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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Grab Your Plastic Glasses and Plunge Deep Into Hanniger Mine!

So 2009 is already promising to be a banner year for horror fans. Having just seen the highly enjoyable My Bloody Valentine 3-D, I'm cautiously optimistic that Hollywood hasn't quite lost touch with what makes horror fans go "hmmmm". While my proper review is up at Fear Zone, I couldn't resist a blog entry about this utterly fun, fantastic film.

The key word here is FUN. Fun of the capital "F" variety. MBV Version 2.0 is a glorious throwback to the unapolegetic cheesiness of the simple slasher. I'm completely smitten with what director Patrick Lussier and screenwriters Todd Farmer and Zane Smith have done, handling the source material with respect while improving upon the original film. The 3-D technology, while central and used to opimum effect, never dominates. At the heart of this film are the characters and credit has to be given to leads Jensen Ackles, Kerr Smith, and Jaime King - all of whom take their roles seriously and never make the audience feel like their slumming it while on hiatus from a TV series. Smith, in particular, really impressed me and I suspect this is just the beginning of more lead roles for the Dawson's Creek alum. And Tom Atkins? What can I even say that hasn't been expressed almost universally by genre fans everywhere? There was a moment during the new MBV when Atkins' presence on the screen transported me back to 1981, a flashback to sitting in a darkened theater with my own Dad watching a younger Atkins pull his beat-up pickup truck over to the side of the road to pick up a certain hitchhiker in The Fog. Nostalgia, man!

I had the pleasure of interviewing MBV's screenwriter Todd Farmer for Dark Scribe Magazine a few months back. His enthusiasm for the film was contagious, and it was so heartening to find someone who had as much passion for the often scorned slasher genre. What an added surprise then to see Farmer show his respectable acting chops in a terrific small role in the film, playing a sleazy truck driver who beds Betsy Rue's character. (There will be more than a few slasher gals and gays who will enjoy the added bonus of Farmer flashing his impressive derrière!)

It was so refreshing to see a remake that plays to the forty-something crowd that made the original film a cult classic in the first place. Some of the best set pieces from the 1981 film make cameo appearances here, with the clothes dyer, bloody hearts in candy boxes, and those creepy falling miner outfits all showing how timeless their appeal is. One bewilderment: why didn't they recycle the original film's infamous pipe-through-the-back-of-the-throat-kill? Imagine the possibilities of that jagged pipe coming at the audience in 3-D, the victim's blood mingling with the water and dripping onto their laps! But it's one small missed opportunity in an otherwise flawless redux.

4 comments:

Ross Horsley said...

I'm seeing this tomorrow night and I just... can't... wait!

Ryne said...

Hmm, I've got to disagree with you on this. I thought that the cheesiness wasn't played up enough to really consider it a throwback to old films, and instead, it just felt like another worn-out slasher.

Good write-up though!

Meep Parker said...

I really enjoyed this review. I didn't care much for the remake as a movie, but as a total movie experience in 3D! It totally brought me back to 1983 watching all those wacky 3D films in times square. I'm a super nostalgic guy and all, and it really left me longing for those days as a kid watching them.

Thank you so much for conjuring that up for me!

Vince Liaguno said...

Ryne, different strokes, right? It's all good, my friend. I think there's an interesting split between the generations on this, and I'm rather fascinated by how a movie like this can evoke a strong sense of nostalgia in those who grew up watching 80's slashers when they were first-run films in actual movie theaters. I think the generation that grew up catching these on VHS or late night cable missed out on the actual experience of the film, watching it in a crowded movie theater when people still shrieked and screamed in actual fright. There was something tangible about bearing witness to the slasher genre when it hit its stride during the early 80's and it's an experience I wish could be re-created so that younger moviegoers could understand the affection those of us who lived these experiences have for these essentially "bad" movies. Ok...stopping now before I sound too much like an old fogey!

Michael, thanks for the kind words. Yeah, there was something about the whole thing that made MBV 3-D more of an experience than merely watching a movie. This brought back so many memories of being the teen sneaking into R-rated slashers that it took me back to a time when life's cares were less and it was all about the movies. Thanks for stopping by!