Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Bluecat Interview

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.

 

You can read the whole thing here. Check it out, won’t you?

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

Poltergeist II: A Reckoning

Poltergeist II is considered the better of the two Poltergeist sequels.


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!

Dom-Dunne-FUJohn Thomas Sweeney (003)

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…
p2---houseDom-Dunne-FU-from-right

(1) Fuck the dippy white suburban liberal faux Native American sweat-lodgicism. Take that burning bundle of sage and stick it …
Dom-Dunne-FUP2-Sweat-Lodge-2

(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…
p2-rapeDom-Dunne-FU-from-right

(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!
Dom-Dunne-FUp2---other-side
p2---other-side-2Dom-Dunne-FU-from-right
(Yeah, I know it was 1986. No excuse. Watch Alien. That was 1978.)

(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.”
Dom-Dunne-FUp2---group-hug

(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
PS---Saved-by-an-AngelDom-Dunne-FU-from-right

In Memoriam:
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.
rainkane7
Fuck you, stomach cancer.

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 na├»ve 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.
poltergeist-carol-anne
Fuck you intestinal stenosis.

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…
dd_poltergeistpic07 what's happening.
What’s happening?!?!
… it never ceases to give me chills.

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.
p2-diner-ladies
That worthless piece of shit owed me a dime-bag.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Review Haiku: Martha Marcy May Marlene, We Need to Talk About Kevin, The Ward


Martha Marcy May Marlene
Haunting, gripping piece
A star-making performance
Just needs an ending



We Need to Talk About Kevin
Masterfully shot;
Swinton rocks, but two hours of
pointless misery.


The Ward
Carpenter could rest
on Halloween and The Thing;
The Ward proves he should.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Review Haiku: Red State

KevinSmithPic2

God hates false witness. 
God hates false equivalence.
God hates this movie.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Final Destination meets Saved By the Bell...

Sounds like a bad Hollywood pitch, but it turns out to be a VERY entertaining music video...

Monday, July 18, 2011

Review: Cold Prey (2006)

Despite having a somewhat neurotic fear-based personality, I can name a great many things that have never scared me – furry kittens, the letter J, neck fuzz, Liberal agendas, Trapper Keepers, Norwegians…


Yes, Norwegians. With one of the highest human development index rankings in the world, Norwegians are born entitled to government healthcare, free college tuition and oral sex on demand. It is the Miss Naughty Niceypants of countries. Even tolerant Socialist slut Sweden has been known to occasionally reach over, grab Norway by the ankles and give it a swirly.

So when the illustrious Stacie Ponder over at Final Girl assigned her fellow horror bloggers the Norwegian horror film Cold Prey to review for her Film Club, I  had expectations as low as the Norwegian  wind chill factor. 

Because Norwegians aren’t scary. Need proof? Consider Norwegian rap music….


Now stop considering it entirely. Now look at their athletes…

norwegians (1)

And last but definitely least, consider their most lasting contribution to Rock and Roll… a-ha

A-Ha_6694

I'm sorry, but no primal emotion can be evoked by a man in high-wasted Mom jeans with a gay-porn-power-bottom-over-the-shoulder-come-hither-stare. (I am also quite certain that this picture must be used somewhere for denim-aversion therapy.)

So Norway - not scary, not sexy. Charming, sweet, safe, perhaps a bit nipple-hardening in the weather department. But nothing from there could possibly disturb the core hypothalamus of my lizard brain.

But, would Cold Prey change my mind? Would this little plucky slasher movie have me trembling in fear at the sight of a masked Norwegian madman?

Cold Prey opens with a young boy being chased through the snow. Soon after, we are introduced to our horror movie douchebags. To make things simple, lets call them Horny Couple, Sensible Couple, and Annoying Understandably Single Redhead Geek.

I'm not a betting man, but if I was I would have placed my marker on the female half of Sensible Couple to be the survivor. She has that not-too-sexy, but hey-I’m-not-a-Lesbian way about her that just screams Final Girl.

1606pt8fd61eb

The Remote Place Where The Douchebags Will Get Slaughtered is an abandoned ski lodge. Once there, all of the slasher movie rules will be adhered to as if The Great Santini was hovering over the director and ordering a drop-and-gimme-20 every time he strayed.

Yes, the slut will be slaughtered first, weapons will be ignored or dropped, guns will run out of bullets at the worst time, the killer will keep walls of newspaper clippings to make it easy for our survivors to figure out his identity, and victims will cower inside of small spaces instead of mounting a likely successful joint assault on the killer.  And by killer, I mean this guy…

cold-prey-dvd-review--20090220101320962-000

Yes, we are meant to believe that 5 able bodied extreme sports enthusiasts are unable to take this cuddly fella who looks like either an extra from the pre-CGI cantina scene in Star Wars or the loneliest furry at the convention. Maybe he just needs a friend…

furries-kidding

Horror movies are made or broken on two criteria for me: (1) Do I care about the people who are in danger and (2) Has my disbelief been suspended to the extent that I actually believe they are in danger?

Unfortunately, Cold Prey failed on both fronts for me. It’s not a badly constructed low budget horror movie, I guess. It’s just nothing special.

And though Cold Prey did nothing to instill the scareds in me, a seed of Norwegia-phobia may have been inadvertantly sparked by this guy...

Norwegian on Ecstacy is truly the fertile womb from which nightmares are born.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Let's all go to the snack bar...

I am a bigtime Drive-In fetishist, so this wacky little piece of disturb-ishness really buttered my popcorn this morning.... Enjoy...

MK12 | Follow the Sun | 2011 from MK12 on Vimeo.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Review Haiku: Alice in Wonderland (2010)

Staring into the plot ... er ... rabbit hole.

If the Red Queen yelled
'Off with her head!' one more time,
I'd have cut off mine.

Reviews: Red Riding Hood (2011)

What, like, big teeth you have...
When I heard that Orphan scripter David Leslie Johnson wrote an update of the Red Riding Hood legend, I peed just a little bit.

Sucking my pee back into my peehole was word that it would be directed by Catherine Hardwicke. Though she burst onto the scene with the awesome raw, kinetic teen-hormone horror of Thirteen, her version of Twilight was twee, phony, pablum.  

What happened? I mean, Thirteen would totally flip off Twilight, then chuck an empty beer bottle at its head while sucking a whippet balloon.

So I wondered to myself if Catherine would reclaim the mantle of violent, imploding teen girl angst by putting a modern, punk rock spin on a classic legend?  Or would she cover up all the raw dark edges in a shitty Twi-hard sheen that lacked anything resembling a real human emotion? My answer is best described visually....


The original script for Red was a clever, dark take on the legend. Grounded by the idea of the "monster" as the projected unintegrated shadow side of a 14th century European community, the script combined the witch-hunting insanity of The Crucible with the whodunnit aspect of an Agatha Christie story. The script had its weak spots. Red was a little passive and weak for a modern protagonist. Many of the characterizations were one-dimensional. But there were just enough allusions to the town's heart of darkness, that it gave the more silly, plot-driven elements some weight.

Unfortunately, Hardwicke made the choice to double-down on  the weak points of the script, so we are presented with 14th century Europe via the CW. By scrubbing out all the the darker elements that gave a potentially silly and dated story some gravitas, she went and delivered some Twilight-porn.

Redken Molding paste was big in the 1400s
The small town looks straight out of Disneyland. No 14th century disease and suffering here. Everyone is scrubbed clean and moussed within a inch of their lives. Despite werewolf attacks, medieval torture devices, and boiling pots of mealy looking stew, you never once feel transported to anything remotely dangerous or medieval. Everything feels incredibly safe. Then there is the wolf. Dear God, the wolf. The less said about that unscary CGI abomination the better.

In the script, Red's sister Lucie, was an interesting, compelling and conflicted character with incestuous, and perhaps suicidal drives. Clearly that would be too much of a bummer for the tweens, so the movie glosses over one of the most tragic moments of pathos in the script.

I wished Ms. Hardwicke could have made Red more like Thirteen, injecting it with the same throbbing hormonally punk fuck-you energy that powered that micro-budgeted film. I think that would have been a kick in the ass.

Instead, we have this over-produced piece of studio poop, that was hardly pee-worthy. Cathy, I'm sending you my dry cleaning bill!

For some Red Riding Good, go rent Freeway!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Devlish Advertising

Sorry I am in the lame zone posting-wise here. Buried in projects, blah, blah. Assuming you haven't abandoned me already and jumped into a more prolific blogger's arms (ahem, My New Plaid Pants), I offer you this little morsel of advertising goodness.


Dirt Devil-The Exorcist from MrPrice2U on Vimeo.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Review Haiku: Scream 4


Great killer reveal.
Too bad you have to sit through this 
lazy sequel first.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Viscera Film Festival - Sunday, July 17th

For the second year in a row, Post Mortem Depression is sponsoring The Viscera Film Festival! OK, by sponsoring, I mean I sent them a little scratch. Shannon Lark is the brains (mmmm brains) behind this wonderful event that showcases up and coming female horror filmmakers.


The 2011 Event will take place on Sunday, July 17th at the Silent Movie Theater in Los Angeles, CA.

Come check it out and tell 'em PMD sent ya....

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Review: Train (2008) ... or how pecs became the new boobs in horror films ...

There is little point to reviewing Train ...




It was mercifully dumped to DVD to cause the least damage to the careers of those involved, including Thora Birch who took a precipitous fall after American Beauty and Ghostworld. Like her A.B. co-star Mena Suvari, she is a talented actress who has been relegated to making dreck and I personally get no satisfaction whatsoever in pissing on the grave of this film.

So I was just going to skip doing this post, but there was something remarkable about Train that merited a post. Something that spoke to a trend in modern horror films that I haven't seen too much written about.

Pecs have become the new boobs in horror films.


Yes, it seems that the exploitation of women's bodies in horror films (so prevalent in the 70s and 80s that it galvanized the Feminist movement to oppose the entire genre) has given way to the unabashed exploitation of male flesh. Train is but one example of this trend, but it is definitely one of the more overt.

We start by meeting a team of American wrestlers (male and female) travelling in Eastern Europe. We linger on the male leads (Kavan Reece and Derek Magyar) in their singlets...



Then it's time for a bath. While Thora Birch remains tastefully submerged, we get some nippleage from Derek Magyar.


Later, during a game of Truth or Dare, none of the women are disrobed, but the gay assistant coach (Gideon Emery) bares his ripped bod and tattoo...


... and then dares Derek to strip to his jock and run the length of the train. Which he does with aplomb...


But I didn't count one boob. We had pecs galore, along with a side serving of bum, but no boobs.  In the 70s and 80s, it was nothing but boobs. At least one actress had to bare her breasts, before being killed in some undignified manner quickly thereafter. It was just how it was. But now, boobs have become an endangered species in horror movies.

We're not gonna take this lying down, girls!

I almost feel bad for boobs. With the exception of the Friday the 13th remake and the My Bloody Valentine remake, boob sightings in modern horror films are as rare as believable character arcs. (And, no, I'm not just repeating the word boobs to get extra hits on my website. OK, I totally am ... Boobs).

Simply put, in the 00s, the leering gaze of the horror film camera started shifting from the female to the male torso. Is this just a sign that the horror audience has shifted from being primarily male to primarily female?

Perhaps. But my theory is that Mary Harron started the trend in 2000 when she translated the oft-accused-of-being-misogynist Bret Easton Ellis novel American Psycho into a classic horror/dark comedy...

Christian Bale
American Psycho (2000)




Bale's Patrick Bateman may torture, exploit and abuse women, but Harron's camera never exploits his victims, it only exploits him. We empathize with them, while Bateman comes off as the giant soulless hefty bag of douche that he is.

I'm sure her point was to expose the grotesque body consciousness of the superficial 80s, but Harron inadvertently kicked off a trend in pec-gazing that would last another decade and, thankfully, shows no sign of stopping.

I submit as evidence....
Justin Long
Jeepers Creepers (2001)


Al Santos and a Busload of Hotties
Jeepers Creepers 2 (2003)





Ryan Reynolds
Blade: Trinity (2004) and Amityville Horror (2005)




Chad Michael Murray
House of Wax (2005)



Matt Bomer and Taylor Handley
Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006)






Al Santos (again)
Killer Movie (2008)

Bobby Campo and Nick Zano
The Final Destination (2009)



Penn Badgely
The Stepfather (2009)

Is this a trend that anyone else has noticed? Any alternative theories on why?