Friday, August 10, 2007

Fantasy, Sci-Fi and Horror, Oh My

Los Angeles, CA

I'm a little late on this one. By, like, a week. Anyway, the American Cinematheque is running their annual Fantasy, Sci-Fi and Horror series at the Egyptian and Aero Theatres (Hollywood and Santa Monica, respectively) throughout the month of August.

There's not a whole lot here I'm interested in. There's really only so much Peters Lorre and Cushing one can take in a lifetime, but occasionally they'll bring in something new. Eli Roth's Cabin Fever held its L.A. Premiere in the series, as did Dog Soldiers (a fucking awesome movie, which, if you haven't seen it, you need to go out and get right the fuck now), for example. For the most part, though, they stick with a lot of the old Hammer Horror, or some sci-fi classics.

This year, and I'm a little bummed I'm going to miss it (It's tonight and I wasn't paying attention), they're showing Frostbite, a Swedish vampire flick that seems to have shades of Thirty Days of Night at the Spielberg Theatre. Billed as horror and comedy this one looks like it could be fun.

As to classics (and I use the terms loosely) there's two Planet of The Apes films playing at the Aero tonight, they just did Slaughterhouse 5, and if you're really into the British 60's scene there's Quatermass And The Pit.

What strikes me about these films is how so many of them are from the 50's and 60's (The Black Scorpion, The Beast With Five Fingers, Fiend Without A Face), only 5 from 70's and none from the 80's.

Where are the Nightmare on Elm Streets, the Hellraisers? What about The Thing? Granted they don't want to do repeats and this is an annual series, but I have to wonder, did horror dry up a little after studio consolidations and an increase in audience sophistication? You couldn't do Mad Love ("Dead hands that live...and love...and kill!") today. Audiences just wouldn't go for it. Budgets are expected to be big, unless you're an indie. And indies don't always get distribution. Sometimes they're actively bought just to be shelved.

Today's horror seems light on plot and heavy on discomfort. Hostel or Saw, for example. Used to be you could shock audiences with an off-stage scream and a thin rivulet of blood running under the door (Cat People). But now you've got extreme torture scenes and only the thinnest justifications for them. Sure there's a lot of blood, but there's always been a lot of blood. Now, though, it seems to all be about the pain.

Am I missing something? I have a hard time getting into stories like that. It feels like there's no there there. Like it's an empty shell that someone used to fill up with a lot of "You know what would be fucking harsh?" kinds of events. I know that's an oversimplification of horror today. Rob Zombie's redone Halloween looks fucking awesome and I can't wait to see All The Boys Love Mandy Lane.

And here's one that I'm really looking forward to, for a few reasons. It's a little indie movie called The Double Born based (loosely) on a Bram Stoker story. It's being directed by Tony Randell (who directed Hellraiser II, and has worked on a lot of other horror projects, particularly all the Hellraisers) and written by him and Peter Atkins (who wrote the Wishmaster series, Hellraisers II, III, IV and Hellraiser: Prophecy).

The reason I'm so interested in this is that my brother is the producer and he's been busting his balls trying to get this thing made for years now. He's really gone to the mat to get this thing going. I'm really proud of the work he's done on it, and the effort he's put into it. I've seen the script and it's pretty fucked up in a nice psycho-sexually manipulative way. They're in post right now, and I'm hoping they get a good distribution deal.

And there's a rough trailer for it up on You Tube.  Enjoy.

1 comment:

Christa M. Miller said...

We loved Dog Soldiers, so much so that it was the reason we ran out and saw The Descent in the theater instead of waiting for it to come out on video.

And we're in complete agreement about "torture porn" movies. I refuse to see any of them. I just have no interest. And I love horror.

I'll keep an eye out for the new ones you mentioned. I'm also looking forward to The Invasion. We're big Kidman fans, and supposedly this is more of a zombie movie than an alien movie....