Author Topic: Top 100 Club: Sam the Cinema Snob  (Read 1958 times)

1SO

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sam the Cinema Snob
« Reply #20 on: October 17, 2018, 12:25:48 AM »
Sandy: People getting mutilated, hacked up, shot, stabbed... This is something people enjoy? They like the adrenaline rush? ???
KOL: Maybe
Sandy: I don't know... I feel a little less human, like it brought something into me that diminishes me some.

For the record:
This is not how I approach Horror at all and not what I enjoy about it. If a film is violent, I prefer the violence to be extreme to the level of unreal (Tarantino) or comical (Evil Dead II). A friend showed me a clip from a horror movie he watched where a clown had a girl upside down and proceeded to hacksaw her in half. My thoughts about the scene were A) I don't think there's a hacksaw in the world sharp and sturdy enough to do this and B) These are really good effects because you can't tell when (or where) they stop using the actress and are completely cutting into the dummy. I don't get into the grossness of the moment and there's no realism to get me sad about what was happening. I found it interesting on a meta level.

The opening to Scream is one of the greatest openings to a Horror film ever. (Top 5, maybe Top 3). Not because of what happens to Drew at the end. In fact, I think that shot goes too far and was glad Craven was forced to cut it down. It's not necessary at all. The build-up of suspense, the slow dawning of each of the killer's executed plans, THAT'S the rush. It's a real roller coaster.

For me, the climactic shot is when she pulls off the mask. Craven films it in an interesting way, cutting to the black sky as and leaving the reveal as a question for us. She sees who the killer is, but won't live to tell anyone. The mystery will keep us hooked for the next 90 minutes. Who among the cast is our murderer?

Have you seen And Then There Were None? It has a similar format of people getting bumped off, but it doesn't show any of the murders, which emphasizes the mystery of who is doing the killing.
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Sandy

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sam the Cinema Snob
« Reply #21 on: October 17, 2018, 02:29:35 PM »
For the record:
This is not how I approach Horror at all and not what I enjoy about it. If a film is violent, I prefer the violence to be extreme to the level of unreal (Tarantino) or comical (Evil Dead II). A friend showed me a clip from a horror movie he watched where a clown had a girl upside down and proceeded to hacksaw her in half. My thoughts about the scene were A) I don't think there's a hacksaw in the world sharp and sturdy enough to do this and B) These are really good effects because you can't tell when (or where) they stop using the actress and are completely cutting into the dummy. I don't get into the grossness of the moment and there's no realism to get me sad about what was happening. I found it interesting on a meta level.

This is the key, isn't it? There's an ability you have to step back and see it for the art and artifice it is. I wish to be able to get a bit better at this. :)

Quote
The opening to Scream is one of the greatest openings to a Horror film ever. (Top 5, maybe Top 3). Not because of what happens to Drew at the end. In fact, I think that shot goes too far and was glad Craven was forced to cut it down. It's not necessary at all. The build-up of suspense, the slow dawning of each of the killer's executed plans, THAT'S the rush. It's a real roller coaster.

I agree! I was so engrossed with the way the scene was playing out, but lost my "investment" seeing her in the tree. It pulled me right out of the movie.

Quote
For me, the climactic shot is when she pulls off the mask. Craven films it in an interesting way, cutting to the black sky as and leaving the reveal as a question for us. She sees who the killer is, but won't live to tell anyone. The mystery will keep us hooked for the next 90 minutes. Who among the cast is our murderer?

Great moment and so frustrating not getting to see for ourselves! :D

Quote
Have you seen And Then There Were None? It has a similar format of people getting bumped off, but it doesn't show any of the murders, which emphasizes the mystery of who is doing the killing.

Yes, I've seen this and yes it's more my style. I'm not a great fan of Who-Done-It in general (i.e. Murder on the Orient Express), but this one kept my interest and kept me relatively "scared." The Others and The Innocents fall well into this category for me too.

I don't mind being scared, I just wish for some distance from my reaction to the gore, and for someone's arm to hide behind. :D
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1SO

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sam the Cinema Snob
« Reply #22 on: October 17, 2018, 04:19:06 PM »
This is the key, isn't it? There's an ability you have to step back and see it for the art and artifice it is. I wish to be able to get a bit better at this. :)

It doesn't always work out so well. Funny Games is probably the line for me. That one puts its artifice into the script with a moment where you realize the killers can bend the rules of cinema to their advantage. That's when you realize the good people can't hope to win. That's the moment in these films where I start to struggle.

There's a horror film I despise called Wolf Creek that introduces an odious bad guy, one you root to see defeated. There's a moment where one of the women gets away from him and the camera patiently follows the killer while he grabs a sniper rifle and calmly guns the woman down. It made me sad. Made me feel hopeless. I knew in that moment the filmmakers were more interested in seeing people killed than good drama and I turned on that movie hard.

There's a much more popular film called The Strangers that created a similar situation. It was a decent home invasion thriller that reached a point where the writers should have started letting the family in the house get even with these killers. Instead they let the bad guys win and the final scenes are really sad, not thrilling at all.

These films needed a Milla Jovovich. The audience deserves it.
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Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sam the Cinema Snob
« Reply #23 on: October 17, 2018, 05:03:07 PM »
Okay, time to catch up on this thread. I was reading along, just had a rough couple of weeks.

The Old Mill
Glad you liked this. It does have that Bambi quality but without the attached childhood trauma.

Meshes of the Afternoon (1943 Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid)

Is this a time loop or is it a dream or something else, your guess is as good as mine.
It's a weird one. Don't ask me to explain, but I love how surreal and visual it is. It does have a bit of a Bunuel quality to it, but without the violent trauma.

Scream (mildly spoilery)
If I wasn't 9 when this came out, I felt this would have been such a great film to see in theaters for the first time. Kinda like how my dad talks about Halloween, although that film basically made him swear off horror films forever.

Scream (1996 Wes Craven)

Well this one has the same problem Psycho had a few months ago, I knew a fair bit about the film going in.
I could see this one not being impactful if you know too much. I lucked out with both Scream and Psycho in that I didn't know the twist and so it worked well for me. I still think like 1SO says in this thread that the opening is one of the great horror openings and there are lots of beats along the way, especially the comedy moments, that make Scream work for me as a great meta-horror film. I feel like watching this in the context of seeing old slasher films first helped me appreciate it a lot more.

Cat People

I feel like Sam would prefer I not like the movie I watch for him because if I loved it he would have to rethink its placement. Such is the nature of our inverse preferences. I'm excited to say that this fit the bill.
Guess this solidifies me including it in my top 100 when I was really on the fence about it at the time. I'll echo 1SO in saying the remake is probably more your speed. Maybe at least seeing this will give you a better appreciation for that film which I don't enjoy so you'll probably love.


Scream

Sandy: It's as if I need to replace what I saw with other things, like the need to heal my soul, I guess.
KOL: I sense that it was a less than a good experience.
Sandy: It's hard to define good. I'm not desensitized from watching numerous horror movies, so it's raw to me. I'm an empath for goodness sake! I don't have enough protective filters!
KOL: Your empathic capacities means that you enjoyed Scream less?
Sandy: I don't watch films lightly. They affect me.
I can kinda identify with this some. When I first got into horror I had some dark moments where I felt like watching The Exorcist or something like that was spiritually taxing on me and I needed some Malick rewatches in my life to balance out the darkness. I think being introduced to horror in the context of a film class gave me a better understanding of what these films are trying to do by unmasking evil and not shying away from the violence.

I think for some people it really does affect them. One of my mom's dearest friends couldn't watch any film with bloody violence because it was too emotionally traumatic for her. She couldn't get into that mindset of seeing it as all for show. It felt too real for her. I felt that way more about war movies because even though it was a reenactment, I knew it was depicting real experiences.

There are countless books written about horror and how it's a kind of coping device for different traumas. Cloverfield and 9/11, slasher films and sexual awakenings, etc... Sometimes horror is just transgressive for its own sake and those tends to be the ones I find distasteful (see Hostel/Saw). I think most good horror deals with trauma in some ways so they should be traumatic experiences which means that some people should probably not be watching them. My sister had a roommate show her Scream and she said it terrified her and I told her I would have never shown her that film.

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sam the Cinema Snob
« Reply #24 on: October 18, 2018, 10:41:33 PM »
Sam, you know your sister's sensibilities very well. If certain films are purely traumatic, without a valuable challenge to them, they're best left unwatched. But, I continue to be challenged in valuable ways, so I keep watching (Although, the Exorcist is not on my list! I know my limitations. No amount of Malick is going to heal me from that. :) ). This forum is my classroom and getting to watch films that matter to you and others, is my favorite way to learn.

I like that your list got a handful of us watching Scream this month. It was almost like a virtual filmspotting meetup! :)
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Sandy

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sam the Cinema Snob
« Reply #25 on: October 18, 2018, 11:18:29 PM »
Alien



Again, I come at things backward. Aliens in '86 and another watch two years ago, but a first viewing of Alien? Yesterday. In my weak defense, I sorta felt like I had seen the film, just by the peripheral absorption factor from many, many years living on this planet. This excuse doesn't hold water though, since the whole is much, much greater than the sum of its parts. The film feels so different than the second one. Its quieter psychology contrasts nicely with the large scope successor. A friend of mine told me that if I ever do get around to seeing Alien, to pay particular attention to the soundscape as the ship wakes up. bleep, bloop, blip. What great advice! Small, seemingly insignificant details drew me in until I felt like part of the utilitarian ship, ready to be pulled along with its story.
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1SO

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sam the Cinema Snob
« Reply #26 on: October 19, 2018, 12:01:09 AM »
That is great advice. I find that soundscape extends to the dialogue at first too. Everyone is talking over each other to where there are a couple of scenes where I have little idea what's being said.

Continuing our conversation, the sequence with Dallas in the shafts is another great example of not being about the carnage. It's a classic suspense sequence, and even though you're fairly certain who's going to live, the scare itself is so brief and sudden it has a tremendous impact. There's no need to show what is done to Dallas' body. 
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Knocked Out Loaded

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sam the Cinema Snob
« Reply #27 on: October 19, 2018, 03:21:47 AM »
.... I think being introduced to horror in the context of a film class gave me a better understanding of what these films are trying to do by unmasking evil and not shying away from the violence.

I think for some people it really does affect them. One of my mom's dearest friends couldn't watch any film with bloody violence because it was too emotionally traumatic for her. She couldn't get into that mindset of seeing it as all for show. It felt too real for her....
I often feel that the greatest scares are those that are not shown on the screen.
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Sandy

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sam the Cinema Snob
« Reply #28 on: October 19, 2018, 10:59:15 PM »
This is the key, isn't it? There's an ability you have to step back and see it for the art and artifice it is. I wish to be able to get a bit better at this. :)

It doesn't always work out so well. Funny Games is probably the line for me. That one puts its artifice into the script with a moment where you realize the killers can bend the rules of cinema to their advantage. That's when you realize the good people can't hope to win. That's the moment in these films where I start to struggle.

There's a horror film I despise called Wolf Creek that introduces an odious bad guy, one you root to see defeated. There's a moment where one of the women gets away from him and the camera patiently follows the killer while he grabs a sniper rifle and calmly guns the woman down. It made me sad. Made me feel hopeless. I knew in that moment the filmmakers were more interested in seeing people killed than good drama and I turned on that movie hard.

There's a much more popular film called The Strangers that created a similar situation. It was a decent home invasion thriller that reached a point where the writers should have started letting the family in the house get even with these killers. Instead they let the bad guys win and the final scenes are really sad, not thrilling at all.

These films needed a Milla Jovovich. The audience deserves it.

I missed this!

Yeah, she would make things right!

It's helpful to hear that there are horror films which cross the line. You have discerning taste and even in a genre which is, well, horrific, there is a morality line which when crossed, becomes unacceptable to you. It reminds me of the unwritten code of conduct in the Wild West, you know it when you see it.

Thanks for the heads up on the three films. I will gladly leave those alone.

That is great advice. I find that soundscape extends to the dialogue at first too. Everyone is talking over each other to where there are a couple of scenes where I have little idea what's being said.

You're right. Really makes you feel like you're sitting at the table, part of the crew.

Quote
Continuing our conversation, the sequence with Dallas in the shafts is another great example of not being about the carnage. It's a classic suspense sequence, and even though you're fairly certain who's going to live, the scare itself is so brief and sudden it has a tremendous impact. There's no need to show what is done to Dallas' body.

Quote from: Knocked Out Loaded link=topic=14880.msg894586#msg894586

I often feel that the greatest scares are those that are not shown on the screen.

The more these things are brought to my attention, the more I appreciate when a director lets us fill in the blanks.
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1SO

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sam the Cinema Snob
« Reply #29 on: October 22, 2018, 10:41:53 PM »
The Man Who Planted Trees (1987)
“Men could be as effective as God in tasks other than destruction.”
A simple, beautiful experience. Emotionally contemplative while intellectually you can apply a number of meanings to the story. It works as a humanist fable or a religious parable. The animation seems to blow with the sand and the sand, and in later scenes flow with the earth and the water and the breeze. This is now in my Top 10 for 1987, and it’s going into my Essentials (#276)


Meshes of the Afternoon (1943)
I think of this film as Key to getting me to enjoy David Lynch. The imagery is surreal, and on the surface, incomprehensible. Yet, there’s a dream logic to everything that happens and by the final reveal it seems to all make sense, even if I can’t explain any of it. A film that teaches me to feel instead of think all the damn time.


One Week (1920)
I wrote about this one for you before. Still great fun to revist. Buster Keaton on his game was amazing.


The Old Mill (1937)
Beautiful simplicity. The mill itself is just a frame for a mixture of realistic/naturalistic animal behavior, realistic/stylized animal behavior and mini-moments where animals take on more human behaviors. It all blends into a cohesive presentation of life both fantastical and relatable. The one moment that distresses me is the mother bird who made her nest in the grove of the horizontal wheel and is only saved by the missing tooth.


Night and Fog (1956)
The images are powerful and the overall structure along with some edits show brains and talent put this documentary together rather than just let the images speak for themselves. I have Schindler’s List in my Top 100 and Shoah also in my Essentials, but I doubt I could write a good persuasive argument as to why I include them and not this. Maybe it’s because those are more classically dramatized while there’s a sense of the arthouse to this.


One Froggy Evening (1955)
I never got the appeal of this short’s frustrating one joke. I guess I sympathized with the worker who loses everything trying to share his discovery. “Duck Amuck” and “Rabbot of Seville” I get, but this makes me long for Pixar’s “Presto” where the rabbit has good reason to not perform for the crowd and it only escalates from there.


The House is Black (1963)
I was hoping for a different reaction with this rewatch, but I still don’t connect with it, or maybe I won’t allow myself. It’s what I lean into cinema to avoid or escape from, the knowledge that this is some people’s reality. And I write that knowing the presentation is more hopeful than you might expect. It’s also more poetic, which is my other theory. That there is a layer of artifice in place that keeps me at a distance.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2018, 12:21:59 AM by 1SO »
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