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Old 09-16-2013, 11:33 PM   #16
buck135
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Originally Posted by DVD-fanatic-9 View Post
When I first saw it, it actually punched me a bit. I was shaking when it was over. Which is how I know it works as a horror film. But for years while I was figuring it out, I knew the movie was much more than just a joke or some light ironic twists.

Of course I was excited after Scream to start renting all the slashers I missed. But most of them sucked (the exceptions are few: Friday the 13th and sequels, Just Before Dawn, and Jack Sholder's Alone in the Dark is just a bit more take it than leave it). And I don't think Scream was even trying to paint the genre in a negative light, even on Williamson's end- if you paid attention to Sidney, I think you know she was a sympathetic character (ish) but the movie was not siding with her point of view at all. She was shown as naïve in every way a character could be- she trusted the killer, was hellbent on seeing an innocent guy killed for her mother's murder, went upstairs when being chased 1 minute after saying she'd go out the front door, claimed that movies turn people into killers when you know both Craven and Williamson have both stated that's horseshit. The list basically goes on.

When the movie's over, sure she gets a snappy one-liner but she's also pushed aside (ambulance'd or car'd away by the sheriff) while Gale Weathers swoops in, in true-to-her-character opportunism and glory-hounding, to continue using other people's misery for her own benefit... And that's the end of the film.

I've heard the "it's about mocking the genre" thing quite a few times. Can you remember the last time a reporter was a major character in a horror / slasher film? Hellraiser III is the best I've got. I think the point of the film was to challenge the attitudes of people outside who look in and judge others. Then, if you remember Serial Mom, you have a good idea of where kids get the idea to do that.

Scream is a brilliant film and still, no one seems to know why.
You make some good points DVD Fanatic. I will give it another shot.
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Old 09-17-2013, 12:08 AM   #17
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Old 09-17-2013, 12:18 AM   #18
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Gotta agree here. There's so many visceral 70's style brutal films that have been made in the past 10 years that I have zero interest in. I don't find that to be horror in the classic sense at all. They're not scary and they're not fun. You're not being "challenged" by them like an arthouse film but rather just repulsed for the sake of shock value.
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.

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Old 09-17-2013, 12:52 AM   #19
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It was nice to read an article from a critic who isn't into the genre talk about it without being denigrating. I stopped watching a lot of arthouse a few years back because I thought it had lost its ability to "push" and I thought it had turned too self indulgent. Honestly, now that I'm thinking about it horror and what is constituted art house accomplish a lot of the same goals to me- in art house a character generally suffers internally through a transformative event to become changed while in a horror film a character suffers an external event for transformation. That's why I thought "Midnight in Paris" was such a great film- it had been the first art house film I had seen in years where the main character has a transformation and it isn't borne in tragedy.
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Old 09-17-2013, 02:44 PM   #20
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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.
Hostel and Saw were both OK but I don't really feel the need to revisit them over and over. I do agree that they tapped into the country's mindset at the time in regards to xenophobia (at least Hostel did). However, when I saw Hostel in the theater people were way too keen to react to the bloodshed with shocked disgust rather than them being "scared".

I actually vacationed in the town Hostel was filmed and that really cemented the idea of how far fetched the story was (the town was beautiful, safe, and very touristy). Perhaps that was Roth's intention to play into American xenophobic fears by taking a safe foreign place and making it dangerous, but honestly I think both Taken movies did a better job at that.

Still though, I can't feel as if I'm being challenged by watched a torture film. Rather I think, "Oh it's this again...."
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Old 09-17-2013, 04:28 PM   #21
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It is easy to see the advent of torture porn through the lens of 9/11, but if you look at what was happening in the late 90s culturally in both the horror and metal genres, the 1999 Woodstock riots, etc, you'll probably come to the conclusion that torture porn was a natural evolution for horror and would have happened whether the WWC fell or not.

My main problem with films of the past ten years is the esthetic choices the film makers make: the pseudo documentary approach, rapid shaky cam during action sequences, orange and teal color saturation. And yeah, the subject matter doesn't generally appeal to me either. Things that could easily be on the nightly news isn't escapist fare for me and I am extremely tired of zombies.
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Old 09-17-2013, 04:48 PM   #22
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Sorry, but she lost me in the first paragraph.



If you can't even come up with a suitable metaphor, I cannot muster the interest to read your thoughts. A French chef is an artist of a particular kind of food. A tamale is an ingredient in another kind of food. What you're saying is you're a film critic who only likes a certain kind of film. Ergo, you're not a film critic. You're someone who wants to review drama/foreign/indie, what have you.
I agree. When I first found the article, the first thing came to mind was that she basically is not wanting to do job she was hired to perform. Which is to review movies for the newspaper. If she just wants to review only dramas, then quit the Washington Post, and get yourself a blog.
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Old 09-17-2013, 05:29 PM   #23
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This might be slightly off topic & this thread is not the place for it, but am I the only one that doesn't see the Saw series as "torture porn" ? Hostel movies definitely yes (both movies are based on torture for pleasure and sexual pleasure), but the Saw series , I always felt as mystery/puzzle horror. Is the Serpent & the Rainbow torture porn? There was a torture scene in that movie (involving genitals non the less) I can name you hundreds of movies with torture scenes, not all horror either that I would never classify as "torture porn". Was The Passion of the Christ "torture porn" ? Going back years ago films like Blood Sucking Freaks, is a great example of torture porn. Now compare that movie to Saw, and the word "porn" should never be associated with the series imo.

I blame Eli Roth, because until his movie, the phrase was never used before. 2 stupid movies and everybody gets categorized into his garbage. Now every critic throws that phrase out whenever there's a horror movie with excessive gore that's doesn't involve a zombie, monster, or ghost.
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Old 09-17-2013, 07:58 PM   #24
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This might be slightly off topic & this thread is not the place for it, but am I the only one that doesn't see the Saw series as "torture porn" ? Hostel movies definitely yes (both movies are based on torture for pleasure and sexual pleasure), but the Saw series , I always felt as mystery/puzzle horror. Is the Serpent & the Rainbow torture porn? There was a torture scene in that movie (involving genitals non the less) I can name you hundreds of movies with torture scenes, not all horror either that I would never classify as "torture porn". Was The Passion of the Christ "torture porn" ? Going back years ago films like Blood Sucking Freaks, is a great example of torture porn. Now compare that movie to Saw, and the word "porn" should never be associated with the series imo.

I blame Eli Roth, because until his movie, the phrase was never used before. 2 stupid movies and everybody gets categorized into his garbage. Now every critic throws that phrase out whenever there's a horror movie with excessive gore that's doesn't involve a zombie, monster, or ghost.

How about we just don't use that phrase period. How's that?
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Old 09-17-2013, 09:32 PM   #25
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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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Old 09-17-2013, 10:14 PM   #26
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I agree. When I first found the article, the first thing came to mind was that she basically is not wanting to do job she was hired to perform. Which is to review movies for the newspaper. If she just wants to review only dramas, then quit the Washington Post, and get yourself a blog.
That's what I thought too. I finished the article but with a certain level of doubt about her credentials.
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Old 09-17-2013, 11:04 PM   #27
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Scream is a brilliant film and still, no one seems to know why.
Agree.

I think if I have any ill will towards it, it is because of all the insufferably lame copycat films that came after that misunderstood what Scream was doing. Scream was great, but it ruined horror (of course it also saved it from direct-to-DVD oblivion).

It is one of the more perfect horror films of it's time and in the context of what was happening then in entertainment and culturally, pretty brilliant.
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Old 09-17-2013, 11:31 PM   #28
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I'm with her. I have no interest in torture-porn like SAW or HOSTEL and the amount of money you'd have to pay to watch THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE would be in the thousands. The only new horror I watch is the fun stuff like TRICK R' TREAT and THE CABIN IN THE WOODS.
Same here. Mainstream American Horror films have really lost their sense of fun. They just overdo it with tons of gore or cliches and feel made without any kind of heart.

I certainly felt Scream was made with a lot of heart. There are so many nods to other horror movies that are obviously intended for the fans to spot - how is that mocking? By this point, they weren't even really making slashers anymore so how could Scream kill the genre? It was already dead. Kevin Williamson is a proclaimed horror geek and Wes Craven obviously loves the genre - who on this film was mocking horror? I felt it played with the cliches and twisted them to make it fresh again. Back then, I was even surprised there was 2 killers.
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Old 09-18-2013, 12:10 AM   #29
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I'm all for her. I applaud her being up front about her biases. Yeah, I won't read her reviews, but it shouldn't invalidate her opinions as a critic.

This whole idea of critics being objective is BS. This is art not science. There are no objective answers. Every reviewer has biases. Some based on aesthetics, some based on exposure, and some based on personal history. I can't fault a woman for having issues with horror. Women live with a higher amount of daily fear, even in the US. I don't feel the need to walk my male friends to their cars, but I am surely going to make sure that my female friends get there safely. So, I really can't hold something against a woman who doesn't find fear entertaining. And it's not like she is saying all horror films are crap. She's saying that she doesn't enjoy them. There is a big difference and I don't see anything wrong with being open about that. It reminds me of the Ebert review of "Human Centipede" - which I consider to be one of the best film reviews ever - where he admitted that he couldn't "review" the film because he found it repulsive, but considering that was the filmmakers goal, Ebert had to say it succeeded.

And even a critic who strives for objectivity, can't be aware of the complete 100+ years of cinematic output. You find a critic whose tastes are similar to your own and you listen to them. And you don't listen to critics whose tastes are not similar. That shouldn't be hard. But, it shouldn't invalidate someone's opinion. And that's all that a critic is. Someone who offers an opinion.
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Old 09-18-2013, 01:52 AM   #30
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As far as I'm concerned, there is zero point in reviewing something if you don't have at least a passing interest in the subject. If you don't like horror movies, then any review you make in regards to one is going to be negative. That isn't going to tell ANY fan of the genre whether a particular film is worth seeing or not. Why a professional editor would force a critic to review a movie he/she knows they aren't going to like is beyond me. Like Anaetheus, I also applaud her for being up front about being the wrong person for the job (not of reviewing movies in general, but for horror films).
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