Sunday, September 22, 2019

Off Script: Honeymoon

Film: Honeymoon
Format: Streaming video from NetFlix on laptop.

I’d like to see more women directing horror movies. There are a number of horror movies that have flown under the radar directed by women, and many of them are too good to have suffered from that sort of ambivalence from the audience. A woman director, at least in my experience, tends to make horror a lot more personal and internal. It may be that women are more attuned to a personalized horror, living (generally) in a society that often downgrades them and their contributions. I respond to that in horror. I’m of the opinion that horror tends to work best when we have a real connection with the characters. Honeymoon is that sort of a movie.

Bea (Rose Leslie) and Paul (Harry Treadaway) are just married and, as the name of the film implies, going on their honeymoon. This will take place at a remote cabin that evidently belongs to Bea’s family. She knows the place well, after all, and the bear skin on the wall in one room was apparently supplied by her father. Bea and Paul seem very much like a happy couple, and like any recently married couple, the honeymoon is at least in part about enjoying each other away from the prying eyes of the rest of the world.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Off Script: They Live

Film: They Live
Format: DVD from personal collection on laptop.

Why is it that John Carpenter doesn’t get the respect that he has clearly earned? Sure, some of his movies are terrible, but that’s true of just about every director you can think of. Carpenter has made some incredibly influential and important films as well. Horror wouldn’t be the genre it is without Halloween and The Thing, and movies like Escape from New York and Big Trouble in Little China are rightfully cult classics. That’s the position of the film The Live, a relatively low-budget science fiction/horror film that can be easily referenced by just about anyone with any knowledge of either of those two genres.

It’s also worth noting that the story itself is a classic. The film is based on a short story called “Eight O’Clock in the Morning” by Ray Nelson, but it’s not an uncommon theme. There’s a little bit of Invasion of the Body Snatchers here, for instance. Stephen King fans might know a short story of his called “The Ten O’Clock People” that is a slightly different version of the same story—enough that it almost feels like plagiarism. Even The Matrix has its roots set at least partly in They Live. Its influence is in many ways all out of proportion to the film that we have.