Friday, September 07, 2007

Movie Night

by Kristine Coblitz



I love scary movies.

Over the weekend, my husband and I went to see the new Halloween movie by Rob Zombie. I've been a fan of the original Halloween ever since the first time I saw it. The original slasher flick was chilling and gave me nightmares. I don't get nightmares from it anymore, of course, but it's still fun to watch. It's now a tradition in my house to watch it every October. I had to see this new version on the big screen.

As much as I love the original, the major holes in the plot always bothered me. Too many unanswered questions for my taste. The writer in me wanted to know more. Why did Michael Myers kill his sister? What's the connection with Laurie Strode? How did Michael Myers get out of the institution? What internal and external factors turned him into a cold-blooded killer?

Granted, I know a movie like Halloween isn't supposed to be loaded with a ton of backstory or exposition--and neither should novels, for that matter. Fans of the genre want blood and gore. They want teenage sex. They want dead bodies. They want violence. In that sense, the movie delivered. The new version delivers plenty of that, too. True fans of the genre shouldn't be disappointed.

As a writer of suspense fiction, however, I needed answers. I wanted to go beneath the surface of what was portrayed on the screen to find out why things happened. Finally with this new version, I got the answers I needed. Of course they were the answers that fit Rob Zombie's more contemporary vision, but they were enough for me. I was satisfied at the end and felt as if I got closure. It was like finishing a good book.

I found the movie to be an interesting character study into how a child can turn into a monster, and I loved how Rob Zombie brought the entire story full circle at the end. You can check out the movie's cool website HERE.

I won't give any spoilers, but I do recommend the movie to horror fans and mystery writers alike. If you can tolerate the blood and gore, you'll see a lot of the same techniques we use in crafting our novels and our villains, proving once again the similarities between screenwriting and novel writing and how we can learn from each other.

What's your favorite scary movie? Any other Halloween fans out there?

22 comments:

Tory said...

I hate scary movies. I've always said, real life is scary enough.

I made an exception and saw _Silence of the Lambs_ because of its psychological content. I thought the script and performances were amazing. I really felt I was given a view into Hanibal Lechter's brain.

I couldn't sleep for a week after seeing it. I'm sorry, even for a great movie, I still don't think it's worth it.

No more scary movies for me.

Joyce said...

I don't usually watch horror movies. Come to think of it, I don't watch many movies at all. It's been years since I've been to a movie theater.

I remember seeing the Exorcist when it first came out, and I was petrified. I had nightmares for a long time.

Tory, did you know Silence of the Lambs was partly filmed in Shaler? The chief had a role in the movie, too (he's been in lots of Pgh. movies). And guess who that was raiding the house? My very own Shaler Police Department!

Gina said...

In general, I've always found any movie with a moving mummy to be particularly frightening. Having a real plot, however, doesn't seem to be a prerequisite for scariness. I remember watching The Horror of Party Beach on tv with my ex-husband -- we were both too scared to go to sleep! -- and that has to be one of the stupidest movies ever made. Sort of Beach Party Bingo meets The Creature From the Black Lagoon. My favorite horror movie, however, isn't very scary. It's Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, a spoof of the genre.

Kristine said...

This may sound strange, but Silence of the Lambs didn't scare me at all. I thought it was an excellent movie and thriller. Disturbing? Yes. Nightmare material? Not really (at least for me, anyway).

Now The Exorcist is a completely different matter. That movie terrified me. Even today, I can't watch the whole thing. I hide my eyes throughout most of it.

Lee Lofland said...

It didn't scare me, but I liked Silence of the Lambs. I particularly liked the relationship between Lecter and Clarice. Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster were great.

Joyce said...

Gina, that sounds like Mystery Science Theater material. I love MST!

Lee Lofland said...

Joyce, I used to watch MST all the time and I loved it. I haven't seen it on in a long time, though.

Joyce said...

Lee, I have some on DVD. My personal favorites are "Boggy Creek Monster 2" and "A Touch of Satan."

Christa M. Miller said...

I love horror movies. My favorites of all are the zombie apocalypse stories. (Romero's new Dead movie premieres in Toronto tomorrow!!) And we also have an October tradition of watching the original Halloween (along with Phantasm and a few others from that era).

So you liked this version? I have seen horrible reviews for it. Do you think reviewers were expecting something different?

Kristine said...

Hi Christa,

Welcome!

I think a lot of reviewers and fans were surprised that this version of Halloween wasn't exactly like the original, which is why it's getting some bad reviews. Plus, I've noticed that horror movies in general tend to get trashed by critics. Sort of like how genre fiction is never really appreciated.

I knew what to expect when I went into the theater, so I wasn't disappointed. Rob Z made it very clear from the beginning that he was making HIS version, and it was much more contemporary. I guess some people hate it when you mess with an original.

Thanks for stopping by!

Kristine said...

I've never seen Mystery Science Theater. Was this before my time?

Lee Lofland said...

Okay, Kristine. I caught that. Just because my body is old doesn't mean that I am. I just don't associate with it anymore.

Joyce said...

Kristine, MST is pretty current--the 90's through the last several years. It was big on Comedy Central.

Kristine said...

Lee: There are advantages to being one of the younger ones around here....LOL! Don't worry, my age is catching up to me big time lately.

This is off-topic, but you'll be glad to know that at the Pittsburgh Sisters in Crime meeting last night, many of us left with copies of your book. I can't wait to read it.

Kristine said...

Joyce: I'll have to look around for MST. Sounds like something I'd be interested in, for sure.

Joyce said...

Link for MST:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_d/105-8850438-0343667?initialSearch=1&url=search-alias%3Ddvd&field-keywords=Mystery+Science+Theater

Lee Lofland said...

Thanks for picking up a copy of the book. I hope you enjoy it. I also hope you find it helpful, and informative.

Here's a tid-bit of information privy only to the folks here at Working Stiffs. The last photo in the book is of my grandson (that's right, Kristine, I said grandson).

Christa M. Miller said...

Thanks for the warm welcome, Kristine! I think I've posted here once before. But even if I don't have much to say usually, I'm a faithful reader (found you all at Crimespace). :)

I also forgot to say before that I too miss MST:3K! You can find it on video. I need to get me some of those....

Kristine said...

Lee: Your grandson is adorable! Very sweet picture. You seem way too young to have a grandson. (Yes, I'm trying to get back into your good graces.)

Christa: It's good to have you here. I must definitely check out MST. Seems like I'm missing out on something great!

I'm surprised at how many of you don't like scary movies! Bummer.

Annette said...

I must admit, I'm not much of a horror movie buff. I do recall being totally creeped out by Stephen King's Salem's Lot a long time ago (late 70's, early 80's, something like that) and loving it. Also I was quite intriged by the version of Dracula with Frank Langella. But I think it had more to do with the actor than the movie. Or I just had a brief flirtation with vampires around that time. Not sure which. Anyhow, I don't think think I've seen anything spookier than Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow since then.

Kristine said...

Annette: Sleepy Hollow is one of my favorite movies! I love the atmosphere.

Debra Lee said...

I love scary movies. Halloween and Friday the 13th are two of my favorites. But then Halloween is probably my favorite holiday.