Tag Archives: The Shining

Possible Page to Projector Predictions

7 Jul

Hollywood’s risk management strategy decreasingly supports originality and favors investing in existing franchises over unfamiliar content. Hence theaters are flooded with regular installments of a movie series. If movies aren’t sequels, prequels, inbetweequels, or reboots, then they’re probably coming from comic books that haven’t been filmed yet. Comics are becoming the preferred source material to mine for storylines. I’ll be complaining about this for years to come. However sometimes movies are based on a “book” these not-comic books are sometimes referred to as “novels”. Since I know a lot more about novels than I do about comics I predict that the following novels will be coming to a screen sometime soon. I haven’t done research on this and don’t plan to, just going from my gut.

 

Dr. Sleep

 

Dr. Sleep – This will be a movie, guaranteed. The author, Stephen King has had almost all his writing adapted for the screen. King has described his work as the junk-food of literature. I’ll confirm this. Like a Burger King Whopper that delivers a manufactured pleasing taste while having negative nutritional value, King’s books deliver cheap thrills and clichés and zero intellectual stimulation. He uses the same ingredients for every story; substance abuse, psychics, paranormal activity, and handicapped characters. Furthermore people buy his stuff on a regular basis because his name is ubiquitous and familiar not because it is worth reading. Although King hated Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, it is one of the best movies ever made, going far above the source material. Dr. Sleep’s selling point is it’s the sequel to The Shining. Dr. Sleep is the story of an adult Danny Torrance, he’s an alcoholic seeing ghosts and other psychic shit (what a surprise). The villains in this book aren’t threatening and are almost comical stereotypes. As far as the writing goes, if you divide your book into parts, then chapters, then sections, get over yourself. Excessively segmenting up your book only proves that you have a giant ego and demonstrates how your story doesn’t fit together. But Hollywood loves sequels and loves King so expect to fall asleep watching Dr. Sleep sometime soon.

 

Spider Book

 

This Book is Full of Spiders, Seriously Don’t Touch It – Another sequel but this time it’s a good one. Author David Wong’s previous book John Dies At The End is a great read. But the structure and pacing is not like most novels and overall the book is quite unfilmable. They tried anyway and the John Dies At The End movie was unsatisfying but not a complete waste of time, it had some interesting and funny parts. This Book Is Full of Spiders benefits from smoother pacing and having the classic novel structure while every scene in the book could be easily filmed with minimal CG effects. The story is like a zombie parody that’s genuinely intense and suspenseful with a hilarious blend of dark and sarcastic comedy. The Zombie movie trend is wearing itself out, so it’s a perfect time to mock the format. The book accomplishes this, it’s about an outbreak vs quarantine conflict where everyone mistakenly thinks the problem is zombies because zombies are so huge in pop culture. Plus it’s a standalone story independent of its predecessor, so audiences don’t have to be familiar with John Dies At The End. It’s hard to describe how awesome the movie is that exists in my head called “This Movie Is Full Of Spiders, Seriously Don’t Watch It”. Or why I assume someone else could easily make said movie the exact way I know it should be. Just read the book and see for yourself.

Devil In The White City

The Devil in The White City – Remember that movie From Hell? It starred Johnny Depp and was about Jack The Ripper. What if another serial killer was murdering people before Jack The Ripper? Someone who slayed a great many more victims, in more ways, whose motivations were even more sinister. What if the killer was an American living in Chicago prowling the 1893 World’s Fair? Doesn’t that sound like an amazing story? Well it happened, The Devil in the White City recounts the true story of America’s…nay, society’s first documented serial killer and better yet they actually caught the bastard. This movie would make a great cop and criminal story with a backdrop of the 1893 World’s Fair a.k.a. The White City. The movie could highlight the optimism Chicago felt hosting the World’s Fair. Organizers went to extremes making it the grandest most modern spectacle of the 19th century, boasting electric lights, the largest enclosed space in existence, and the world’s first Ferris Wheel. Only to have their white city darkened by a killer who’d built his own three story “murder castle” to better execute his victims. It’s all well documented so the movie should just stick to the facts. The Devil in the White City could be a perfect juxtaposition of the opulent with the creepy. God I want to see this movie.

So I guess that just about does it. The book most likely to make it to the screen is the one that I have the least interest in seeing, maybe if it is some cable channel’s shitty made for TV movie I’ll watch Dr. Sleep for free. This Book Is Full of Spiders is probably too scary to make since the first movie wasn’t very popular. But there’s hope, because I ended up going back on my word and did a tiny amount of research and supposedly Leonardo DiCaprio has the movie rights to Devil In The White City. That may just be an internet rumor from a year ago but it’s better than nothing.

I go through a lot of books so depending on the response this gets I may try to churn out more literary based stupid opinions written poorly, so any feedback is encouraged.

Carl Wells

The All-Star Treehouse of Horror Episode

29 Oct

Unless you’ve been living in the remotest part of the Nubian desert for the last quarter of a century, then you… wait, no… even if you have been living in the remotest part of an obscure desert, then you’ve probably still heard of The Simpsons. It is, after all, the longest running American sitcom, it created the most well known fictional beer, and it has been translated into several languages. Every single season (besides the first season) has a Treehouse of Horror episode. Released around Halloween, these episodes are a delightful treat for the viewer. They are darker than a normal episode and take place outside of the regular Simpsons continuity. Being that this once a season occurrence throws all rules aside, writers get much more creative than they do with a run of the mill Simpsons episode, making for memorable and anticipated TV. In a typical Treehouse episode, alien brothers Kang and Kodos generally have cameos, and everyone has some fun with their names in the credits (e.g. Morbid Matt Groening, James Hell Brooks). Every episode is comprised of a unique opening sequence and three independent stories. I’ve done my best to compile the best of the best to create my version an All-Star Treehouse of Horror episode. Continue reading

Good Movies For Halloween

20 Oct

To the Ancients, October 31st was sacred because it was a cross-quarter day and it was when the Pleiades culminated in the sky at midnight. Harvest festivals were held during this time, the modern incarnation of these celebrations is Halloween. Although we forgo human sacrifices, some old traditions carried over and new ones were thrown in to combine the frightening with the funny. Scary movies possess their greatest popularity during this time and while I’m not someone who generally likes scary movies I appreciate them most in the weeks before Halloween. Here I suggest some movies that will get you into the right mindset for Halloween, because they aren’t just creepy but sometimes combine the fun and humor that encapsulates what a proper Halloween should be.

The Thing (1982) – John Carpenter’s best movie, mostly remembered for the creature effects, but those would mean nothing if the themes of paranoia, suspicion, isolation, and infection weren’t the foundation of the story. I like this movie because it’s one of the few movies where the alien is so different and unfamiliar to anything human. And for what they accomplished before computer graphics, it is gross, suspenseful, and gory in an visceral way. Already love this movie? You might enjoy this story from The Thing’s point of view.

Wickerman

The Wicker Man (1973) – Screw Nick Cages’s “The Bees!” shit. Watch the original with legend Christopher Lee. It’s about an island of crazy Pagans and their crazy Pagan rituals. A slow building mystery that you’re piecing together. Then holy shit! What the Hell is this? This movie gets back to the Agrarian roots Halloween sprang from. “You must keep your appointment with the Wicker Man.”

The Shining (1980) – Personally this is one of the best movies (not just horror, but all around) ever. Because it has a purpose and it executes that purpose supremely well. This was the first “R” movie I was allowed to watch and have lost count of how many times I’ve seen it, the replay value is endless. Stanley Kubrick was a perfectionist like no other and it shows, this movie is technically flawless, the shots are dreamlike, the setting is ominous, the characters are unforgettable. The movie shocks you not just with horror and suspense but with unexplained mysteries like the photograph, and the the furry giving head. It knocks the feet out from your expectations and forces you to think. People will be talking about this classic forever.

Re-Animator

The Re-Animator (1985) – What a fun film. I thought this was going to be one of those B-movies that’s so bad its good. Nope, although campy, Re-Animator is genuinely entertaining. It is darkly funny like when one character decapitates another with a shovel then feels bad about it, and brings the head back to life to explain himself. The zombies are medical instead of graveyard based so it is a refreshing change in design. This movie has all you want from a cult film; brief nudity, blood, gore, passionate overacting, and anatomical gag humor, it is a great ride.

Freaks (1932) – Tod Browning directed the classic Dracula(1931), he could’ve had a successful career directing endless sequels. But decided to be original and took the risk of making Freaks. A movie that could never be done again. Casting real side-show performers, the characters show that despite their various forms they’re all human beings. Watching this cigarette being lit is why the movie is worth seeing. By showing these people interacting with everyday issues, it treats them with respect. The real monsters are people who demean their physical differences and might have to be taught a hard lesson in what it is like to be labeled a “freak”.

Frankenhooker (1990) – A medical student’s fiancée is cut into pieces by a lawnmower. So he decides to revive her by attaching her preserved head to a body fashioned from female donor body parts. To obtain these body parts he cooks up some “Supercrack” which will cause anyone who smokes it to explode. Then hits the streets of Manhattan looking for hookers with just the right proportions. What could go wrong? If knowing that much doesn’t make you want to watch, I don’t know what will. This is the movie that is so bad it has to be good.

Donnie

Donnie Darko (2001) – Watch the Theatrical version NOT the Director’s cut, I’d rather watch hammered dog shit then the director’s cut again. But the theatrical version is about as good a Halloween movie as you can get. It takes place during Halloween and has lots of references to other Halloween flicks like Evil Dead, E.T., and IT. The movie has a great cast, a soundtrack that’s part sci-fi and part 80’s pop and Donnie Darko gets a little trippy. It opens with a prediction about the end of the world then follows a high school boy who’s taunted by chilling visions of a 6ft rabbit, by the time that rabbit asks “Have you ever seen a portal?” I had goose bumps. This cult-movie isn’t for everyone but it is one of my favorites.

Hopefully if you’re not feeling the Halloween vibe yet, one or a combination of these movies will get you close. If like me you’re all about Halloween, now is the perfect time to check out something you haven’t seen.

I encourage your movie suggestions that are best viewed this time of year too.

Carl Wells

A Couple Different Points of View About the Beach House Video for Wishes

12 Mar

The documentary Room 237 is a feature-length film indulging theories about Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. The documentary and the film theories about the film are a good example of how searching for satisfaction provides answers that fit the question shaped holes in our mind, even if those answers need to be jammed into the holes. The “experts” in this film forced a lot information into their question shaped holes in their head under the guise that Kubrick was a meticulous and borderline infallible director.  Everything has to have meaning if it’s in a Kubrick film. I guess that’s what post-modern film criticism looks like. It sparks the imagination, and if you’re creative outlet is writing scholarly papers or making video essays, then post-modern film criticism is directly for you.

Here’s a wonderful video on Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited that is very much unlike the film criticism in Room 237. The video essay is not jamming answers into the question shape holes, it is studying and observing and with carefully crafting those observations into a coherent focused essay. In the video, he takes all the information in the film as well as surrounding the film, information gleaned from the press tour and general lore of Wes Anderson, to examine the film as a whole. Ideally, this is what everyone with a creative bone in their body wants to happen to their work; for someone to give it the same amount of attention to appreciating it as they did in creating it.

So, that was the set-up. Here’s the pitch: I’m going to examine the Eric Wareheim’s video for Beach House’s Wishes twice. Once in the post-modern-Room-237 way and once in the style of the video essay. The goal is to keep it under a thousand words, so feel free to stop reading after you’ve read the 1000th word in the this post.

The video for Wishes shows great progression in Eric Wareheim’s artistic sensibilities. The video starts with shot of flaring stadium lights burning a horizontal line across screen. The line of the lens flares across the screen symbolize the dividing line between the crowd of observers and willing participants on the field. He takes special care to show this difference between the audience and the performers. Ray Wise is the perfect choice to for this role, he carries that faux-authority-figure cockiness that permeates from high school coaches, as well as having a thematic connection to Beach House by playing Leland Palmer on David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. The band has always had a Lynchian-Badalamenti vibe to it, and casting of Ray Wise to play coach/main attraction fits perfectly with Wareheim’s sensibilities for casting interesting and unique actors instead of aiming at names with the most “star power.” The thematic connection adds to the viewer’s experience of the video and further puts them inline with the audience in the bleachers of the stadium. Wise will play the role of the coach, leader of the team of the fictional and unidentifiable sport and the leader of the performance. This role will be Wareheim’s surrogate throughout the video and the on field performance.

The lens flares that opened the video consistently appear in relation to the coach and the performers on the field. The prior is made to appear as if he’s glowing throughout the video. At first the audience calmly watches as the coach, a figure that is presumably a familiar individual in their lives, begins to sing to the audience. Their attention is rapt, but subdued. As the performance continues and expands in scope the crowed and their admiration of the coach increases. When both the male and female dancers begin to use weapons in the routine, the crowd escalates to near euphoria status. It is at this point in the video where there is an important Eric Wareheim cameo. The camera dollys across the cheering crowd and Wareheim stands unresponsive to the performance he’s observing. He is the literal creator of the pageantry on the field, yet he is sitting with the audience. His lack of response shows the inability to appreciate his own work while in the middle of it, and more specifically right before the performance takes a step toward the grand finale. He is unable, as the director and creator of the project, to feel the same satisfaction as the observing audience.

The performance that began with the lyrics “The roses on the lawn/Don’t know which side you’re on/In a daze it will change.” This is the same question that Wareheim is asking about himself and his creative work. The work being the “roses”; is he a gardener cultivating the beauty of the rose or his he an admirer of the roses? After his cameo, the performance on the field continues to increase in beauty, scope and aesthetic pleasure. The performance causes the audience to have a spiritual experience on par with any Pentecostal worship service. At this point the coach is elevated to royalty, his vision of the performance succeeded and he’s allowed to bask in the satisfaction of the “roses.” It is worth noting that the opening lines of the final verse of the song, “The roses on the lawn/Won’t know which side you’re on” are not (1000th word) sung by the coach, and are the only lines in the song where the coach doesn’t have a microphone. This implies that even Wareheim isn’t sure which side he’s on. Is he on the side of creating beauty or is he an admirer? He, and all artists, have the progression from one side of the lens flare to the other, and this video shows that while in the middle of creating beauty it is impossible to appreciate and admire it with the same passion as the audience.

Now, for the Room 237 take:

The video for the Beach House song Wishes directed by Eric Wareheim mirrors the current  gay rights movement in America. Through the used of color in production design and the recurring gender swapping you can see the Wareheim shows exactly what is happening in the fight for Gay Rights and the struggles of a homosexual individual in the USA.  The first two things I noticed when I watched this film was that there was a lot of very shiny brightly colored fabrics that aren’t traditionally used in athletic competitions because of their inability to breath and keep the athletes cool, and I also noticed that the coach figure was a male, but the lyrics he sang were from a female performer. And that is what really got me thinking that there is something else going on here.

The the beginning of the video he walks through a hung sheet, that has to be pulled back. This is really like his birth and the pulling back of the sheets by the two men with horses masks is a really obvious metaphor for exiting from his mother’s vaginal canal. From birth, society has forced the coach into this masculine role of coach, when all he wants to do is perform and dance, a traditionally homosexual activity. So, as soon he begins singing we realize that this isn’t your typical high school coach; this is a man who wants to be free with his sexual choices. When he takes on the female vocals of this song, it shows that he’s actively trying to become more feminine while staying in his socially acceptable masculine role.

The theme makes itself more obvious when the two waterboys symbolically blast the traditional masculine athletes with the metaphorical semen when the spray their faces with water. Only one of the players is able to hold a mouthful of the metaphorical semen showing a fine example of the closeted gay male in high school athletics. The female cheerleaders then break through a similar banner as the coach walked through showing that they females are forcing their nature instead of embracing it like the coach. Their mission is to seduce the coach and keep him living the heterosexual lifestyle. They dance erotically in front of him, tempting him to return to them. It is no accident that the close-up slow motion shot of the woman shaking her bottom is followed up by the coach shaking his head “no.” He wants nothing to do women. He is clearly a gay man. The cheerleaders conclude their dance by symbolically offering to allow the man to beat them while the remain quite, as seen in the dance move of faux-hitting themselves then covering their mouths.

At this point in the video, the two homosexual waterboys realize that the coach isn’t responding to the female advances and decide to jump into action. With a knowing nod, the two jump at the chance to impress the coach with their offerings. The waterboy’s dance includes faux-pissing contest as well as ripping the clothes from each other’s bodies. This drives the crowd wild. Where before The Gay Rights Movement people would have scoffed at this kind of behavior from men, they are now applauding how gay men are following their nature.

The video then progresses into a battle between the men and the women for the coach’s favor. The cheerleaders break out large phallic weapons, but the waterboy’s show more agility with that as well. Which is when the cheerleaders call in for back up. A new wave a cheerleaders, wrapped in the symbolic vaginal curtains and spin for his pleasure. This causes the fireworks to explode in the background of the screen. This shows that while society, the people in charge of putting on the sporting event and launching the fireworks and attending the event, wants to provide support for the plight of homosexual individual it still prefers the heterosexual pairing, and will support that by adding extra flair, here seen in the form of fireworks, to those relationship.

In the end though, the coach is lead down back behind the curtain, blocking him from the gazing eye of society where he can not be seen mounting the horse and striking the pose similar to the one the curtain. And notice how the horse is exactly out of view from the other side of the curtain. Even if an audience member could see through the slit in the middle of it, the horse and the coach would not be visible. This just shows that The Gay Rights Movement still has a long ways to go and many of the supporters are still fearful of showing their support, as seen by the many members of the crowd wearing horse heads.

Eric Wareheim undeniably meant for this video to be a metaphor for gay rights and the plight of the homosexual individual in society.


C. Charles