Posts Tagged ‘Sam Raimi

24
May
13

Versus

It’s called Versus, yet there is only one person in the poster. Hmm…

Versus is a bizarre movie. Nonsensical, even. It’s a super low-budget cult film featuring cops, gangsters, shootouts, samurai, zombies, martial arts, karate zombies, sword fighting, and demons. It’s like the director grabbed a list of “cool shit” from the internet, and mixed it all together, hoping it would work. And depending on your point of view, it either totally works, or is a complete fucking mess.

Director Ryuhei Kitamura filmed this in 2000, and it certainly shows. Versus comes from a time when the tone of movies was more focused on wacky hijinks and slapstick humor, which is a big departure from today’s films when everything is a GRRR DARK AND GRITTY exercise in moroseness. I suppose if Versus had played it straight, nothing would work. The whole thing is just too goddamn crazy. The lighter tone is there to remind the viewer to not take it too seriously, otherwise the movie collapses in on itself.┬áThe closest thing I can compare this to is Evil Dead II. It’s got plenty of madcap antics and off-beat humor, mixed in with a semi-serious plot. It isn’t really clear whether Kitamura is completely aping Sam Raimi’s directing style, or paying homage to it.

Continue reading ‘Versus’

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21
Oct
11

Paranormal Activity Dragged Me to Hell with The Blair Witch

Kanye always be interruptin’

It’s hard to be original in the horror genre. That genre, more so than any other, requires very specific tropes. In order to create a horror movie, you must adhere to well-worn, extremely tired genre cliches. I suppose this is true for any genre, but for horror it goes to an entirely different level. Here is a list of genre tropes in general for horror movies:

  1. An average, identifiable person is the protagonist.
  2. A monster/villain will kill off the other characters, usually one by one.
  3. When the monster/villain starts murdering people and/or wreaking havoc, no one will believe the protagonist regarding what is going on.
  4. Most female characters will get naked.
  5. Any female characters that do get naked will die and therefore cannot be the protagonist.
  6. All characters that have sex will die.
  7. Black, Hispanic, Asian (any non-white race) characters will die and therefore cannot be the protagonist.
  8. The monster/villain will have exactly one weakness which coincidentally is the only way to kill it.
  9. The monster/villain must always be killed twice.
  10. When terrible shit starts happening, the characters must always “split up” in order to make it easier to be killed.
  11. Cell phones will never work.
  12. Cars will never start.
  13. Flashlight batteries will always be dead, and lighters will always be out of fluid, making it dark at all times.
  14. When running away from the monster/villain, one or all characters will fall down and be unable to stand back up.
  15. When wanting to get another character’s attention, the best way to do it is to silently approach them and quickly grab their shoulder, preferably in a dimly lit room or cemetery.

While these may be all-encompassing for horror movies as a whole, there are several sub-genres with even more rigid guidelines. For example:

  • Slasher Movie – All characters will be teenagers. The protagonist will always be female. People will die with copious amounts and blood and often times inventive deaths. The “scares” will come from the director having things pop out during tense scenes in order to startle the audience. There will be no three-dimensional characters. The only character growth allowed will be the timid, nerdy protagonist transforming into a badass monster killer. Examples include Halloween and Friday the 13th.
  • Haunted House – An unsuspecting family will move into a new home. The home will be haunted by evil spirits of previous occupants who were murdered there and/or ghosts from the Indian burial ground the home was built on. The “scares” will start off small and build up to more ludicrous things by the end. Typically a human character will be possessed at one point and go on a murderous rampage. Examples include The Amityville Horror and The Shining.
  • Torture Porn – This is the newest of the horror sub-genres. It is comprised of nothing more than the director’s attempts to gross out the audience as much as possible. To do this the director will film close-ups of the most disgusting bodily functions imaginable. The “scares” come while blood and guts fly across the screen and the audience tries to keep itself from vomiting. Examples include Hostel and The Human Centipede.
  • Exorcism Film – A young child (female) will become possessed by an evil demon and/or the devil. “Scares” come as the possessed child does crazy shit like speak in a deep demonic sounding voice, levitate, spit pea soup, etc. There will always be tons of Catholic imagery, priests, holy water, etc. These movies are ALWAYS “based on a true story.” Examples include The Exorcist and, well, anything with the word “Exorcism” in the title.

Continue reading ‘Paranormal Activity Dragged Me to Hell with The Blair Witch’

22
Oct
10

Screw You, Marvel

This is exactly what Marvel is doing to their properties.

All of Marvel’s upcoming movies are going to be trash.

A decade ago, movie adaptations of comic books were a joke. With the exception of the 1989 Batman and 1978 Superman films, they were laughable at best, and huge steaming piles of shit at worst. The problem was that nobody took it seriously, not even the creators. They made them campy and hokey, and self-referentially stupid. They were the lowest common denominator of movies. They became a self-fulfilling prophecy of crappy movie-making. After all, if the filmmakers themselves treated the properties like shit, then the movies would inevitably turn out to be shit. The industry chugged along, and churned out turd after turd with the occasional, anomalous decent movie like Blade in 1998.

Fast forward to 2002, and the release of Spider-Man. Suddenly, we had a GOOD live action version of a comic book movie. How did it turn out good, you ask? Well, let me answer that for you. The simple reason was that the director, Sam Raimi, had been a longtime fan of the comic book series. He wanted to stay as true to the character as possible while adapting him for the more difficult live action film environment. Naturally, certain things needed to be changed, but they were done with as much care as possible. The characters and situations were taken seriously, and given the right amount of gravity with occasional moments of levity thrown in to keep things fun. The script was solid, the actors were well cast and talented, and everything flowed together seamlessly. It just worked. Worldwide, that movie grossed over $800 million. People were screaming about how awesome the movie was, and all of a sudden it wasn’t nerdy to like comics any more.

Continue reading ‘Screw You, Marvel’




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