Victims…. Aren’t We All…

For the last decade and a half I have been noticing a trend in my beloved horror genre.   A trend where the antagonist character isn’t just plain evil, deranged, or some other supernatural phenomena, rather they are driven to their murderous rage.  This type of plot point isn’t bad and can bring complexity to even the basic hack ‘n’ slash film.  The issue is when the audience sees the evolution of the antagonist character into the killer because even for the most deplorable characters, the audience will find sympathy on a subconscious level which takes some of the “horror” and “mystery” out of the film.  A concrete example of this trend was Rob Zombies HALLOWEEN.  This remake of John Carpenter’s classic HALLOWEEN took the fear of a normal person in your average American neighborhood brutally stalking and murdering teenagers that the original film portrayed and replaced it with a child in an extreme abusive household where he developed into the masked killer.  This on screen evolution that Rob Zombie portrayed dilutes the fear element of his film, simply because we as the audience think, “well it’s not his fault.”  The killer is the victim too.  When the audience can find any sort of sympathy for the killer it is no longer horror.  One of the most powerful elements that can be used to invoke fear in an audience is that of the unknown.   In Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN we are never really told why the antagonist is on a murderous rampage, in fact the only thing known about the killer is that he is pure evil.  This storytelling is much more effective with audiences.  Yet, this victimization has become more common in the horror genre.  HOUSE OF WAX remake, SEE NO EVIL, FRIDAY 13Th remake, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: A New Beginning and the list go on.




Now the question I have to pose is why?  Why victimize the antagonist?  One of the reasons why this could be taking place in present day storytelling is the audience.  Film as an art form especially in the horror genre is constantly showing society a reflection of itself.  Maybe we are seeing a reflection of our own society and our love for the victim card.  Every day we are exposed to people doing terrible things to themselves or to others and when they are arrested or dead, we as society treat them as a victim of “insert issue here”. Nobody ever wants to say maybe that person is just evil, or they chose that path and they will reap what they sow.  This moral ambiguity does not
work for the horror genre and is devastating to our society, so the next time you go see a “killer” film.  I hope you see an antagonist that is the darkness, the shadows, and the evil that haunts your dreams and not the bad guy who we all feel sorry for.

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The Tea Party Rises

Even though it’s a little late it would be hard to start a film blog without mentioning one of this summer’s biggest films The Dark Knight Rises directed by Christopher Noland.  This film is the third, and hopefully final, installment of the Dark Knight series.  Based on the D.C. Comic anthology, Noland’s final installment does a fairly decent job of breaking the dreaded “rule of sequels”.  In case you do not know what that means let me drop a few titles; JAWS III, LEATHAL WEAPON 3, ALIEN 3, SUPERMAN III, and the list goes on.  That being said Noland paints a city under siege with great scope using beautifully framed shots of epic destruction makes this film perfect for an IMAX experience.  The story has Batman/Bruce Wayne in seclusion due to the events of the previous film and with the Gotham City having almost a decade of peace; political leaders want to replace their “wartime commissioner” commissioner Gordon.   Until a mysterious terrorist named Bane reveals himself to the city and holds them hostage.  Bruce Wayne has to become Gotham’s dark avenger once again even though he is hated for assuming the blame for the death of Harvey Dent.

You may ask so what does this have to do with the Tea Party?  Well first look at the protagonist and antagonist.  You have Bruce Wayne grew up in inherited wealth, which his family has used not only to develop technologies to help America, but mankind as well.  He used his wealth to help a city that was going to ruin, by funding boys homes and hospitals.  His family was never forced to “pay their fair share” they simply tried to help their neighbors.  In reality if you break down the amount of money donated to all charities in the United States you see that conservatives/libertarians donate about 3 to 1 compared to their wealthy liberal counterparts.   Yet with Batman’s wealth at his disposal he takes up arms against injustice, criminal, and corrupt not for glory or power, but for freedom.   This classic story is what America was born from, the rugged individual fighting against the mob, tyranny, oppression, so that individual freedom would prevail.  This ideal is paramount with the Tea Party movement.  Compare this icon with his nemesis Bane.  Bane, an ex-prisoner, enlists the aid of Gotham’s poor and criminal elements to destroy the city from bottom up.   Bane addresses a crowd saying that they are there to give them back freedom and choice by freeing all the convicts out of the city’s jail, as well as sending raiding parties into the homes of the rich in Gotham.  Bane is the epitome of the Bolshevik revolution that took place in Russia over a century ago.  The proletariat destroying the upper class because they feel entitled to other people’s wealth is a common belief held by modern day liberal progressives.  One scene in particular that shows Bane’s lust for class warfare is where wealthy people are forced out to an iced over river and forced to march over it to their deaths.  Compare the occupy Wall Street movement with that of Bane’s mob and you will find many similarities with their hopes of destroying capitalism and free commerce.   The concepts that Bane and Batman embody will help preserve The Dark Knight Rises for future moviegoers.  The only question left is which side do you chose that of the individual, or that of the mob?

Lights! Camera!! Blog!!!

Welcome to the Scarlet Cinema where the silver screen gets placed under the microscope to discover why movies inspire us.  Unfortunately everyone out there is a critic and sometimes even the professionals get it wrong. So instead lets get past the simple “Hated it!” – Men on Film (In Living Color)  and  strive to find meaning in what we love.  My advice for all future readers is there are no wrong answers, just make sure any opinions made provide evidence to back them up, or else “They ‘re all gonna laugh at you!!” – Carrie.    So sit back and watch some movies.  It’s gonna be a bumpy night.