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Author Topic: why do they do this?
JBSkaggs
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Why are so many movies based around the Scooby Method of horror?

What I mean is they promise supernatural terror but give us rationalized creatures.

The Village is one example. Brotherhood of the Wolf is another. And dozens of others.

here's the problem I get sold by previews to see a movie about a monster and when I see the movie I discover it wasn't a monster but uncle Joe in costume pretending! Aiighhhh! Is there a prejudice against supernatural movies?

While I'm ranting:
The other extreme is to create a movie about say vampires no expense spared. But then turn it into a kung fu movie where the action is so cheesy that it is as pleasent as listening to nails on chalkboards. Is it more expensive to make a good movie or what? I mean you have to CHOOSE to make a bad movie. Every scene is crafted to spec. Does hollywood hate us?

Where are all the good supernatural movies?

Fitfully pissed off at my movie rental choices.

JB SKAGGS


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HSO
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I feel your pain, brother. Haven't rented a movie in over two years. Nothing really seems worthwhile anymore. I'd rather read.

But dang it, I'm going to see this last Star Wars! And it better be good, Lucas. You hear me! If I see Jar-Jar in any scene, I'm going to blow up the entire world!

[This message has been edited by HSO (edited May 18, 2005).]


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Christine
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Interesting that Star Wars gets brought up in a thread about awful movies....

I'm waiting for ten guinea pigs....er....people....to tell me it's everything the first two weren't and not only is it worth the $7.50 I paid for it, but it will essentially recoop my $15 worth of losses for the first two....if I don't have ten people telling me it's *that* good then I'll wait for Netflix. I'm sick of throwing money away.

Actually, JBSkaggs, it's not just horror. The movie industry is in a rut. I can't remember the last time it made an original story in any genre. Lately, the only movies I watch are adaptations of books I enjoyed reading. (Hitchiker's Guide, Harry Potter...) But they're never as good as the books and, IMHO, the movie industry would do better at maximizing their own special visual/audio powers to create new works that really take advantage of that.

So we've got action:

1. Some guy seeks revenge after his wife/child/girlfriend/best friend is killed by evil bad guy.

2. Some powerful agency has super-secret conspiracy that hero A must uncover before it is too late.

Romance:

1. Person A is engaged but not happy until they meet person B and figure out that true love is all about the excited lust of first attraction. (Sorry, did I put my own personal biases into that description?)

2. Beautiful people get together after first having silly disagreements that make little to no sense.

Hey...I did watch a pretty good one of these recently, come to think of it. It's on video, so it won't even cost you all thta much...The Notebook. A woman who's losing her memory gets read her story out of journals she wrote so she wouldn't forget.

Horror:

1. What JBSkagges said.

2. Menace attacks small town. Hero destroys menace after several failed attempts and after many people, usually including a black guy, die. Then he gets the girl who usually did not do anything useful, even when she could have done something as simple as picking up and throwing him a weapon.

I'm done with the cliche rant...I'm off to write more apparently cliched stories. One of these days I sear I'm going to come up with something original. Watch, when that happens it will be TOO original.

[This message has been edited by Christine (edited May 18, 2005).]


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Three Minute Egg
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JB - you're obviously one of those meddling kids!

I think the days of "The Creature From The Black Lagoon" are gone, replaced by sci-fi "Aliens" ripoffs and animals-on-steroids like "Lake Placid".

I liked the "Blade" trilogy (I think these are the vampire-kung fu movies you are talking about), same with John Carpenter's "Vampires" ("Los Muertos" was a stinkeroo, IMO). Action movies masquerading as horror flicks, to be sure.

I was overseas when "The Village" came out, so I didn't see the hype. I bought it unseen because M Night Shyamalan did it and I liked his previous work. If they billed it as a monster movie, then you were definitely mislead.

Horror flick makers have turned to Chuckie, his bride, his son, his Uncle Slaughter-Me-Elmo, his second cousin, etc etc. Not a lot of originality out there. I think the Hollywood types are using the same group of six-year-olds as their test audience. And it HAS to be more expensive to make a crappy movie, since they get nothing back for it.

Scooby Method of Horror = funny stuff!


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ChrisOwens
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I rather liked the Village. Not as good as Signs or Unbreakable, but it was my styrofoam cuppa of Dr. Pepper with crushed ice.

I second that one Star Wars...


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Robyn_Hood
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I think this started innocently enough with authors like Sir Arthur Connon Doyle.

Instead of writing a suspense story that is based wholey in the unexplained, Doyle used science, deductive reasoning and forensics to prove that in the natural world, things have rational explainations. Consider "The Hound of the Baskervilles". People are convinced that there is a curse and a monster. Holmes says, rubbish -- there's no such thing, there is a perfectly reasonable explaination.

Scooby sort of plays with that idea and ends up ruining everything. I've tried to watch Scooby-doo, but can never handle it for long because it is just too over the top to be enjoyable for me.

I never saw The Village, mostly because I'm not an Shamalan (sp?) fan. Brotherhood of the Wolf -- I didn't mind it, but it wasn't great.

If I'm expecting one thing, then I'm disappointed when it isn't delivered (I was actually very let down by Men in Black because I was expecting a different kind of movie. Now that I've accepted it, I quite enjoy it.). I was also a little wary of Sleepy Hollow for exactly the reason you mention. I was expecting a fanatasy movie, but then there is Johnny Depp with all his scientific stuff, out to prove, like Sherlock Holmes, that there are no such things as monsters except the ones we creat in our own minds. But then it laughed in the face of science and went on to be a really good fantasy flick.

I think that rambles, so feel free to ignore it.

Also, I agree with you about the movies. I'm not sure why they choose to blow big budgets on bad movie making. Couldn't they just pay an extra few dollars for a good script with an actual plot? If the story is strong enough, they can hire extras for the bit parts instead of paying big money to have stars make cameos.

Good Supernatural movies...I'd have to think about that. Besides Sleepy Hollow, nothing really comes to mind. The Prophesy movies were ok as were the Evil Dead movies (except that they really play for the laughs). I saw Van Hellsing, and was mildly disappointed -- however it had a few entertaining moments. I really enjoyed The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but I don't think that's quite what you're looking for.


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rjzeller
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I saw an early preview of 'Sith -- IMHO it is considerably better than the first two. Acting still stinks (especially Portman, she seems to be getting worse instead of better), and Lucas seems to forget even the loosly held laws of physics in his own universe at times. But the story is fun, the action and scenery are top notch, and none of that silly mucking about with Jar jar.

I'm sworn to secrecy about what actually goes on in the film, but I think they did a good job of tying it all together. Yeah, there were some issues which we can all discuss AFTER it's been officially released, but heck -- I really enjoyed it (something I could NOT say about the first two).

Oh yeah...unless your 5-year old is like my five year old, you probably don't want to take them to this one...

(My five year old thougth Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park II and III were small potatoes...sigh...I know, I suck at parenting).

Z

P.S. -- I agree with JB about much of what he said -- especially teh Village...what a ripoff. Why can't Hollywood just give us what they promise. I had the same reaction after Even Horizon for different reasons, but it still boiled down to "you promised A, but ended up giving me B...bleh!"


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Christine
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Ugh! Robyn_Hood, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen? I'm afraid I've lost some respect for you with that one. That movie is on my list of worst movies of all time! It was almost as bad as Battlefield Earth, which is my benchmark for bad movies. It's not the number one worst, but if I say that a movie, such as The Forgotten, is *worse* than Battlfield Earth...<shudder>
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Robyn_Hood
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LOL

What was so bad about the League?

The special effects were good, the action seemed to move and it had pretty well all my favourite 19th century literary heros all in one story! I didn't take it too seriously and while it has flaws, it wasn't that bad. And it had Sean Connery!!!! No matter how bad the movie, if you get to watch Sean, then it's at least worth the price of a rental. And Sawyer and Dorian Grey were easy on the eyes, too.

So there.


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Christine
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Well....for starters, I almost always agree with you about Sean Connery, but I found his acting in this particular movie to be abysmal. It's almost as if he knew he was too good for the part.

And then, what business did Tom Sawyer have with a group of 19th-century European literary figures?

Actually, though, the movie lost me in the very first scene when they had that tank roll into the late 1800's.


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Elan
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I ranted on this topic in another thread, so I won't repeat it here. Suffice it to say, I lament the fact that there is nothing new under the sun, particularly in Hollywood.

Jar-Jar Binks, aka "The Jamaican Rabbit". I think Lucas needs to quit trying to make new versions of ewoks in every movie. I heard that Jar-Jar is seen but not heard in the movie.

I felt Lucas lost his edge - he created the first Star Wars by integrating much of the archetypal mythology found in Joseph Campbell's work, but he seemed to have lost his way. Let's just say the Force wasn't with him in these last two movies. I am not holding my breath for this upcoming installment, but I'm cautiously optimistic based on what I've been hearing about it.

In a way, Lucas is a victim of his own success. Old geezers like me can remember sitting in that darkened theater to see the FIRST movie in 1977. It was a thrill unlike anything we'd ever seen. The blue screen/miniature technique in film-making was brand-new. There had been absolutely nothing to rival Star Wars up to that point, with the exception of 2001: A Space Odyssey. The power of that opening sequence when the big ship flies over your head, followed by a much bigger ship that seemed to go on forever took our breath away.

I want that experience again, and I doubt I'll ever get it. Special effects have become hum-drum. There will never be another Star Wars experience like that one. Not even if George Lucas does it.


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rjzeller
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I'm with Christine here. League just stunk, period. It had the potential to be a cool idea...but it went wrong in so many places.

I mean.. Tom Sawyer?? How does HE fit in with all those others?

And the Tank was just a primer. Could they at least please decide which era they wanted to set the movie in? And how about sailing a massive sub deep into the "streets" or canals of Venice....please. When you have three feet clearance on either side of a vessel that huge, how do you expect to displace enough water to get moving again after you've stopped?

I'll admit that I liked Van Helsing, despite how wretchedly wrong most of THAT flick was, too... but League was just so much MORE outrageous....


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Robyn_Hood
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Actually, I just did some checking, and the tank is only about 10 years out of place. The movie was set in 1899 and the first attempt at a tank was finished in 1909.
http://www.tankmuseum.org/colevolution.html

As far the mechanizations for the movie in general, I just put in the same league as Wild Wild West. Science, both in reality and in fiction, really started to hit its stride in the late 1800s and early 1900s. In a way, I see TLOEG as sort of paying homage to all that as well as to the writers of that era. I would like to find the graphic novel that the movie was based on, just to see how the concept started.

I guess I just didn't take it that seriously and enjoyed the story enough to be entertained.

I'll agree with you on Sawyer, but he was just so gosh, darn cute.

(Apologies to JBSkaggs for taking your thread so far off track. I'll try to behave now. )

[This message has been edited by Robyn_Hood (edited May 18, 2005).]


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HSO
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It was the Ewoks in Return of the Jedi that ruined it. The first half of that movie was good. Then fuzzy teddy bears ruined it. What the heck was he thinking?

He had young kids and spent too much time watching Fraggle Rock and Sesame Street with them -- that's what happened.

I think I liked Fraggle Rock, though...


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rjzeller
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One more thing ...

**SPOILER ALERT **

Based on HSO's thread I think the world's about to end. But be ye not dismayed...no speaking parts for the carribean lizard this time...

okay...not much of a spoiler. But just so HSO doesn't pop a cog, you see jar jar for all of about 4 seconds.


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JBSkaggs
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Okay another thing... this is in books, games, and comics. Just how many people actually think their story about a dark god of war(death/murder/satan/necromancy) has a son on earth (or myth planet) who as a child is a loser but suddenly is the toughest most powerful killer in the universe who though has to sword fight for supremacy (because gods really can't use god powers must have kung fu fight) and becomes world ruler then vanishes to wander the eart as a WANDERER! :eek!: Is original?

You know the really cool thing about older fantasy- was that Frodo remained Frodo he didn't become a god. In the Black Cauldron the pig keeper remained a pig keeper. We think charcter growth means peasant to god (king is not good enough anymore).

Remember Dragon Slayer? The boy tried to become a wizard- he tried to become the dragonslayer. But he didn't, he wasn't a god. He was a boy. The movie had some flaws but it was a good fantasy.

So they remake it today- Reign of Fire. Dragons can't be killed by modern weaponry- only by crossbows with a range of fifty feet. Come on people.

Star Wars... after having had run ins with people who actually believe Star Wars is real and that they will establish a real Jedi presence in politics and culture. I don't mean fans of star wars I mean religious adherents.

So a lot of my enjoyment of those movies has been polluted by those people's actions.

Two interesting movies i saw last week:

Riding the Silver Bullet and Undertow.

JB SKAGGS


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Dark Country
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>>>>Is there a prejudice against supernatural movies?

No, I don't think so, but they're just too damn hard to make. There's a theory among one school of horror writer that the closed door is always scarier than what's actually behind the door. It's difficult in the age of wonderful special effects to keep the door closed . . . or at least not to open it all the way. If you want to see a really great supernatural horror movie, rent the 1960's version of THE HAUNTING. Good stuff. Creepy and scary.

To your initial point--why the Scoobie Doo horror?--there's a few of things to think about. First, it makes money. Second, it's gives the audience a twist ending, and audiences seem to like that. Third, horror fans aren't big into creepy movies as they are into disturbing movies . . . and horror movie makers known this. I'm not, but, then, I think the old school of horror is the best.


Of course there's the simple fact that 99% of everything in the horror genre is crap, which sadly means that good horror movies are very rare indeed.

You might want to pick up a copy of Stephen King's DANSE MACABRE and read the chapters on horror movies. He also gives a list of what he considers to be the best 100 horror films made between 1950 and 1980. I'm in the process of working my way through this list. They're not recent, but, gosh, some of them are great films.


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Dark Country
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>>>>And it HAS to be more expensive to make a crappy movie, since they get nothing back for it.

No, that's not right.

Horror movies make money. Even bad ones. They are relatively inexpensive to make, and there is an audience ready to see them, no matter how bad they are, and so they generally make back at least eight times as much it cost to actually produce the movie. The writers and directors know this, and so does Hollywood . . . and in the end, Hollywood is always willing to make a quick buck.

What's really strange is that horror fans are more than willing to sit through a bad film or read a bad book. IN fact, most expect the movie or book to be bad. Why do they do it? Because they're hoping beyond hope that the next movie they see or the next novel they read will give them the experience they want.

[This message has been edited by Dark Country (edited May 18, 2005).]


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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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One of the reasons movie makers deliberately make bad movies (and they are deliberate) is something called "joint accounting."

What this means is that if they put the accounting for a bunch of movies together, even if one of them is a blockbuster and does great at the box office, the overall profit among the bunch of movies isn't so good, so they don't have to pay people who have contracted for a percentage of the profit as much as they would if the accounting is done separately.

It's a very ugly trick they pull, but they are able to get away with it.

So if you ever sell movie rights to something you've written to Hollywood, remember that you might be better off asking for a lump sum instead of a percentage of the profits.

The ideal thing, which I don't think anyone ever actually manages to get, would be a percentage of the box office take. Even a fraction of a percent of that on a good movie would be more than any movie maker would be willing to pay anyone but themselves.


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Three Minute Egg
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Elan - I think we're dating ourselves, but I agree with "the thrill" of that opening scene in Star Wars - I must have seen it a million times and felt the hairs crawling on my neck every time.

Spec effects aren't dead - wait until holographics make their debut. Imagine a battle scene where soldiers are fighting all around you, not just on the screen.


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wbriggs
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I wouldn't know where to look!

I talked to somebody who had pitched a script. He said they have one major question they always ask: has it been done before? If the answer is no, forget it.

This would explain the stunning lack of originality at the cinema.


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mikemunsil
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I was so abysmally disappointed with the shoddy science in Star Wars (first one) that I haven't ever beeen able to watch another all the way through. I got up and walked out of that movie when it first came out, just cussing Lucas. Too bad, it could have been fun if he had paid at least lip service to basic science, or if he had made it so far over the top that it was fun that way.
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Minister
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As much as I've enjoyed the original three at times, I've had a hard time suspending disbelief too.
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Lullaby Lady
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...SIGH... Still waiting and hoping for Ender's Game...

Maybe it has to do with something Kathleen said. Maybe they're waiting for that wave of "good movies" to come back around?

Oh, please, don't let Hollywood screw up Uncle Orson's masterpiece!


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Jules
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quote:
Actually, I just did some checking, and the tank is only about 10 years out of place. The movie was set in 1899 and the first attempt at a tank was finished in 1909.

The concept of a tank already existed even earlier, even if none had been built -- H G Wells' short story "The Land Ironclads" was published in 1903 and described a device somewhat similar to a tank.


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goatboy
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I suspect some of it has to do with who actually goes to watch the movies. Who has the time and the spendable cash, that is who the movie makers are going to play to. If your audience was watching Scooby chase ghosts last week, well...
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