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You are here: Home - - - > Rants - - - > Bad Studio, No Biscuit! (Editorial)

Editorial - Sunday, 06 March, 2005
"Bad Studio! No Biscuit!"

Goddamn, I hate bad movies! I'm not talking about "bad" movies like Bloodsucking Freaks, Basket Case, or Bad Taste. No, those films (and many, many others)are supposed to be bad, and they don't hold any pretentions about being "good art", and are therefore officially exempt from this rant. No, the kind of "bad" film I'm talking about here is the kind that sneaks up on you with its awfulness...these are the films I dread. These films promise far more than they could ever hope to deliver, and what they deliver is a severe case of stomach discomfort for this reviewer. For example, "Scream", "I Know What You Did Last Summer" and their respective sequels (and countless copycat films) are films that bring new meaning to the term "bad".

First of all, they promise a wicked sense of humor. Nothin' doin' in that department, alas. They can't even muster the wit to recognize that they are falling into the traps that are the focus of their quasi-ironic jibes. Second, they promise blood 'n' guts. Yeah, right. More on that later, though. Third, they promise good old fashioned T&A. Again, these flicks can't seem to decide if they're for it or against it. They cast cocktease teen starlets like Jennifer Love Hewitt (and her "wonder-twins", of course) and Neve Campbell (or whomever is the Fox Network Teen Drama Show Star of the Week), or more recently Christina Ricci in Wes Craven's maligned Curse, and then they have the unmitigated audacity to keep them fully clothed! Serious proponents of '80's-style teenkill and horror everywhere (myself included) were pissed off! I know, I know, you feminazis out there are crying "misogynist", but really...that's not the case. When you watch a recent Disney film, you come to expect certain things; you expect a spunky and resourceful but pretty heroine, you expect a loveable and diminutive sidekick/buddy-creature, you expect a showy and somewhat effete villain, and you expect songs written by your favorite aging pop-artist. If you went to a Disney film and didn't get those things, you'd be severely disappointed, right?
'course you would...
...and rightly so! When we go to exploitative teenkill flicks, we want to see gory kills! We want to see at least a smattering of wit in the proceedings! And, if you're going to put a hot chick in there, get her at least mostly naked from time to time! Jeez! Is that so much to ask? Apparently it is...
...and it's getting worse...

PG-13. Motherfuckin' piece o' shit worthless rating, I tell ya'! PG-13 is making the mainstream horror industry buy the fuckin' farm. Horror is supposed to be, at the very least, horrific, and you just can't get "horrific" enough in a PG-13 movie, goddamnit! It's like the filmmakers don't even care anymore! At the height of the mass popularity of extreme horror films (the early 1980's), filmmakers made the film they wanted to make knowing full well that they might have to put up with the ratings board cutting it all to hell so that they could release it with an "R" rating, and fans bitched, but at least we got something tangibly scary and shocking! It isn't like that anymore. Filmmakers make a staunchly PG-13 movie, and when that movie comes out on DVD, they release it as "unrated" by including all of the stuff that should have been there in the first fuckin' place. It's a money-grabbing technique, at best, and at worst, it's downright fucking wrong. But hey, it works. So, instead of getting somethings even remotely resembling what we're expecting, we're getting the same ol' anemic, sexless, unexciting fare over and over again.

Just how many versions of the same dumbass movie do we need, anyway? I fear that Darkness Falls and Feardotcom and their ilk are just the tip of this devious iceberg. Horror is slowly being immasculated, in a way, and it's only by watching classics like Re-Animator and The Beyond that we can harken back to the days when our blood was red, our women were nekkid, and our guts were extra chunky-style.

In a world where J-Lo can make a "romantic comedy" every other fuckin' week, and even staunch genre supporter Wes Craven has let us down by letting himself get bullied by studio execs into releasing a less-than-ballsy shock movie (the current Curse), it's no wonder that many horror starved fans are looking to the far East for their sustenance. Japanese chunkblowers like The Men Behind the Sun, Audition, and Kichiku Dai Enkai are bringing in a new Renaissance of Splatter Goodness the likes of which hasn't been seen since the Italian spaghetti shock cinema explosion of the late '70's and early '80's, and every red-blooded fan armed with a multi-region DVD player has practically unfettered access to these balls-to-the-wall uncensored horror and splatter epics that are reshaping the way we think about horror.

There is hope, it seems, and it springs eternal from the least likely of sources. Who knew Japan had it in them? Up until about four or five years ago, I had always thought they were too busy raping schoolgirls with tentacles to make good movies, but that's exactly what they're doing...and they're illustrating how to do it right!

If you are as sick of the state of mainstream American horror as I am (and I'm proud to be an American...at least sometimes), I highly recommend that you check out as many of the European and Asian imports as you can. Most of them are available on uncut and relatively high-quality DVD and have subtitles for those of us who don't speak Japanese. There's blood in them thar bowls o' rice, and it's good stuff!

- Matthew Dean Hill




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