I decided to sacrifice sleep tonight and dust off this blog for the 3 people left who might be reading it. Summer has given me a great deal of free time lately and the recent hatching of Dinosaur Dracula and Bill’s reworking of Veggie Macabre has inspired me to get off my ass and actually do something around here. I’ve been filled with a new sort of steam lately. It has a lot to do with extra free time, hatred of my day job, a desire to finally get in gear and back in school in the Spring (I mean it, this time dammit!), and maybe my impending 35th birthday. I’ve been spinning my wheels for a while now and feel like I haven’t been living up to my potential creatively or professionally. I’m so jealous when reading about Matt‘s professional endeavors since we both work (or at least I used to) in the same industries and he’s out juggling more freelance gigs than he knows what to do with while I’m working a dead-end job at a company I hate, doing work that only tangentially relates to what I want to do for a living.
So here I am on at Thursday night/Friday morning, trying to knock this out when I should be in bed, especially since I’m supposed to be up in 5 hours for work. But hey, at least it’s Friday.
Which sort of brings me to what I want to discuss. For background noise, I’ve got on the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street. I actually wrote about this once before. I was pretty excited about it at the time, since it seemed to be a way to return the franchise to its roots. I had my reservations, being that it was another damn useless remake, but was looking forward to it nonetheless. I had no intention when I sat down to write tonight to turn this into a Nightmare review, but I’m in the mood to discuss what’s playing on the TV a few feet away from me. I assume that since it’s been out a few years, you’ve all seen it, so I don’t have to tell you that spoilers will follow. Let’s go.
First off, they get brownie points for trying. The trend of remaking/rebooting/reimagining/re-whatevering of beloved 70′s and 80′s horror is a rant I’m going to try not to get into tonight. Anyone who’s known me for any length of time knows that it’s something that will get my blood boiling. There have been more misses than hits, and I’ve had endless debates with friends about which ones have hit and which ones have missed, but I’m willing to point out the good and bad points in everything. So as much as I hated the idea of this thing being remade, I will say they did a great job of getting away from the campiness of the later films and returned Freddy to a menacing, brutal killing machine. While no one will ever replace Robert Englund, Jackie Earl Haley did the best he could with what he was given. It was also nice to see Judith Hoag (the original April O’Neil) show up in a small part as the nurse.
I also like the idea that doubt was cast through the movie as to Freddy’s guilt. The seed was planted halfway in that the reason he was stalking the kids was to get revenge because he was actually wrongly accused for being a murdering kiddie-diddler. I thought that was an interesting turn. Of course, he was a murdering kiddie-diddler as we all know, but it was an interesting way to handle it.
While the over-abundance of CGI is another major rant of mine (I’m a practical makeup/prosthetics purist when it comes to horror), I will say that it did add to the atmosphere and gave the film a few tricky scenes that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise, or at least would have been more expensive and time consuming to put together. One that comes to mind is when the character of Chris falls asleep in class and “wakes up” in the dream world, a scene repeated from the original.
I don’t mind CGI for things like that, but when it’s used to replace practical effects when practical effects could have done the job just as well, if not better, that frosts my balls.
The best example of this particular ball frosting would be the infamous “Freddy coming through the wall” scene. Here’s a comparison, the original done with simple latex and the remake done with CGI.
I know the 2 pics don’t show much, but the first one looked so much better than the pathetic cartoon that we got in the remake.
One bright spot in all of this was a pre-Girl WIth The Dragon Tattoo Rooney Mara. Like most people, I’d never heard of her before this and was chomping at the bit to see who would actually tackle the task of replacing Heather Langenkamp, one of the loves of my life (swoon), as the new Nancy, and I was not disappointed. I thought she was gorgeous and did a stellar job with what she was given. I was surprised to see her disappear for so long after that and was afraid I’d never see her in anything ever again. Clearly, I was wrong. I’ve still not read or seen any of the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo books or movies. I really need to get on that.
For my last complaint, I’ll say that I wasn’t too hot about having to put up with looking at this little shit for an hour and a half.
Until I sat down to write this, I had no idea what the actor’s name was, but it turns out it’s Kyle Gallner. You’ve seen him in a lot of things in the last few years, and I’m sick of him. He plays the same mopey eyed, pitiful, whiney little shit in every movie and he just gets on my last everloving nerve. His character is named Quentin (I even hate his character’s name) and he’s supposed to be Nancy’s would-be boyfriend.
But my biggest complaint about “Quentin” is what his “character” is supposed to be. He was originally written as a “mopey goth DJ”. Look at him. He’s wearing a fucking Joy Division t-shirt. Joy Division! I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that Kyle Gallner doesn’t have the first fucking clue who Joy Division is. Sad-eyed, overacting bastard. Speaking as someone who spent high school and his 20′s actually being a mopey goth DJ, I’m personally insulted.
In closing, I’ll say that another part of the inspiration for writing this is the book I’m reading. It’s called Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th. I got it for Christmas and am absolutely loving it. It’s HUGE and looks like a coffee table book, only it’s a lot more than just pretty pictures. It’s incredibly in depth and Peter M. Bracke does a great job of laying out all the back-stabbing, politics, wheeling and dealing of the Hollywood machine in the 1980′s. He tracks down all the directors, producers, actors and crew who worked on the entire series, including Kevin Bacon. So far, I’m about 2/3rds of the way through (they just started working on Jason Goes to Hell and are getting geared up for the inevitable Freddy vs Jason), and I kind of don’t want to get to the end of it. I’m learning quite a bit about how the cast of all these things was put together, who clicked with who, who was a total terror to work with, who got fired and why, and the fact that in most of the early movies, there apparently was a lot of “80′s substances” on set at any given time. I’m talking about the grass and cocaine, folks. Yep, in between shots of getting chased by a strange man in a hockey mask, most of the victims you’ve come to love watching over the years were sneaking off to get down with the China White. Hey, it was the 80′s. And did you know that one of the actress/victims in Part 5 was actually named Debi Sue Voorhees? Yep, that’s her real name. I’m telling you, I can’t recommend this thing enough if you’re a fan of the series or just horror in general.
Alright, that’s all I’ve got. I’ve officially blown the dust off this joint and gotten off to a good start. Hopefully this summer will see more content around here. I promise it won’t be as long-winded as this thing. Just making up for lost time.
ki, ki, ki…ma, ma, ma…