Every year at this time, film journalists thoughts turn to talk of the state of the horror film. We’ve run out of things to say on the subject. Last weekend, "Saw III" opened to $34.3 million at the box office â€” we know nothing about the film, but prefer to think of it as a series of sketches in which people jump into industrial-sized blenders, over and over again, for 80 minutes. We’re just weary of what Rebecca Winters Keegan proclaimed "The Splat Pack" in Time last week, though it’s also possible they’re getting tired of themselves. On the wires today, Leigh Whannell and James Wan, the 29-year-old filmmakers behind the "Saw" franchise, expressed reluctance to commit to the inevitable "Saw IV":
"I don’t know personally if I would want to do it or not," Leigh Whannell said of the potential fourth film.
"As a creator, I’m starting to feel like I’m painting with the same brush."
A brush…DIPPED IN GORE! Eh, whatever. Don’t get us wrong, we like horror, and we’re absolute suckers for all things supernatural, which inevitably seep into our subconscious and give us nightmares, no matter how obvious or cheesy or "intended to be funny" (we’ve got our eye on you, "Ghostbusters II"). It’s just that franchises like "Saw," "The Grudge" and "Final Destination" all seem to be composed of the lopped-off ends of film. Whither suspense and build-up?
Over at the Onion AV Club, Noel Murray and Scott Tobias have a nice discussion of the meaning of the current hits of horror. Murray:
I think you’re right that the most relevant-to-American-youth horror films today are torture-fests like Saw and Hostel, and I agree that the relevance is tied to 9/11, but I think it goes beyond the fear of unexpected tragedy. If you look closely at Hostelâ€”and Wolf Creek, for that matterâ€”what they’re really about is what happens after everything goes to hell. When that kid in Hostel is strapped to a chair with a chainsaw-wielding sicko heading toward him, we in the audience have to ask what we’re hoping to see. Do we just want him to escape and get the hell out of there? Or do we want to him to get hold of that chainsaw and exact revenge?
Over at the Film Experience Blog, Nathaniel R. has links and an entry in a blog-a-thon centered on that most metaphor-friendly of horror denizens, the vampire. We’re not seeing it anywhere after a cursory glance, but we wanted to make sure there’s some love shown for Larry Fessenden‘s "Habit," our favorite revisionist vampire film out there.
At MSNBC, self-proclaimed "gorehound" Dave White shares his list of the ten "coolest horror movie killings ever."
Travolta wanted to make Edna sexier and real, not a campy drag act. That required four hours of prep time before putting in eight hours of performing in padding and silicone prosthetics.
+ The Splat Pack (Time)
+ Saw IV’s a sore point (Sydney Morning Herald)
+ Crosstalk: The state of horror cinema (Onion AV Club)
+ The Vampire Blog-a-Thon (Film Experience Blog)
+ The coolest horror movie killings ever (MSNBC)
+ Pssst! Pssst! John Travolta is Edna Turnblad (USA Today)