PCR past banners Now in our fifth calendar year
PCR #213  (Vol. 5, No. 17)  This edition is for the week of April 19--25, 2004.

Book Review -- "Ghosts of the Air: True Stories of Aerial Hauntings"
 by William Moriaty
"Kill Bill, Vol. 2"
 by Mike Smith
My Take on "Reinventing Horror Films"
 by Andy Lalino
Air....Walkmen....Xiu Xiu....Von Bondies
 by Terence Nuzum
The Kill Bill Miracle....Donald Who?....Miss USA, Super-Soldier
 by Vinnie Blesi
Iraq....Resident Evil games
 by Joshua Montgomery
Andy's Forry Encounter....Amity island, Here I Come
 by Matt Drinnenberg
The Punishment....Trivial Knowledge....Meet The Beatles, Part 13
 by Mike Smith
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Andy Lalino
Oddservations by Andy Lalino

My take on "Reinventing Horror Films"

In Sunday's edition of the St. Pete. Times, LA Times journalist (no author name given) boasts in his (or her) article "Reinventing Horror Films" that "Blood and guts are out; sophistication is in". As his first example, he lists "Hellboy"! Now, I'm a fan of Del Toro (kind of), but one would be hard-pressed to classify "Hellboy" as a horror film, when clearly the action sequences make it seem more like a horror-hybrid , such as the "The Mummy" or "LXG" concepts. The author basically makes a case for releasing more PG-13 horror films instead of the more violent & sexual R-rated fare. Here's another journalist who happens to glob on to one example as if it's changing the course of horror movies forever - as if he knows.

In the beginning of the article, the author concedes that the box office has been dominated by "R-rated bloodbaths", citing "Dawn of the Dead" and "The Passion of the Christ"(!) as examples. Suddenly "Hellboy" comes along (what, a couple weeks after DOTD's release?) and will change everything. Hell; he could have written this article when "The Mummy" debuted.

He next lists Stephen King's "The Secret Window" and M. Night Shyamalan's upcoming "The Village" as more proof. Need I remind the author that Shyamalan's has made a career at scaring folks without the blood & guts? He's one of few who approach his films that way; I call it the Val Lewton 'less is more' theory. Hey; personally, I enjoy horror films either way: subtle or gory (gory's better!); let's just not lose sight that gore in horror films should never be censored, and we should not pander to conservatives and Christian organizations that would have us watch Disney films and the Hallmark channel 24-7. As far as Stephen King is concerned, I have not yet seen "The Secret Window" or read the story it's taken from, but perhaps it's not a gory story (ha-ha!) at all. I'd also like to remind the author that Stephen King's stories are frequently interpreted on television (most recently "Kingdom Hospital"), which is like watching a PG-13 movie.

Here's my favorite part: "of the 25 movies that were released last year that grossed over $100 million, 15 were rated PG-13, and only 5 were rated R". I guess movies that gross under $100 million aren't worth mentioning; they don't count. It gets more unbelievable: the author cites that women(!) when polled in a test screening of "The Ring" preferred the watered-down PG-13 approach to R-rated violence. Gee, let's base our approach to horror on 13-18 year old girls who test marketed "The Ring". Sorry gals; horror is geared primarily toward males - we love our ultraviolence and nudity, and we don't need the genre watered-down to look like an episode of "Dawson's Creek". Sorry to come down on the ladies so hard, but when I see an example like that in an article, it raises a red flag in my mind.

The author goes on to claim that gory horror films are increasingly unable to generate "true chills". I just watched the very violent "Cabin Fever" and jumped a couple of times. There; I just blew that theory out of the water.

So what we have here is another "indecency" salvo that cracks down the wall of violent horror in favor of the Val Lewton/Blair Witch/Shyamalan "less is more" approach. Dream on; violence will always be a staple of horror films, and if it ever does go away, it will return with a vengeance and hopefully rid our culture of the "Finding Li'l Nemo's" and "What a Girl Wants" for good.

"Oddservations" is ©2004 by Andy Lalino.  The Oddservations banner is a creation of Andy Lalino. All other graphics (unless otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova.