Setter’s ‘Spectives: The Real Horror Picture Shows

Setter Drawing for Blog 082613Let it be said (or written, as this format requires) that I’m not a fan of camp.

No, I’m not railing against burnt marshmallows, off-key singalongs or lopsided kickball teams. I’m ranting about the genre spawning the most insufferable Baz Luhrmann films or Stephen King tales. The ones that make Fellini flicks look subdued.

It ain’t art, in my opinion. And I wish we’d have less of it.

The thing is, it’s much easier to be over the top when it comes to script, direction, acting, et al., than it is to take ’em seriously. That’s because camp doesn’t need to be credible—it takes the short route, and that’s often enough.

Movies should be more than that. People shouldn’t have to settle.

The remake of Carrie makes me worried about this market. The original—camp at its most tiresome—seems to have accrued the luster of age, a phenomenon the villain Belloq cynically observed in Raiders of the Lost Ark. This sheen has been deemed worthy to capture in reinflicting this story upon the public, and I’m concerned it’s just the start of the trend. How much do we need of the same half-eaten sandwich, anyway?

The expectation, it seems, is that some people go to the movies to laugh at them instead of revel in them. To make fun of silly situations and come out thinking they’re like a ride at an amusement park, where cheap thrills welcome everybody. There’s a fear of becoming too involved in a real picture, such as The Godfather, where you’re forced to immerse yourself in a world you’ll never inhabit. Great films are scary. They require commitment.

Dr. Frank-N-Furter and his minions don’t require such dedication. It doesn’t stop, perhaps, their fans from participating in the campy singalongs. But such activities might cause them to miss the arias of real filmmaking.

And that, in my opinion, would be a shame.

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