Somewhere out in the universe, in a vast Jungian conceptual tangle is a library. In this particular library – since it is an imaginary construct – there are only two books. One thin volume is a collection of foundational stories: these stories are the basis of ever told. The other is a massive tome that, in a less fanciful environment, would fill all the world’s libraries.
This is the thesaurus.
It contains countless variation of the core stories. A rare few of these variants are something special – evolutionary leaps in the material that make it better than the original. Most, however, are pale shades of its progenitor. Neither better nor worse, they could, at best be called, “unnecessary.”
Have you ever had a conversation with someone who stopped talking midway through a sentence? Not the comfortable shorthand that comes with a long term friendship but the half-mad ramblings of a drunken stranger at a party – you know the type. He’s the guy that hems you into a corner with no one in eyeshot of rescuing you. But wait, there’s more. Occasionally, your incoherent companion has a moment of clarity and in place of his mad ramblings, you now have abject tedium.
The cinematic equivalent to this would be, “the Apparition”.
A good solid rule for most movies is, “Make sense.” Even the most avant of garde films makes sense in their own kind of way. If a film doesn’t have a claim to that particular edgy conceit, then one would think it would be that much easier to follow that simple directive.
However, it’s something that “Rites of Spring” fails within its first ten seconds.
I never recovers.
Cigarette Burns (2005)
Directed by: John Carpenter Written by: Drew McWeeny and Scott Swan Starring: Norman Reedus, Udo Kier, Christopher Redman, Chris Gauthier, Zara Taylor
In this episode, Jimmy Sweetman ventures out to locate a rare film print called “La Fin Absolue du Monde”. The film once shown has been known to drive its audience into a crazed frenzy before the theater goes up in flames. He finally discovers that the film does live up to its reputation and the results are quite shocking. (from tv.com)
“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
This phrase is often tossed around as an admonition to learn from your mistakes so as to prevent yourself from making them again. To hear some people talk, you’d think that the worst possible sin would be to continue to make those same mistakes over and over again. But what if there was something worse? What if you not only continued to make those mistakes but also managed to use history to make them worse?
Not including algebra, calculus or any other numeric discipline longer than four letters, I’m inclined to agree with that statement. Life can throw you all kinds of unexpected craziness – even under the most mundane and seemingly predictable circumstances. Math, on the other hand, is fairly consistent. Two and two will always equal four – no surprise there. However, there are occasions where life imitates math when all the pieces of an equation add up to the same thing every time.
Literary history and Hollywood go together like… well, like two things that go together particularly well. With the exceptions of perhaps Hemingway and Hunter S. Thompson, writers lead notoriously uninteresting lives. Thoreau may very well have plucked the phrase “quiet desperation” from his own life to describe the life of your average writer. So, for Hollywood to attempt to mine the life of a writer – in this case, the godfather of American Horror, Edgar Allen Poe – for an early summer popcorn muncher, they must have something special on their hands.
If you can’t have good actors, have a good story. If you can’t have good actors or a good story, have good effects. If you can’t have good actors, a good story or good effects, have a good gimmick.
And when all else fails, have boobs – lots and lots of boobs.
The horror genre has a long history of using gimmicks to get people into the theaters. Most likely, these saw their halcyon days back in the late 1950s but even today, we appreciate the lure of the gimmick – whether it is the earnest whisper of “Based on a true story,” or the promise of terrifying found footage. The latter – the found footage film – is everyone’s darling these days but even it’s starting to show signs of wear; much like a bow-legged streetwalker after the fleet’s been in port for two weeks.
How about a real-time horror movie?
It seems to work for “Silent House”.