Human Centipede

I know class is over and everything, but I just saw the movie Human Centipede and thought I would share my thoughts. That movie was ridiculous… It doesn’t have the best plot or anything but ill post a link where you can read it, but the movie has such a twisted idea behind it that it will surely mess with people’s mind…and stomachs. This is one of the few movies that I actually felt compelled to look away or want to shut the film off. If your looking for a movie to shock yourself and friends this movie will not disappoint.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Human_Centipede_(First_Sequence)

Horror and Comedy in One!

I have recently read an interesting blog post by someone with the username Poppascotch on the website horror-movies.ca.  The post talks about how close the horror and comedy genre is in producing the same effect.  This interests me a lot because in my experience I’ve felt that all the horror comedies I have seen have failed to produce both feelings of fear and moments that make me laugh.  You can read the article at the link below.

http://www.horror-movies.ca/horror_17640.html

The article says that horror and comedy both have similar ways to induce a response from the viewer.  It says that in horror the viewer is set up by such things as a person going to investigate a dark house and it creates a feeling of fear that results in a scare.  In comedy a character is set up with a ridiculous situation that the viewer knows must end in a laugh.  After reading this I can see how horror and comedy work in similar ways, but the question still is for me can they work at the same time?

My answer is no.

I feel that the horror comedies I have seen throughout the year can either be scary or funny.  For example one of the most obvious horror comedies Scary Movie, was not scary at all; in my opinion it was funny either.  One movie I did find very funny was Shaun of the Dead.  This movie works great with the inducing laughs, but lacks in the horror department.  I don’t feel that in this movie I ever felt the anxiety or fear that other films such as Martyrs have created.

I hated this film...

One thing I have experienced while watching horror films is that there are scenes in which a joke is said that has made me laugh.  One example of this is The Last House On The Left, both the original and the remake.  In the original film the police are there as almost a small comic relief and in the remake the father says jokes that I found funny.  These films do not consider themselves horror comedy whatsoever, but still had moments that make the viewer laugh.  I feel this works because there is not an equal blend of comedy and horror; there is a ratio of one laugh to every ten scares.  I feel this works similar to a lot of action films, where there are little jokes said in between all the action.

Zombies haven't been scary since the 60's.

Another thing I thought about while watching both The Last House On The Left movies, is the way they put in the few laughs.  In the original the laughs are throughout the film and in between each seen or horror.  I feel this was done because at the time of its release the subject matter of a teenager being raped was very intense and these comedic scenes were there to lessen the shock.  This is exactly what I felt it did, but towards the end of the film the comedy stops and the film makes the viewer totally forget that there were ever moments they could think of laughing.  The remake takes a different approach where they give some jokes in the beginning of the film, but once the horror starts the comedy ceases altogether.  This I feel makes for a very different experience then the original and a much more horrifying one.

See she's laughing a bit... right?

So all in all what I’m trying to say is that I do not feel the horror comedy genre is very effective at all.  The one exception I have to this is when the film has very subtle and dark comedy, one that doesn’t really have the viewer laugh out loud or have the HAHA moment.  One example of this is the film featured in the article American Werewolf in London, which creates some scares and some what I’ll call giggle moments…yes, giggle moments.  Another one that did this for me was the film we watched in class Doctor Strangelove, but I can’t really consider that a horror comedy.  Well these are my opinions on the horror comedy genre; let me know how you guys feel!

He'll laugh... but then eat you.

Is there such thing as a good remake?

In class we started to get on the subject of how remakes are just a cheap way to gain profit and are rarely well made films.  Well I found someone’s blog post where Vic Holtreman claims to have boiled down how to successfully remake a movie in just five steps.  I’m going to take his five points and write my own opinion about them.  I’ll paste the link below so everyone can read his reasons behind the five steps.

http://screenrant.com/top-five-rules-for-movie-remakes-vic-964/

1. Stories in the public domain that have already had multiple movie remakes done.

I agree with Vic’s first step because in a way I feel remakes of classics don’t really count as remakes.  Vic uses movies such as Dracula as an example of a classic and I feel stories like this are so well known and established, that it is very hard to mess up a remake.  What I mean is that, for example, the story of Dracula is known by many people, so in a way people know what to expect in a remake.  Kind of like how people feel when they go to Mc Donalds, they go there for food because they know what they are going to get, no matter where it is or when it is.  People going to see Dracula usually have a base knowledge of what to expect, leading to less let downs. There is the argument that people would like to see classics reinvented, but do you think that really counts as a remake?

They both suck blood... right?

2. The original is terribly dated in either setting or pacing and style.

Where many people who love older movies will totally disagree with me, I feel this is very true because when I watch some movies from the 40s and 50s I find myself a bit bored, which I feel has to do with pacing.  Maybe this is because newer generations of audiences have a different respect for movies, but then wouldn’t a remake serve good here, to retell a story for newer generations?

Too much masculinity...

3. The original is not terribly well known or beloved.

I feel this is very true and I will use the example of John Carpenter’s The Thing as an example because many people probably do not even know this is a remake of The Thing From Another World.  This proves the point that it helps to remake films that are not well known and it creates a successful remake because hell, half the public don’t even think of it as a remake.

Ain't nothing but a thang!

4. The remake does in fact bring something new while respecting the original.

I think this is interesting because here someone can use the original film to tell the story in their own way.  A good example of this is Halloween and Rob Zombie’s remake, where it essentially tells the same story without changing main plot elements, just from a different characters perspective.  One film I’m interested in seeing how this is done is the soon to be American remake of the Swedish Let The Right One In, titled Let Me In.  I feel this is going to be interesting because the Swedish movie is based off a novel that is quite lengthy and has many different elements and the American film plans to focus the movie on elements from the book that weren’t expressed in the Swedish film.

All I'm going to say is I hate Rob Zombie...

5. The original was basically pretty cheesy or tongue-in-check in tone and most folks wouldn’t care if it was remade.

I think this is very true and the perfect example that comes to mind is the remake of Wes Craven’s The Last House On The Left.  I must say I actually enjoyed the remake better than the original because it stays very true to the original story, it just takes out some of the slapstick elements of Wes Craven’s original.  Personally I felt this element did not mesh well with the rest of the original exploitation film and actually takes away from some of the shock and horror.

I liked the last house on the... right more

I feel these are actually five pretty accurate steps to create a successful remake.  Let me know if you guys agree or disagree.

The French Are Sick!

Just thought I would share with you a couple of French movies that I’ve seen recently that I absolutely loved. A couple of people told me they didn’t find Rec very scary, which I some what feel is also mild, but these movies will not disappoint. These movies I feel aren’t too deep, but will definitely scare and shock you guys.

High Tension

I feel this is the most mild of the movies. It’s a fairly simple plot that revolves around a man terrorizing a family in a remote house.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yrbfbvqg1o4

Inside

When I first heard the plot of this movie I was extremely hesitant to watch it and after the first twenty minutes I was hesitant to finish it. The plot of this movies follows a woman on the night before she is suppose to go into labor, where she is visited by an extremely creepy woman who wants to cut the woman’s baby out with a pair of scissors.

Martyrs

This movie I feel is the most interesting of the three and also the most shocking. I wont give away too much of the plot here because I feel knowing less will make the movie better. This movie though is extremely gritty and graphic, but has a pretty open ended finale, which I found very interesting.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNM9kKo4JNU

All of these movies are extremely graphic and if you don’t have a strong stomach when it comes to horror movies I recommend you don’t watch them.

What would you do if there was a zombie apocalypse?

What would you do if there was a zombie apocalypse? This is a question that I have been asked countless times through out my life. In fact, I use know exactly what I would do if this were to happen and I know I am not alone here. Nowadays I feel that zombies have become more of a source of entertainment than scaring people. Recent movies like Zombieland, Shaun of the Dead, Fido, and Dead and Breakfast have been able to mix a large amount of humor with zombies; but if zombies are so terrifying how can this successfully be done? This leaves me to think that zombies themselves have lost their fearful image in the public, much like Dracula, although I do not think zombies will be on an cereal boxes any time soon. I feel that it is not the actual zombie itself that is scary in zombie movies, but two main themes that revolve around them.

Very similar to Shaun of the Dead.

Very similar to Shaun of the Dead.

In many films we see zombies as being “the living dead,” corpses of those recently deceased becoming animated to feed off the flesh of the living. This to me is a very scary thought, but add in the fact that they are mindless and move at a rate slower than most senior citizens, makes them less intimating. This description may not be the same for all zombie movies, but it is how they are depicted in George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. Even though “the living dead” were actually referred to as “ghouls” in the film, Romero’s reinvention of the cinematic zombie has been the basis for future films. I feel that by themselves zombies cannot invoke fear, unless accompanied by their scary themes.

First let me explain the themes I feel surround zombies, the first being claustrophobia. The scariest thing I feel about zombies is the that fact that no matter where you go or how many you kill, they will just continue to come and eventually corner you. This is really evident in many zombie films such as Night of the Living Dead and Zombie where a group of people usually end up in one area, many times a house, and are cornered into fighting off endless waves of zombies. Eventually the people realize that there is no hope doing this and must venture out into the world to escape, only to find that hordes of zombies have infested everywhere leaving no place to run. The point where people find out that there is no hope for them is the point in the film that really scares me, although usually this only comes at the end of the film. Until then you may see scenes of attacks by one or two zombies, like in the films Diary of the Dead and Zombie Diaries (similar names not intentional), here the zombies don’t pose a real threat until in vast numbers.

Zombies will never think to look for us in there!

Zombies will never think to look for us in there!

The second zombie related theme I find scary is that the zombies you are forced to kill could end up being family and friends. I would imagine it would not be very morally taxing to kill mindless flesh eating people; that is unless they used to be family and friends. One film that does this well is Night of the Living Dead where Barbara sees her brother and when Karen kills her mother. This must have been extremely taxing on the characters, so much that Karen’s mother could not bring herself to fight her own daughter and ends up dying because of it. At the other end of the spectrum, there is one scene from the remake of Dawn of the Dead that shows men on top of a building shooting zombies for fun. This shows that without this theme present, killing zombies can actually be enjoyable.

Karen use to be a nice little girl.

Karen use to be a nice little girl.

These themes tend to be present in most zombie films, but it is the way they are presented that really leaves a lasting impression. One film in which they are not present or really touched upon is Braindead (also Dead Alive) where the “zombies” (they are not like Romero’s zombies) are just in a house and a guy goes in there to kill a bunch of them, with a lawn mower too. This film feels more like a zombie party then a zombie apocalypse. Also in the comedic zombie films listed above these themes may be present, but touched upon lightly and the characters do not really dwell on them. For example in Shaun of the Dead, when Ed gets infected it is only a moment of sadness that is quickly relieved when Shaun decides he can put zombie Ed in his garage to still hang out with.

Shaun playing video games with zombie Ed.

Shaun playing video games with zombie Ed.

I don’t know how many of you will agree with me, but this is how I feel zombies are looked upon now and why they are looked upon by many as a sport (killing them that is) rather than something to be feared. I also feel this is why people enjoy video games with zombies in them (like Dead Rising), where you feel unstoppable killing poor defenseless zombies. I think this has been taken into consideration by film makers such as Zack Snyder in his remake of Dawn of the Dead where he has very physically fit zombies running around, in my mind they aren’t true zombies; they are more like Danny Boyle’s infected in 28 Days Later.

I’d also like to add that one film I’ve seen that incorporated these themes really well is the spanish film Rec. I must say that it is not really a “zombie” movie, they are more infected, but still is a great film. It revolves around a woman who is doing a report on a fire station for a television show and while doing so follows them on a routine check up. This quickly changes once they find out they are being kept there under police control. This is the original to the American version Quarantine, which I felt was totally horrible. For those who have seen the American version I am sorry because it has almost the exact story line, just with worse actors and camera angles. The film moves a bit slow but eventually delivers.