XX – Official Trailer

XX, not to be confused with XXX: The Return of Zander Cage, is likely named after the female sex chromosome, an indicator this anthology (in this instance a movie composed of a series of shorts) will be directed by entirely by women.  

Though what I am most concerned about is if the movie will be consistently scary because anthologies are notoriously difficult to do well due to they’re only as strong as their weakest entry (one reason Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone is one of the best of the breed is that it originally aired on network television, an episode at a time.  This meant that strong stories weren’t shown directly before or after weaker ones, enabling viewers to judge them each on their own merits, as opposed to being directly compared against what aired only minutes before).  

And having the whole project based around the fact that the directors are women?  Not too sure that that’s a great idea because I would think that it’s only relevant if their sex informs what we’re seeing on screen in identifiable ways (who we are as individuals informs everything that we do, but in this particular instance the choice of female directors need to bring some sort of additional insight–for instance, I suspect Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook would be an entirely different movie in terms of its narrative thrust as well as its priorities, if it were directed by a man) that enhance what we’re seeing on screen. 

Though if nothing about the vignettes that make up XX brings the distinctiveness I spoke to earlier, then I am unsure that there’s a point.  

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Harbinger Down – International Trailer

it’s taken filmmakers long enough to realize that ‘quality’ and ‘horror’ aren’t necessairly mutually exclusive terms, if movies like The Babadook and It Follows are any indication.

Though it goes without saying that we’ll continue to get drek like Ouija (good idea, remarkably uninspired movie) and Paranormal Activity, but that’s okay as long as the good stuff continues be green-lit as well.

And speaking of ‘good stuff,’ StudioADI has cut an international trailer for their upcoming love letter to H.P. Lovecraft and John Carpenter’s The Thing, Harbinger Down.

The significance being that if there’s an international trailer, it assumes that at the very least that the movie will be released in theaters overseas, though I get the feeling that it will be lucky to get a limited run in theaters on this side of the world (though It Follows was was originally going direct to video, before someone thought better of the idea and released it to theaters).Trailer

And who knows?  One successful adaptation of a Lovecraft-like movie could conceivably get studios to approve others.

It Follows – Trailer

While I wouldn’t by any means call 2014-2015 a banner year for horror movies, I am glad to see that there are some coming down the pike that approach the genre with the sort of vision that more often than not elevates the material, such as The Babadook (on the strength of which director Jennifer Kent was rumored to be in the running to direct the upcoming Warner Bros. upcoming Wonder Woman movie) and David Robert Mitchell‘s It Follows, a movie that takes some familiar tropes (sexual awakening in a young woman) and takes it to new and frightening places.

Though what I find most interesting is that, while there’s plenty of crappy horror films out there–and probably always will be–there are filmmakers that don’t take the fact that they’re working on a horror film as an excuse to do weak work.

What Lies At The Heart Of Horror

I don’t claim to be a particularly deep person, though I think I understand what it is that’s at the heart of my enjoyment of horror movies.  I think that a good horror movie makes me feel.  Generally speaking, I have in the past been relatively numb to much that went on around me.

Living in such a way not only isn’t true to the way humans are supposed to live; it’s not true to what we are, which tends toward the communal.  it’s also not true to any attempt to being in touch with the Natural world around us, despite the glee which we tend to either to pave it over or otherwise beat it into submission.

A good horror movie–or a entertaining, well-done movie of any type, really–allows me for a little while to step out of the conventions and straitjackets that society impose, and to touch a purer, more primal self.

Which is probably why movies like Annabelle and Ouija are so mediocre:  They both hint at fears and emotions linked to something old and primal, but don’t deliver, because they do so so hesitantly and tentatively that it seems barely worth the effort (unless you’re talking about box office, which means that we are going to see many more Annabelles, because it was hugely profitable).

And if filmmakers are so afraid of revealing the Id, what could they possibly tell me, or anyone else, about it?

Which is why I am enthusiastic about movies like It Follows, The Babadook and Late Phases.  Not only are all three getting really good buzz, but apparently they touch upon the collective fears that keep us up at night, the things that turn a shadowy corner into something potentially dangerous.

It Follows International Trailer

The Babadook Trailer 2

Late Phases Trailer