Monday, May 30, 2011

Is the Internet Good for Horror? Or Is It Just Me?

Is making B movies less fun now than it used to be?

When me and Jace first got a chance to write our first movie CROCODILE, it was exciting and cool but we also knew we were making a low budget film that we wouldn't get rich off of. So even back then we had slightly mixed feelings about it. But overall we were writing a movie that was going to be directed by Tobe Fucking Hooper and getting paid for it! We didn't worry about reviews or the nasty comments people would make about it on Bloody-Disgusting. As a matter of fact, I don't even know if there were horror websites back when we made it. There probably were, but we didn't know about them For the first 4-5 films we wrote that were produced, we weren't members of any horror scene and didn't care what our fellow writers and directors thought at all.

But then, in came the Internet. Stomping with loud boots and followed by a horde of fellow filmmakers, fans and journalists that we now think of as friends and peers. Being a part of a community was great -- but it was only around 2005 that we learned our little films were getting reviewed at all. We were, and still are, growing as writers. And it's during the writing of TOOLBOX MURDERS that we really started to get self-conscious. That we really started to worry about what "they" would think.

Since then I've become a director, and I've become more and more self-conscious about what other people think -- so much so that I don't even read the reviews any more. (Believe me, there are a lot of them. The bad ones hurt a lot more than the good ones make you feel good. It's also the bad ones that you remember.) Everyone has opinions: some smart, some dumb, some just a matter of preference. I just keep wondering whether or not putting yourself out there to be eviscerated online later makes the whole filmmaking process less fun than it used to be.

Don't get me wrong: I don't want to sound whiny. As far as I'm concerned, I have the best job on planet Earth -- but I am human, and I do worry and get down on myself. So what do you think? Does the world of online horror news and websites make it harder to do our jobs? Is this something that affects horror writers and directors more than people in other genres? Or do you delight in reading your imdb comments? Please let me know! As hypocritical as it sounds, your opinions do matter to me.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Modern Drive-In

I miss drive-in theaters, in a kind of marginal nostalgic way. No. I never really liked seeing movies in a car. But the idea of it is sort of romantic.

But let's take a look at the way things are now. Instead of the drive-in, we have Netflix streaming. You can find any number of strange genre films that you didn't even know existed there. And much like drive-in fare, most of them aren't very good.

Now, let's look at the pros and cons of Netflix vs. the drive-ins.
  1. Big screen. This goes to the old drive-in. No matter how big a plasma TV you have, it just ain't gonna compete with a real movie screen.
  2. Sound. Gotta go with Netflix on this one. A tinny speaker stuck on your window mixed with the tinny sounds of many other speakers all around you does not equal 5.1.
  3. Variety of films. Once more, Netflix without question -- and you can actually pick what you want.
  4. Being in the great outdoors. Well, the drive-in wins this -- but I've never equated seeing movies with being in the great outdoors, so maybe this shouldn't even be a category.
  5. Romantic potential. My TV is in my bedroom. The few times I've been able to get it on with a chick in a car, I'd wished I was in a bed. Is there any place more romantic than a bed? I don't think so. So, this one goes to Netflix.
  6. Snack Bar. I'll give this one to the drive-in. When you're watching movies at home, you actually have to make popcorn -- which can be fun, but usually just involves putting a bag in a microwave for 90 seconds. And any drive-in would have more snack variety than my kitchen.
  7. Social aspect. My TV is in my bedroom, so I only watch movies with Jace. I don't like having a TV in the living room because then it's always on, and no one talks when they come over to visit. For a drive-in, you'd have a bunch of people jammed into the car (but would you really want to talk during the movie?) Then there was always the possibility of going over to another car and visiting friends or meeting new people. Looks like the drive-in wins.
  8. Audience reaction. Both suck. Maybe you can hear people screaming in other cars, but the odds are it's not from the movie (more likely, lack of lubrication).
So to wrap it all up, I like nostalgia as much as the next guy. I like convenience as much as the next guy, too. I do not think that the drive-in experience was the ideal movie experience at all, nor do I think that watching movies at home is the best. Movies are always best seen in a movie theater, where you do get audience reaction, you do have 5.1 sound, and you do have a big screen. Theaters are truly the land where dreams come true.