Friday, October 18, 2013

Weekend Movie Discussion: Carrie, Escape Plan, 5th Estate, and What Makes A Horror Movie A Horror Movie?

It's October and we're talking horror movies.

What makes a horror movie a horror movie? Is it the horror of a situation? Is it watching unspeakable acts displayed before us? I've jokingly put Awakenings in my top horror films lists before because the idea of being in a catatonic state, awoken for a time, and then feeling yourself slip away again, is a horrifying thought. It's based on a true story, and a real disease that can happen to anyone. Yet we classify it as Drama.

The Ring could be called horror, but in most instances I've seen it classed as a Supernatural Thriller. The film Departures, is a beautiful and haunting drama, but has some horrifying elements in the beginning, subtle as they be. The first part of the film alone could be horror if you consider it's the death of a dream and being forced into what many would consider a macabre occupation.

The Hunger Games is about a dystopian future where poor from different districts are chosen (ala The Lottery) to perform in the games. In short, 24 contestants (kids) in an enclosed environment battling to the death till only one survives. The books are popular, the movie did incredibly well. The plot, very horrific. And don't kid yourselves, there's some pretty nasty death scenes. In a similar vein, there's the 2000 Japanese film (also based on a book), Battle Royale, which is about a junior high school class chosen each year to, in a similar fashion, battle to the death on a tiny island. The brutality of the deaths is well above Hunger Games.

Battle Royale in Japan received a rating of R15 and The Hunger Games PG-13. Neither of the films are labeled as horror, but instead Sci-fi, Thriller, and Action. In the case of Battle Royale, the film is still banned in some countries. So again, I ask you, what makes a horror movie, a horror movie?

Before I move on, just because I do want to make note the gulf that separates the two films and in large to whom they are offered up for consumption to, let me leave it with this: At the end of Hunger Games Peeta remarks while looking dotingly at Katniss, 'I don't want to forget'. Aww? Alternatively at the end of Battle Royale Kawada in regards to why they'll go their separate ways quips 'It's for the best. It was only 3 days, but a lot of memories I'd rather forget.'

There are 4 films out this week, I'll try to cover them quickly since I'm already running on.

4. I'm in Love with a Church Girl features the paring you've hungered for. I'm talking Ja Rule and Stephen Baldwin in a Christian film. I'm not sure why this didn't just go directly to video. Depending on how wide the release is, if church groups have organized anything, it may pump out a couple million. Which should be more than profitable since the going rate for Stephen Baldwin is, I believe, a half bag of Cheetos.

3. The Fifth Estate starring Benedict Cumberbunny as Julian Assange and the whole wikileaks deal. I'm not sure who wants this movie, and it'll be interesting to see how well it does with Benedictine Cumerbun's extremely fanatical fans. That's not redundant, they're double fans.

2. Carrie plays to the horror theme of the month, but for me the issue is it being pushed waaayyy back as it was. Also, to be honest, I'm not that keen on stories about girls who get telekinesis from their periods. Especially ones that don't star William Katt, believe it or not.

1. Escape Plan, the lovable story of two old guys in a retirement home trying to escape from it, and daydreaming that it's a maximum security prison. Sure it is gentlemen, sure it is. Now be nice and make sure Gladys and her TV buddy take their medicine. Arnold, Sly, play kick the can, please?

There you have it, the weekend, turbo style. 

What's on the ol' docket for you this weekend? Going to practice pronouncing that Brit's name (hint: Sure-lock)? Going to take a loved one to Shady Acres? Avoiding telekinetic girls during their period? Which side of the planet is actually right side up?


  1. Cumberbunny - funny!
    I think something has to have supernatural elements to be horror. Movies such as Saw I classify as torture-porn.
    And Battle Royal makes Hunger Games look lame in comparison.

  2. I don't see any of the movies this week opening big except Carrie. Escape Plan could have been good, but I don't buy them as action heroes anymore. Horror is a loose definition since fear is subjective.

  3. It was more of question of labels, than philosophy. Interested in learning what people think defines not horror, but a horror movie.

  4. I think movies get labeled based on opinion.  Some science fiction movies are labeled horror and vice versa.

  5. I don't think you're quite getting what the topic of discussion is, but that's okay. Yes, they're labeled based on opinion.

  6. Good point about the hunger games. I always thought it was horrific and am continually amazed at its mainstream success

  7. No

    Thanks for the info TIm.

  8. Good discussion of what makes a movie a "horror movie" ... I bet there are a lot of factors: will we make more money if this is "horror" or are "thrillers" more lucrative right now? ... also director's preference? (or whoever) ...

    Personally I think it's intent. If you want someone to go in thinking horror, you label it that way. If you want someone to pay attention to, say, cool visuals, it might be supernatural thriller? As for Hunger Games that one was more about the characters (the love story and such) than their setting.

    Anywho ... that's my 2 cents.

    Also that movie Awakenings, that is horrifying. And wasn't there a twilight zone or tales from the crypt like that? A man is proclaimed dead but is actually alive and can feel the autopsy beginning?


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