This week is a lesson in contrasts. We've got two kid-friendly films and two that deal with topics perhaps not even adults should deal with. But, that's what makes us deviants right?, Deviating from the normal world of film. Enjoy it!
The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia (2013)
As this movie has been staring at me all week, I felt that it was my duty to let you know my thoughts. Let’s get that awful title out of the way first. Come on, “The Haunting in Georgia” would have sufficed. I get that you want to create a brand, but this isn't the best way to do it. OK, that’s done, let’s move on. Well, not quite. My home state of Georgia gives a tax break to people who film here so, over the last ten years or so, a lot of good horror has been made here. The Walking Dead, Zombieland, The Signal, and Halloween II; The Crazies was even filmed 2 miles from my house. So, you'd think that a movie set in Georgia would be filmed here, right? Nope. Anyways, both of my personal pet peeves out of the way. I really enjoyed The Haunting series that came on Discovery. The re-creations were very poorly-acted, but it was a nice way to spend an hour with the paranormal. Because of this, I was aware of the story for Ghosts of Georgia before I watched the film. And, it’s tired. We've all been here before; family moves into their dream house, daughter starts seeing things, they realize the house is built on sacred ground, they have to appease the ghosts, and so on and so on. With that as the groundwork, I don’t think this ever had hope of being worth a damn, but story isn’t everything. Sadly, though, there are no other legs to stand on here. It’s not scary, none of the effects are particularly memorable, the acting is Lifetime-worthy; it’s just not great for anyone other than teenage girls at a slumber party. If you disagree, as always, feel free to let me know, the link’s below. No need to keep the lights on, though.
I haven’t given a kid-friendly horror suggestion in a long time so, here goes. Are You Afraid of the Dark was a show I grew up on. Every episode started with a group of friends gathering around a campfire and each one would tell a story, each story was an episode. It’s dated, of course. It’s very 90’s. But there are some seriously creepy episodes, especially for kids. Think of it as a starter for Tales from the Crypt. My 6 and 7 year olds are starting to watch and love them, too. There are also lots of famous faces. Elisha Cuthbert, Neve Campbell, Ryan Gosling; the list is pretty long. You can find the majority of the episodes on YouTube (One of which I've included below) and, if you have Amazon Prime you can watch every episode from there, for free.
A Serbian Film (2010)
WARNING!!!!! Even the description or discussion of this movie may be very disturbing to some people. END OF WARNING. Just as a precursor, I can’t watch this movie again. I re-watched it to write this and twice was enough. Hell, once was one too many. So, here it is. The movie that beats Cannibal Holocaust, The Human Centipede(s), any Gaspar Noe, the rather tame now Faces of Death and, in the humble opinion of this narrator, any other movie that’s come so far. It’s truly Deviant. Milos is a retired porn star, but his wealth is beginning to dwindle. So, when an offer comes on the table that promises little work for great reward – he can't pass it up. However, Milos isn't given any details about the film he will soon be shooting; just that it’s cutting edge and they want his honest reactions to the scenes as they shoot them. That’s the skeleton right there. The flesh is what really holds the depravity. Because, what they're filming consists of some pretty crazy shit, even for a seasoned horror viewer. This list of just a few of the atrocities serves more as a continuation of the warning more than anything else: rape, torture, pedophilia, necrophilia, murder, dismemberment, incest and a few I just won’t even type on here. The last ten minutes or so are soul-crushing, I mean that. You’ll be messed up for days after this; you may never recover for all I know. The film is “supposedly” a commentary on how the Serbian government abuses and treats its citizens and that may be true, but it takes a great toll on the viewer to get that point across. Also, as you'll see, this is a screener copy; it’s the only one I could find with subtitles and it runs at 1:39; just shy of the 1:44 the director’s cut boats. But, I can’t tell what was cut out because all the worst stuff is there. Be careful, you were warned and good luck.
Before Alejandro Amenábar directed one of my favorite ghost movies, 2001’s The Others, he made Tesis (Thesis), a work that should go hand-in-hand with A Serbian Film. The film centers around Ángela, a student working on a thesis paper who finds a video that seems to be a snuff film. The mystery unfolds as she tries to find out who the victim is, who the killers were, why they would do this and, ultimately, could this happen to her. While it’s a great suspense/horror flick, it more importantly delves into why we want to see such atrocities. The film opens with Ángela on a train that’s just been stopped because a man threw himself onto the tracks. As the train is emptied, the loudspeaker projects, “Please form a line. Do not look at the tracks. There is nothing to see. Please continue moving.” But, as the gruesome scene comes nearer and nearer, she (and us as a secondary viewer) attempts to get closer and closer – hoping to see a glimpse of the carnage. This two minute scene makes you realize just how gore-hungry we all are. It’s the car wreck scenario; as scared as you are to look – you always do. I think it makes us see our own mortality and, like after viewing A Serbian Film, makes you realize how glad you are to be alive. I’m being a little more ‘glass is half full’ today which probably explains my optimism. To me, A Serbian Film represents pure horror that we all love (albeit a very disturbed horror) and Tesis is a love letter to finding those unknown gems we pass around. However you view the topic, watch the films alone or as a duo and let us know what you think.
Matt, Signing Out