Unpopular opinions!

Discussion in 'General' started by _pi_, Nov 6, 2007.

  1. DVD-fanatic-9

    DVD-fanatic-9 And the Next Morning, When the Campers Woke Up...

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    He just said that to make Cooper think he thought the basement was a good idea. Not to ruffle any more feathers (as I say this, I just watched like 5 conure bird videos on YouTube). But if you remember, he actually thought boarding up the windows on the ground floor would work and said very loudly and proudly that the cellar is a deathtrap, period - not "if we go down too early, it'll be a mistake." That's 1.


    Now, here's 2: if they'd been in the cellar earlier, they would have been paying more attention to Karen being sick and would have noticed her turning into a zombie. You clearly have your head stuck in the remake and it'll be pretty sad if I have to tell you that Romero's zombies do not in fact leap, run, or tackle people at any point in his films. So, believe me, there would have been time for the parents to decide something had to be done. This fantasy you have of the people in the house being lost in their thoughts and Karen being a super-zombie... yeah, no. Sure, there might have been conflict but even if Mr. Cooper said "nobody touch her," like I said- 90% of the people in the house are not at risk of being bitten. Not only does she not have super strength, but she will not gain super hiding abilities either. If they went down into the basement earlier... the power would still have been on.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2014
  2. maybrick

    maybrick Well-Known Member

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    Jesus, you really do take things way too seriously. :lol:

    Ben is clearly the only one with the balls to kill a kid. Nobody else would have done it, and Mr Cooper most certainly would have had something to say about it. She didn't need to be a "super zombie". All she would need to do is bite one person, and in a confined space it would have been chaos. You believe that the parents would have remained calm to decide what had to be done? They would have decided NOTHING. That relationship was completely dysfunctional.
     
  3. DVD-fanatic-9

    DVD-fanatic-9 And the Next Morning, When the Campers Woke Up...

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    I did read your mind- your use of the word "chaos" right there signifies that you believe she would get up, run around, and attack people with more energy than Romero's zombies have ever had. And your use of the phrase "all she would need to do is bite one person" is also kind of absurd. You have another movie and another set of characters in your head. If she can't leap, run, or tackle anyone - which she can't because she's a Romero zombie - than there is no chance of a surprise attack. She wouldn't have caught a single person in that basement unaware. She would have risen slowly and by the time she approached one single person, they would have known for an hour at least that she had been turning. So, for the threat to be there - and remember, she is a little girl and the only person she did technically kill had to be lying on the floor when she took her only victim - the circumstances would have had to be radically different.

    The most extreme this situation would have gotten would involve someone pushing her away. But if Mr. Cooper had seen her lumbering (not running, leaping, or barreling in some fashion) toward another person, he would have at least grabbed her. See? 1 person is at risk. 1. Leaving 90% (roughly) of the rest of the people in the house completely safe. And that 1 person is entirely interchangeable by the way. If Mr. Cooper grabs her, he's in danger. If Mrs. Cooper grabs her, she's in danger. Nobody else is going to touch her.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2014
  4. UFAlien

    UFAlien New Member

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    Oh, how could I forget this one:

    -I don't see the big deal about James Wan. Insidious sucked and The Conjuring was a really average haunted house flick. His movies may seem "old-school" but they don't do anything noticeably better than an average horror flick.
     
  5. Body Boy

    Body Boy Well-Known Member

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    Unpopular opinion:

    The When A Stranger Calls 2006 remake wasn't actually bad. Most of what I hear about it is that it was a weak PG-13 teenfest, but I thought all things considered that it was fine. The house was beautiful too.
     
  6. DVD-fanatic-9

    DVD-fanatic-9 And the Next Morning, When the Campers Woke Up...

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    It failed to deliver anything better than "girl in huge empty house." There was nothing to be scared of. But, I agree, it wasn't that bad. Beyond the dialogue moments. And, given that the girl does "lose" her friends through death or not calling them back throughout the night, I have to say I sat through the movie without wanting to kill every single character myself.

    That's friggin' progress. Yeah- When a Stranger Calls is one of the better remakes.

    By the way, that's a REALLY important thing for a horror film. Some people take it a step further and say you have to "care" about characters in a horror film but I don't. If they're unlikable, there needs to be a good reason why. But if they're blank slates, this is actually greatly less obnoxious than 99.9999999999999999999999% of the horror films made from Irreversible onward. Because, something worse happens then. Instead of "not caring about" the characters- you're not going to give a fuck about the movie. That's the worst thing. Horror is the genre literally used to make a statement about the world we live in. If almost every single film being released in it at a certain time only has entitled selfish assholes who care about nothing but partying and using people as objects, there's nothing to do as an audience member but to become misanthropic. And, frankly, we already have comedy for that.


    Given how rare it is for a horror film to not suck after 2002... I thought Insidious was pretty decent. I give that honor to about 1 film out of a few hundred. Hell, I even enjoyed a good portion of Dead Silence. James Wan can't do characters very well and can't legitimately create nightmares. But he has one hell of a visual eye. And I actually want to see his new stuff every time he puts something out. How many directors can I say that about? Just him and Larry Fessenden (since Lucky McKee went and sold out to Jack Ketchum bullshit).

    That is it.

    When I think of the genre dying, and it is in an undeniably mortally wounded state (and has been since probably 2004-2005, when it was clear so-called dedicated fans were actually going to keep plonking down money for remakes)... he is one of the only people trying to keep it alive.

    Of course, that being said, he also made Saw and... I could literally go on FOR DAYS about is wrong with those films.
     
  7. Anaestheus

    Anaestheus Well-Known Member

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    No I don't think any of that changes just because one of the characters has different skin color.

    The meaning of the film only changes if the viewer decides to see Ben's race as being an issue in the first place. But, there's nothing in the film that draws any attention to the fact that Ben is being portrayed by a black actor. Even Romero didn't see him as a "black man" - he just saw him a good actor. Any "racism" that the viewer sees in the film exists only because they are seeing Ben's skin color somehow as a defining trait of who he is as a character/person.

    The only "racial" issues that can be taken away from the film are about Romero and team as individuals and how, as a whole, they are remarkably not racist because they never even considered that Jones' race would be a big issue.

    As for the closing segment, again, that was in the script long before the there was any decision to cast Jones as Ben. So, would there be any lynch mob implications if it had been cast as a white actor or an Hispanic actor or even a woman? You can see the end credits as indicators to any number of incidents of mass slaughter. It draws as much from the American lynch mobs as it does from the Holocaust, the eradication of the Native American population, and the atrocities in Viet Nam.

    Furthermore, the removal of any type of assumed racial inference only serves to enforce Romero's main point that any large group of people, regardless of how imposing or ineffectual its individual members, can become a terrifying force of destruction.
     
  8. DVD-fanatic-9

    DVD-fanatic-9 And the Next Morning, When the Campers Woke Up...

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    I agree that a person could watch it today and not find it a racially motivated ending. I never did when I was younger. But I believe the film's reputation lives on as the hunting party shot Ben because they saw a black man's face in the window. That if they'd seen the face of a white person, which a Hispanic person's face would likely look, they would have gotten closer to the window to make sure it wasn't a living person but definitely a zombie. The implication is meant to be that the hunting party did it as a reflex. Without thinking. That they didn't even think to take the time because they saw a black face, not "any person's" face.

    The big difference between this here and in Dawn is that these shooters are not actively portrayed as rednecks who enjoy shooting anything that moves nor does the film make any point about guns being the killer rather than people. See what I mean? When you add the imagery of the end credits (watch it again, I'm serious- pay close attention to how many shots Ben is in; are you actually going to argue that this was done because he was the only person's body who wasn't partially eaten by the zombies?), you get a pretty convincing example of what looks like a commentary on race. In a time when it would have been a big deal anywhere.

    Literally: other people are responsible for this line of thinking in me. I think they make a better point than people who say "there's nothing there." In fact, the film just isn't as interesting without it.
     
  9. Anaestheus

    Anaestheus Well-Known Member

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    I won't hold Wan up as anything brilliant along the lines of Cronenberg, Carpenter, or any of the other "horror greats" that I am failing to quickly recall. But, I think you actually hit a bit on why he gets the respect that he does right now. It's that his movies do seem "old school" and that he takes some time to try to focus on character, story, pacing, and atmosphere. And that, while it's not outstanding, there is an air of "classiness" around his work. Yeah, if he came out in the 80s, he'd probably be working with Charles Band doing decent but unremarkable work. It's just that now, he is someone who is working in the large scale arena who is going against the current grain of just making cynical shock machines. And he's one of a ridiculously small number, outside of the indie scene, who are trying to do that. He may not be that original (by a long shot really) but he is, at least, sincerely trying to make good work in the genre even if he doesn't always succeed.
     
  10. Anaestheus

    Anaestheus Well-Known Member

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    Wow. I have to say, I am not sure where you get some of these conclusions from. I never got the impression that they "only" shot Ben because he was black. I think the film does a pretty decent job of showing that they shot him because he was shambling around in exhaustion and from a distance looked like he was undead. And, the film actually does do a pretty upfront job of showing that these shooting parties are a bunch of barely organized gun-nuts.

    As for not finding NotLD interesting without the racial implications, I'd have to say almost everything you said about me finding stretches of "Dawn..." to be boring.
     
  11. Paff

    Paff Super Moderator

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    I've heard this before, and while I agree with it, it does not negate the significance of a black man cast as the lead actor in a film in the late 60s. Just by casting Duane Jones (and being colorblind in the casting), Romero is making a racial statement. This movie was made during the middle of the civil rights movement, the Martin Luther King "I Have a Dream" era, Rosa Parks, marches, sit-ins, segregation, etc. Front page news stuff.

    Even if the script does not imply a statement on racism, the casting does, so the film indeed must be considered a statement on race relations in the 1960s. Must be. Especially considering that even today, the "best actor" that auditions for a role may not get the part if he/she does not fit the racial make-up desired by the production.
     
  12. Anaestheus

    Anaestheus Well-Known Member

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    My point is not to diminish NotLD's place in history or to say that there is no racial significance to it having a black lead. But that does not mean that NotLD is a film ABOUT racism. There is nothing to indicate that any of the characters are motivated by racial issues. In particular, there is nothing to indicate that any of Cooper's arguments with Ben are motivated by bigotry. Unless you want to accept the idea that the only reason a white man would argue with a black man is because the white man is racist, which is a racist statement in and of itself.

    What makes NotLD significant is that Ben is a role that could have been played by anyone and the role went to a black male, with no regard being paid to his race. And, honestly, I think that is a more beautiful message.
     
  13. DVD-fanatic-9

    DVD-fanatic-9 And the Next Morning, When the Campers Woke Up...

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    Again: the end credits. It changes the context of what happened directly before. In case you don't remember, it was an extremely heady sequence and the spooky music was probably used ironically to throw certain viewers from coming to the overt realization that it was comparable to lynchings. Besides, if you were right or X-human, and this were implying "oh look what's become of that guy we followed around for so long, isn't it sad that a simple mistake lead him here... to be burned after being so tragically executed," it would rob the film we had just watched of a lot of the point to watching the Two Competing Men having any conflict at all.

    There's no random rule that says Any Two People Will Fight Until They Destroy Each Other in horror films. No one invented that. Romero invented conflicts with layers to them and these were used to comment on social issues. Just: people can't get along? That's not Romero's style. Never has been. Not even in Day, which I still think is horrendously flawed. If you remember, the characters had different philosophies, ideologies, etc. The conflicts sprang from these. (This is Day.) Not from merely "pressing circumstances" created by the zombies. That would... ya know, make the zombies incidental. Rather than any part of the equation.

    And Ben wasn't shambling around. He was standing perfectly still. Watch it again. I won't tell you they did or didn't get a great look but I have been told time and again that it was implied that they did see his skin color. I've never heard anyone argue that they didn't.

    Until now.


    Uh...

    Really? Because, here's what I said (everything in blue will indicate a plot point or quality that only Dawn possesses):

    I have no idea how you can call the film boring at all. And I purposefully watch the longest cut of the film once they get to the mall. It is so unbelievably rich in its angle of horror by hypnotization, it's like watching the insides of people eating at McDonalds- you get, right away, what's disturbing about it and the music and the look in Fran's face, etc, prove that the scenes of them indulging in the mall have a transformative quality to them. They begin to make you feel like this is, in fact, a deathtrap. Changing them as people, weakening them, turning them into zombies themselves, etc. To me- every scene showing this is crucial. And you're probably being bored by that 2 hour, 9 minute cut while I'm watching the longest version of almost everything- so I'm seeing more than 10 extra minutes. I still say it's all crucial. Every horror film would love to make you feel that humanity itself - you and me - are more dangerous than anything a movie can invent. This film proves it. While making it incredibly cinematic. It's not the same thing the whole time, glamour shots of the mall- it actually has a full arc and valleys all the way down from the top of the hill, making the viewer feel subtle and potent dread building up through staying so long in the mall and playing video games and fooling around in the mirror.

    As for the bikers, the same thing applies but in a different way- they're not meant to be making rational decisions. They're portrayed pretty much how we know from reality that this "gang of road warriors" would actually play out: they're savages. And they're also kinda conformist. So, tell me all about how one person would stop acting like the group and make an independent decision which isn't aping something someone else in the group is doing. Try to argue it, but, not sure that argument will hold up in court.


    Good luck, man.


    Don't be trite. You're trying to re-write my argument as suddenly taking over the entire meaning of the film when, again, this is Romero. He layers his films. You don't have to believe the entire film is a commentary on racism but I think if you deny there is any racial motivation to the way Cooper behaved, you weren't actually paying attention to the actor's performance. Which most certainly changes when - again... hi! I seem to remember we've been here before - we're talking about a black man telling a white man that he will decide what happens to Barbara, a white woman, and that he will control the upstairs portion of the house. This is racial. No matter how you slice it. Argue until you're blue in the face. The conflict between Ben and Cooper becomes a racial issue. Especially when you've taken everything I've said into consideration. Remember that it's all connected = Cooper's growing desperation, even though he does believe he'd be safe in the cellar the entire time, to prove that he can overtake Ben: watch it again, tell me why else he would argue that the gun isn't safe in Any Other Man's hands as opposed to a black man. When Ben puts a steak in this once and for all- why does he basically kill Cooper? Not because he locked Ben, AND Tom and Judy out of the house. He locked Ben out. Just the black man. If you refuse, flat out, to even assume that attitudes are the indication for an issue of race between characters- how do you believe the film would indicate it? Something can be about race whether it was intended to be or not.

    I stand by my core argument: if we just look at Ben and Cooper as two men fighting, it's not as interesting as if there is a racial component to their arguing. I've actually taken the time this was made into account and so have a great deal of audience members who have seen this. It's the film's legacy now, can't even be reversed at this point. You honestly believe they're all wrong?


    That message has nothing to do with the story of the film. You cannot disregard the time the film takes place in or was made in. You cannot. Since you're clearly stating that this instance of casting (just how the role was cast, not how the actor impacts the role he's playing) dictates how the character behaves, etc.
     
  14. buck135

    buck135 Kanamit

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    Interesting points Paff. The casting wasn't typical for NOTLD though since all of the participants were investor's and their family/friends. Duane Jones wasn't just the best actor in NOTLD, but the best actor out of everyone in any of the six Dead films. I have a difficult time seeing it any differently because I wasn't alive when the film was released and while the original film doesn't outwardly implicate racial tension, the remake certainly does ("You don't exactly look like neighbors yourself").
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2014
  15. Anaestheus

    Anaestheus Well-Known Member

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    Seiously, did I really need to do that?
     
  16. Anaestheus

    Anaestheus Well-Known Member

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    Not quite sure how I can be trying to rewrite your argument by responding to a different person's post.
     
  17. Anaestheus

    Anaestheus Well-Known Member

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    This is too long for me to pick at each point specifically without this turning into an editing nightmare.

    So, let's just start with a couple of yes/no questions.

    Do you believe that:

    1. Romero wrote the script with no thoughts on what race Ben would be?

    2. Romero cast Ben without consideration of his race?

    3. Romero intentionally did not modify the original script once Duane Jones had been cast as the lead?

    No need for long answers. Just a yes or no will be perfect. I'm not trying to bait or trap you, i am just trying to follow your logic.
     
  18. baggio

    baggio Well-Known Member

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    Just to weigh in, I never, EVER thought that the reason Ben was shot at the end was because he was black. Swear on my life that never crossed my mind for one second.

    And on the part being written for a black man or not. Romero originally was looking for a (non specific race) rough truck driver type, but after Duane auditioned , Romero changed the role type in the script to play to Duane's acting abilities of a more intellectual person.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2014
  19. maybrick

    maybrick Well-Known Member

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    Yeah. It's pretty clear from the way that the hunter points Ben out that it was nothing more than a tragic case of mistaken identity.
     
  20. Paff

    Paff Super Moderator

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    I too agree that Ben's shooting was a case of mistaken identity, but I also don't discount the fact that the footage of the civil rights movement had to be a major influence on Romero's camera style. You don't make films in a vacuum. Outside influences, particularly what we see on the news undoubtedly has an effect. The rise of graphic violence in 70s horror is directly attributed to the footage from Vietnam. The discussion and scenes of torture from the Gulf wars obviously led to the "torture porn" of the '00s, the proliferation of reality TV, Youtube, and camera phones have given us "found footage" films.

    The script clearly has an "establishment vs youth" bend to it, with Mr Cooper vs Ben. Again, Duane Jones may not have been cast solely due to his race, but it had to enter Romero's mind as he's making the decision. And I'll bet Romero realized that as Duane was auditioning that having the lead be a black man really emphasized the motif of the script's inspiration. I.E., it may not have been written for a black man per se, but it makes sense (and not just in an acting talent sense) for Ben to be black.
     

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