For those who don't/refuse to follow me on The Auteurs, here is a little something that I auteurized on their forum this week:
In regards to the Dead Trilogy:
I agree on it being entirely subjective. That’s the beauty of zombie films; they work under any kind of sub-genre and topical commentary because to us death can symbolize many things – from the fear of its finality to the death of an idea or the sense of feeling powerless to a force more powerful than one can imagine. It’s something both frightening and absurd.
For me, NIGHT still resonates as a tightly told and completely subversive horror movie. To this day I still find it very horrifying in its simplicity and its ability to transcend the time it was made (sorry, Josh, although I agree with 99% of what you said I don’t agree with the notion that NIGHT is dated. Most of the metaphors are still very relevant today).
Regarding DAWN, I’ll always admire Romero’s bravery in his attempt to top his 70’s horror colleagues by creating the ultimate horror expression of 1970’s America. It has Nixon’s paranoia and Carter’s admirable yet failed optimism and the humor and manic sense of action devolving into ambivalence is perfect.
Finally, DAY is probably the most densely layered and for that many fans consider it a classic. When Romero made this one he wasn’t praised in the same manner he is today and I think it was this lack of acclaim that allowed Romero to take further chances. We all know the production of DAY was littered with budget battles since the process of American filmmaking was much more restrictive during the 1980’s (if you were making a horror film not immediately marketable to teenagers you’re probably looking at a major uphill climb). However, the chances Romero took i.e. the satirizing of America’s hero worship of Rambo and the military complex, the progression of zombie sympathizing (the portrayal of Bub was perfectly funny and tragic and made me wish Romero would further this by making a Dead film completing told from a zombie(s) point of view), the inclusion of the “gay” couple (I know it was never said but I always got the sense that the two men living together and represented sanity from the male perspective were gay), as well as the final shot of the survivors on the beach living in perfect peace almost immediately after the zombie attack (?)… I had a discussion with a film professor of mine that made the argument that this shot represented the human POV of life after death and that we should take it as Romero offering us the idea that life as a zombie isn’t necessarily negative since if one believes that our consciousness is separate from our body who knows where that could take us after death. It’s an interesting theory and one I’m not sure Romero ever addressed.
In regards to Horror on Criterion:
I would love for a really good edition of the 1932 Rueben Mamoulian version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I also think it would be a lot of fun if Eclipse would release a set of essential Hammer horror films.
Yes!!! On Martin being included! I’m kind of on a Romero kick and I rushed over here to say that Martin (quite possibly the most un-vampire of all vampire films) be included with all the bells and whistles.
In regards to Top 20 Horror Films:
@ Fake Shemp
Horror movies do not blow and here’s why:
Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Night of the Living Dead
The Thing (1982 Carpenter version)
Friday the 13th Part 2
Day of the Dead
Let the Right One In
Silence of the Lambs
The Fly (the Cronenberg one)
Halloween (original, obviously)
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (the sexed up pre-code Mamoulian version)
The Bride of Frankenstein
Cabin Fever (sorry film snobs)
Island of Lost Souls (1932 version)
Dawn of the Dead (original version; although the remake wasn’t bad either)
Helter Skelter (the Manson documentary from the 70's that scared the shit out of me as a kid)
Horror of Dracula
Curse of Frankenstein
In regards to Which director NOT currently represented in the Criterion Collection do you want to see included:
Nicholas Ray – Bigger Than Life
Pedro Almodovar – Talk to Her
Satyajit Ray – Apu Trilogy (Eclipse)
Alejandro Jodorowsky – El Topo
Leo McCarey – Make Way for Tomorrow (strong rumor of this happening)
Michael Cimino – Heaven’s Gate
Stay tuned for more...