Monsters & movies

I’ve been wanting to see Cloverfield but I’m a little hesitant because of the “shaky handycam” style of shooting that the film uses. Comparing the movie to the Blair Witch Project certainly doesn’t help my enthusiasm either since that was one of the worst movies ever made. I’m fairly certain that Plan 9 had better writing and acting that the idiotic Witch movie. But I digress….

I’ve also been hearing that the monster(s) are completely off camera through most of the movie (if not all, I can’t tell from the reviews) and that also disappointed me. At least at first. When I saw the previews, I was thinking Cloverfield was something along the lines of a Godzilla movie which will always appeal to me. Then I realized that this is supposed to be a scary movie and scary movies don’t necessarily show the monsters very much. Some do with varying degrees of success but most good horror movies keep you guessing about the creatures and it’s limits. Maybe then Cloverfield uses the monster minimalism to its advantage. I need to see it to know for sure.

I read this article regarding the success of movies that kept the monsters hidden and was surprised in the choices they made in some cases. Sure Alien and the original The Thing make sense but I would never have thought of Jaws or Rosemary’s Baby as monster movies along those same lines. The theory holds true, I just never thought of movies like that in the same way as something like Alien. Some other classic monster movies that worked well because of keeping the enemy hidden would be the original Amityville Horror (that pig demon outside the window scared the shit out of me when I was little) and the first Nightmare on Elm Street (if you think about it Freddy really wasn’t shown all that much as a whole till fairly late in the movie). If I remember correctly, the monster/spirit in The Entity was never shown at all throughout the whole movie even though Barbara Hershey takes a hell of a beating throughout.

But then I started thinking about Aliens and how great it was in spite of the fact that the Alien creatures were shown practically non-stop. And then I realized that as much of a thriller/horror movie was, the sequel of Aliens was pure balls-to-the-wall action movie. Aliens didn’t try and be scary so it didn’t need to hide the monsters. You need a good cross-over movie like Pitch Black to show the differences as well as how hidden monsters can still be fairly scary even in a action movie if it’s done right. The scene where the guy lights up the dark with the alcohol flame from his mouth like a circus performer captures the mood perfectly in my opinion.

Bottom line is that I want to see Cloverfield because of the potential and I’m hesitant to see it because of the potential. I’ll probably end up waiting for the rental.

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3 Responses to “Monsters & movies”

  1. Jason says:

    I saw Cloverfield and thought it was great. However, your assessment is correct — there is not very much to see of the monster as most of the film focuses on survival of the main characters. I won’t say more than that because I don’t want to ruin it for you.

    The shaky handycam view didn’t bother me at all. In fact, I think it added to the intensity of the movie. My wife, however, started to get nauseous.

  2. yoshi says:

    I thought Cloverfield was great myself. I didn’t think of it as a scary movie really, but more like an action movie with a monster. If you saw my post about it, I thought of it more as a love story that had a big ass monster in it.

    There are quite a few scenes with some terror factor in it.

    All I can say is, you’ll be watching the movie, thinking I’m the one who shot a lot of it. (think of the omaha trip and the awesome camera work I did there. LOL)

    No, seriously if you got sick watching Blair witch, it might be better to wait till you can watch it on the tv instead, since you won’t get nauseous that way.

  3. cybrpunk says:

    That sounds positive at least. I’m assuming from Yoshi’s comment that there is a lot of footage of tile flooring because he forgot to turn the recording off. I think we had at least an hour of floor pass by the lens throughout Nebraska. Ah… good times.

    And the shaky camera isn’t what made me sick watching Blair Witch. What made me sick was the pathetic writing, the half-baked story, the characters that made me wish they would die quicker and the waste of a couple hours that could have been better spent learning to do accupuncture on myself with knitting needles.

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