Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Scream 4 + genre/METZ

The biggest slasher franchise of the 90s is back...

I'm sure there will be further teasers building up to the release date (April 15th, 2011), keep an eye out at http://www.scream-4.com/

There is no greater example of both the strengths and weaknesses of the concept of genre than Scream: the first film was a slick melange of familiar genre tropes (codes), packed with specific intertextuality ... but also ultimately made a significant change to the genre, in that this was the first time characters were self-aware of being in a horror movie, and discussed the rules of horror movies. Highly postmodern ... even more so Scary Movie, a swiftly released pastiche which might be seen as a nice example of Metz's theory of genre cycles* in action. The upcoming fourth Scream explicitly promises to change the rules once again...
* Metz, Christian, (1975) argued that genres go through a typical cycle of changes during their lifetime: (1) the classical stage; (2) self-conscious parody; (3) contesting the proposition that they belong to the genre; (4) finally, a criticism of the genre itself. [source]

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Peeping Tom 50yrs on

There has been a lot written about this movie; slammed as vile and depraved upon release, and leading to the premature death of one of Britain's greatest ever filmmakers, it, like Hammer's Dracula, has been reassessed as a masterpiece of British cinema. Martin Scorsese has just completed a remastering of the original print, which is now on re-release (in London at least!).
A couple of sample stories:

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Film Fest in Whitby Oct 14-17

You may have spotted the poster for this outside F6; I've included another here.

Full details at http://www.bramstokerfilmfestival.com/

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Total Film best horror poll

Interesting best of list as it polls the big names from within the genre...

Texas Chain Saw Massacre crowned greatest horror flick in Total Film poll
Magazine sees experts on chillers and thrillers choose low-budget 1974 'video nasty' as best in genre
Press Association  guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 29 September 2010

A poster for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which was released in 1974. Photograph: Ronald Grant Archive A poster for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which was released in 1974.The Texas Chain Saw Massacre has been voted the greatest horror movie ever.
Total Film magazine asked leading directors and stars from the horror world to choose their favourite.
The low-budget film, which was released in 1974, was for many years banned as a "video nasty", but by the late 1990s it was given a video certificate and went on to be shown on television in the UK. Directors such as John Carpenter, Wes Craven, and John Landis were among those who voted.
On-screen talents - most of them characters who have been masked - including Robert Englund (Freddy), Kane Hodder (Jason), Gunnar Hansen (Leatherface) and Doug Bradley (Pinhead) also took part in the poll for the November edition.
Tobe Hooper's movie - apparently inspired by a real story - sees five young Americans stumbling across a dilapidated house inhabited by a family of cannibals.The Exorcist from (1973) was runner-up, with Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho- from (1960) third. Carpenter's The Thing, made in 1982, was the most recent film to make the top 10.
Jamie Graham, deputy editor of Total Film, said: "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is essentially an old dark house tale fitted with mallets, meat hooks and power tools.
"We see nothing, feel everything, the aggressive camera, brutal editing, clanging sound design and grainy, grubby visuals striking home like a sledgehammer to the skull."

Total Film's Greatest Horror Movies Ever Made:
1. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
2. The Exorcist
3. Psycho
4. The Shining
5. The Thing
6. Halloween
7. Alien
8. Jaws
9. Dawn Of The Dead
10. Suspiria

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

80s Madman Reborn on web

Couple of snippets from a feature at the excellent retroslashers site which highlight the trend of older (especially 80s) slashers attracting new followers, new life and momentum for remakes/sequels through new media, from Playstation to iTunes to Youtube...

Sales has really taken Madman by the belt-buckle and secured its mass-availability long into the future across several formats. He informs us “We’re also now on YouTube Rental and heading for PlayStation, & Hulu. We’re also in iTunes review mode now and should be live there before Halloween.”
No talk of an old slasher movie resurfacing would be complete without bringing up the possibility of another Madman movie. Sales enthusiastically outlined to us what he refers to internally as the Madman Marz 3D Re-Imagining Project. “I’m in talks with studios and foreign buyers for a release in 2011. The script has been written by Paul “Madman Marz” Ehlers, his son Jon (born during production) and myself.  It’s killah! Really killah!” We’ve also heard that it could function as a dual reboot/sequel similar to Friday The 13th (2009) but plan a follow up conversation with Sales in future to address this.
To keep up with the Marz Movement, visit the movie’s Facebook and Twitter.
SOURCE: http://retroslashers.net/the-future-of-madman-marz/

Friday, 11 June 2010

Inbred - Yorkshire mayor angry

See http://www.fangoria.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=817:inbred-agitation&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=167 

The indie UK horror production INBRED is causing some controversy in its scheduled shooting location of Thirsk. Residents of the town fear that the movie, which involves locals with the titular condition, will lead viewers to think it’s based on fact.
The Darlington and Stockton Times reported on the quarrel surrounding the film, which will be directed by CRADLE OF FEAR’s Alex Chandon from a script he wrote with Paul Shrimpton. Set for a 2011 release, INBRED is about a group of young urban offenders and their care workers who embark on a community-service weekend in the strange, remote Yorkshire village of Mortlake. A minor incident with some locals rapidly escalates into a bloodsoaked nightmare for all involved.
Councilor Derek Adamson, mayor of Thirsk, had this to say: “We don’t want that sort of publicity. If the film is promoting the area or it’s a historical piece, then that’s fine and we have no problem with it. It’s quite probable that people will think the characters in the film are like real Thirsk people, and that is not a good impression.”
Shrimpton offered his point of view: “This will give a boost to Thirsk, and it will bring a few more people into the town. Hopefully this will lead to more films being made in Thirsk in the future. If the community gets behind it, we could make something we can be really proud of.” Visit INBRED’s official website for more information on the production.

British horror boom

[I'm cross-posting this from an A2 blog)

A cracking article (is there any other kind?!) in today's Film Guardian got me thinking again about how British horror might tie into your exam topic, an idea that initially took hold from watching Eden Lake (superb; very, very well crafted, with an utterly modern, mature final girl) some weeks ago.
The article - given a different title on the website for some reason - is worth reading in full; its rammed with quotes that could have been picked out by someone sitting your exam!
See http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2010/jun/10/horror-films-british-realism-gritty by Ryan Gilbey (11.6.10) [its copied in at the end of this post]

So, how does the contemporary resurgence of British horror, now achieving success on a scale not seen since the halcyon [successful!] days of Hammer Horror, tie into your exam you may ask?
Lets start with the future!

Budgetary constraints obviously have an effect on the look of UK horror movies: they simply can't compete with the good-looking US model populated by, well, good-looking US models. "We do gritty and realistic better than anyone else," says Kevorkian. "I don't think we have the budgets to do big elaborate horror films here, so we turn to a more reality-based horror, which is a hell of a lot more  frightening."
"Money definitely has something to do with it," says Lawrence Gough, who financed Salvage with £250,000 from Northwest Vision and Media. "A big budget production here can mean £10m-£15m, whereas $40m (£28m) in the US would be considered cheap. There's also a tendency in British film-making toward realism, which I don't think the Americans share."   [quoted from Gilbey's article]
I'm surprised there's no mention in this article of two features that show that low-budget, digital film-making doesn't have to mean the £750k spent on Donkey Punch (£600k of which paid for the boat rental!) with government funding through the UKFC (as I blogged yesterday, a new report, coming as expectations rise of severe cuts in government funding/tax breaks for UK film, makes the argument that UK film is economically very important and should retain special funding).
What does Colin, the £45 Brit-zombie flick that managed to find a distributor and funding for a cinema release [see this post for more info], suggest about the future direction of UK film-making? [Its not horror, but the £25k Born of Hope and of course Shane Meadows' £48k, 5-day-shoot, Le Donk and Scor-Say-Zee, also tie into this]

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Colin, the £45 film

Read more on Colin, reportedly a £45 movie that got a cinema release: Guardian article; BritMovie.co.uk forum thread; is the true budget much higher/is it all hype? 
Further articles linked from IMDB entry.

The trailer, naturally, is a tad gory, but search YouTube and its easily found. Below is a piece from SkyNews with the director interviewed.

If you can stomach a bit of gore, compare any scenes you've viewed from Colin with some IGS student work, and decide for yourselves what gap there is between a film that has found a UK distributor and a production edited in F6: see http://ellisclarka2.blogspot.com/2009/10/final-cut.html
Ellis' production was a teaser trailer, with a comedy/spoof element, but even so, the comparison is interesting...

Horror music copies animals?

Horror film soundtracks mimic animal distress calls

Film-makers' manipulations of sound tap into our primal fears, say researcher
Ben Child 26 May 2010 http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2010/may/26/horror-film-soundtrack-animals-calls

[DB: its also worth clicking through and reading some of the comments, which disagree with this analysis] 
Janet Leigh in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960)
Shower scream ... Janet Leigh in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. Photograph: Allstar/Cinetext
Discordant sounds used to create tension in horror films are effective because they mimic calls made by animals in the wild at times of stress, researchers have found.
The "non-linear" sounds, often created by pushing brass and wind instruments beyond their natural range by playing them too hard, exploit the human brain's natural aversion to sonics that signal fear or distress.
Reporting his findings in Royal Society journal Biology Letters, Professor Daniel Blumstein of the University of California, who led the research, said film composers used such sounds to heighten emotionally evocative moments in their movies.
"Noise is associated with horror and fear," he told the Daily Telegraph. "Abrupt frequency shifts are associated with sad dramatic scenes. Noise is associated with horror and fear.
"I would say it taps into our primal fear, which is shared with other mammals and birds. It scares us, but it also scares other animals."
The researchers examined 30-second clips from more than 100 films, including such celebrated moments as the shower scene in Psycho and the execution scene in The Green Mile. They at first studied four genres – adventure, horror, drama and war – but discovered that the rasping "non-linear" sounds were only to be found on the soundtracks of horror movies, and occasionally dramas.
"Our results suggest that film-makers manipulate sounds to create non-linear analogues in order to manipulate emotional responses," the scientists say in their paper.
Other films where non-linear sounds have been used to impressive effect include the 1933 version of King Kong, where natural animal calls were manipulated in terms of pitch and timbre to create an unnerving soundtrack, and Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, from 1963, in which an electronic instrument, the trautonium, was used to create a terrifying avian "language".

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Times Top 20 Villains

I think its a poorly judged list, but anyway here's broadsheet paper The Times' Top 20 Horror Villains:

April 30, 2010

The top 20 horror movie villains

From the long shiny-topped creature in Alien to the terrifying Psycho serial killer Norman Bates, we pick the scariest figures ever to hit the big screen

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Box Office(Mojo) by Genre

I found the following data (for US box office) at https://secure.boxofficemojo.com/genres/chart/?id=slasher.htm (accessed online 8.4.10 - always worth noting as online material can alter!); it should help you justify the choice of genre in terms of its established box office appeal (though you'll also need some UK box office examples).

Horror - Slasher

Note: Many slasher movies from the '70s and '80s have no box office records, and, hence, do not appear on this chart.


RankTitle (click to view)StudioLifetime Gross / TheatersOpening / TheatersDate
1 Scream Dim. $103,046,663 1,994 $6,354,586 1,413 12/20/96
2 Scream 2 Dim. $101,363,301 2,688 $32,926,342 2,663 12/12/97
3 Scream 3 Dim. $89,143,175 3,467 $34,713,342 3,467 2/4/00
4 Freddy Vs. Jason NL $82,622,655 3,014 $36,428,066 3,014 8/15/03
5 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre NL $80,571,655 3,018 $28,094,014 3,016 10/17/03

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Thriller links

Return of the yuppie revenge thriller
Don't look now but the yuppies are in for it in a spree of forthcoming 80s and 90s-style revenge thrillers – a cautionary Hollywood reminder to us all after the recession