Saturday, July 28, 2012

UNDESERVED BUDGETS AND GREENLIT STATUSES: WHY WE KEEP GETTING SUCH TERRIBLE FILMS

The summer of 2012 has arguably been the summer of Superhero Blockbusters, leaving our beloved horror genre to seemingly rot away from the movie theaters.  As of today, the most terrifying films in theaters are a tie between the Katy Perry biopic, and Madea's Witness Protection.  While drinking liquid drain cleaner sounds more appealing than either of those films, it's very strange to be starting the last leg of summer and have absolutely ZERO options for new horror films in the theater.  August is rearing its ugly head to deliver us a platter of new horror films, but many of them (based on trailers alone) are questionable at best.  The only thing I'm really excited for this summer is ParaNorman. That's right, a children's horror movie. That's a sign we've got a problem.  I don't know who is in charge of determining which films are green-lit or how much money a film is alotted in its budget, but my guess is that whoever it is, doesn't take the time to read a damn script.  It would appear that having a quality story means absolutely jack shit these days.  I only say this after enduring hours upon hours of horror films that never deserved to be anything more than chicken scratch on a stained napkin at Denny's.

The worst instance of this epidemic would have to be flashing the old (and I mean OLD) resume card.  There is a reason that athletes, musicians, and even public workers retire at some point.  Retirement doesn't mean that passion for your career has subsided, it just means you aren't quite as good at it as you once were.  Don't believe me?  Compare the voices of aging rockstars, the speed of aging athletes, and the film quality of aging filmmakers.  Ol' Uncle George Romero is the undisputed King of the Zombies, created the most beloved movie monster in nearly a century, and completely changed the face of horror as we know it.  When George Romero was in his prime, he was absolutely unstoppable.  Dawn of the Dead is still hailed as the greatest zombie film of all time and Romero has become the epitome of a horror icon.  No one is more memorable, recognisable, or as idolized as George A. Romero.  Flash forward out of the 1960's and you'll find yourself with an adorable old man who has completely lost his grasp of what makes a good horror film.  If stating the truth about the consistency of Uncle George makes me a blasphemous horror blogger, you're on the wrong site.  George had shown his decline with plenty of his non-zombie films like Bruiser and The Dark Half, but his latest installments of his "...of the Dead" series have showed that Romero has lost his touch.  It's not even the effects that are a problem, it's the storyline and especially so, the dialogue.  My God.  Anyone with half of a brain cell could read the screeplays to these films and know to run away. However, you slap the name "Romero" on a film with the words "dead", "zombie", or "horror", and movie studios will break open their Swiss piggy banks to fund the damn movie. Why? BECAUSE YOU'RE DUMB ENOUGH TO FALL FOR THE NAME.  You don't care about the trailer, you don't care about the dialogue, you don't care about the quality of it at all. You see the name Romero and you drop your panties and run to the theater and Phillip J. Fry style shake wads of money in the faces of ticket vendors.  Luckily the score on Rotten Tomatoes killed My Soul To Take so badly it scared most people away, even though a lot of you still fell for the name Wes Craven.

Another quick way to get unnecessary greenlights and big budgets is finding a way to milk a current cash cow.  All of the highest grossing horror films of the last few yeras have been ones that come from something else. The second someone slaps the title "From the makers of..." to a trailer, everyone loses their mind and has to go see it. Why? BECAUSE THE GUY FROM SAW MADE IT! or BECAUSE IT'S LIKE PARANORMAL ACTIVITY.  Remember what happened when they set up a horror movie like that? You wound up with The Devil Inside and had an ending you had to watch on the internet. Way to go, sheepies. The worst part about it, they were greenlit solely for that reason.  Some of the films that come from "the makers of..." are absolutely TERRIBLE, but the film industry knows your lemming ass will go see something solely because you liked what came before it.  I can't blame people for doing it, but it's a sham.  Running off of "brand name" horror will only get you so far, and then everything you create will be just another Crystal Pepsi failure. 

They say it's not what you know, but rather who you know.  Anyone who doesn't believe this is the truth is either sadly naiive, or the child of a famous person.  As much as the film Chronicle is a hell of a great big budget debut for Max Landis, it's hard to imagine that his screenplay would have gotten any sort of notice if it wasn't because he shares a name with an incredibly well decorated director.  World War Z is at best, an average zombie novel and in no way/shape/form should have ever crossed into the territory of film adaptation, but when it's written by a guy who sprung from the loins of Mel fucking Brooks, getting a publishing house to take a look at your zombie book isn't going to be difficult.  I'm not saying that anyone who comes from well established Hollywood parents is innately untalented, I'm saying they have a hell of a lot easier of a time achieving their dreams.  Some of the world's most talented filmmakers will never experience what it's like to see their film completed with the best of actors and the best of cameras simply because the film industry is really tough.  Add that to the fact that there are too many mediocre, yet entitled kids trying to do the exact same thing and there's no more room at the inn for Johnny Moviemaker.   

The absolute worst, most despicable offender of unnecessary greenlighting and budget approvals, is none other than the shameless associations.  I'm talking about films like Vampires Suck and the upcoming Warm Bodies.  These are films that are made simply to try and steal some of the money train off of Twilight. TWILIGHT. Of all the fucking things.  First of all, the lowest grossing Harry Potter movie has earned more money than all of the Twilight films COMBINED and yet this shit is producing unnecessary spin-offs? While Warm Bodies isn't a vampire romance, it is a zombie romance where the zombie looks like a pretty boy and it makes me want to violently shake.  This film would have NEVER been made if it hadn't been for Hollywood trying to replace the cash flow of the Twi-hards. It's situations like this that frustrate me to no end.  There are so many films that struggle to find the funding, films that DESERVE the funding, that will never reach it all because of the way the "game" is played.  It saddens me to admit that the world of cinema isn't funded by passion, creativity, or quality anymore. Movies now only exist because of dollar signs, and that my friends is very, very sad. 

6 comment(s):

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure Vampires Suck can be considered a "film"

Marie Robinson said...

Chernobyl Diaries was tuuuuurrrible. I work at a movie theatre and we get allll these shit films you are talking about. I am a little curious/excited for the Possession, though. The trailer looked legit creepy. Buut so did the trailer for the Devil Inside and the Last Exorcism...

Laci Rich said...

Thank you for saying what I've been trying to beat into people's heads for the last few years. I'm so tired of seeing "From the makers of" and all of the current dead horse movies. I thought Survival of the Dead was shamefully terrible and was actually embarrassed to have watched it. It's really too bad that more horror movie talent will never be seen by wider audiences, and Brad freaking Pitt is going to be in World War Z.......can you believe that? Brad freaking Pitt......prepare for hell.

Grimm said...

I agree with alot of your thoughts and opinions on this. You make alot of good points that I've made myself.

I love what you're doing with this blog, even if I am a man. This is a good blog and I'm now following you.

Swing by my page
http://grimmreviewz.blogspot.com/

Planet of Terror said...

I love were your head is at here my friend. But may I suggest a shout- out to fine independent productions that are worthy of people's time, attention, and hard earned dinero? The Pact, Midnight Son, Absentia (which is currently streaming right now on Netflix, FYI), and Exit Humanity (to name a few) are all phenomenal films. Suck that Hollywood!

Nick Cato said...

SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD had some of the worst dialogue ever---and those family names? I'm convinced Romero was having an LSD flashback when he wrote this.

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