Saturday, March 15, 2008

"Invasion" and Horror Now

My general dislike of Nicole Kidman aside, I think she can sometimes be an effective actress. And yeah, she's good in "Invasion." And she's so gosh-darn willowy.

Now that I've got that out of the way, I have to ask why every second horror movie nowadays must focus on a single parent and their single, traumatized, super-cute, intelligent, eight-to-ten year-old child. Are we so desensitized by violence against adults that we can only be frightened when CHILDREN are menaced, and only when those children appear old before their time?

This theme is an effective one in itself, but when spread across SO MANY MOVIES it becomes more than a little tiresome. Why just one parent? Why only single, lovable kids? What's going on here?

Anyway, I enjoyed watching "Invasion." I particularly like the "body snatchers" movies which involve large cities, because you get wonderfully paranoid shots of groups of menacing people standing in solidarity amongst bustling, chaotic, disconnected crowds.

It always seems necessary to provide a topical subtext for these movies, so I suppose this 2007 remake is about a distrust of government motivation -- the officials only invite reporters into press conferences so they can vomit in the coffee -- and the idea that we might be better off WITHOUT emotions such as jealousy, fear, and hatred.

So yeah, it was fun, but I have no urge to see it again (let alone watch the featurettes). And the happy ending was particularly blah.

If *I* were writing the next installment of this pseudo-series, I'd want to explore what happens after the body snatchers have taken over. I want to know what their television programs will be like. I want to know how they reproduce. Do pod-people have fights about money problems? Can a pod-person pay to have her husband "re-grown?"

PS: When I made a generalization about "half" of today's horror films being about single adults with single children, I intended to say that the other half tend to be about a bunch of unlikeable young adults getting abducted by a subtle, methodical, coldly logical maniac and then tortured one-by-one in a grimy institution that is strangely desaturated. This is very different from the slasher films of the '80s, wherein the maniac was simply out to kill people for little or no reason, and torture rarely occurred, and the colours were garish, and the kids were asking for it anyway because they were all having premarital sex (except for the lone survivor).


LoosMoose said...

I still have POD PEOPLE from the MST 3000 series on tape... back when it was still Joel, Tom Servo, Crow, and the rest of the gang in the early 90's. Now.. THERE was a movie.

Muffy St. Bernard said...

You know, I have never seen "Pod People," and I have never, ever seen an MST 3000 episode.

Less Lee Moore said...

An MST virgin? I thought they were an urban legend! I have boxes of VHS tapes and a few DVDs so if you ever come down my way, we must watch them!!

I agree with you about modern horror movies. So many of them are just drivel and this ongoing theme of "WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?" does not make me scared.

One recent horror movie I loved was The Descent, but usually I watch th older ones.

The Vicar of VHS said...

You forgot about giant monster and zombie movies. But really, it's just as well. :)

This is why over at my blog I immerse myself in the best of 70s and 80s schlock. So much more inventive and enjoyable.

JJ said...

Kidman willowy? Hmm, most people would put her very high on a attempt a "Mike Tyson woo" list. :)

Muffy St. Bernard said...

It's true, LLM, I have NEVER seen MST 3000.

When I worked at the local video store, there were people who enthusiastically (and very loudly) rented the MST 3000 videos, and they would quote from the show and otherwise be giggly and annoying (the way that Monty Python fans can often be). I think that made me shy away.

Yes, I enjoyed The Descent as well...and no children! Except perhaps for the children of a bunch of genetic throwbacks which I couldn't find myself getting maternal about.

Muffy St. Bernard said...

There's no shortage of '70s and '80s schlock! Though I have a lot of trouble enjoying the Spanish and Italian schlock of that era, having a personal obsession for "movies which make some attempt to be logical."

Muffy St. Bernard said...

JJ, I mean "willowy" as in strangely lanky. Her clothes in "The Invasion" seem engineered to show off her lankiness.

Amazingly, after getting a syringe plunged directly into her heart, her sweater remains unmarred.