Friday, 2 November 2012

What I Watched Over Summer

It's been a long time since I updated on my horror activities: I have been writing my Master's dissertation and completed it around a month ago. Unfortunately writing about Queen Anne didn't leave a lot of space in my brain for horror - and it says something when even trashy horror films require too much brain energy. I resorted to watching old episodes of CSI when I needed a brain-break. In the interests of keeping things up to date regarding how I've been getting along with the list, here are some films I've managed to watch over summer but never got around to writing about here:

Peeping Tom

I've always had Peeping Tom mixed up with Hitchcock's films in my head, although as far as I'm aware there is no actual link between Hitchcock and this 1960 film (Wikipedia has a couple of paragraphs about potential connections between them, however - thanks, Wiki, for doing my work for me!)

I greatly enjoyed watching Peeping Tom. The main character carries the film and is incredibly compelling. There's a deep psychological layer to his characterisation, drawing upon childhood trauma to explain his development. The constant presence of film in his life, both as a child and later in his violent adult life, lead to a sense of unease in the viewer: by watching the film itself you find yourself implicated in the very method of his insanity. It was a great, unique film, and highly disturbing.


Prom Night (Remake)

Oh, the things I will watch for Dana Davis...
During my challenge, I have been trying to stick to originals rather than remakes as a general rule - but I'd been told that the original Prom Night was fairly sub-standard anyway, and the remake had my darling Dana Davis in it. I've been a little bit in love with her since her turn as Monica on Heroes, as short-lived as that was. The film was resoundingly terrible, but it was worth watching just for her - and for Idris Elba, who turned up unexpectedly as a grizzled police detective (who, charmingly, seemed just like Luther from Elba's BBC series, which made the film actually seem like an unintentional cross-over with the show).

The issue I had with this film was a lot to do with the villain (and the plot, and the acting, and writing, and...) They made the choice, unusual for a slasher flick, to have the killer's identity, motivation and face known from the very beginning. No Halloween masks for this guy. Unfortunately, that completely ruins the slasher effect for me. A lot of the thrill of slashers seems to come from the element of the unknown or mystery hanging over the killer - I'm thinking especially of films like the first Friday the Thirteenth, or the Scream trilogy. Knowing that the killer is just a slim, deranged high school teacher really lessens the fear of the Unknown that usually accompanies this kind of film. Even as a generic slasher flick, the Prom Night remake really doesn't work.


Resident Evil

I had never watched the Resident Evil films and I had the first one on my list, so when a friend and I were looking for something mindless and a bit violent it seemed like a good idea. It was an unexpectedly enjoyable romp, while I had been expecting something a lot worse than it actually was. The action scenes are fun, the Red Queen is creepy and, of course, Milla Jovovich is stunning. We ended up watching the first three films (and then my friend went ahead and watched the fourth without me!) so I'm looking forward to getting to see the new one now that it's out. It looks as if I caught up just in time. I'm aware that the films are based off a series of games, but having never been a gamer I'm perfectly content experiencing the Resident Evil world through the films alone. It's not stunningly original, but it's fun at least, and I always appreciate an action series with a kick-ass female lead.


Friday the Thirteenth II and Nightmare on Elm Street II

My rule for the last list of films I was to watch was that I would watch the first in each of the major slasher movies; for the second list of films, I decided I would watch the second film from each of the three major franchises. I was also rather excited about this because I had been informed ahead of time that Nightmare on Elm Street II was possibly the gayest film ever made. Considering that the entire film comes across as a thinly veiled story about teenage sexuality and self-discovery - not to mention the fear involved with coming out to yourself - I can definitely see where that statement is coming from! And that's not even to mention the naked whipping scene...

Both sequels are utterly ridiculous and are a big step down from the originals (and, to be honest, there wasn't a whole lot to step down from) but I enjoyed them nonetheless. They're the very definition of mindless, and NOES2 definitely slotted right into my 'so bad it's good' brand of enjoyment.


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