Anonymous: Horror is not my thing, so I don't quite understand: Why do people like horror?
Basically, horror allows us the chance to experience things that we would otherwise never want to. It allows us to be scared, but in a manner that doesn’t put our own lives in jeopardy. It is simply a way to feel things that, for most of us, are not a normal part of our everyday lives.
Anonymous: Any other Junji Ito-esque mangaka you can recommend?
Well, I went over a couple in this post (mainly Hideshi Hino and Kazuo Umezu) with links to where you can read some of their work online. Umezu is considered the godfather of the horror manga, and Hino is a very established horror mangaka as well.
Anonymous: Have you seen Prometheus? Nothing got me more pumped up than hearing about an Alien prequel. Saw it in the theater (IMAX!) and the special effects were downright gorgeous, but the story itself... I dunno. I still enjoy it greatly, but the amount of plot holes left behind (that many of the deleted scenes would have fixed) just leaves a sour taste in my mouth. On a slightly related note, how canon are deleted scenes? I know some directors purposely leave stuff out for DVD and Blu-ray sales...
I think it depends on the director. Some scenes end up on the cutting room floor because they didn’t feel right when included in the film, and some that would have added more to the picture are cut out simply due to time constraints. And, of course, some scenes are deleted due to content that the MPAA just doesn’t happen to like. So, it’s really up to the writer and director on whether or not they can be considered canon.
Your experience with Prometheus sounds like my experience with the Evil Dead remake: Visually stunning, but structurally unsound. I’m sure that if the necessary scenes were included back into the film, it would probably play a lot better. The same thing has happened to many movies before, where the eviscerated version that makes it into theaters makes zero sense because of all the material that’s been left out in order to make it marketable. The version of Lucio Fulci’s The Beyond called The Seven Doors of Death is a good example of this.
ffffffffrothy: Feral vampires or aristocratic vampires?
Personally, I find feral vampires to be a bit more frightening than aristocratic ones, particularly in that they don’t have wealth or political power on their side. 30 Days of Night presented what, to me, was an interesting balance between the two extremes: the vampires in that graphic novel and film have an air of dignity about them, but they are still ravenous creatures that are looking to feed at a human buffet.
While aristocratic vampires are more flashy and elegant, I don’t find them particularly “scary”. They do, however, serve to maintain the underlying erotic nature that is so common in vampire films, because they are often portrayed as beings of exceptional beauty.
quatuor-oculis: Oooh. Are you doing horror movie asks, now? Cool. One of my personal faves is Darkness Falls. Thoughts?
I’m always doing horror movie asks - I just don’t get as many of ‘em as I’d like.
Personally, I adore Darkness Falls. I know that it isn’t a particularly popular film with horror fans, due to not only being incredibly short (hence why the ending credits are stretched for as long as possible - just to make the film feature-length), but that it is a PG-13 horror film, and thus restricted in the level of violence that it could depict.
What I particularly love is the care that went into creating a backstory for Matilda Dixon (aka, the “Tooth Fairy”). On the DVD, there’s an entire special feature faux-documentary about her, supposedly set in the present-day area where she lived, and featuring local residents being interviewed about her legend.
The commentary tracks for Darkness Falls are also very engaging and informative, as well as occasionally hilarious. They talk about the inspirations for the story, on-set difficulties, and typical behind-the-scenes info on certain shots or locations.
While, in hindsight, the film is riddled with what many would see as some of the most annoying clichés in the horror genre, it doesn’t stop the film from being imaginative and entertaining. I’m also rather glad that they didn’t go with the design for Matilda that they originally conceived, which ended up becoming a toy in the McFarlane line, in two variations. This figure:
(You can find a gallery of more images of this version here)
And the variant figure:
Here’s a lovely shot of the prototype:
At the time of their production, they were still being referred to as belonging to a film called Don’t Peak - the working title of Darkness Falls before it was eventually changed.
The original “Tooth Fairy” design is much more mythological - more of a supernatural being than a little old lady that was burned as a witch. The original design was done by Steve Wang, and had two forms (as seen in the above toys).
This piece, sculpted by Wang, shows off her gaping, toothy maw. The costume (originally to be worn by actor Doug Jones) was intended to be shown only near the end of the film:
However, the producers weren’t happy with this idea, and ended up bringing in special effects guru Stan Winston to create a new “monster” that would be seen throughout the film, which resulted in the more grounded-in-reality design for Matilda that is seen in the finished product.
Including, of course, her “porcelain” mask made out of discarded baby teeth.
Anonymous: Do you consider Predator to be a horror film?
Well, if I had to categorize it in, say, a film library, I would likely put it under “sci-fi”. But, sci-fi and horror often make for common bedfellows, as science fiction frequently presents situations that are inherently frightening. It all depends on the manner in which the action is carried out. In that sense, Predator isn’t trying to be particularly “creepy”, and is also very much an action film as well as science fiction.
So, while it is an enjoyable film for horror fans, I think the intentions of the story place it more in the realm of being classified as sci-fi.