Wednesday, October 12, 2005

What is the World Coming To?

I am really beginning to feel at odds with some people that I considered to be pretty high in the horror stratosphere. I watched a pair of movies over the last two nights that left me with a bit of a bad taste in my mouth, the first for the film itself, and the second for certain opinions and leanings in the extras. Let me start with the one that just wasn't that good of a horror. Starring Bill Paxton and Mathew McConaughey and directed by Paxton. The film is called “Frailty” and it comes with some pretty glowing recommendations. One of them is “...edge-of-the-seat entertainment” and comes from Stephen King. I'm not so bothered by that. Stevie is either easier to please than I am or a recommendation whore, I've never known which. It's the next one that bothers me... “The most disturbing horror picture I've seen since the The Shining.“ and it comes from Sam Raimi. I could not be more disappointed in this proclamation. If this is the most disturbing he's seen then he needs to see more movies. Certainly, the year previous to this release Raimi's own film “The Gift”, written by Billy Bob Thornton and another chap who's name escapes me, was more disturbing, so much so that Raimi said himself he almost didn't take the job. The Gift while a better horror was still pretty tame especially since we are talking about Sam “Evil Dead“ Raimi here.

That's the first (of these two recent) wide divergences. The second one, as I said was to do with the extras and not the film itself, and came from “Boogeyman” starring Barry Watson and produced by Sam Raimi's and Rob Tapert's Ghost House Pictures. The documentary included on the DVD goes on at length about the current evolution of horror movies and how this film fits in. Rob Tapert is in several bits talking about this so we can't blame Raimi directly since he is absent. The bulk of the documentary's position on this subject is that this an Asian flavoured film and that's a big and good trend in horror. There is room for debate if the Asian influx is good or not, but trying to tie it to this film is just wrong even looking at film alone never mind getting into the full multi-media horror genre. “Boogeyman” seems more a meld of “Wes Craven Presents: They“ and ”Darkness Falls“ with an Elm Street riff than it seems to have any influence of “The Ring” or “The Grudge”. The end of the film, the real end that shows after the credits have run, harkens back to author John Saul who was infamous for such evil never ends endings--being different than what Hollywood does were such things mean an intention to make a sequel. Or looked at another way it was that kind of stock sequel catch for the next film.

The first example may be simple ignorance and greed. Ignorant of what words are being ascribed to him, or taking the cash to have those words ascribed. The second, and really its only implying Raimi feels the same as Tapert, seems to me to be an example of egotism, over-sensationalism, and/or trying to ride on the coattails of a trend even if it's not following the trend its supposed to be following. In either case and any way I look at it I can't help but feel disappointed, and that there is a widening gulf between myself and people I considered to be the same wavelength. It's like the masters have deviated from their own teachings.

I suppose I should make it clear though that I am not bagging on “Boogeyman” or on Raimi and Tapert, though maybe a tad on Raimi. “Frailty” thought I will definitely bag on. I'll go do that now, write the review that is.

Mood: Exasperated
Music: The Freeway from Wes Craven's New Nightmare Soundtrack and Paschendale by Iron Maiden


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