Sunday, May 24, 2015

Scary Movies, “Acme” Reboot, Lady Superheroes

This week, Mr. Typist and I re-watched “The Sixth Sense”, which I hadn’t seen since it first came out in 1999. I didn’t remember much about it, not even the big twist. I’m not sure that I fully grasped the subtleties of this movie when I first saw it way back then. I remember liking it and being spooked by it, but I had no idea how good it actually is. This movie is a full-on masterpiece, and bad on me for thinking all these years that Bruce Willis is just a lunkhead action-movie star. He’s an amazing actor, and I’m sad he hasn’t gotten his full due. I was also left a bit worried about the mental health of child actor Haley Joel Osment. I was emotionally exhausted by this movie, and I can’t imagine what that kid must have gone through to perform this role—he’s constantly terrified, tormented, and sobbing into a sleeve or blanket. Shortly into the movie, I remembered what the twist was, and I actually think that knowledge made watching it a more moving experience. Then I was left scratching my head at what the hell happened to director M. Night Shyamalan over the years. How he went from “The Sixth Sense” to that train wreck “The Happening”—at which point I gave up on his movies completely—is beyond me.

Speaking of movies from times long ago, the Poltergeist re-make looks truly awful. I was fascinated by the original Poltergeist and probably saw it at least a dozen times. I have no idea why anyone felt the need to re-make it, and why, oh why, it includes the scary-clown trope. Can we just all agree that scary clowns are played out? The whole thing just looks like an over-the-top yet lazy special-effects frenzy. Special effects are not what makes a movie scary! The best horror movies use subtlety—like “The Sixth Sense” which manages to be deeply spooky with very little blood and gore, and the original Poltergeist, which didn’t rely on a huge special effects budget in lieu of good storytelling. Other subtly scary movies include the original “Paranormal Activity” from 2007, “The Blair Witch Project” from 1999, and reaching way back into 1973, “Don’t Look Now”. There are more—one of these days, I’ll compile a list, complete with links!

My poetry book “The Acme Employee Handbook” will soon be removed from its current press’s site, where it’s published as an e-book. I’m going to be re-submitting it to print publishers in the hopes of getting actual print copies published. I’ll be spending most of my time this weekend compiling my publication credits, researching publishers, and writing submission letters. I’m excited about the possibility of getting it into the hands of a motivated publisher. I’ll keep you updated on the progress.

My writing group has been on a superhero kick lately. One of the members is putting up daily superhero writing prompts focused on female superheroes. I wrote a guest prompt about Endurance, the superhero who can sustain indefinitely through inordinate suffering: Endurance is a fevered saint. Tell us her story. Does she have the legs of a mountain goat? The chest of a rhino? The heart of a hummingbird? What are her greatest feats? How will she save us? Who does she love, and for how long? Also, I would like to know about her hair. Write your response in the comments section!

And now, enjoy a cheesy Poltergeist trailer from 1982. It's a little slow to start up, just give it a few seconds:


John Socrates said...

I love your post and agree with you about M. Night Shyamalan. He seems to have gone down the tubes with his last couple of films.

Speaking of scary films. Three of the scariest I can remember ever seeing are these:

The Evil (1978) with Richard Crenna

The Haunting (1963)

Suspiria (1977)

Don't watch any of these without the lights on and a platoon of Navy SEALs to keep guard over you! lol

Kristen McHenry said...

Oh, how exciting! I love good horror movies--thanks for the recommendations! I do vaguely remember The Haunting--if I recall, it's pretty terrifying, and again, subtle.

I loved Shyamalan's "The Village", and I even liked that one about the aliens in the cornfields. I was even down with "The Lady in the Water", but then it all just started to unravel. It's too bad, because he's obviously really talented.