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Where Have All The Classic Monsters Gone?

I was rewatching Van Helng recently and wondered, why did this film fail? What went wrong? It was a fun film that, wait a minute, did I say FUN? Ah, yes I did, and that’s the problem. It was fun. Not fun in the way that say Evil Dead is fun or say The Howling is fun. These films are fun in the sense that they relieve tenon and that release is a good thing, Kind of orgasmic really.

The key thing that creates tenon is realism. That is where the problem lies. Now before you say “Hey Mr. Trevor, r, these films are supposed to be fantastic, what are you talking about?!” let me explain. When we saw Eddie Quist turn into a wolf in The Howling before our very eyes, we were spellbound, or more honestly, we shit our pants! We believed and screamed or laughed, just to get the tenon out. Modern films don’t give us that. They give us imposble CGI monsters that don’t register with our emotional or phycal receptors. We don’t believe for one second that they are a threat, all we can say is…”that looked cool”.

Let’s start with the Universal’s remake of The Mummy. The script was written by Kevin Alexis Jarre and was fantastic, scary and mysterious. The first teaser trailer for the film was soaked in mystery and ominous tones, I was excited. Then the second trailer hit…oh well. What we got was a action adventure with a bloated budget and a cartoon like Mummy. I expected better from ILM, that’s what I get. At no point is the movie good, did I have fun? Yes. Do I even call it a horror movie? Not really. It is Indiana Jones and the Curse of the Pharaohs Tomb with Brendan Fraer as Indiana Jones.

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sinful Celluloid Wednesday 3/21/2012 at 03:05 AM | 91599
I understand where you're coming from, to a degree. The two films referenced, Van Helng and The Mummy remake, really were more action-adventure than they were horror: they just happened to use clasc horror references as a plot point. Really, the same could be said the Blade series - they're action films more than horror.

While I'm not overly fond of the saturation of CGI in the horror genre at the moment, I don't know that it prevents its subject from being emotionally provocative to the viewers. I think the issue more lies with the sense in Hollywood of a constant need for something new and better. No one makes straight Dracula films anymore, because they've been done to death (no pun intended); there is a constant need to innovate and take up the subject from a different perspective. Studios don't seem to believe that an old-fashioned mummy or monster film is going to draw in audiences anymore, and oftentimes I wonder it myself. A lot of so-called "horror" fans look only for nudity and gore-porn these days.
dew Wednesday 3/21/2012 at 08:55 PM | 91613
You make valid points my friend. I do agree with you on that level. I just wish we had more of a choice. Just saw the Dark Shadows trailer and now I'm a bit bummed.
sinful Celluloid Wednesday 3/21/2012 at 10:47 PM | 91616
I was bummed after the Dark Shadows trailer too.

I watched the old 1960's series and was really excited that they were doing a movie.

Now not so much.

I thought Van Helng was a good movie.

I do agree about the transformation in The Howling.

I really don't know why movie studios feel that CGI is the way to go for werewolf transformations.

Give me The Howling or American Werewolf in London's transformations any day.

Van Helng could have been a balls out fright fest.

They should have really menaced up the Wolf Man and overhauled their concept of Dracula completely.

I thought Dracula was supposed to be the lord of the monsters.

As much as I like Richard Roxborough, his Dracula sucked.

Word is is that The Mummy is getting rebooted again.

Maybe this time they'll get it right.

Great review and great points made.
JohnCarpenterfan Sunday 4/15/2012 at 03:36 AM | 92470