Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Horror.

(Note: This was originally supposed to be the opening to a post of my thoughts on a couple movies I've seen recently, PONTYPOOL and SAW. But it got out of control, so I'm posting it as its own thing and will hopefully get on to the movies in the next post or three.)

I don't really remember anything about the film "Congo", but I know I saw it in the theatre...three times. This was the nature of the addiction I had, an addiction that's been thoroughly cured by the behaviour of an increasing number of people who make up movie audiences.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: the VCR has ruined the experience of movies in a theatre, at least for me. I can't seem to go to a film these days without being overwhelmed by a desire to leap over three rows of people so I can viciously assault the increasing number of theatre-goers who apparently think they're in their living room, and that everyone in the theatre (read as "Andrew") is more interested in what they've got to say than the film itself.

I haven't paid much attention to Roger Ebert for several years, seeing as seeing films in their opening week is no longer the personal imperative it once was. When I was regularly going to the movies, Ebert was, for me, a fairly reliable barometer of what a film was like, someone whose opinions generally turned out to be in line with my own. There were two exceptions to this rule; the biggest one was his take on the horror genre.

As I recall, Ebert seemed to think horror films should be scary. Which is a reasonable thing to expect from the genre, especially for a reviewer. Speaking solely for myself, however, I don't really get a lot of enjoyment out of being scared, by films or anything else (possibly because I live in a state of semi-terror at the best of times). I will watch horror films from time to time, but that's in spite of the possibility that afterward I might find turning on the bathroom light in the middle of the night unnerving because part of me's convinced when I do I'll see a naked white-painted Japanese kid standing in the corner (as happened to me after I saw Ju-on.)

The first horror film I can recall ever going out of my way to see (and not in the theatre) was Clive Barker's "Hellraiser", which I rented and watched with a high school acquaintance the night before I moved out of my parents' place to go to art college. I didn't find "Hellraiser" scary, but I really enjoyed it (the comically clumsy and out-of-place effect of The Architect notwithstanding.) That experience provided me with a concrete sense of what I'd be looking for in pretty much all the horror films I'd see in the following years--not to be scared, but fascinated.


On a semi-related note, I checked an Ebert review for the first time in recent memory yesterday, to see what he thought of "Watchmen". Four stars out of five, with a fairly positive take on the film. It just goes to show how down on the theatre experience I am at the moment that this does nothing to make me want to see the film. I expect I will see it sometime in the next week, if only because Tiina's going to drag me along with her, and I'll probably like it just fine. But honestly, I'm having trouble working up any sort of enthusiasm for seeing it at the moment. I do, however, want to give the comic a reread--but I probably won't any time soon, because I've got a metric ton of stuff from the library to try and get through.


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