Thursday, 21 November 2013

MOVIE - The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

The Cabin in the Woods is a post modern horror film which is really fucking weird, and often with post modern texts, the words weird and brilliant can used interchangeably. Reminiscent of Weir's The Truman Show, The Cabin in the Woods depicts a group of young adults spending a weekend at a deserted cabin while being manipulated by an external force. Installed cameras in the cabin allow the force to monitor the group and influence their actions in order to create a typical horror movie scenario and appease the unseen audience of the situation.

(Dana, Marty, Curt, Jules, Holden)

Each of the group members are assigned traditional character roles that are typically found in horror films. However, from the start, it is clear the members are not two-dimensional and their individual personalities extend beyond the traditional roles they represent. For instance, the 'Virgin' is not actually a virgin, being previously involved in an affair with a professor, the Braun is knowledgeable and the Whore is in a healthy, monogamous relationship. Early into the movie, it is clear that the supposed 'Fool'/stoner Marty has the most common sense in the group, which deliberately subverts the expectations we have as an audience towards his character. This is what makes the movie so great, it critiques horror film conventions while commenting on how such films are constructed to appeal to mass audiences.

Keeping in mind the aforementioned parallel to the Truman Show, The Cabin in the Woods similarly uses a physically created simulacrum of the cabin to depict the creation of a movie within a movie. However, like Truman and the Truman Show, the simulation of reality of the cabin will inevitably collide with force that creates the simulation. The realisation of this is one of the greatest moments of the movie.

Overall, I enjoyed The Cabin in the Woods very much. It has a lot of postmodern elements that added depth to the film, a lot of which I didn't even notice until reading about it afterwards. There are some funny moments and some scenes that will make you squirm, but I do believe more viewings are required to fully appreciate how fucking clever this movie is.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

A halt on the horror, for awhile anyway

I am going to stop reading/watching creepy, fucked up, disturbing shit. I don't even know why I do it in the first place, but it's probably a deep, morbid curiosity derived from the "car crash syndrome". You just can't look away.

American Horror Story Season Two.
This season is absolutely disgusting. I have much love for Jessica Lange and Zachary Quinto, but why on Earth am I still watching this show? There is one episode simply called "The Coat Hanger". You don't even have to know what the whole season is about to know that the "The Coat Hanger" episode is not a light hearted one (if any of the episodes can be considered that), especially for those with ovaries.

I say all this about how disgusting the show is, but really, it's been one the most intriguing shows that I've watched in 2012/2013. From a year of Shameless, Community, Parks and Recreation, Gossip Girl (urgh, don't get me started), American Horror Story provides an interesting contrast. My favourite scene would have to be the Name Game dance sequence. That was amazing.

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
House of Leaves is the darkest book I've ever read. Literally. It is about a family residing in a house which is larger on the inside than on the outside and how darkness within an expanding closet consumes the whole house. I wouldn't classify the book as horror, but it is pretty gloomy and the concept overall, as well as the ramifications of living in such a house is pretty damn frightening.

A satire of academic criticism, its experimentation with form correlates the aesthetics of the words themselves with the plot of the novel. Consequent to finishing the book, a sensation of emptiness remained within me, as if something important was drained out during the process of reading, of which I only realised occurred after the last page. It sounds a bit ridiculous today, but House of Leaves fucked something up inside me, at least for short while. After reading books, you can usually lay to rest the story and continue on with your life, but with some particular books (almost always the amazing, evocative ones), something stays with you, even after finishing it.

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
This is one of the first Murakami novels that I do not like. I think it's definitely interesting, well paced and written. But I just don't like it. In Murakami novels, it's common for characters to have a deep physical, and more notably spiritual connections, but such types of affiliations within Kafka on the Shore involve Oedipal and pedophilia themes. One exception is Nabokov's Lolita, but other than that, I'm not here for this.

If I don't really care about the characters, I don't enjoy reading the book as much. I was indifferent to the protagonist Kafka, however Nakata's narration and storyline was a refreshing change of tone and perspective. Oshima is still my favourite character though, for some odd reason. Maybe it's because he reminds me of Q from Skyfall.

(picture from tumblr)

Coin Locker Babies by Ryu Murakami
Oh goodness. Where to even start with this book. Oh here's an idea, how about the first sentence? (highlight to see): "The woman pushed on the baby's stomach and sucked its penis into her mouth; it was thinner than the American menthols she smoked and a bit slimy, like raw fish."

Damn that is absolutely disgusting. That line alone almost made me stop reading the book altogether. I was so close to just slamming the book shut and never opening it again. Luckily I didn't, because Coin Locker Babies turned out to be one of my favourite books. The opening line almost serves as a test, that if you can't make through it, don't bother with the rest of the book, and indeed the book does get a lot better. It portrays such a gritty, sickening tale of humanity and human nature itself and what's more disturbing than the book (as over-the-top it may be), is how much it parallels modern society, a notion which is especially jarring if you are aware of how the book ends.

In conclusion, I really need to stop reading/watching these types of books and shows. Someone please send me something along the lines of 'Where is the Green Sheep?" to read. Or a therapist. Whichever is easier.