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74

The Slasher Primer
Topic by: underdog
Posted: June 27, 2005 - 11:48 AM PDT
Last Reply: July 2, 2005 - 4:42 PM PDT

page  1  2      prev | next
author topic: The Slasher Primer
Eoliano
post #21  on June 29, 2005 - 5:42 PM PDT  
> Don't Look Now...there's a memorable sex scene.
(Depressing news - apparently a remake is slated.

How dare they!

Spoiler!

Don't Look Now is one of my favorite films. That sex scene is one of Roeg's craftiest, and Sutherland's inevitable demise, one of the cruelest moments in film.
Battie
post #22  on June 29, 2005 - 6:26 PM PDT  
> On June 29, 2005 - 4:57 PM PDT vexkitten wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> It's a "Don't Look Now" remake, not a "Halloween" remake.
>

Oops. :P Your comments make even more sense now. I saw the movie, but I'm sketchy on details. Since I can't remember anything of the middle, I'm pretty certain I fell asleep (I remember the beginning and end...).

> Just like there are two kinds of comedies: funny and not funny. And two kinds of action movies: exciting and dull.
>
> I suppose some people prefer "not funny" and "dull." To each their own.
>

*sigh* I meant that the movies you find boring are the movies I find funny, while you enjoy the more serious slasher flicks, and I find them irritating. Hence, the "to each their own" comment.

> I'm sure that was Tobe Hoopers primary motivation in making it. Now that's thinking ahead!
>

I was speaking of the 1995 remake (which is and isn't a remake...), not the original. I've nothing against RZ, but just like his movies, the remake was a sadistic little movie with little to redeem it as a horror. 'Course, if a movie can inspire any emotion other than complete boredom, I suppose the film-maker accomplished their goal. :P

The original wasn't something I enjoyed (but it was also long before my day, and I saw it after seeing more modern horror), nor was it trash. Part of my dislike of the movie was the myth I still hear people repeating as truth (that is was based on real! events). I dislike advertising (even if it's unintentional--which I can't say it was, since I wasn't around in '73) that tricks people into believing a film is based on fact, or is fact.

> I just saw The Seven Samurai recently. It just seemed to me like a movie Battle Beyond the Stars took some pointers from.
>
> I'm going to go take some migraine pills now.
> ---------------------------------

Hmm...lately, on several threads, you seem to take rather dramatic issue with some of my comments. Did I type or do something to offend you that I'm not aware of? >_>
Eoliano
post #23  on June 29, 2005 - 6:43 PM PDT  
> Hmm...lately, on several threads, you seem to take rather dramatic issue with some of my comments. Did I type or do something to offend you that I'm not aware of?

He's just vexed, kitten...
ace2486
post #24  on June 29, 2005 - 6:48 PM PDT  
> On June 27, 2005 - 4:36 PM PDT maggieandjoe wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Whoever wrote this primer doesn't seem to know or like slashers- so why is she the one to write it? I'm stumped.
> ---------------------------------

even the most cursory of critical viewings of "sleepaway camp" would clearly show that the true identity of the killer is ambiguous. did the author of this piece even watch the film?
Battie
post #25  on June 30, 2005 - 5:52 AM PDT  
> On June 29, 2005 - 6:43 PM PDT Eoliano wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> > Hmm...lately, on several threads, you seem to take rather dramatic issue with some of my comments. Did I type or do something to offend you that I'm not aware of?
>
> He's just vexed, kitten...
> ---------------------------------

Lmao. :P
underdog
post #26  on June 30, 2005 - 9:48 AM PDT  
I still think Poltergeist is Tobe Hooper's best film, and one of my favorite horror films - both scary *and* funny, imagine that. Not a slasher film of course... but just while we're speaking of Tobe, since Spielberg usually gets most of the credit for that film.
Battie
post #27  on June 30, 2005 - 6:27 PM PDT  
> On June 30, 2005 - 9:48 AM PDT underdog wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> I still think Poltergeist is Tobe Hooper's best film, and one of my favorite horror films - both scary *and* funny, imagine that. Not a slasher film of course... but just while we're speaking of Tobe, since Spielberg usually gets most of the credit for that film.
> ---------------------------------

You know, it is a bit scary even to this day. Those toys... *shudder* I caught a flick on Sci-Fi the other night (god, have they let their standards drop from years ago) that copied that film almost completely. The toys moving around (but this time it was a good ghost), etc.
ahogue
post #28  on July 1, 2005 - 9:23 AM PDT  
I actually saw the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre for the first time not long ago. It was certianly low budget and silly in some ways, but I was rather impressed. It may be the only slasher I've ever seen that made me psychologically uncomfortable (as opposed to squeamish). There were no silly jokes, it took itself quite seriously and I think it was on to something. As slashers go TCM is an intelligent and effective film that might even have a little bit of something to say.

Did I enjoy it? Eh...not exactly. ;)
Battie
post #29  on July 1, 2005 - 1:01 PM PDT  
> On July 1, 2005 - 9:23 AM PDT ahogue wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> I actually saw the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre for the first time not long ago. It was certianly low budget and silly in some ways, but I was rather impressed. It may be the only slasher I've ever seen that made me psychologically uncomfortable (as opposed to squeamish). There were no silly jokes, it took itself quite seriously and I think it was on to something. As slashers go TCM is an intelligent and effective film that might even have a little bit of something to say.
>
> Did I enjoy it? Eh...not exactly. ;)
> ---------------------------------

LoL! Like I said, it weren't trash. ;P I thought it was disturbing (which is almost the same thing as psyhologically uncomfortable). >:D

But yeah, I usually rate horror movies on whether or not I enjoyed them, so my opinions usually leave little for a grey area.
vexkitten
post #30  on July 1, 2005 - 2:12 PM PDT  
> On July 1, 2005 - 9:23 AM PDT ahogue wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> I actually saw the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre for the first time not long ago. It was certianly low budget and silly in some ways, but I was rather impressed. It may be the only slasher I've ever seen that made me psychologically uncomfortable (as opposed to squeamish). There were no silly jokes, it took itself quite seriously and I think it was on to something. As slashers go TCM is an intelligent and effective film that might even have a little bit of something to say.
>
> Did I enjoy it? Eh...not exactly. ;)
> ---------------------------------

Exactly! Psychologically uncomfortable -perfect. That's why it lives on. The best horror movies - from Psycho to NOTLD to Don't look Now to many of Cronenberg's films - have that ability to get under your skin. They're playing for keeps.

Eighties horror is fun for the squishy effects, but so much of it is silly. If you can't believe the world it's taking place in, it can't disturb.
Return of the Living Dead is a lot of fun mainly due to the excellent performances and interaction of the older actors (and Thom Mathews), and Dead Alive (aka Braindead-see this cut if you can) and Re-animator are hilarious. I do appreciate those movies. But true "scary" horror largely vanished during the Eighties. There was The Fly, of course, though it inspired pity and revulsion more than fear. Aliens was grueling (read Ebert's review) but is still more an action film.
David Edelstein, btw, is one of the few critics who really seems to appreciate horror and its role in film history.
I think one reason M. Night is so poular, despite his gimickry and theft, is that he goes for a real atmosphere of dread (I'd like to see him direct someone ele's screenplays) that was missing for many years.
Can anyone think of any seriously scary Eighties horror? There is The Shining, though it began production in the Seventies.

underdog
post #31  on July 1, 2005 - 3:52 PM PDT  
> On July 1, 2005 - 2:12 PM PDT vexkitten wrote:

> Can anyone think of any seriously scary Eighties horror? There is The Shining, though it began production in the Seventies.
>
> ---------------------------------

The better ones from that decade, imho, were more of the funny-scary kind, like Gremlins, Poltergeist (though, as said above, it really *is* genuinely scary/spooky, too), ReAnimator, Fright Night, the Evil Dead movies...

I always thought Wolfen was pretty scary...

Scanners? The Howling? Critters. Basket Case.

I guess Alien is 1979, so that doesn't count.

Generally, yeah, the 80s were a sucky period for straight out quality horror.



vexkitten
post #32  on July 1, 2005 - 4:18 PM PDT  
> On July 1, 2005 - 3:52 PM PDT underdog wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> > On July 1, 2005 - 2:12 PM PDT vexkitten wrote:
>
> > Can anyone think of any seriously scary Eighties horror? There is The Shining, though it began production in the Seventies.
> >
> > ---------------------------------
>
> The better ones from that decade, imho, were more of the funny-scary kind, like Gremlins, Poltergeist (though, as said above, it really *is* genuinely scary/spooky, too)

Poltergeist didn't quite do it for me. I liked the slow build, but when it hit the fan it was too much, like one of those carnival rides where you wait to see what pops out next. The individual set-pieces were fun, but I couldn't take it seriously.

ReAnimator, Fright Night, the Evil Dead movies...

The former and latter are "splatstick" and are great favorites of mine. ED 1 is actually scary at times, but the low-budget effects did it in.
I made a friend watch Fright Night a few years ago. Time has not been kind to it.
>
> I always thought Wolfen was pretty scary...

There you go! Wolfen was pretty griping, as I recall.
>
> Scanners?

AGreat action/grossout, but not scary.

The Howling?

I love the Howling, but again, more funny.

Critters.

Sorry, I didn't hear that. Temporary deafness.

Basket Case.

Sick and funny. Great sleaze/horror.
>
> I guess Alien is 1979, so that doesn't count.

Not technically, though it was a gigantic influence, and still is. Now THAT was scary, especially at the time.
>
> Generally, yeah, the 80s were a sucky period for straight out quality horror.


Sad but true. Maybe Manhunter counts. I dunno - it is horror?

The Nineties saw a sort of horror revival in the form of the dark serial killer genre (Seven, SilenceOtL.) But it also gave us Kevin Williamson and his nudge-nudge wink-wink routine. (I've only seen Scream 1 and The Faculty. That was enough for me.)

I find it interesting that the sons and daughters of 7 and Silence are all over TV nowadays (and every one of them should pay royalties to Thomas Harris.) I can't believe how graphic some of those procedural shows are, and I'm not exactly squeamish. Do parents have to lock up their kids when these shows come on?
vexkitten
post #33  on July 1, 2005 - 4:20 PM PDT  
> On June 30, 2005 - 5:52 AM PDT Battie wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> > On June 29, 2005 - 6:43 PM PDT Eoliano wrote:
> > ---------------------------------
> > > Hmm...lately, on several threads, you seem to take rather dramatic issue with some of my comments. Did I type or do something to offend you that I'm not aware of?
> >
>
> > ---------------------------------
My most sincere apologies.

From this point on, I'll try real hard to be a shepherd...
ahogue
post #34  on July 1, 2005 - 6:20 PM PDT  
> On July 1, 2005 - 1:01 PM PDT Battie wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> > On July 1, 2005 - 9:23 AM PDT ahogue wrote:
> > ---------------------------------
> >
> > Did I enjoy it? Eh...not exactly. ;)
> > ---------------------------------
>
> LoL! Like I said, it weren't trash. ;P I thought it was disturbing (which is almost the same thing as psyhologically uncomfortable). >:D
-----

Hey! It might seem wordy, but I think it's a little more specific than "disturbing". ;)


> ------
> But yeah, I usually rate horror movies on whether or not I enjoyed them, so my opinions usually leave little for a grey area.
> ---------------------------------

I don't think any of us would prefer to be caught in a dark alley with someone who enjoyed TCM the way someone might enjoy -- oh, I don't know -- E.T.

But there is something to it. A movie like TCM revolves around the same thing that a disaster movie does: the frightening "what if" questions that most people feel the need to ask themselves once in a while. What would I do if The Big Earthquake hit right now? How would I survive? What would I do if I were being chased by a guy with a chainsaw? There's a certain satisfaction many people get from confront ing that sort of uncertainty.

TCM takes this farther. It sets out to explore the limits of human perversity. No one knows what those limits are, exactlty. In our personal experience of the world, we would be astronomically unlucky to even meet a serial killer, but we still worry about it, because we know it isn't impossible. And, in a way, though the true story ploy is annoying, it does bring out that central question: just how horrible can people be? Just how bad can things get? What is the limit, the point at which some kind of optimism about human nature comes in and what plays out on the screen becomes absurd?

Probably the most brilliant thing about TCM is that it's not a random individual, it's a whole family of lunatics. This brings up (whether we really realize it or not) a psychological element lacking in most (all other?) slasher flicks. And when I watched the "family dinner" sequence, I have to admit I laughed. It tipped over into the absurd for me, but at the same time I wasn't sure, just not quite certain that it really was absurd. It forced me to confront my uncertainty about human nature, about not so much goodness and evil as how far human deviance could go.

So, I didn't enjoy that, and I won't run out to see it again, but there is a kind of satisfaction in it. People "enjoy" all kinds of stange things for all kinds of reasons.

Can anyone recommend another actually good slasher movie? Granted, part of the definition of the genre is that it's bad in some way, but I mean something that is serious and has some redeeming value? I can't think of another off the top of my head.
vexkitten
post #35  on July 1, 2005 - 8:23 PM PDT  
> I don't think any of us would prefer to be caught in a dark alley with someone who enjoyed TCM the way someone might enjoy -- oh, I don't know -- E.T.

****

I don't see the distinction. One is manipulation of our fears, the other emotional manipulation.
And remember, the guy who made E.T. also showed us a child being munched by a giant shark.
Jerk us to the left, jerk us to the right.

****

>

And when I watched the "family dinner" sequence, I have to admit I laughed. It tipped over into the absurd for me, but at the same time I wasn't sure, just not quite certain that it really was absurd.

****

It WAS funny. Some have even taken it as satire of the Nixon years (seriously.) The chainsaw family are the "silent majority" who dissaprove of the loose young 'uns. It's a stretch, but the best genre films have all kinds of possible subtext (look at Night and Dawn of the Dead.)

****

It forced me to confront my uncertainty about human nature, about not so much goodness and evil as how far human deviance could go.
>
> So, I didn't enjoy that, and I won't run out to see it again, but there is a kind of satisfaction in it. People "enjoy" all kinds of stange things for all kinds of reasons.

***

Thou dost protest too much. Lighten up and embrace your yang. One cannot live by Ozu and Rohmer alone.

***
>
> Can anyone recommend another actually good slasher movie? Granted, part of the definition of the genre is that it's bad in some way, but I mean something that is serious and has some redeeming value? I can't think of another off the top of my head.
> ---------------------------------

Well, Psycho, of course, is a great film. And how about Repulsion?

Halloween (but none of its sequels) is an undisputed genre classic. It's a veriable course in generating suspense on film; and like Texas Chainsaw, it's virtually gore-free (yet people will tell you they saw all kinds of horrors that were'nt actually on the screen.)
The sequels go through the motions with none of the style; the body counts go up and the gore becomes graphic. F13 was a Halloween imitation, but the Halloween sequels mimic F13 until the two series become indistinguishable from one another.

I'm not sure Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer counts. Now there's a movie that makes you think twice about why you're watching it -which, I'd argue, is intentional. Funny Games also deconstructs the genre brilliantly. Both of these will make you feel seriously yucky.
American Psycho is more of a satire, but it's better than the redundant, pretentious, sadistic novel its based on.
I know Abel Ferrara's Driller Killer has its admirers, but I haven't seen it.
http://www.hysteria-lives.co.uk/hysterialives/Hysteria/driller_killer.html


After that it gets pretty slim, unless you really like makeup effects, bad dialogue and holidays. My Bloody Groundhog Day? How about Uncle Sam killing people with fireworks on the Fourth of July? Surprised no one's done that yet.

vexkitten
post #36  on July 1, 2005 - 8:29 PM PDT  
> On June 29, 2005 - 5:42 PM PDT Eoliano wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> > Don't Look Now...there's a memorable sex scene.
> (Depressing news - apparently a remake is slated.
>
> How dare they!

Yeah. It's one of the spookiest films ever. And you just know that if it doesn't suck completely, it will be praised in a "could have been worse" left-handed compliment sort of way, like the Dawn of the Dead remake.

Ready to be even more depressed? The Wicker Man is also slated for regurgitation. Starring Nic Cage. No kidding.
Battie
post #37  on July 1, 2005 - 11:35 PM PDT  
> On July 1, 2005 - 6:20 PM PDT ahogue wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Hey! It might seem wordy, but I think it's a little more specific than "disturbing". ;)
>

>:P I like wordy. Ask Sonja. ^_^ And yes, it is. I was agreeing with you. :P

> I don't think any of us would prefer to be caught in a dark alley with someone who enjoyed TCM the way someone might enjoy -- oh, I don't know -- E.T.
>
> But there is something to it. A movie like TCM revolves around the same thing that a disaster movie does: the frightening "what if" questions that most people feel the need to ask themselves once in a while. What would I do if The Big Earthquake hit right now? How would I survive? What would I do if I were being chased by a guy with a chainsaw? There's a certain satisfaction many people get from confront ing that sort of uncertainty.
>
> TCM takes this farther. It sets out to explore the limits of human perversity. No one knows what those limits are, exactlty. In our personal experience of the world, we would be astronomically unlucky to even meet a serial killer, but we still worry about it, because we know it isn't impossible. And, in a way, though the true story ploy is annoying, it does bring out that central question: just how horrible can people be? Just how bad can things get? What is the limit, the point at which some kind of optimism about human nature comes in and what plays out on the screen becomes absurd?
>
> Probably the most brilliant thing about TCM is that it's not a random individual, it's a whole family of lunatics. This brings up (whether we really realize it or not) a psychological element lacking in most (all other?) slasher flicks. And when I watched the "family dinner" sequence, I have to admit I laughed. It tipped over into the absurd for me, but at the same time I wasn't sure, just not quite certain that it really was absurd. It forced me to confront my uncertainty about human nature, about not so much goodness and evil as how far human deviance could go.
>
> So, I didn't enjoy that, and I won't run out to see it again, but there is a kind of satisfaction in it. People "enjoy" all kinds of stange things for all kinds of reasons.
>
> Can anyone recommend another actually good slasher movie? Granted, part of the definition of the genre is that it's bad in some way, but I mean something that is serious and has some redeeming value? I can't think of another off the top of my head.
> ---------------------------------

...Whoa, you really thought about it. I guess overexposure to bad horror has lessened my ability to think about why a horror movie is scary or not. >_> Plus, I saw many of the classics after I'd seen many of the trashics.

I saw Castle Freak on some movie channel a long time ago...I wouldn't call it an amazing horror, but there were some parts that truly, truly left me feeling sick. Not too-much-gore sick, either. It's a kind of monster/slasher flick. To be honest though, I'm not sure a guy would find it as disturbing as a woman. ^_^

I thought The Dentist sucked as a horro movie, but it still gave me some hella willies.

The first Hellraiser or two were disturbing. *shudder*

I haven't seen Audition yet...but I've seen enough short clips that I'm not so sure I want to. Freaked me out. >_>
Battie
post #38  on July 1, 2005 - 11:48 PM PDT  
> On July 1, 2005 - 4:20 PM PDT vexkitten wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> My most sincere apologies.
>
> From this point on, I'll try real hard to be a shepherd...
>
> ---------------------------------

Hmm...I don't think I got that crack. >_> As my mother used to say, "A 747!"


Why do I never hear anyone mention 976-EVIL? I thought it was a rather interesting horror, in 80s' fashion. >:P I forget why it was somewhat good...beyond the fact that the evil kid took such creepy delight in his crimes (same guy who was in Fright Night as the kid-turned-vamp, so imagine his laugh when doing certain things).
vexkitten
post #39  on July 2, 2005 - 2:19 PM PDT  
MAY!
How could I forget? Arguable whether it's a slasher film, but it's one of the better horror films of recent years. The director creates sympathy for and identification with the titular character, which makes the ending all the more disturbing. And Angela Bettis is damn good.
Heh heh. I said "titular."
ahogue
post #40  on July 2, 2005 - 4:42 PM PDT  
> On July 1, 2005 - 8:23 PM PDT vexkitten wrote:
> ---------------------------------
>
> I don't see the distinction. One is manipulation of our fears, the other emotional manipulation.
> And remember, the guy who made E.T. also showed us a child being munched by a giant shark.
> Jerk us to the left, jerk us to the right.
> ---------

One is extremely unpleasant and the other one isn't. Well, actually if I had to choose I'd probably watch TMC instead of E.T.


-------
> It WAS funny. Some have even taken it as satire of the Nixon years (seriously.) The chainsaw family are the "silent majority" who dissaprove of the loose young 'uns. It's a stretch, but the best genre films have all kinds of possible subtext (look at Night and Dawn of the Dead.)
-------

I'm curious what Tobe Hooper thought he was doing.


------
> > So, I didn't enjoy that, and I won't run out to see it again, but there is a kind of satisfaction in it. People "enjoy" all kinds of stange things for all kinds of reasons.
>
> ***
>
> Thou dost protest too much. Lighten up and embrace your yang. One cannot live by Ozu and Rohmer alone.
-----

Who said I did? I'm interested in why people enjoy things that are unpleasant.

Thanks for the recommendations. I never really thought of Repulsion in this category, but I suppose that works. I saw Henry a long time ago and think that's another one I won't be watching again, though as I recall it was very good.

No one has mentioned Dario Argento, but he did some films which I think qualify as slasher movies.
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