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Now in our sixth calendar year
PCR #282  (Vol. 6, No. 33)  This edition is for the week of August 15--21, 2005.

Doors Closing and Doors Opening: Part One
 by William Moriaty
"The 40 Year-Old Virgin"
 by Mike Smith
Is Horror at a Turning Point?...Happy 50th
 by Andy Lalino
Changing Tastes Puts Column on Hiatus
 by Peter Card
Birthday Bash....King Kong DVD Update....Go Bucs
 by Matt Drinnenberg
Birthday Revisited....Get Me Clive Owen....Gas Pains....Jaws: The Story, Part 30
 by Mike Smith
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Andy Lalino
Oddservations by Andy Lalino

Is Horror at a Turning Point?

Despite the lament that some of the most highly-anticipated horror films of the year (and even of the decade!) 'tanked' at the box-office, 2005 has proved to be the best year in horror cinema since 1986. The summer of 2005 has seen two of the very best horror films to be released in decades - and they're both sequels: "The Devil's Rejects" and George A. Romero's "Land of the Dead". Horror has occasionally maintained the odd "tradition" of films that were lost upon initial release eventually receiving the accolades they deserved, for example "The Rocky Horror Picture Show", John Carpenter's "The Thing", horroresque "The Wizard of Oz", "Eraserhead", the works of Lucio Fulci, etc. In time, I believe both films will eventually being regarded as grand classics.

When both TDR and LOTD are paired with the airing of the groundbreaking Encore documentary "Midnight Movies: from Margin to the Mainstream", a horror fan has to sit and ponder: are things really back on the right track in terms of the esthetic of horror films? By that esthetic, I refer to the classic horror/exploitation "style" of the '70s and early/mid 1980's - horror's platinum years. During the dull and very damaging 1990's, we have certainly seen plenty of horror hits (and a monumental re-interest in the genre), however few have resonated totally with the discriminating horror audience as being classics worthy to sit by the side of Fulci, "Halloween", Argento, Lynch, etc.

I think that's changing.

Rob Zombie, IMO, really captured the essence of the 1970's with TDR, which similar "crazy family" films, such as the new remake of TCM and "Wrong Turn", failed to do. That's quite an accomplishment in this day and age. Zombie undoubtedly learned many lessons from his mediocre first effort "House of 1,000 Corpses" and poo-poo'ed those who told him not to make it "too much like the '70s", or it wouldn't be accepted by today's audience. Let's see how that plays out with the horror DVD-purchasing audience when TDR is release in October. I predict it will be a smash. LOTD will also see a very successful DVD release, I'm prophesizing. The two big blunders were releasing both films, which really aren't for everybody, in the midst of a summer full of big-budget blockbusters ("War of the Worlds") and with accompanying dull ad campaigns. As far as marketing, neither film had the "Eye of the Tiger", which a film needs in order to penetrate the mainstream crowd, especially in the busy summertime. Also thrown in the mix is a big box-office slump that's been plaguing the industry since the beginning of the year. I predict that will fade with time too.

Let's hope that enough new filmmaking talents, and the movie-going audience in general, is inspired enough to keep making and supporting horror/exploitation films in the vein of the '70s/early-to-mid '80s, and would perhaps even demand a resurgence in the whole Midnight Movie concept, requesting to see NOTLD and "Pink Flamingos" instead of rotten first-run feature fare. Are we at a turning point? Could things go back on track? I suppose only time will tell, but filmmakers and audiences must step up to the plate and both create and support genuine genre fare that's true to the '70s and early/mid '80s.

Happy 50th
I wanted to extend to Nolan a happy 50th! I read his extensive run-down of the night's festivities at Durango's (it read like a who's who of N'sPCR), and it sounds like everyone had a ball.

"Oddservations" is ©2005 by Andy Lalino.  The Oddservations banner is a creation of Andy Lalino. All other graphics are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2005 by Nolan B. Canova.