Zombie Cockroaches!

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Splattercast #55 is going to be a (probably) super long Zombie Themed episode. I’ve been trying to struggle through the film Zombie Brigade, but this piece of real life news is pretty neat. What happens is that this species of wasp stings cockroaches directly into their brains and the venom allows them to “control” the roach while leading it by its antennas towards hungry wasp larvae.

I’ve already got a movie idea. Scientists experimenting genetically on wasps with a new toxin cause them to mutate and they escape the laboratory. As they multiply, to keep humans busy, they use their giant stingers to pierce peoples’ skulls, thus killing them. The new toxin recharges the dead humans, turning them into a zombie army for the wasps. Zombies fight the ground troops, the wasps take on the air power as it becomes a battle for the world!

C’mon, that would kick ass to watch, right?

Sweeney Todd: Oscar-caliber?

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Sweeney Todd looks really cool. I’m not the biggest Tim Burton fan, but I love the musical and Johnny Depp is pretty much awesome in everything he does. I saw this article and was sort of taken aback. Possible Oscar material? I can see maybe for art direction or something, but I wasn’t really thinking that it could be nominated for the big awards. It’s very rare that a horror film is a musical, let alone is nominated for an Oscar. Kinda cool if you ask me.

My beef with Sweeney Todd is in the advertising. Nobody realizes that this film is a musical. I wonder if there will be a backlash?

The Horror Film Explosion of the past 15 years

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Here’s an interesting investigation done by Marco Lanzagorta that charts worldwide horror film releases by decade. His investigation only uses the Internet Movie Database to chart general trends of the genre, but it is interesting to think about.

A particularly interesting piece of information quoted in the article: “during the ‘60s only about 35 percent of the horrors film made in the world were produced in the US. Since then, however, this percentage has increased rather dramatically. Indeed, while in 1961, 32 percent of the fear flicks were American, by 2006 the percentage increased to 68, more than doubling its value and completely dominating the current market.

Once again, these are just general numbers that only take into account what the IMDb considers “horror”, but it gives some evidence to my opinion that horror fans are so starved for quality films, that they’ll jump on anything in order to satiate that desire. There’s been a long standing opinion amongst American horror fans in particular that American horror sucks. Innovation has been ceded to Asia, and to a lesser extent, Europe and Mexico so the popular opinion goes. There is a notion that America, rather than lead the world in quality, has fallen back on rehashing its own “classics” and is more concerned with quantity over quality.

Maybe that’s true to a certain extant. What can’t be denied is that there has been an amazing increase in output of American horror cinema. Whether it be big budget studio films, or low-budget shlock, the sheer amount of horror films has skyrocketed. What this means is that our favorite genre is enjoying a popularity and interest that has never been seen before now in terms of output, artistic interest, and acceptance . There must be some reason why thousands upon thousands of people in America are making horror movies, right? I’ve gotta believe it goes beyond simply wanting to “make a quick buck” with a low-budget film.

There’s also got to be something as to why America in particular has increased its horror output so dramatically. Maybe it’s just a new generation of young people raised on fun 80’s films? Maybe we can just afford cameras and have easier access to the tools necessary to make films than other countries? What is going on right now that has caused us to latch onto horror so fiercely?

But by having such a dramatic increase in films, it becomes harder and harder to find the quality. When you see 20 no-budget films with no production values and horrendous acting, does that make a film like Hostel seem “superior” by comparison? I’m not trying to pick on Eli Roth, but I think there is a real feeling amongst horror fans that they are so desperately trying to find something to like, that they’ll overlook certain films just because everything around it is so poor in comparison.

I haven’t really tried to answer anything definitively with this blog entry. But I’ve posed a bunch of questions and am interested in hearing what you all think. What do you think is behind the explosion of horror films here in America? Do you think it’s diluted the quality for the sake of quantity? How does this information change the way we currently perceive the “health” of the genre?

Give me your thoughts.

John Carpenter’s horror western

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Shock Till You Drop has an exclusive about the latest John Carpenter flick Skin and Bones. As most of you probably know, Masters of Horror was dropped by Showtime (Still not sure why since I heard it was their second highest rated show at the time?) and Mick Garris renamed the show Fear Itself and moved it to ABC in a watered down version. So this is, in effect, Masters of Horror season 3.

Carpenter is my idol, so I’ll watch anything he does and get excited by anything he does. I thought Cigarette Burns was really good and thought Pro-Life was a heaping pile of crap.  I have no idea what to expect from Skin and Bones, but the fact that it is a horror western has me drooling in anticipation. The other interesting piece of news from the article is that they are indeed filming “uncut” versions for the DVD release. It seems Garris is nothing if not a wise business man. Get the money pile from ABC, then sell the real versions of the film to horror fans. That sort of pisses me off, but I’ll get over it.

It’s new Carpenter and it’s a horror themed Western. Here’s hoping it doesn’t have any stupid “knock you over the head” obvious social commentary.

Striking Horror Writers Perform Studio Exorcism?

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2A3ha6N6NA]

Stuff like this is why the horror genre is looked upon with ridicule and disdain by the mainstream press. Not only does this look really stupid for horror fans, but it also makes anyone sympathetic to the writers strike roll their eyes. It’s hard to get your demands met when you’re doing lame stunts like this….

“The Power of Christ Compels You…to give us more money!”.

Breasts and Endoskeletons

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JoBlo has a contest running for a Terminator poster that caught my attention. Maybe it’s because I’m taking a Gender Communication class at my friendly neighborhood public university, and I see everything through a gendered lens, but this is definitely a strange poster in my view.

If the woman in this picture is supposed to be Sarah Conner (which I’m pretty sure isn’t the case), then this is a pretty drastic change in terms of sexualization of the character since the end of T2. If you remember, Sarah Conner went from the naive, breast baring victim to a weathered “pissed off at the world” ultra de-feminzed version of herself. One thing’s for sure, Sarah Conner wasn’t what anyone would call “sexy” or “alluring” in T2. The new Fox show, which you can check out right here, takes place after the events of T2, so that poster wouldn’t really be applicable to the character.

If it’s the new Terminator, then that makes more sense, but why would you show a giant close-up of its breasts? Even this poster is still sexualized, but at least you know it’s a damn killing machine. It at least reveals something about the show. The poster to the right does no such thing. It’s actually pointless. When I see something like this, it doesn’t give me any faith in the show at all. If the marketing campaign has to rely on giant breasts to generate interest, then that doesn’t bode well for the quality of the program in my opinion. I’m still going to watch this show, all I’m saying is that superficial “sex sells” stuff like this raises more red flags than it generates reactions of “Holy crap, I really want to see this now!”

I love all three Terminator films, but when I watch one, I don’t want sex to be in the equation. The joke in T3 when Kristanna Loken “enhances” her breasts for the cop was just stupid. I don’t need sex to sell me on a Terminator TV show. I want a killing machine. That is all.

In any event, this would make a great Splattercast discussion topic that could branch out into the greater topic of how women are portrayed in horror films. Feminists hate most horror movies and I’m sure they are looking at that poster to the left and saying something like “Men control the advertising! Down with all men!”. That’s sarcasm folks. I respect any and all of our feminist readers :) Anyways, diverging off into another subject, I’m going to be writing about Hostel and taking a look at the film from a gendered perspective for my final paper this semester in my Gender class. Now that should be an interesting viewing session :)

UPDATE: a little research has revealed that the female terminator is John Conner’s “protector” and goes to school with him, making that sexualization factor a little more creepy…