Setter’s ‘Spectives: The Horror, The Horror!

Setter Drawing for Blog 082613I’ve always been afraid of decomposing bodies.

Not that I’ve seen any up close, thank God. I’m talking about in the movies, where they’re as prevalent in the horror genre as chatty friends in terrible rom-coms.

So that’s why I don’t watch many horror flicks. Oh, sure, I’ll turn to them now and then if they’re on TV, but I invariably shield my eyes. It doesn’t even matter if the picture is lousy cinematically; I don’t enjoy watching zombies or any other being made up to have putrified flesh jump out at me.

A long time ago, I watched Raiders of the Lost Ark over and over again to make sure I could stand the scene where Indy and Marion are trapped in a tomb with a host of dusty mummies. Nowadays, it seems pretty tame, but at the time, it scared me out of my wits. There’s something about rotting corpses that makes me want to say, “Zoinks, Scoob!” I don’t like ’em.

I’m probably not alone. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who’s like “Hey, I really enjoy seeing flicks with a whole lotta decomposing bodies.” It’s not exactly an audience-pleaser, is it? Still, some movies can’t do without them, and I suppose they’ll always be a fixture of horror pictures … coming out of nowhere in the dark, with a crash in the soundtrack.

Maybe it’s the jolt I really can’t take. Whatever it is, I’m not down with rotting corpses in my films. You can keep ’em.

Skip’s Quips: Cameras, Trains and Automobiles

IBlog Sketch 082813s there a better car chase in the movies than the one in The French Connection?

The subway-centric scene even beats the famous San Francisco-set sequence in Bullitt, in my opinion, and though the riveting desert ride in Raiders of the Lost Ark comes close, the originality of the shots in Connection makes it tops. A camera mounted on the hood so you can see where the car is speeding—superb, risky work.

And to think it was all done without CGI, huh? How did we live?

Well, I think, is the answer, with scenes such as these.

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.

Four Score and Many Blockbusters Ago …

Setter’s ‘Spectives: The ‘Wind’ Beneath My Consideration

Setter Drawing for Blog 082613I’m a Gone with the Wind denier.

I deny that it’s a great film. I deny that it’s even enjoyable. And I deny that it should be shown on TV as much as it has been … or, for that matter, at all.

Saturated with racism, it’s a relic that defies viewing. Someone should lock it up and store it away, à la Raiders of the Lost Ark. Yet every so often, it appears on the small screen, as if it’s a tradition akin to watching March of the Wooden Soldiers on Christmas.

Whose tradition are we following here? The tradition of offending people?

I believe in dissociating the creator from his or her art. But GwtW‘s so infused with cordial hate that it infects the film as a whole. You can’t separate the parts.

And I’m still wondering why it gets the green light on the tube.

Many people like it. Some feel it’s a masterpiece. I don’t. From a cinematic perspective, it smacks of tripe. Soapy, tiresome tripe. Oh, yeah: It’s long, too, and not long in a good, Lawrence of Arabia way. You feel every minute of it.

I’m in the minority on this, and normally I accept that. In this case, however, I don’t. GwtW shouldn’t be shown on TV, and its racism alone should be reason enough. The fact that it’s plain tedious offers further proof that we should blow it off.