The Mummy (2017) and the Dawn of the Dark Universe

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The site of Haram – The Mummy (2017)

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I saw the previews for the most recently released version of The Mummy, starring Tom Cruise and Annabelle Wallis.  Mummy movies are a genre staple, but all things considered, they’re not my favorite approach to horror.  I mean, I appreciate them, I like them, I’m always willing to watch one, but as I indicated in an earlier post, I have yet to watch a mummy movie that truly scares me, that captivates me as much as I’d like it to.  As it turns out, the most recently released version of the film, The Mummy, which came out about two weeks ago, is an intriguing approach to the horror subgenre, an approach which mashes up action and horror but has creepier overtones than the 1999 Brendan Frasier version of the film.  The Mummy (2017) is the first installment in a series of darker films that fall under the bleak umbrella of Universal Studios’ Dark Universe.  The film, and its broad appeal, is an apt indicator that Universal Studios has the potential to both combine horror and action, and make horror suitable for a wider age range of viewers – two challenges which, if approached rightly, have the potential to create an incredibly successful series of films. Continue reading “The Mummy (2017) and the Dawn of the Dark Universe”

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The Mummy (2017) and the Dawn of the Dark Universe

A Tale of Two Mummies: The Mummy in 1932 and 1999

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Boris Karloff, The Mummy, 1932

It’s interesting to think, as a culture, what we deem scary.  We have a diverse collection of nightmarish creatures with which we’re fascinated.  They star in our favorite horror movies, and gentler versions of their faces get stuck to the windows of suburban houses the entire month of October in celebration of Halloween.  Plucking these beings – ghosts, vampires, werewolves and the like – from various cultures and myths, we embrace them and re-invent them as our own, simultaneously fearing and worshipping horror creations that may be remarkably different from the original version of the entity in question.  It’s a bizarre practice, if you think about it, and one that may not be as prominent in other cultures.  It might make us wonder: What is horror?  What can we learn about ourselves through the monsters we create? Continue reading “A Tale of Two Mummies: The Mummy in 1932 and 1999”

A Tale of Two Mummies: The Mummy in 1932 and 1999

Fear Goes Deep in The Shallows

 

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Photo Credit – The Shallows

About one third of the way through The Shallows, Michael turned to me and whispered, “This movie’s horrible.”  By “horrible” he did not mean “bad” – but rather “incredibly disturbing” (my words, though I believe they’re correctly inferred, and, I would add, the movie was so “incredibly disturbing” that it was frickin’ awesome!)  To be fair, it’s hard to create a contemporary incarnation of Spielberg’s esteemed Jaws, and Jaws is the lofty barometer against which any shark film (save perhaps Sharknaodo) will be measured.  There is, to be sure, only one Jaws, but The Shallows is excellent because it never imitates, never pretends to be some millennial version of the Spielberg classic, and never shies away from being its grotesque, gut-wrenching but semi-hip self.  No bearded fisherman smoking, fighting, comparing scars, and singing “Show me the way to go home…” in this film—no.  We only see sexy, svelte, but terrified Nancy (Blake Lively) sprawled out on a rock, panting, contemplating what she needs to do to survive in the middle of a sparkling, shark-infested ocean. Continue reading “Fear Goes Deep in The Shallows”

Fear Goes Deep in The Shallows

In Defense of Horror

I’ve heard the argument that there’s no need for horror movies because there’s enough horror in this world already.  Perhaps, but perhaps not. What is horror?  Bing’s search engine defines it as an intense feeling of fear, shock, or disgust.  Okay, that doesn’t really help.  What is horror as a genre?  To cheapen a genre I love, we could say that horror is fiction-stuff marketed to manufacture fear, shock, or disgust.  But horror movies do this by departing from reality, by placing us in far-flung scenarios that aren’t emotionally troubling – at least not in the long run – because they’re so blatantly fictional.  The horror we see in movies really has nothing at all to do with the horror we see in real life.  There are very few witches, vampires, and monsters traipsing about North America, and while there are murderers, there aren’t many methodical, superhuman, Michael Meyers-esque serial killers like the ones we see in slasher movies.  People will say that we’re an apathetic nation, desensitized by horror and violence.  But often times, entertainment violence is grounded in pure fancy; it bears no semblance to the problematic, and often violent scenarios we find in the real world.  If I were concerned with avoiding real world horror, I would be more likely to cut myself off from action movies or any movie involving any kind of war – whether it be The Force Awakens, The Hunger Games, or Saving Private Ryan.  Continue reading “In Defense of Horror”

In Defense of Horror