Wednesday, March 28, 2012

WE'RE ALL VERY SORRY, CASSIE: AN ANALYSIS OF CHLOE MORETZ AS CARRIE WHITE

NOTICE: Sorry I've been so MIA, I open HAIR this week and rehearsals took over all of my free time. Let The Sunshine In!

Okay, I'll be the first to admit that I'm a massive Chloe Moretz fangirl.  Fifteen shmifteen, the girl has incredible range and never ceases to amaze me with her talents. When she was only fourteen years old, Chloë Grace Moretz (at the time) had 39 acting roles to her name and was recently voted the "Favorite Movie Star Under 25" over the four main castmates of the Harry Potter films at the People's Choice Awards. Moretz has taken on (and completely owned) a vast majority of roles and showed her acting chops each and every time, with a large amount of them taking place in our beloved genre.  She is highly respected for her decisions to play unconventional and challenging roles and even more so for portraying them with such prowess and elegance.  It was announced this week and Moretz tweeted to confirm that she will be playing the iconic role of Carrie White in the remake of Brian De Palma's classic adaptation of Stephen King's Carrie

Now, I'm not a huge fan of remaking films that really didn't have anything wrong with them, but I'm actually not too worried about this one.  Moretz is more than capable of providing a solid portrayal and she has an extremely tight grip on the genre.  Horror welcomed her with open arms at the tender age of four in The Amityville Horror remake, and she especially blew many genre fans away by giving a respectful performance as the female lead in the Let The Right One In remake, Let Me In.  When it comes to convincing acting, Moretz' track record has proven her skills and we shouldn't worry about that in any case.  However, there are plenty of complaints about the decision to cast Chloe Moretz in such an iconic role and I've decided to tackle each of these concerns head on.  Without getting into the circle jerk discussion of "they shouldn't even remake this," I'm going to attempt to justify the decision of casting Moretz.

ISSUE 1: SHE'S TOO PRETTY- It's true that Moretz should trademark her buxom lips and expressive eyes and she does appear to be a bit more beautiful in relation to Sissy Spacek's doe eyed, scrawny, skinny haired look.  HOWEVER, let us not forget the absolute HELL Hollywood unleashed upon Christina Ricci & Charlize Theron for Monster.  Movie makeup is a powerful, powerful thing.  Even if they don't, it's no surprise that it's going to be modernized because that's just how the way Hollywood works.  Accept it for what it is and deal with it, because your rants about remakes taking place in the modern era isn't going to change the fact that they're going to use a god damn cell phone in a film originally set in the 1970s.  That being said, without the power of makeup, Chloe has the potential to look real awkward, real fast.  We've all seen pictures of young Angelina Jolie with lips too big for her face and eyes too big for her forehead.  Well, there you go.  We haven't seen Chloe look like much else than perfect because she's been a movie star since before she could write her own autograph.  We have no idea how she might look all haggard up.  Even in Let Me In they maintained a decent amount of beauty to her, give the makeup artists a chance.  Despite all of that, she's still 15 years old and I can guarantee they'll cast her classmates from some pool of beauty pageant winners and Abercrombie model look-a-likes that are well into their mid to late twenties.  She's going to look out of place in that respect alone.  If it is the new millennium's Carrie, not wearing makeup or being without an iPod might as well make her a leper. So chill out. 

ISSUE 2: SHE'S TOO YOUNG Alright.  First you complain that all the high school aged kids are played by kids who've graduated college (or like Sissy Spacek who was nearly THIRTY when she played a 16 year old) and now she's too young?  Make up your damn mind.

ISSUE 3: SHE LOOKS NOTHING LIKE SISSY SPACEK: Okay, alright. Would you rather they attempt to make a carbon copy of the original?  Being irritated that she looks nothing like Sissy Spacek in the same role is like boycotting Easter Oreos because the filling is pink instead of white.  To be completely honest, how shitty are you that you think Sissy Spacek was perfect at playing an ugly, unpopular, and introverted character?  I'm sure Sissy Spacek loves knowing that throughout her highly impressive film career, her biggest staple was being the ugly girl everyone picked on who later killed everyone at the prom.  If you've actually, I don't know, READ THE BOOK, you'd know that Sissy Spacek was almost unbelievably different from the description in the book. Spacek was ridiculed at the time for being too beautiful for the role and WHAM. With the power of makeup, they ugged her up real fast (see point 1).  So the fact Moretz looks nothing like Spacek's Carrie White shouldn't really matter.  It's not about what it looks like, it's about what it feels like.  The sad reality is that not only girls who look like Sissy Spacek are bullied in high school, and to discount Moretz for looking "too pretty to be bullied" is discrediting the bullying epidemic that destroys children from all social circles.  Another thing, when they remade Carrie with Angela Bettis as a tv miniseries, you could tell that they were looking to capture some of the same elements of the film while setting it in a modern age. You know something, IT DIDN'T WORK.  Angela did great with what she was given, but she didn't just emulate Spacek, she emulated being an awkward girl from the 1970s, all the while the people around her were texting and wearing MAC eyeshadow.  It didn't work, it didn't read well, and it looked like the creators tried to hard.  You know what, give Carrie White a fresh face.  Let her speak for more than just one type of girl. 

If we're being honest here, my biggest concern is going to be who is playing Carrie's mother Margaret White before Carrie. I'm crossing my fingers for Melissa Leo.  Go watch Kevin Smith's Red State and you'll totally get why I want her. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I DONT WANT TO LIVE ON THIS PLANET ANYMORE


HORROR TELEVISION: A LOVE LETTER IN RESPONSE TO THE WALKING DEAD, FACE OFF, AND MONSTER MAN

Dear O Heavenly Mothers and Fathers of Primetime Cable Television,

I'm not entirely positive what us horror nerds have done as of late to deserve such kindness from strangers, but in the wake of The Walking Dead, Face Off, and Monster Man, I would argue that the decision to have horror themed programming is one of the wisest decisions you have ever made.  Now I've already spent a great deal of time letting fangirl banter drip off my tongue and onto American Horror Story, but the programs that followed the season finale of AHS allowed my horror enthusiast and inner television connoisseur to thrive.  It seems that with every passing late night slot, a new show is waiting on the ready line to jump in and keep my juices flowing.  It is for this reason that I must express my undying love and gratitude for whatever 1% big wig that's allowing these shows the good ol' green light.

Now, let it be known that AMC is respected for cranking out some of the best expressions of cable programming, (I'm looking at you Mad Men & Breaking Bad) but they've also been known to give the go ahead to some downright embarrassing shows.  When it was announced that The Walking Dead was going to become a reality, I was ecstatic.  If there is a single human being on this planet that dislikes zombies, they should highly reevaluate their life.  After an exhilarating first season, I spent a great deal of the second season rushing home from late night rehearsals praying I'd catch the repeat of the episode on Sunday Nights.  Thanks to Talking Dead, I didn't miss a single episode all season.  I gotta say, I was rather impressed.  Anyone who wants to hate on the season should kindly take a step back and read a little rant by John Squires of Freddy in Space on the matter.  I will gladly admit that I was delivered a season of quality character development, a good balance of action and real life antics, a relatively respectful retelling of the original comic series, motherfrackin' zombies, and enjoyable acting jobs.  As far as I'm concerned, this was a highly successful sophomore season and it did nothing more than keep my excitement levels peaked for what they've got in store for us next season.

Another show returning to it's season 2.0 was SyFy's reality makeup competition, Face Off.  This is a show that sheds light on a livelihood that often goes unnoticed and is left without the respect that it deserves.  The show has spent two seasons bringing attention to some of the best makeup artists in the business and helps fuel the passions of genre nerds everywhere with the hopes that these men and women possess the skills to generate horrifying creatures that could help dispose of the remake kick. It takes some wicked skill and creativity to generate critters worthy of composing the symphony of our nightmares, and it's about damn time they get their proper recognition.  Face Off is far more than just some reality television show, it enforces the idea that these hardworking individuals are not creating their art in vain, and that the audience really does appreciate their work outside of the one Oscar dedicated to it a year that usually goes to films that didn't deserve it in the first place (watch your back Iron Lady). 

After Face Off was sent to tuck itself away until season 3, SyFy wasted absolutely no time in presenting another show geared to let horror geeks salivate with pure unadulterated desire.  Coming from a girl who's skirt feels a little cooler in the breeze just thinking about practical FX, the new show Monster Man is a wet dream in the form of prime time cable programming.  In a world where our filmmakers have gone CGI crazy, we have been given an opportunity to witness the creation and execution of good old hand made monsters.  I'm sorry, but the only thing that could make this better was if they recreated all of the FX in The Thing

So whoever you are out there in TV land, please continue with horror programming. I no longer feel like the weird kid with the remote control and I finally have something to watch that doesn't make my family hide in shame.  Keep on keepin' on.

Sincerely,

BJ-C

Thursday, March 15, 2012

THE NEW LADIES OF THE EVIL DEAD: JANE LEVY, ELIZABETH BLACKMORE, & JESSICA LUCAS


At the beginning of the year, it was announced that Phil Collins' daughter Lily, was going to replace the man-chin wonder as the leading character of the newest installment of Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead series.  Shame on me for being late to the party, but it seems that seems that big brows has been replaced by an actress I'm far more familiar with, and one I believe fits the world of the Necronomicon much better than Lily Collins ever could.  Jane Levy, the sharp-tongued red head of Suburgatory and the new hit Shameless, is locked in as playing the heroine.  Of course fans are still in outrage that Bruce Campbell won't be reprising his role as Ash, but from what he's been saying...I think the fans have plenty to look forward to. 
What makes me most excited about the recasting is not only is Levy easily the best part of Suburgatory outside waiting for Jeremy Sisto's character to say "Yeah. I can't find my Cranberries CD. I gotta go to the quad before anyone snags it," but she also gives a rats ass about the film she's acting in.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, I highly despise actresses that are cast in horror films that hate the genre.  We've gotta be real here when we admit that 99.9% of what horror casting directors look for is a hot body. Hell, face comes second on that list these days and acting chops easily comes third.  Not only does Jane Levy understand the importance of this film to genre fans, but she actually WANTS to be a part of it. She was quoted in saying,  "I'm so excited…  I'm a big fan of the original.  To me it's the scariest movie, ever.  But this one is really different.  They've changed it a lot, but it's still a pretty gory movie.  My mom probably can't see it.  As for the tone, I think the humor in the first one came from the special effects of the time.  I don't know that they meant it to be funny...  this one is not funny.  It's definitely dark." I'm not complaining. I'm glad to finally see an actress in a horror film that actually understands our weird culture. Somewhat.

Outside of Levy's announcement, it seems that this film is going to be mega female centric. According to THR, rounding out The Evil Dead cast for this are Jessica Lucas known for her roles on Melrose Place & Cloverfield and newcomer Elizabeth Blackmore known for Legend of the Seeker. Jessica Lucas is in talks for the role of Mia’s best friend, Olivia, while Elizabeth Blackmore has landed the role of Natalie, fiancée of David, Mia’s brother, to be played by Shiloh Fernandez of Red Riding Hood fame.  All in all, I'm rather pleased with the casting decisions.  I haven't seen much work from Lucas and Blackmore, but the casting of Levy has given me much to look forward to.  It won't be the same without Ash, but then again, I think that's the point. The film is set to begin shooting soon in New Zealand with a projected release date in April of 2013.  

Saturday, March 10, 2012

DAY OF THE WOMAN PRESENTS: THE BEST IN HIPPIE HORROR

Sorry I've been such a neglectful mother the past few weeks, I hope I haven't been triggering any blocked out childhood memories with my absence.  If you follow me on twitter, you may know that I'm currently in production for HAIR: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical.  (yes, that's the actual title).  With long rehearsals, actual school work, and my poor excuse for a social life, I haven't had much time to sit down and crank out an actual article for you guys in a hot minute.  When I'm not at rehearsal or crying over the Lady Bic I haven't been able to use anywhere on my body for over a month, I'm doing extensive character research on hippies and the flower child culture.  In case you've forgotten, I'm only twenty one years old...I actually have to do research on this sort of thing, sue me.  Either way, I've decided to do a bit of cross training and deliver to you a list of the best in hippie horror. Enjoy, man.

Shortly after the "Summer of Love", we were delivered part of a double feature that put hippiexploitation horror films on the map.  I Drink Your Blood follows a Mason Family-esque group of Satanic hippies that go from town to town terrorizing the locals. The film was one of the first to receive an X-Rating, but for the violence rather than nudity, another first.  Several scenes were heavily edited in order to achieve the R-Rating, but the film is still noted for its impressively thrilling aura surrounding extremely graphic scenes.  It's definitely not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach, so you have been warned.  Either way, it's psycho-delic to the extreme.

Before Nicholas Cage started playing live-action Punch-Out in bear suits and wearing bee masks better than anyone on Jack-Ass ever did, The Wicker Man was associated with one of Christopher Lee's best performances and Britt Ekland's naked dance.  A young girl named Rowan Morrison has been missing for a number of months and after Sergeant Neil Howie of the West Highland Police receives an anonymous letter requesting his presence on Summerisle to help solve the case, he discovers a bunch of cult-like hippies hell bent on human sacrifices and harvest worship.  Although moreso cult members than hippies, many people used to believe that the hippie movement was nothing more than some weird cult phenomenon and for that reason, The Wicker Man is included on this list. 

Elisabeth Fies' debut feature film is one that I seem to be unable not to gush about.  The film looks, feels, and probably tastes like a 70's flick but the attention to the smallest details are what really gives the film such a lasting impression. The score is impeccable, the aesthetics are incredibly striking with the use of color amongst the hippies, and the flashback scenes are quite scarring to those impressionable.They may have beat the "creepy dream" sequence to death, but as a whole, it was a minutiae issue. This film is fantastic in every sense of the word and brought life back to hippexploitation.

Jessica Harper really did a lot of shitty cult films, didn't she?  Before Scarface, Brian De Palma made an insane musical horror film entitled Phantom of the Paradise. Filled to the brim with sex, drugs, rock 'n roll, and psychedelic sequences, the film appears to be straight out of a hippie trippy dream.  Elaborate characters and plot points help pay homage to films like Faust, Phantom of the Opera, Dorian Gray, and Psycho.  Did I mention it's a musical?! The songs are uncontrollably catchy and the entire film feels like the results of the best trip possible. 

With the second longest title in horror history, (yeah, 2nd) The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living And Became Mixed Up Zombies is embraced for being a film of MSTK3 caliber suckfest.  After three kids stumble their way into a carnival and find themselves surrounded by occultists and disfigured monsters.  Strippers, monsters, fortune tellers, cult ceremonies, and song & dance numbers help aide this free thinking lifestyle/hallucinating monster musical.

A nostalgic homage to the exploitation films of Wes Craven and Tobe Hooper, David Arquette's The Tripper follows a group of free-loving hippies who escape to a new millennium style Woodstock for a weekend of debauchery and drugs.  However, the kids unfortunately meet unexpected terror when they are stalked by a radical-minded psychopath dressed and talking like Ronald Reagan.  At least it's Reagan and not...LBJ or something, his nose could kill someone alone. Sheesh.  The title itself is a play on both the sensation of tripping and Reagan's nickname "The Gipper".  David Arquette, you clever girl, you.

I've watched enough 1000 ways to die to understand that a combination of LSD, stupidity, and a bad trip can have some ridiculously dangerous results.  After a bald crooner has a freakish breakdown and is thrown into a homicidal rampage, it is discovered that 10 years prior, a group of college kids had taken a new form of LSD called "Blue Sunshine," which causes its users to lose their hair and become homicidal maniacs many years after their trip is over.  Talk about a traumatizing "Don't Drop Acid" PSA.
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