Archive for the Horor Rant Category

Battle Royale (When something’s good you copy it and hope nobody notices)

Posted in Horor Rant, Updates with tags , on March 21, 2012 by splatterpictures

This weekend will see the release of the much anticipated Hunger Games. At least other media tells me it’s much anticipated. I just assume they mean anticipated by someone other than me. It’s probably no coincidence that this week also marks the BlueRay release of Battle Royale, a film that needs no introduction to genre fans but to the general public we’ll call it “the thing that precedes the hunger game in every conceptual way.”

Released in 2000 over in Japan and based off the 1999 Novel by Koshun Takami battle Royale would come out at a time when (at least in the West) children killing eachother in a massive death-match with only one survivor was incredibly taboo.

Most of us remember that in April of 1999 the notorious Columbine shootings occurred. The media tried desperately to make sense out of a senseless act. They attacked music, parenting, modern society and of course movies. They took aim (pardon the pun) at everything from Marilyn Manson to The Matrix for being the source of the bloodshed. Talk about bad timing. I say bad timing because who could have predicted that in less than a year a movie about a group of junior high students forced to kill eachother off would be made on the other side of the world. As such this film never received a region one release and it forced us to find it bootlegged or on region free DVDs.

So what’s changed? Have we become numb to this sort of thing? School shootings happen more frequently than pre columbine but it has been over 10 years. Surely fan demand (and the chance for profit) would circumvent any moral issues you’d have. Let’s not forget the very fact that a movie like the Hunger Games which is a complete rip-off of Battle Royale (the book came out almost 9 years after the fact) is not only getting the big screen treatment but it’s being sold as “the next big thing” I don’t blame Hollywood for scrambling. They ran out of Harry Potter and soon going to run out of Twilight. Next time they should wise up and just make every chapter of these books its own movie. That way it could last for decades.

The saddest thing is that if you sit back and watch Battle Royale, you’d realize it’s more of a black comedy than anything else. It’s satire.  Sure it deals with some uncomfortable subjects and does have some touching moments between some of the short lived characters but it’s totally irreverent and can seem self aware at times. Certain scenes are really tragic while others are so over the top you can’t help but laugh. Of course many of those moments come from the benefit of it being so uniquely Japanese. That being said it does have chilling moments where when pushed comes to shove anybody can be a killer.

It’s really no wonder people were so hesitant to translate it over here. But now they have. The real question is, is it worth your money?

Well my bias opinion is yes, I’ve had my awkwardly translated Korean boxset with un-translated extra features long enough and am eager to sit back and watch a quality version of the movie. You can get the movie and its sequel (yup there’s two) in a sweet set with a tonne of extras.

The next question is will I go and see Hunger Games? My answer is, they already made that movie twelve years ago and it was awesome.

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Splatterpictures VS Remakes! (horror rant)

Posted in Horor Rant, Updates with tags , , , , , , , , on December 9, 2011 by splatterpictures

“No movie executive has ever been fired for greenlighting a sequel”. – Roger Ebert

 

"Award shows, where award shows win awards?"

I get asked a lot about my opinions on remakes and or sequels. I am usually hesitant to even comment because I have always believed that there is room enough in the world for everyone’s favourite movie. (be it original  or remake) That being said, a recent conversation with a good friend of mine has made me decide to throw my two cents in on the subject of sequels and remakes.

Hollywood is in the business of making money and while that is pretty obvious to most people, what isn’t obvious is their perspective on how to make that money. You’re never going to convince a studio that if they have the opportunity to make money they should opt to deny that opportunity for the sake of creative integrity. For example, when you have a film that makes a huge profit when compared to the cost of production, any savvy media head will know that is a near automatic greenlight for a sequel, or even worst a franchise. So many films these days suffer because of this thought process. The first movie is a set up. It’s slower, and clunky, and we as an audience expect it. We apologize for inferior films and say “The sequel will be better, have more action, or have better characters or a better ending” How bankrupt of a concept is that? We’re making excuses for a movie that let us down, and keep hope that it will get better. It sounds like an abusive relationship, and it is.

The most puzzling thing is the sheer laziness and  desperation of Hollywood. They have no lack of talent for going to the pop culture graveyard and digging up some dead franchise in hopes of cashing in on brand recognition. Since this a horror site, I’m going to keep things in the realm of horror.

First let’s realize one thing: Horror movies are profitable. They make studios huge amounts of money compared to the cost of their productions.

In the last few years we’ve seen remakes of Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Night of the Demons, Black Christmas. Fright Night. Down the pipeline there is Evil Dead, Hellraiser, The Ring, American Psycho and I just heard Suspira. (Oh and the Munsters coming back to TV as a serious horror drama?) Sequels are also coming. More Saw, more Paranormal Activity, more Human Centipede. Countless other films that I could just list on and on, the crazy thing is it seems every day this week, I have been hearing more and more.

Is that to say that we as horror fans dislike sequels and remakes? That can’t be true because they make money. Frankly, if nobody liked them and they didn’t make a profit, they wouldn’t be made. The casual audience has a lot to do with that, but so do we. Some of us are so grateful for a movie featuring our favourite icons that we’ll swallow just about anything they give us (myself included)

I think that Hollywood will do what it’s doing until something else catches its eye. It’s funny to me when I hear certain buzz-words about updating things for a new generation, or “giving the fans what they want” I promise you, Hollywood if you’re reading this (and I know you are) You’re not doing me any favours. The economy is down and nobody is taking risks and it’s extremely obvious when you look at the film industry. They want sure things, they want brand recognition and they want to relaunch series into dependable cash-cows. There is something to be said for thinking outside the box though.

I’ll take a step away from, horror for a second and mention that James Cameron made Avatar, and it wasn’t perfect but at least it was something new and interesting. Number one grossing movie in history and all Hollywood took away from that was “movies need to be in 3D now” and once again, people swallow it.

My friend pointed out to me that this generation has very little to call its own. Every big franchise, (in horror and out of horror) has been some dug up property from the 70’s-90’s. what does Hollywood have to show for itself?  Jigsaw? That’s it? One iconic character, that breached genre films and became mainstream?

We shouldn’t have to look this hard for new ideas. See yah next time and thanks for reading!