't just shock value they also played on the fears and xenophobia of the day, just like the films of the 70's did. You were being challenged you just didn't realize it.
People don't like to admit it, but Hostel is a very open-to-interpretation film. They react to it the way I'm forced to react to the latter half of Wolf Creek: trying too hard to be disturbing. Meanwhile, it's the only modern formula in the torture / kidnap / hard-survival genre that is challenging. It's definitely challenging homophobic and sexist attitudes in American culture. And shockingly presents what I believe was an exaggerated portrayal of a typical group of "young" characters in a horror film which isn't exaggerated anymore (Trick 'R Treat, Friday the 13th 2009, Rob Zombie's Halloween and sequel), thereby predicting how horror would begin looking down upon the audience.

Then, Hostel: Part II happened. Apparently, he was really pissed at people pirating his movies online- he wanted revenge on young people and of course decided going the route of ultra-cliché (torturing 3 women), and in the process- pissing all over the nuance in the original film, was the way to do it.

See... how do I put this? It's anything but the subject matter that's responsible for the failure of Apocalyptic Invasion Torture Survival "horror." Although, that being said, even if it were possible for the filmmakers to actually tap into the real thing every time, how does it not destroy the genre just based on how it by-design makes it impossible for later films to be more extreme? But, anyway, the problem is that people keep taking the subject matter at face value. Just because you have a plot about kidnap and torture doesn't make it automatically effective. We're already living in a collective worldwide culture where everybody likes to pretend they're tough. In that world, the childish writing of the Saw films doesn't cut it. Nor does the asinine zero-logic of Quarantine. Nor do tacked-on, clichéd, yawn-inducing scenes where women get slapped around, as in Splinter or The Devil's Rejects. (The plague-like attack on feminism we've seen in the last 5 years setting women's reproductive rights back a good 40 should be a clear indication though there may be a lack of dot-connecting among some.) There are dozens more examples. Hundreds when we again realize how large the direct-to-DVD market is.

When you truly scrutinize these movies, especially with real life tragedy in mind, they crumble like dust. I say it's because directors don't have the same connection to the world as they used to when Polanski, Romero, Craven, Hooper, Cronenberg, Larry Cohen, Bob Clark, Joe Dante, etc. were revolutionizing the socio-politically relevant horror film. Of course, they came from the 60's and 70's. Which were the times with ground to break. Decades later, the culture has become a lot cheaper and faker. And absurdly media-obsessed. Look at what an ass Eli Roth made of himself on Fox News. He trivialized the issues and practically showed that he had only the most shallow appreciation for anything that was actually going on. Like it was all just an excuse for him to be as "extreme" as he wanted to be in his films. Most directors care more now - though I admit this is hard to blame them for - about how to sustain a long-running career and how to use their films for that purpose than what the genre really is or should be. And the fact that most of them were technical hotshots in film school, they just have to merge horror's style with something Hollywood made audiences comfortable with.

I hate to say it but I really think we have Quentin Tarantino to blame. I've said before and I'll say again- I think this guy has always had tremendous talent, intelligence that often goes ignored, and substance to spite his attitude. But he's the template for the modern horror director. After the Pulp Fiction Effect in horror, which actually kind of began with The Dead Hate the Living, took root- every film became a bastardization of House of 1,000 Corpses or Cabin Fever, which clearly were being made unaware of each other. Meanwhile, as we all know, there's only 1 guy who could ever pull off being a horror-Tarantino: Danny Boyle. Evidenced by how hard the studio clearly sold Dawn of the Dead 2004 as the new 28 Days Later and Zack Snyder has proven with Man of Steel and Sucker Punch that he was using the Tarantino trend in horror to climb up the Hollywood ladder and become the new Michael Bay. And, in the wake of this disaster, we have the Turn Your Brain Off excuse for why Dawn 2004 is allowed to exist in the same universe as the insightful, groundbreaking 1978 original.

Viewers are not discriminating. They think they are, but when push comes to push, they see rote brutalization as close enough to effective to be evidence of authenticity. Forgetting the roles that characterization, writing, and holding the camera fucking still play in communicating a truly horrifying situation to screen. Or just how hypocritical it is for these films to be invoking the 70's when they're really just copying non-horror of the 90's. Do you think the Saw trend would be anywhere without Se7en or William Malone's flicks- which were also inspired by Marilyn Manson's videography (entirely more effective than this sad trend - thanks to the actual concept of artistic delineation of setting and atmosphere). Basically: people paying for Saw want ugly but not too ugly. It's a shame that I have to say a film can't beat a music video.

I think a lot of people on this board are guilty of forgetting the 90's. Marilyn Manson was anything but an isolated incident. Films and music videos were absolutely saturated with the grittiness, filth, and grave tone all of these new millennium hard-survival films have watered down. Not saying they were all effective but they sure as hell were effective as a group where this film wave movement in horror only reflects that (well over 6-7 years too late) by its envy and I think there's a real 80's Party mentality with fans that is intentionally not recognizing it. Like they've washed over what the 80's in horror really were: excess. And creativity, but that's not celebrated nearly as much as the excess. For every one who holds Brain Damage to a visible higher standard, The Burning (a truly shit film) gets the glory. How many Top 100 lists do you even see The Company of Wolves on? But Silent Night, Deadly Night becomes the mass-cult film. Just Before Dawn and Sleepaway Camp (Rob Zombie wishes he could stumble into making this film) are stellar slasher films of the early 80's. But can they compare to the popularity of the inferior My Bloody Valentine or The Prowler?

And so on.
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