Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Clay Talks (Lesser-Known) Horror

Over at Awkward Press, Clay McLeod Chapman offers us a list many of us could use for our Netflix queues: the Top Ten Horror Movies of 2009 That You Probably Didn’t See.

Although I haven't seen many of the movies on this list (and neither have you, so don't act all superior), I have seen a few of them, including the movie on his #1 spot.

(At this point, I'll actually let you read the list before I put in my cent and a half on the entries I've seen. Go on. I'll wait.)

Back? Good.

I'm very much with Clay on his assessment of Chan-wook Park’s Thirst (it kinda takes forever to get going, but once it does, the final act makes it all worth the wait). In September, I wrote in my summer movie roundup that the movie has "some stunning imagery...and although it's a bit slow going and not particularly scary, it is a haunting and meditative take on the vampire mythology."

You guys have already read my assessment of the retro-awesomeness that was The House of the Devil, so I won't repeat myself. The link to my review (and my use of the made up compound adjective "retro-awesomeness") should suffice.

Now for the number one movie on his list. Deadgirl.

As I told Clay when I read the list, I'm very glad he posted this, since this is a very unnerving movie that (understandably) got very little attention from the critics. Basically, it's about two high school losers finding a naked and apparently undead girl chained up in the basement of an abandoned mental institute and using her as their personal sex slave. I'm not kidding.

I was contemplating writing about this movie after having seen it, but was very much on the fence about it and ultimately decided against it. It's not because I found this film about too disturbing (although it is very disturbing) or that it crosses some ethical line and is morally repugnant (it isn't, although it certainly appears that way; it's really about how weak people find ways to dominate others even weaker than them). It's because I found its two protagonists too vile and unlikable to care about in any meaningful way. The more dominant and sociopathic of the two friends, J.T., is just a straight-up psycho, and the character you're theoretically supposed to be rooting for, Rickie, is maddeningly, insufferably spineless.

Clay tells me that's one of the things he found so unnerving about Deadgirl: the two main characters are listless teenagers with no moral code and have no morally redeeming values whatsoever. This is a very valid point: it's obvious that the zombie girl isn't the monster in this film. (I still wish I didn't spend the movie wanting to punch the supposed hero of the piece in the area where his junk should be the whole time. Seriously, Rickie, grow a pair!)

And in his honorable mention section, I agree: if you consider yourself a science fiction fan and often complain about the dearth of good sci-fi films out there that don't insult the audience's intelligence and haven't seen Moon or District 9, quit your bitching and go see them immediately.

As for the rest of the movies on Clay's list, I'm Netflixing the fuckers.

Except for Antichrist. I think I'm done with von Trier.

Not done with the scawwy,

James "Deadguy" Comtois

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Blogger macrogers said...

I'm about half-way through DEADGIRL on Netflix streaming. I've found I need to take breaks.

12:12 PM  
Blogger Jamespeak said...

Totally understandishable, Mac.

And is it just me, or do you just want to punch the "hero" in the nuts all the time?

12:14 PM  
Blogger joshcon80 said...

I didn't really like Deadgirl.

That said, don't be done with Von Trier yet until you've seen his coo coo mid 90's soap opera, The Kingdom. It's hot.

12:16 PM  
Blogger joshcon80 said...

Also, on Antichrist, my friend Meghan had the best and most hilarious description of Charlotte Gainsbourg masturbating:

"It looked like she was fishing the last olive out of the jar."

12:18 PM  
Blogger Jamespeak said...

See? Why need to see Antichrist when we have your friend Meghan giving the awesome descriptions?

I...I dunno...maybe I'll see The Kingdom. After seeing the vile and repugnant excuse for a movie called Dogville, I think I called it a day for the man and his simple-minded yet insufferably pretentious "work."

(In case you haven't guessed where I stand on his movie starring Nicole Kidman, fuck Dogville. Fuck that steaming pile of feces forever.)

12:38 PM  
Blogger DPS said...

I'm really curious to see "Pontypool" (which I was excited about when I first heard about it, then it totally fell off my radar) and "Vinyan". Eventually, I'll get around to seeing "Grace", I'm sure.

But "Pontypool" is right up my sound-designed alley.

4:58 PM  
Blogger joshcon80 said...

I don't know. I kind of liked Dogville. I DO have a funny anecdote about it via another friend. Said friend came across it in a video store and on the cover was a sticker that read, helpfully: "Warning! This is a play!" Pure genius on so many levels. I want to put that on all of my advertising.

1:40 PM  
Blogger Jamespeak said...

Yeah, I ranted to Abe about this over IM, and perhaps I may rant on this site more at length, but I despise Dogville. Despite its really dreary and lo-fi "aesthetic," it's very glib and slick. It's a smug and dour 15-year-old boy's misanthropic (and misguided) worldview: incredibly simple-minded yet believing itself to be deep.

And let's not forget that it has maybe 20 minutes of story (tops) stretched out to an interminable 3 hours. (I often suggest to folks who dig the movie to watch it again without skipping the chapters or fast forwarding. I submit one's positive memory of the movie is editing out all the deliberately extraneous flotsam.)

I could go on, but I'll cap it for now by reiterating: yup, fuck Dogville.

Man, it seems like that movie sets me off.


But I can also see why you're not wild about Deadgirl. I'm very conflicted about it myself.

1:57 PM  

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