Thursday, October 7, 2010

Three Films Make A Post: You Are Who You Eat

A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010): Remakes don't have it easy. When they're completely changing their source material, we complain that they are so different from it that we can't see why the producers didn't just make a wholly original film. When they are keeping close to the original movie, we complain that we don't see why there's a need for a remake at all when it's only trying to reproduce the original as closely as possible.

The Nightmare remake tends to the latter version. Sure, the script changes up a few thing (to neutral effect), but keeps most of the iconic dream sequences and much of the basic structure of the original. Even some of the dialogue is the same.

Still, there's a decided difference in feel between the two movies: where Craven's original feels like the work of someone trying to stretch the teen slasher formula by applying intelligence and creativity, the remake is like a third generation photocopy of creativity and intelligence. In theory, it's the same thing as the original, in practice, it's serviceable for times when you don't have the original at hand.

Into The Darkness (1986): British would-be slasher (or is it a would-be giallo) about a shadowy figure stalking and slashing a fashion shoot in Malta while the viewer tries not to fall asleep or go blind from its visual blandness seems to be out to prove we Europeans can produce even worse shot-on-video crap than our North American brethren. In that respect, the film's a fantastic success, as it is in being the only horror film I can remember that's evil enough to torture me with Chris Rea on its soundtrack.

Don't expect the appearance of much blood and nakedness to keep you from drifting off; there's only a small appearance of Donald Pleasence (who is probably only in here at all because his daughter is playing one of the leads) to look forward to, and that only if you like your heroes to look embarrassed.


Shadows in the Garden (2002): Extremely neat dialogue-less (but not soundless) short by Wayne Spitzer about two creatures of the night stalking a town with the picturesque name of Cthulhu Gardens. One is a serial killer active during the nights of the full moon, the other a melancholic swamp creature trying to hold on to who he once was. Both do of course cross paths.

This is one of those no-budget shorts that manages to make its technical problems virtues, and so the graininess and imprecision of its pictures evokes a sad and melancholic note. It's the short film treated as a form of narrative poetry.


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