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April 6, 2011

BEWARE THE GENRE CLONES! (Or, One Of These Days We're Gonna End Up With Pizza In Our Wallets)

Anyone remember that movie Multiplicity?  You know, the one with Michael Keaton from the great year of 1996?  Well, if you don't, I'll explain.  

Multiplicity is a movie about an average dude named Doug, played by Keaton, who simply can't handle all the responsibilities in his life, particularly struggling to balance his career aspirations with the amount of time he needs to spend with his wife (played by Andie Macdowell).  By some stroke of something - I honestly don't remember the plot details, I saw the movie like 15 years ago - Doug acquires the ability to clone himself, which allows him an extra...him, I guess.  Suddenly, stuff's getting done, things are looking up....but things still aren't quite right.  So, Doug clones himself again.  Now there's three Dougs running around, but the cloned Dougs get tired of doing so much work...and thus they create their own clone.  Doug 4 is not like the other much so that he calls Doug 1 "Steve" all the time, seems to be mentally impaired, and looks like this.
Now, I'm not gonna say a fourth clone who puts pizza in his wallet doesn't make for good comedy - it's the only thing I really remember from the otherwise mediocre flick - but it's not what we think of when we picture cloning.  If you're like me, you probably picture something like THIS:
...but you probably don't want something that looks like THIS.
Now, I know what you're all thinking.  You're thinking "Man, Michael Keaton is really awesome."  I agree completely.  But you also might be thinking "Hey The Mike, what's this got to do with being a fan of horror and genre flicks?"  And I've got an answer for that, too.

Allow me to introduce the Hobo With a Shotgun Trailer Contest.  If you're not familiar, click here and check it out.  Then come back here, because I'm gonna take you on a trip back in time like Marty Mc-effing-Fly.
The year is 2007, and two dudes decide they love old-school cheesy genre flicks so much that they create their own film as a tribute to those films.  This film, by a couple of dudes named Rodriguez and Tarantino, was called Grindhouse - and most genre fans lapped it up lovingly.  It accomplished a lot of the same goals as the films it followed, but it also inspired people to want even more retro-goodies.  And, since Grindhouse came with a four-pack of fake trailers, the audience's favorite - Machete - suddenly became an idea for an actual movie.
It took about three years for Mr. Rodriguez and friends to bring it to fruition, but sure enough, Machete happened.  While the film was certainly entertaining, I remember not being able to shake the feeling that something was a little bit off.  This clone was a little more polished than its predecessor, but something felt stilted.  Yet...the desire for more was still there.  And others agreed with me, because suddenly another fake trailer - one that won a contest and thus accompanied Grindhouse in some areas during its release - was becoming a feature film to.
That film is Hobo with a Shotgun, which is being currently unveiled to rave reviews.  I haven't seen the film yet, sadly, but it certainly seems to be a darker clone than Machete was.  It also seems to have shaken the Hollywood shackles that made Machete seem a bit off, and thus I am excited to see it because it seems to be a good throwback to the likes of Troma films AND a good time at the movies with some talented people.  But you can probably guess what comes along with Hobo; as this clone suddenly left the door open for more.  Now, the makers of Hobo With a Shotgun are promoting another fake trailer contest...and this time the entries bring Multipicity's Doug 4 to my memory.
I'm all about independent filmmakers getting their shot at doing something they love, but looking at these trailers - which range from "OK, that might be watchable and maybe even fun" to "Oh my God, there's an audience for something that looks like that?" in the Court of The Mike - makes me a bit sad about this spiral of cloned horror and genre films.  Is this really what we strive for?
I know the horror community is a diverse and varied sort, so I don't intend to judge.  But when I look at these five trailers, I have to wonder where genre cinema is going in the future.  We've got a slew of people trying to make the next Troma or Full Moon film.  They aren't aspiring to make the next Exorcist or Star Wars, they're trying to make the next Repossessed or Spaceballs.  They don't want to make the next Evil Dead, they want to make the next movie that will remind people of Evil Dead.
Not gonna lie, this is the one I considered possibly watchable, and thus voted for.
Look, I get that this was an opportunity for these filmmakers, and I don't want to scuttle their work.  But the resulting trailers - with one exception, which I did vote for - seem extraordinarily lazy.  And yet, I see Facebook posts and messages and events all day long telling me to vote for these films because a friend made them or because they resemble something from the back room of the video store circa 1992.  I've been urged to vote for a couple of these films by people I like and respect....and I can't for the life of me tell why.  It's like that scene in Wayne's World 2...."Do I really have to put up with this?  I know it's a small part, but I think we could get a better trailer than this?"
In the end, I don't really have room to speak on these folks' filmmaking skills.  I've never gone out and made a film or trailer, and I'm fine with that.  Regardless, I'm worried.  I'm here because I like genre cinema and because I like QUALITY cinema, and these trailers simply aren't the kind of things that excite me when it comes to genre cinema.  They're clones of clones.  And people are urging and urging and urging me to think otherwise.  I'm not buying it.  They look like Grindhouse....kinda....but I know they're gonna talk funny and call me Steve and probably have a lot of toilet humor.
You can feel free to click ahead and check out the trailers...odds are, you already have.  But I'm not really interested in how this all end, because the looks of these films have me convinced that this trend is heading straight down the drain.  I'm fine sticking to the good genre films and hoping this cycle of rehashes end one revolution too late.  Hobo With a Shotgun Trailer Contest, you were a big mistake...just like Doug 4.
What say you, Midnight Warriors?  Do these trailers appeal to you?  Am I just being crotchety?  Let me know below!  In the meantime, I'm gonna think about good clones.
By the way...I just wrote a post asking for better cinema...and used The 6th Day as an example of good.  My standards aren't too either these fake trailers are that bad, or I'm just broken.  You decide.

1 comment:

B.STANK said...

"They don't want to make the next Evil Dead, they want to make the next movie that will remind people of Evil Dead" <-- that's genius

VAN GORE rubbed me the wrong way. Not only is the story a complete rip on BUCKET OF BLOOD & COLOR ME BLOOD RED, but they even used the Eli Roth THANKSGIVING voice.

Just like the BLAIR WITCH "1st person" craze, and the endless HOSTEL rip-offs, this too shall pass.

Great post!