Thursday, April 19, 2012

Things I've noticed: Some things you can't un-see

Anyone who has taken the time to read a few posts on my blog can probably tell a few things about me: I’m married, I have kids, I enjoy Horror, Fantasy and Science Fiction in my television, movies, reading material and heck – even breakfast cereal (well, not horror in my breakfast cereal, except for Count Chocula, or Frankenberry... you know what? never mind), and finally the fact that I’m a guy who likes to look over an artist’s entire body of work.

Whether reading the collected works of Richard Matheson or watching the rash of recent horror re-imaginings, I’m the kind of guy who likes to pick a creative person, start at the beginning of their work and enjoy it the way I would have if I had been around since the beginning. I even do this with the shows I inflict on my children – when we watched Star Trek with them, we took weeks off between seasons, and a whole summer off between the original series and the movies (with a quick week spent in late July watching the Animated series). Anyway, my methodical approach to genre works out pretty well for me, most of the time. Take for example the works of Robert R. McCammon – his first novel Baal was not the best I’d read, but by reading each of his books in publishing order I think I actually get more out of them than a casual reader Unfortunately, sometimes I overlook an early work by an artist and have to go back, throwing my order out a little.

So where was I? That’s right, Roland Emmerich. This German-born writer director has been behind a number of the Sci-Fi blockbusters I’ve enjoyed over the years (Independence Day, 2012, The Day After Tomorrow, Godzilla (and yes I was one of the tens of fans who liked his version of GODZILLA! I HAVE NO SHAME!)) and my wife is a pretty big fan of his 1992 Jean-Claude Van Damme film Universal Soldier. Anyway, as a horror comedy fan (and if you haven’t been there yet check out Paul Castiglia’s Scared-Silly blog for a much deeper look on the topic than I’ll ever do) I got pretty excited when I heard that Emmerich had done a horror comedy film in 1987 called Ghost Chase (aka Hollywood-Monster), so I requested it from my online rental place and immediately watched it with my wife and younger daughter last night.

This move was not good.

I can’t even begin to explain where it went wrong... okay I’ll try.

The sound on the DVD we got was horrible – if the actors had their back turned to the screen you couldn’t here them. The story was a little confusing, but had just enough humour in it that you stayed with it in case it was some sort of hidden gem.

This movie was not a hidden gem.

Basically you have two wannabe horror-movie makers who find they have inherited a briefcase which includes a clock haunted by the ghost of the butler of one of their grandfathers, so they build a sort of mutant cross between ET, Yoda and the devil and this ghost inhabits it. The ghost (designed to be cute, I think) can comfortably be considered one of the creepiest things I’ve ever seen (I’m talking super creepy, like that clown doll from Poltergeist).

Personally, I’m a fan of Roland Emmerich; I’ve enjoyed his movies and seen most of them in the theatre, but this one, wow. Like I said in the header, some things you just can’t un-see.

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