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Where did the Hollywood monsters go?

14 Feb
Still from Nosferatu

Don’t panic! He’s only delivering a box of Milk Tray.

Once upon a time, not so long ago, vampires were widely believed to look like this, or this, or even this. Far from being nice, they were the kind of creatures you would not wish to bump into in a dark alley, and you certainly wouldn’t have wanted to wake up to discover one had crept into your bedroom because he wished to be your boyfriend. Then a few years ago, someone decided it would be far better if, instead of being amoral, bloodsucking creatures of the night, vampires were emos, who sparkled – how scary is that?! Okay, not very.

I have learnt to live with this. If Hollywood had decided vampires should be about as scary as an English Lit. student with a bad case of unrequited love, that was okay, because in other parts of the world film makers were producing such films as Let the Right One In, which is both touching and disturbing. Meanwhile, television (surprisingly) does a great job of supplying more traditional horror options*. But now, this apparent quest to make completely non-menacing movie monsters has gone a step further.

Warm Bodies is a love story about the relationship between a zombie and a living person. Yes, that’s right: a zombie who wants to win your heart not eat your brains. Bless. The film has a pretty good rating on the IMDB, maybe it’s great. I don’t know. I won’t be watching because it’s just wronger than a very wrong thing indeed. This is a zombie, would you want to snog him?

What’s next? A werewolf film that features a character who, every full moon, turns into a cocker spaniel who sits in front of the fire licking his bum? And who might be a bit grouchy, but wouldn’t dream of ripping anyone’s throat out ’cause he prefers cuddles. Or a film about a poltergeist who does the housework, and organises the home owner’s book collection according to the Dewey Decimal System?

While I appreciate the idea of subverting a genre – Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman do this brilliantly in Good Omens –  it is annoying that this is being done at the expense of more serious films that would appeal to genuine horror fans. Of course, those more serious films are being made, just no longer in Hollywood, which is sad because the horror film industry there was once vibrant and ground-breaking. However, now it seems to be focussing on horror for people who don’t actually like horror, and would really prefer a nice rom-com starring Jennifer Aniston. Maybe, that will be next on the agenda: a funny, heart-warming movie starring Jenn as a succubus who just wants to find Mr Right …

* I mean, Being Human’s Mitchell versus Sparkly Twilight Boy? There is only going to be one winner. No?

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One Day Silence

18 Apr

A one day blog silence has been proposed for 30th April. Initially, the event was to be held as a mark of respect for the victims at Virginia Tech. However, this seems to have been expanded to include victims of violence around the world.

Some people are questioning the merits of a silence at all, saying we should be talking instead, debating the issues and looking for answers. Although, I believe those things are very important I have to disagree with them because sometimes silence can speak far more eloquently than thousands of words, and sometimes, it is important to take a step back to remember and reflect.

In the course of my life I have seen instances of people uniting together in silence, which have been incredibly powerful. Men and women standing before war memorials, a far away look in the eyes as they thought of the ones who didn’t make it home. Tens of thousands of football fans filling stadiums with silence instead of the usual chants and songs, as they remembered the victims of the Hillsborough disaster. What seemed like a whole town-full of people stopping whatever they were doing and falling quiet as a mark of respect to those who died on September 11th.

The people who have lost a loved one as a result of violence know a different kind of silence. It’s the silence of a bedroom whose occupant will never use it again. The silence of a house that no longer rings with laughter. The silence at the end of the phone, instead of a much loved voice. The silence of sleeping alone in a bed bought for and by two.

By taking a day to reflect we are telling these people that although we may not know them personally, or the details of their loss, they are still important. OK, it’s not a big gesture, and in the great scheme of things it isn’t going to do much, but surely it’s better than nothing, better than simply going about our business as though nothing else matters.

Then we can get back to talking.

Originally published at Kate Blogs About . . .