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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Take a bite out of horror: Kelly's heroes

Christopher Kelly, in a Sunday takeout in the Star-Telegram faces the fear of the faces of fear: “The most gruesomely vivid, elegantly made horror movie in recent memory opened with little fanfare on Dec. 25, 2005 in approximately 1,500 theaters nationwide. Titled Wolf Creek, it’s a low-budget shocker… about three carefree twentysomethings whose hiking trip goes terribly awry after they are kidnapped by a maniacal serial killer in the Aussie outback. As is often the case with horror pictures, it was greeted by many critics like a Christmas present wrapped in soiled tissue paper. Wolfy0079.jpg(…Roger Ebert: “There is a role for violence in film, but what the hell is the purpose of this sadistic celebration of pain and cruelty?”) The fact that the movie announced the arrival of an immensely gifted new director named Greg McLean—whose patience, control and ability to play the audience like a very cheap fiddle would have done Alfred Hitchcock proud—seemed lost on most adult moviegoers.” Kelly says it’s not an isolated case of B movies getting the blues, taking up the case for Hostel, Final Destination 3, and The Hills Have Eyes remake. “…These movies aren’t slipping under the radar and disappearing straight to video. Instead, the largely teenage and college-age audiences who flood the multiplexes on Friday nights have turned them all into modest hits… Are the critics simply out of touch? Well, yes. Because if you can’t recognize the often-astonishing level of craft on display in these films, then you’re watching them with your eyes closed.” Kelly thinks “the teenagers are getting it,” the link to post-9/11 anxieties. “Gruesomeness,” Kelly quotes Wes Craven as saying, reflects the real world. “The war in Iraq is a very violent, scary war, and it’s a war not being fought by an army on one side,” [Craven] says. “I’m sure the average kid who watches these kinds of movies has seen on the Internet someone getting his head sawed off with a kitchen knife by the enemy.” [Lots more to cut through at the link.]

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“Ten years ago at Telluride, I said on a panel that theatrical distribution was dying. It seemed obvious to me. I was surprised how many in the audience violently objected: ‘People will always want to go to the movies!’ That’s true, but it’s also true that theatrical cinema as we once knew it has died. Theatrical cinema is now Event Cinema, just as theatrical plays and musical performances are Events. No one just goes to a movie. It’s a planned occasion. Four types of Event Cinema remain.
1. Spectacle (IMAX-style blockbusters)
2. Family (cartoon like features)
3. Horror (teen-driven), and
4. Film Club (formerly arthouse but now anything serious).

There are isolated pockets like black cinema, romcom, girl’s-night-out, seniors, teen gross-outs, but it’s primarily those four. Everything else is TV. Now I have to go back to episode five of ‘Looming Tower.'”
~ Paul Schrader

“Because of my relative candor on Twitter regarding why I quit my day job, my DMs have overflowed with similar stories from colleagues around the globe. These peeks behind the curtains of film festivals, venues, distributors and funding bodies weren’t pretty. Certain dismal patterns recurred (and resonated): Boards who don’t engage with or even understand their organization’s artistic mission and are insensitive to the diverse neighborhood in which their organization’s venue is located; incompetent founders and/or presidents who create only obstacles, never solutions; unduly empowered, Trumpian bean counters who chip away at the taste and experiences that make organizations’ cultural offerings special; expensive PR teams that don’t bring to the table a bare-minimum familiarity with the rich subcultural art form they’re half-heartedly peddling as “product”; nonprofit arts organizations for whom art now ranks as a distant-second goal behind profit.”
~ Eric Allen Hatch