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Old 10-16-2005, 01:47 AM   #31
The Chaostar
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Yeah, Erick I'm with you. Classic is what defies time.
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Old 04-28-2006, 11:24 PM   #32
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yeah.......its an intangible thing.

Same for the term CULT CLASSIC. Thats even tougher. Cause they can be both good or bad films.
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Old 05-01-2006, 07:40 PM   #33
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I always looked at it as the highest ranking possible. A product of pure excellence. So referring to films, it would be 5 star category. Movies that are the best of the best that will last the test of time.

I think we get caught up in that "classic" is mostly B&W films. Because quite frankly thats where there were quite a few films that held in this standard of pure excellence.

You have to watch some of those films and compare them to any A+ movie now to see what I mean.

To use cars for an example. Some late models were like moving works of art, compared to the unoriginal crap that we have out today.

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Old 05-13-2006, 05:42 AM   #34
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It is really hard to say... if you read through this thread everyone has a really strong basis for their opinion.

I tend towards the definition of a classic as something that has worked its way into the cultural lexicon.

The one thing I somewhat disagree with is that classics have to have a certain technical excellence. I think we would all call Dracula (1931) a classic but in reality it is a very poorly made film (Karl Freund's outstanding cinematography notwithstanding). The reviews at the time were not overly kind. BUT... over time Bela's euro-accented line readings and cape became iconic and - poof - a classic is born. By that standard - could we not call Nightmare on Elm Street a classic? Is Freddy not the Dracula of the 80s?
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Old 10-18-2007, 01:58 PM   #35
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By that standard - could we not call Nightmare on Elm Street a classic? Is Freddy not the Dracula of the 80s?
No. Dracula was/is a vampire.

Freddie the the bastard son of a 1000 madmen.....
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Old 02-28-2008, 07:22 AM   #36
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What makes a classic? Here is my version of the answer. Any horror or sci-fi horror film between the silent era and 1968. Which was the year of the Classic Horror film in History,Night of the Living Dead. Call me mad but think about what the film did:

Took zombies away from the Voodoo roots and made them into cannibals craving human flesh.

Reset the standards for leading men by casting a black man in the role.

Snapped us out of the fairy tale ending we were so use to from Hollywood with an ending that is still talked about today.

Now sure there have been many films since this one that turned up the gore or ended with a shock but it all comes from this single and important moment in Horror history. There has been nothing since it's release that can even come close to equaling the impact it had.
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Old 02-28-2008, 07:30 AM   #37
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I personally have a passion for Classic Horror and Sci Fi Films.My mom told me at the tender age of 3 I grew attached to Dracula and now at 30 I refuse to let go of them. I don't want people telling me the oldest Horror movie they ever saw was Halloween. That sends my right to my collection to show them what there missing. Who knows maybe they will show some friends and they will show friends etc.. and a new Horror boom for classics would begin.
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Old 02-28-2008, 08:26 AM   #38
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I always think of horror in terms of before and then after Night of the Living Dead. There was a build up with the more science based horror of the 50's but these all retained classic horror sensibilities. Hitchcock's Psycho was perhaps the first modern horror film but although it was revolutionary it didn't catch on. For the most part horror movies continued along the same path.

It wasn't until Night of the Living Dead that filmmakers caught on with how it's done. I'm still not quite sure what really makes the difference. I still consider NotLD classic horror but it's different somehow. Cannibals as the result of science wasn't knew to horror, Hammer's The Revenge of Frankenstein had it ten years earlier. I don't think the fact of a black lead changed perceptions of how horror can be done. Neither was the anti-fairytale ending the difference maker as horror has had a legacy of tragic endings.

No I think it's the straight forward realistic narrative of these elements. Horror was always fantastical before, at least theatrical. Night of the Living Dead took efforts to make things real. They showed news footage and gave characters simple down to earth problems like try to get gas. Zombies seemed more real that way. That was the true horror, the idea that society could break down because of a freak event not evil forces conspiring against us.

Before horror was about losing your soul. Even sex crimes were seen as losing one's chastity. It was about good versus evil. Night of the Living Dead was just about trying to survive. The undead weren't presented as hell bound just re-animated corpses, machine like really. They were mindless, not evil.

I think that's the way modern villains are portrayed now, "bad" but not "evil" real evil. It's a product of modern psychology I think. No matter how many times Donald Pleasence says Michael Myers is "evil" and no matter how fantastic his feats are modern sensibilities work against this. He's seen more as a psychopath than anything else.

Perhaps this is why many modern audience struggle with the idea of pure "evil" of classic films. There's no power in it. Audiences don't buy it anymore.
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Old 02-28-2008, 09:31 AM   #39
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I always avoided this thread because I didn't want to have to think about it too much. However, for what it's worth, I have never thought of Night of the Living Dead as being a central piece in the evolution of horror. Zombies created by science of some kind wasn't all that unusual prior to NOTLD.

But as I say, I'd rather not think about it too much in case my head explodes.
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Old 02-28-2008, 05:12 PM   #40
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If I had to pick a film that would signify the divide between Classic Horror and modern horror. Night of the Living dead would be that film.
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Old 02-28-2008, 06:29 PM   #41
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However, for what it's worth, I have never thought of Night of the Living Dead as being a central piece in the evolution of horror. Zombies created by science of some kind wasn't all that unusual prior to NOTLD.

But as I say, I'd rather not think about it too much in case my head explodes.


Yeah it's not the fact that NotLD "created" the mainstream view of zombies today that makes it the focal point of the change from classic to modern, it's more about how it was done. Even the "how" it was done by NotLD wasn't THAT original. I think a lot of its elements can be seen in Godzilla '54/56 for example.

What I think caused the domino effect was how simple but effectively it was done in NotLD. Put some pancake mix on a few faces, put together a few simple but believable news broadcast to explain the plot and give the characters simple yet realistic challenges like boarding up windows and running for their lives. I think film makers used this as a jumping off point. The rules were changed.

TCM only briefly used news outlets to pitch the plot. For the most part TCM takes for granted that you've seen movies like NotLD. They've built off movies like Psycho and The Boston Strangler, two movies that used the whole movie to develop that mindset. Once audiences "got it" we've been running off of those set rules since.
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Old 02-29-2008, 07:05 AM   #42
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Probably something to do with the prominence of TV at that time more than anything else, no? I mean, we'd had decades of spinning newspaper headlines prior to that - but most people would have gotten their news through newspapers, so it was more "real" for the audience. By NOTLD, people mostly got their news from TV.... so maybe it was simply changing times, and reflecting how things were done at the time. For instance, there have been some films made today that feature news comin through cell phones or the Internet....?
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Old 03-01-2008, 06:41 AM   #43
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Probably something to do with the prominence of TV at that time more than anything else, no?
My point is not the fact that it was TV, just that they used the mundane so extensively. Can you think of any movies before that hinged so much on degrees of separation? Placing the main character on some farm house in the middle of nowhere where nothing of the overall problem is ever addressed none the less solved? NotLD is about a microcosm of the larger problem. Movies were always about fighting the larger problems, not focusing on the trickle down effects.

For example, if Night of the Living Dead had been produced by Hollywood both Ben and Barbra would have probably been scientists. After the graveyard scene Barbra would have gone to a lab somewhere where she'd meet Ben, then we'd see a military engagement where they'd loose but we'd figure out it was aliens controlling the zombies. Then Barbra and Ben would use some scientific deus ex machina in a final decisive battle.

I know someone somewhere will be able to name films that have done it before, but this movie really hit the reset button for the rest creating a down to earth view horror films have since adapted. It's no longer about protecting the world from Dracula or Dr. Frankenstein. NotLD wouldn't have even been a line item in a news paper in the context of that movie. A rather novel idea at the time. Any other horror movie before that would have been about what was headline making in the context of its own setting.

Horror movies today still focus on headline making stories I agree, but what's at stake is much lower. The end game isn't that Dracula, the greatest evil that ever roamed the earth, no longer exists. All that matters now is that, quite simply, the last girl's still standing. Simple. Mundane. Down to earth.
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Old 03-01-2008, 08:13 AM   #44
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Glad to see I got a reaction out of some folks on here.
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Old 05-05-2009, 01:46 AM   #45
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Ingredients for a classic:
Good script,Bonafide acting,Nice cinematography,Excellent score, an interesting subject matter and a helluva director.

Mix all ingredients in to good film stock and shoot until done.
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