All posts by David DeMoss

Friday the 13th (1980)

They're so cute when they're all tucked in, safe.
They’re so cute when they’re all tucked in, safe.

In the beginning, there was Alfred Hitchcock. And Alfred said, “Let there be Psycho.” And there was Psycho, coupled with widespread rejoicing.

Among those who rejoiced one young man stood among them somewhere in the vicinity of the Getty Museum. He alone in all the world possessed the strength and skill to answer Hitchcock’s Psycho and move its story forward, almost exactly twenty years later, into an age where Norman Bateses seemed to suddenly fill the land (or, at the very least, the land’s primary news outlets). His name was John Carpenter. He said, “Let there be Halloween.” And there was Halloween, coupled with widespread rejoicing.

It’s strange to come back to Crystal Lake now that I have some reason to be there. For better or worse (mostly worse, as we’ll see) Friday the 13th remains one of the most influential films of the twentieth century. As a reformed fan of the films that are ostensibly Friday’s children as much (if not more so) than they are Halloween’s, my fingers rebel at typing this phrase…but all those Christian moralizers who spent the 1980s bitching about Slasher movies were right in so far as they likened these films to more…traditional…pornography. Continue reading Friday the 13th (1980)

Batman and Robin (1997)

Joel Schumacher shows what he really thinks of us.So here it is: the final nail in the coffin, the death knell of the Golden Age of superhero movies. As with any artistic Age, it’s boundaries are plastic and open for debate, should any nerd care to distract him- (or her-) self. But you’d be hard pressed to find a nerd who doesn’t view this movie for exactly what it is: the lowest of the low, the scum of the fucking earth, the most useless, servile, pathetic trash that was ever shat out of Hollywood, a town ruled by effete assholes who see not at all wrong with dumping toxic, imaginative waste straight into their target audience’s eyes, so long as there are as many eyes as possible.

Sorry. Channeled Trainspotting there for a moment. Where were we? Ah, yes…we were marveling at Joel Schumacher’s continued slide into camp and self-parodying idiocy. All in the name of keeping this franchise “family friendly.” In practice, you and I both know this means, “so dumb your trailer-trash, hick cousins from Possumscrotum, Texas, will beg, cry, scream and, eventually, drag their parents into theaters. We’ve spent the last six months stoking their little, ADD-addled minds with trailers and toy commercials. If we don’t get their butts in those seats, our Japanese masters stand to lose hundreds of billions of yen! We can’t allow that!” {More}

Independence Day (1996)

"Maybe we shouldn't've crossed Newt that last time..."Roger Ebert called this “an inheritor of the 1950s flying saucer genre”…though, for the life of me, I can only think of two films that match Independence Day‘s sheer destructive gluttony. The mid-90s will go down in history as a period shamefully infested with big-budget disaster orgies, horror pornography for middle Americans too chicken at watch real horror films.

And if ID4 has a more proximate progenitor, it is the disaster movies of the 70s, which carved this genre niche after the collapse of the studio system led to a collapse of the Epic. All-star casts stopped playing mythological heroes from various Western holy texts and began acting out multiple plot-threads as…normal people. One (or two, or three, or a whole bunch) of us. We began to appear in epic tales of survival against long odds and various plot contrivances…for, like any genre, the disaster flick soon found itself hedged in by its own, flawed, internal logic. {More}