May 12, 2007


I love zombie films. Really, horror films in general, but there's a special place in my heart for the living dead. George Romero is a master of the horror film as cultural criticism, the utter antithesis of Wes Craven, and, while Craven is undoubtedly (and tragically) the standard for the genre today, films in the Romeroean tradition do get made every few years. Such is an occasion for celebration.

28 days later was one of the best of these celebration-worthy zombie films in the last, let's say, ten years, if not the best. So a sequel is not completely out of order, and would normally also be an occasion for celebration. Except that ***SLIGHT SPOILERS AHEAD, THOUGH IF YOU CARE ABOUT THE ZOMBIE GENRE AT ALL YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN THIS SOMETIME IN THE LAST FIVE YEARS, AND IF YOU DON'T CARE GET WHY ARE YOU READING THIS POST*** the plague which caused the rise of the zombies is completely under control at the end of the film. No more zombies, a fortiori no sequels.

Hence, when I see ads for a logically impossible sequel, I immediately conclude that some douchebag at Fox is trying to turn artistic excellence into a shill for some overbudgeted and underdirected condescending piece of crap. Once again, artistic excellence is sacrificed to pleonexia, I pretend I'm an Aristotelean instead of a Kantian, and the world gets just that much more depressing. The lame-ass ripoff of a title certainly isn't any cause of optimism.

I therefore don't pay attention to the release dates, until I happen across Amanda's fine review of Days (which, incidentally, you should go read and comment upon after reading and commenting upon this post). Weeks comes out this weekend, and by virtue of having the attention span of a squirrel I wander over to IMDb to see which team of hacks have been brought on board to realise the philistine dreams of Rupert Murdoch's underlings.

It turns out the set of hacks significantly intersect the brilliant auteurs behind Intacto and a number of other highly-praised productions of la cinema espagnole (which, incidentally, I feel is to the current decade as la Nouvelle Vague was to the '60s).

So now I have to go see Weeks. Obnoxiously, I started reading the Pandagon post at 1:30, the exact moment at which the only matinee screening at my local megaplex commenced.


Unknown said...

What's wrong with Wes Craven?

Noumena said...

I've never enjoyed a film that came with his name attached. They're all plotless excuses to watch a monster track down and dismember photogenic teenagers.

Unknown said...

I respectfully disagree. Horror, specifically slasher style horror, is not my cup of tea. But I can at least recognize when it is being done well. "A Nightmare on Elm Street" is a classic, and "Scream" made it cool to deconstruct, which is something I would have thought any fan of Joss Whedon's would appreciate. I have no doubt that Wes Craven has made (or attached his name to) more than his share of clunkers. But even if you don't like them, you must concede that those two films were each incredibly influential, and no one responsible for making two incredibly influential films should be dismissed lightly.

MosBen said...

I think there's a distinction to be made between recognizing someone's historical importance and appreciating their work. Recognizing that Wes Craven is a towering figure in the horror genre doesn't mean he makes what I would consider to be good movies. I've never particularly liked the horror genre, but as I got older I realized that's it's not scary movies that I don't like, it's Wes Craven's movies and their decendents. Yes, Craven did a lot of original work reinventing the genre, but I've never found the movies particularly compelling and therefore agree with noumena that it's a shame his brand of horror has become so influential. If he had made something like 28 Days Later or The Ring way back in the late 70s/early 80s I might like the genre as a whole more.