Author Archives: Ali...oops

About Ali...oops

Ali is a co-editor for The Blood Theatre and is also a contributing writer for www.geekchicelite.com and she enjoys many things.

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SINISTER CINEMA SCREENINGS

black-BG-logoRaven Banner Entertainment & Cineplex Entertainment present Sinister Cinema.You will have the opportunity to check out some amazing films, for one night only, at select theatres across Canada. If you are local to Toronto, you can catch them at the Cineplex at Yonge and Dundas.

 

The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh – Thursday May 9th

The ABC’s of Death – Thursday May 23rd

American Mary – Thursday May 30th

No One Lives – Wednesday June 19th

evildead2

Evil Dead (2013)

I’m an extremely open horror fan. I will watch anything and everything and I will never look away from the screen… unless I fall asleep, which is probably a bad sign as it means that what is happening in my head is far more entertaining. I will sit through the remakes and the reboots, but I try to do so with an open mind. The fact of the matter is that we are not living in the 70′s/80′s anymore. Every new generation of filmmaker contains fans of the films that came before them, if they weren’t fans they wouldn’t be attempting to make movies for a living (You don’t voluntarily live a life of unstable uncertainty unless you love the shit out of it – ask any drug addict!) My point is that times change. Society is different, the technology is different and we are different. You can try and make a film as spot on to the original as you can but it will never be close enough.

It’s easy to blame it on the writing/directing/producing/acting, but the real fault lies in the evolution of filmmaking as a whole. Maybe it’s due to a production value that is far too advanced to capture the gritty quality of the original, no matter how many post production filters are used; maybe it’s not the actor’s abilities, but rather the simple fact that they are too well known in an industry that is over-saturated with on screen talent; it could be the use of CG FX vs the old school practical effects that used to get us excited no matter how fake or ridiculous it looked; or maybe it’s the fact that certain films seem factory made, stripping us of our sense of nostalgia. We are no longer experiencing history in the making, we are sitting on a conveyor belt looking at the same product pass us by over and over, blending in with no discernible quality to set them apart from the rest. Years later when asked if you remember a scene in one of these films, will you? I already don’t. The remakes of Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre all looked the same, felt the same, and I couldn’t tell you damn thing that happened in anyone of them. I admit this as someone who was curious and excited upon their release, paid money to see them, and didn’t totally hate any of them.

Is it common for two queens to reign over the same territory? No. So why do we have so many "Scream Queens?" THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE HIGLANDER! Or in this case, Jamie Lee Curtis.

Is it common for two queens to reign over the same territory? No. So why do we have so many “Scream Queens?” THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE HIGLANDER! Or in this case, Jamie Lee Curtis.

Horror fans know who Marilyn Burns is, but the average Joe would refer to her as “the chick from Texas Chainsaw”. So hypothetically, if TCM had nothing else going for it, at least it would have a stand out factor like that. Unfortunately we don’t create and destroy careers as easily in modern times (unless the actor is willing to do it themselves in front of cameras). We don’t give unknowns a chance anymore because hiring a well-known actor is better for business, but is it really better for the film? Are we adding an important title to that star’s ever growing list of credits, or burying it under a pile of films that actor will always be better known for?

When it comes to remakes the fans of the original are always gonna be pissed over one thing or another; but like I said, this is a different time, and that means a different audience. The new generation of movie goers just reaching the cusp of the R rated market is a new ball game. These barely legal adults may not have had the pleasure of experiencing the original films the way we did. They also grew up in a time where sex, violence and coarse language have become the norm in prime time television. They will receive it differently, and remember it as we remembered the originals. There are also movie goers such as myself who will attend with an open mind, regardless of our dedication to the original, and just take in the enjoyment of the audience experience (might as well before we get old and start complaining that it’s too bright and too loud). I may not hate the films, but I can recognize a flawed and a failed attempt. Regardless, who am I to say that a film is bad if it has given at least one human a single shred of enjoyment.

The films we are now remaking originated in a time where that generation’s filmmakers were remaking the classics. Do you think they were well received? No horror film has really ever been well received outside the horror community until more recent times (with the exception of The Exorcist). The only differences lie in the fact that before everyone complained that it was all too much, and now we’re complaining that it’s just not enough. We’ve gone above and beyond what our horror forefathers had ever hoped we could achieve. We can show what we want and how we want to anyone that is willing to sit in front of that screen. So maybe we can all just shut up and be thankful that we have come into a time when genre films can top the box offices alongside the big boys.

Oh right, Evil Dead…

D'aww

D’aww

There was no shortage of blood in this film. The beauty of it shooting off the chainsaw in rapid-fire pellets was an image that made the entire experience worth it to me. No it’s not the same. People will say it took itself too seriously, but guess what, so did the original. The camp wasn’t intentional and wasn’t embraced until the second film. On the other side of the spectrum you will have people saying it didn’t take itself seriously enough. That’s just bullshit. I liked this remake. If you’re going to do one, this is the way to do it. It wasn’t a total disappointment and it got people talking. Not all remakes blend together into an unrecognizable mush; certainly Dawn of the Dead and The Hills Have Eyes have earned their horror acclaim, and I think Evil Dead displayed the right attitude to secure its place in the same graduating class. The shots were fantastic, the atmosphere was bang on and the possessions were disturbing. There were times I laughed when I wasn’t supposed to, but come on, it’s because I was having fun. When the girlfriend says “We need to get her to the hospital”, my response was “You’ve had two lines in this film, we don’t take orders from you!”. The only thing that bothered me is a common mistake any film could make: it showed a scene in the preview that wasn’t included in the film. The one totally creepy draw-in was demon Mia lifting the floorboard and saying a rhyme direct to camera. Where the eff was that in the movie?! Otherwise, I liked it. So deal.

237

Room 237

Directed by: Rodney Ascher
Documentary featuring archive footage from THE SHINING and various interviews
Media Reviewed: Screening
Rating: skullskullskullskull

How much symbolism is buried in a film? And how much is this the director’s intention? Do we, as theorists, fans, fanatics, etc., choose to see certain symbols, a thrill of excitement running through us when we think we’ve cracked a film’s code? The new film, Room 237, might be the ultimate example of this type of fanboy private investigation.

Its title referring to the forbidden hotel room in Stanley Kubrick’s massively popular film The Shining, Room 237 is a new documentary that lays out several theories as to what mysteries and meanings the perfectionist director hid within each shot of his1980 horror classic. The documentary’s director, Rodney Ascher, is aided by several obsessives who all speak defiantly about their own views of what they think Kubrick was attempting to say with the film. From crackpot ideas to rather convincing bits of proof, Room 237 is pretty much a feast for the mind for anyone who considers her or himself a film buff or puzzle lover. Happily, I am both.

The setup for the documentary is pretty straightforward. We are introduced to this panel of theorists, each arguing a major theme or communicating a devout interest in the film’s symbolism. Smartly, Ascher chooses not to show any “talking heads” throughout Room 237. He knows the audience is here for one thing, and it’s to watch The Shining through a new set of eyes. Any glimpse of what these people look like is unneeded and takes away from the Kubrick study period we all signed up for. Ascher also matches visual cues from other Kubrick films to specific lines in the various voiceovers as a sort of narrative motivator and way to add his own attempts at symbolism. At times they can feel a bit on the nose and uneven, but he also knows that any fan of the mysteries of The Shining is at least a devotee to another Kubrick work; glimpses of 2001: A Space Odyssey or A Clockwork Orange aren’t necessarily a bad thing. The music is also a bit distracting at times, the volume threatening to overwhelm the theorists, but the synth-like builds it contains, along with the blue interspersed titles, add an almost cult-like devotion to the source film that really plays home the idea that this documentary was created by a fan at heart.

So does the dissolve from one shot where there is a large pile of suitcases in the background to another shot where, in their place, stands a group of people, mean Kubrick was symbolizing the extermination of the Jews in World War II, the victims’ luggage strewn aside as they were shipped to the concentration camps by the Nazis? Or how about the famous blood gushing from the elevator’s closed doors, actually coming from the Native Americans buried deep beneath the Overlook Hotel, the closure of the doors representing our present need to repress the atrocities committed by our ancestors who massacred the First Nations people hundreds of years ago? Or does Danny’s space rocket sweater and Wendy’s inability to talk to Jack about his work both refer to Stanley Kubrick’s own secretive participation in the filming of the first moon landing? Room 237 never chooses one theory over another, but it does a marvelous job at giving each one a shot, examining The Shining frame by frame (and with the use of an incredible digital map of the Overlook). I have only seen The Shining twice, but more than anything, Room 237 has stirred up a great appreciation and awe for a director who was meticulous, artistic and detailed enough in his craft to create a mystery that will have many of us pondering, without a definitive answer, for a long time to come.