If the Wes Craven classic Scream taught us anything it’s that any reputable horror movie (or franchise) must live by a set of rules. Wait, before we get to the rules of my blog, I need to react to the fact that I just wrote the phrase “Wes Craven classic Scream” without thinking/blinking. First, how I am suddenly so old, that a horror movie that I saw in a theater during its initial run could be deemed a classic? Second, if you want to see a real Wes Craven classic, check out The Last House on the Left or The Hills Have Eyes (or hell, even Swamp Thing)… also, I’m sure it goes without saying, but I’m referring to the originals (not the remakes… not that there’s anything wrong with remakes (check out the 2004 version of Dawn of Dead)).
Where was I? Right, rules… the importance of rules… Wait. I guess it might be better to talk about the ‘why’, before I talk about the ‘what’ and the ‘how’. Though, most of the modern horror movies don’t reveal the origin of the monster until the middle or end of the movie, if at all (I’m looking at you It Follows). But, then again, why mess with the classics. So, why… why am I planning on spending a large part of my summer musing on horror movies? I wish it was a simple, singular answer, but in reality there are three (remember from yesterday?) reasons:
- I spend the majority of my year teaching, which, while fulfilling, it does not, in and of itself, really satiate my creative urges. For the last couple of summers I have tried as best as I could to take time off… to recharge for the next semester. That leaves me with a lot of free time… you would be surprised how quickly you can binge-watch the entire Doctor Who “reboot” (10 days… I found that out three summers ago). After a few wasted summers, I decided that I needed something to show (even if just to myself) for all of that. So, last year, after having several conversations with a friend of mine, I set off to write a horror movie (that she would direct). It was a success… meaning I finished it… not meaning that it’s any good (more on that possibly never). That left me with nothing on the schedule for this summer.
- Patton Oswalt… or more specifically Patton Oswalt’s book Silver Screen Fiend. If you haven’t read it, you should… as simple as that. I saw (too much of) myself in those pages. The lesson I took away from it: it is important to feed your creative side, as long as it doesn’t begin to devour you. This simple, yet hugely important idea helped me to better focus (or maybe un-focus is better) my plans for this blog.
- It Follows. If you haven’t seen it, you should… as simple as that. It’s one of the best horror movies I’ve seen in a long time. I may pick it apart in a future post. Here, though, all I need to say is that the movie haunted me… to the point that my friends were getting sick of me talking about it… so, why not take these minor movie obsessions and put them into words.
So, there’s the ‘why’… now, it’s finally time for the rules.
But, before that, I guess I should talk briefly about the original vision of this blog, which brings me to the title. My summer vacation lasts a bit more than three months. A little over 99 days, if you will (108 days to be exact, but that doesn’t sound as good as 99). So, I thought a fun project would be to watch one horror movie a day… something new… something I had never seen before… probably something on Netflix or Amazon Prime (because, you know, it’s free). After thinking about it for a couple of weeks and reading Silver Screen Fiend, I realized that this would quickly become an obsession that would eat me whole. So, that leads me to the rules:
- My posts will center on horror (nothing shocking there). Generally, they will come from a few places. First, I will try to watch as many new (to me) horror movies as I can, though I will not hold myself to rule of one per day. Second, I will revisit some classics that I feel I need to re-watch. I hope to do this in art-house theaters around the Boston area (Coolidge Corner, The Brattle, Kendall, Somerville, The Captial, Salem, etc.). Third, the random thoughts that come to me throughout the day. Finally, from you. Please, do not hesitate to email me you suggested viewings, topics, ideas, etc.
- I will post every day. Do not expect every post to be as substantial as the past two. It depends on the mood I’m in, the amount of free time I have that day, and if creativity is sparking. Therefore, my posts may be as short as a tweet or as long as a few pages. Expect more of the former on the weekends. I will probably only publicize the longer ones as to not overwhelm your feeds (on Facebook and Twitter).
- We have become a society obsessed with spoilers… I understand and accept this. Therefore, it is important for me to discuss my approach to spoilers. First, if a movie is less than five years old I will do my absolute best not to reveal any key plot points. However, there may be a time when I feel it is integral to my post. When this happens I will make sure to state that I will be revealing spoilers and how to avoid them (usually “skip to the next paragraph”). If the movie if more than five years old, all bets are off… I will not hesitate to reveal plot points (though, I will make it clear when it’s about to happen and how to avoid it).
Okay, that’s probably enough of a mission statement. More fun to come!
2 thoughts on “First Things Second”
Love that we’re getting to see the inner workings of the blog before it all kicks off, looking forward to your adventure through horror. A good friend of mine (who watched over a hundred horror films for his dissertation!) said the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre was one of his absolute favourites. I’ve not got round to it yet but you seem to have made more of a horror commitment than I’m able to right now! Would love to know (in general, non-spoiler terms) what made It Follows so good, as I’ve heard mixed reviews.
The original Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a classic. I’ll definitely be revisiting it soon. Two things always come to mind when I think of that movie. The first is the filter it was shot through… it has affected how we think of horror movies. The second is the amount of implied violence as compared to actual violence shown on the screen. As for It Follows I’ve read some of the criticisms of the film and I can’t say that they’re wrong. The film just struck a chord with me. I think I need to watch it again (once it comes out for home viewing) before I write about my thoughts… they’re a bit complex right now.
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