Saturday, October 1, 2016
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Hey y’all. Ever wonder what I’m doing during these long interminable dry spells between posts? Well, I’m writing screenplays, that’s what. And someone over at Bluecat Screenwriting Competition decided to interview me about it.
But if you are all like “I’m not clicking on one more link today and could give a crusty eye boog about his half-witted thoughts on screenwriting”, then I say to you … fine … be that way! But just read this one part where I talk about PMD and horror movies and shnizzle…
BLUECAT: You maintain a blog, Post Mortem Depression, about slasher films from the 1970s. What draws you to this specific genre, and do you think modern horror directors could learn something from the films of this period?
Tim Grant: My Dad used to bring me to the Drive-Ins when I was a kid. I grew up on Halloween, Friday the 13th, Dawn of the Dead -- all of the great and not-so-great horror flicks of the late 70s and early 80s. Those Friday and Saturday nights are among my favorite childhood memories.
In terms of modern horror movies, I’ve been generally disappointed with the lack of character development and story. They often make the mistake of focusing on the monster instead of the heroine (she is usually female). If the heroine is flat and the demon doesn’t line up with the psychological problem she needs to solve, then it just seems to be a parade of gore without purpose to me.
But this was even true in the “golden age” of horror in the 70s and 80s. You had classics like The Exorcist, Halloween, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but you also had shoddy imitators like Beyond the Door, New Year’s Evil and Pieces. The thing about bad movies of that era is that they were low-budget and looked like crap, so they are fun and cheesy and get a pass on story.
The newer bad horror films have big budgets and expensive effects, but haven’t really upped the ante in the story and character department, which is too bad, because the story-crafting part is comparatively cheap.
But there are some great 21st century horror movies: Martyrs, Wolf Creek, Eden Lake, Lake Mungo, The Descent, Let Me In / Let the Right One In, Trick r’ Treat, [rec], Zombieland, House of the Devil, probably a bunch I’m forgetting. Each one took familiar genre elements and did something very fresh with them while paying close attention to story and character.
In general, I think horror gets a bad rap. There are certainly lots of bad horror movies out there, but the genre as a whole still gets maligned as harmful by some who claim to be spiritual or psychological. I find this ironic, since at the core of all great religions and depth psychology is the basic idea that the path to wholeness always starts with a descent into the darkness and a confrontation with our demons. It is an archetypal human growth cycle and horror movies provide a safe, communal, fun way to engage in it.
Jung said “to confront a person with his Shadow is to show him his own light," and I can’t say it any better than that.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
That's technically correct. However, despite having most of the original cast and a decent budget, Poltergeist II sucks almost as bad as Poltergeist III (which at least sucked in a campy, fun way). So when grading on a curve, PII sucks much harder and longer than PIII. It is not just a little step-down from the brilliance of the PI, it is a drop off of a cliff straight into a valley of maggoty mule shit laced with rusty razor blades.
At least Dominique Dunne had the good taste to pass on this mess.
What’s that? She was murdered by her psycho-douchetwat boyfriend before filming started an he got off with voluntary manslaughter? Well, Rest in Peace girl, and fuck him!
And while we are at it, in a celebration of the heavenly fuck-you spirit of Dominique Dunne, let’s send her iconic one-fingered salute to all the many elements of this sequel that make it suck so bad:
(1) Fuck the fact that formerly geography-bound ghosts can follow the Frelings to another state. Plot convenience bullshit…
(1) Fuck the dippy white suburban liberal faux Native American sweat-lodgicism. Take that burning bundle of sage and stick it …
(2) Fuck the tequila-worm-possessed Craig T. Nelson getting rapey with JoBeth Williams like some Dad-jeaned hillbilly to her pink-housecoated Ned Beatty. NOBODY PAID TO SEE THIS…
(3) And for love of all motherfuckery, if you are going to promise to take us to the OTHER SIDE … into the ghostworld of the fucked up tree-eating, jelly-smearing, TV squatting brilliant spirits of the first movie, it motherfucking better not look like actors grafted onto the background of your least favorite Windows screensaver. FUCK THAT!
(4) And fuck all the family group hugs and declarations of love that are like holy water against this supposedly relentless evil. Nothing scary should be conquerable with several well placed “I-love-you-honeys.”
(5) And fuck the Deux-ex-Grandmama saving Carol Ann from the light and bringing this cinematic turd to a conclusion befitting of a very special episode of Touched By an Angel…
With all profanity-laced kidding aside, the talent that was lost along the way of the Poltergeist series is mind-boggling. Who knows what other brilliant performances we missed out on due to the untimely deaths of three talented actors. It’s a testament to their talent that Poltergeist II’s suckery does not diminish any of their work.
Julian Beck (1925-1985):
Julian Beck’s Kane remains the saving grace of this otherwise dismal sequel and, despite all of the shit-smeared-on-celluloid in this film, his performance remains one of the most chilling and memorable in horror cinema history.
Heather O’Rourke (1975-1988):
Heather O’Rourke is the only cast member in all three Poltergeist films. She is the epitome of innocence and naïve openness to the world that good people should seek to protect from evil and corruption. One wonders how much better the not-completely-terrible third installment might have been had she lived to complete production.
Dominique Dunne (1959-1982):
In the original movie, Dominique Dunne gives one of my favorite plucky teen girl performances this side of Reese Witherspoon in Freeway. When she arrives home, exits her car, sees her supposedly clean house in a state of paranormal distress and screams…
Fuck you John Thomas Sweeney, or whatever name you go by these days. I hope you are living a miserable loveless, toothless, meth-addicted existence, and doing horsey porn to make rental payments on a rusted trailer parked on a sewage dump.
I hope the demons of regret and shame follow and haunt your psychotic ass until you unceremoniously pass to the Other Side with only the diner ladies even noticing you’re missing.
Friday, November 18, 2011
A star-making performance
Just needs an ending
Swinton rocks, but two hours of
Carpenter could rest
on Halloween and The Thing;
The Ward proves he should.