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When Hollywood Gets It Wrong: Trends & Sequels That Totally Miss the Point

Despite my confirmed movie buffness, physical buffness and horror buffness and I haven’t seen most of the Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, Hellraiser, Child’s Play, Halloween, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Saw or Hostel movies. Shocking as that may seem to other (horror) film aficionados, I’m afraid my disposition with regards to those franchises’ sequels is: what’s the point? How many different ways can you watch a bad guy torture and kill people; people that are generally scantily-clad young women or their lascivious boyfriends?

After you’ve seen a few of those slasher/torture porn sequels it honestly doesn’t make much difference matter whether the killer does the deed with finger-claws, machetes, demonic black magic, chainsaws or evil doll shenanigans. And once that killing starts, it doesn’t really matter that the victims are offed in the woods, their dreams, space, hell, the ‘hood, a hostel, a basement, in a suburban home or in Texas (my bad on that last one being redundant, as I’d already mentioned hell; just kidding Texas!). In her 1966 survey of gothic literature, “Gothic Flame”, Devendra Varma wrote- “The difference between Terror and Horror is the difference between awful apprehension and sickening realization: between the smell of death and stumbling against a corpse.”

That pretty much sums up my beef with the gore-core offerings that now represent the bulk of horror cinema: they offer the realization without any apprehension. Not that I’m anti-gore or some if-it’s-old-it’s-better purist. Silence of the Lambs and the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre feature some stomach churning grue and remain scary as hell. However, they use that gore to punctuate the terrifying realization after building to it with effective anticipation.  Horror is easy enough to achieve on film- all you need is some red-dyed corn syrup, people smashed in gruesome ways and startles thrown into frame. Terror, on the other hand, takes talent.

Terror also takes more work than the slow burn and effective shudders of a truly scary movie. If the filmmakers responsible for a sequel or reboot of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre are convinced it’s the chainsaw massacring that made the first movie (in)famous rather than the creation of a terrifying film with chainsaw massacring in it, and the resultant film makes money, those filmmakers seem to be proved right. And other imitations follow. The J-Horror inundation following The Ring comes to mind- for years afterward it seemed that if a producer had a movie made they were legally obliged to include a white-faced, black-eyed child scrabbling around on a wall, floor or ceiling. The logic being that The Ring was a very scary movie featuring a pale but dark child creeping on people with crab-like articulation, therefore, any movie that had one would be scary.

Horror, though, is hardly the only genre with ineffective sequels and scads of imitator knocks-off cluttering up the silver screen after a big hit. Sometimes it’s the creators of excellent films themselves responsible. Although George Lucas will probably take film history’s crown as the Man Who Did the Most to Destroy His Own Vision, Sylvester Stallone also provides an excellent example.

First Blood is pretty much universally regarded as the best Rambo movie (though I suppose that’s not the world’s most impressive distinction.) I was shocked when I first saw it- an actual movie about a man damaged so profoundly by horrors faced in Vietnam he’d become a homeless drifter. When a small-town sheriff with bad luck and poor judgment unfairly arrests John Rambo and treats him roughly, the vet suffers a post-traumatic stress flashback and proceeds to tear through the both the town and its police force in a violent rage. The rampage ends with a painful breakdown (featuring actual tragic pathos from Stallone) and arrest; Rambo still presumably unable to hold a job, maintain a relationship or fit into society, and now a felon.

The Rambo movies have since become a byword for on-screen violence and huge body counts. As such, how many people do you think Rambo kills in First Blood? Well, depending on one’s point of view and the quality of off-screen First Blood-universe medical care, between two and zero. One cop falls to his death from a helicopter that John Rambo throws a rock at, and Rambo shoots Sheriff Brian Dennehy in the legs with a machine gun. That’s not necessarily a death sentence because as we well know, in Hollywood being shot in a limb is pretty much a gimme. You might limp if you take it in the leg or grunt when you have to punch a bad guy with the arm you’ve been shot in, but otherwise you’ll be fine. There’s much less screaming, blood-pouring shock; amputation; severed arteries; permanent muscle-savaged debilitation; permanent crippling; chronic pain and death than we find in real life.

In the defense of the Rambo sequels, at least Sly didn’t feel bound by theme. They’re less sad, poignant, even anti-war statements on mental illness; our treatment of vets, the damaged, homeless and the infirm and the painful struggle for reintegration after witnesses nightmarish things. The sequels are better characterized as montages of Rambo killing people in the jungle and his eventually winning of the Vietnam War.

Sly applied the same formula to the Rocky movies. How many people remember that Rocky lost his fight in the first movie? It shouldn’t be a surprise- he was a regular guy facing a seasoned professional- of course he lost. It’s that he tried and never gave up that mattered. Based on the sequels though, it seems Sly decided that it wasn’t the “brave normal guy did-the best he could and won respect for it” people were interested in but Rocky actually winning over and over.

Anyway, I could cite the dozens of action movies cribbing special effects from The Matrix on the assumption it was those effects responsible made its popularity. I could mention the slew of useless fun loving criminal movies ground out after Pulp Fiction. Or I could note the torrent of Haunting in… and Exorcism of… boilerplate pictures that are released approximately once a week. However, I think the point has been made: good movies are more than the sum of their parts. When Tinsel Town comes around to that reality, rather than deciding it’s one of those specific parts we want, the film-scape will be notably improved.

Zack Mandell is a movie enthusiast, writer of movie reviews, and owner of www.movieroomreviews.com which has great information on actors such as Tom Cruise  and films like Top Gun. He writes extensively about the movie industry for sites like Gossip Center, Yahoo, NowPublic, and Helium.

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The Perks of Blu Ray and Blu Ray Players
Picture Quality
Superior high def resolution is a huge element of the reason why Blu Ray movies look excellent. This means you'll see a much more detailed picture: much more clearly defined features of people faces, colors of nature, close ups of wrinkles, facial imperfections, etc. The technological distinction is that Blu Ray's maximum resolution is 1920 x 1080 (1080p), while DVD is restricted to 720 x 480 (480p). Further than image resolution, Blu Ray additionally employs much better video-compression methods, producing much more contrast as well as better colors. It truly is the best quality of video you can get inb the market today, with a comparable, if note better than picture that you get at the movies, when the Blu Ray player is used in conjunction with an HDTV.

Audio Quality
Audio quality is also much better. New high-resolution soundtrack formats, such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, are basically the same as the studio master, consequently you will be hearing sounds just as the director and audio editors designed.

Special Features
Blu Ray also has extra unique functions that DVD never did. The most basic innovation is the pop-up menu, allowing one to access the menu features as the movie keeps playing. Also, there is BD-Live, picture-in-picture video commentary, Internet connectivity, including models with built-in Wifi for streaming movies, videos, tv shows and all kinds of media from the Web.

Main Blu Ray Features
While most basic features of Blu Ray Players are the same, there are some specific things to consider when buying a player, especially, Internet connectivity options.

Player Options for Connecting to Internet
There are several options, depending on the player model and brand, for linking up your smart Blu-ray player to the Internet

  • A wired connection using Ethernet cable
  • Built-In Wifi Connection on the Player
  • A wireless connection using a compatible wireless adapter
  • A connection using power line Ethernet adapters
WiFi Built In - Smart Blu Ray Players - Connect to Internet and stream movies, music, TV shows and more with WiFi built in.
WiFi Ready - Means the Wifi is not built in and you will need an adapter of some sort to connect.
BD-Live is a Blu-ray feature that enables you to access content, features and activities via your smart Blu-ray player. On some movies you'll be able to download a variety of up-to-date content (for example, refreshed previews and exclusive special features). There are also a host of next generation possibilities, such as ringtone/wallpaper downloads, peer-to-peer interactions, live events and gaming activities. For example, on the Blu Ray version of Julie & Julia with BD-Live, you can bookmark Julia Child's actual recipes while you watch the movie. At the end of the film, you can e-mail yourself the recipes, pretty cool!
Bonus View
The Bonus View and lets you play back picture-in-picture content, which allows for a second video and audio stream.

Playing DVD's
The transition from DVD to Blu Ray is an easy one since all Blu Ray players play standard DVD discs. Actually, each and every Blu Ray player is also an upconverting DVD player.

Buying Cheap Blu Ray Players

There are some great ways to save money on Blu Ray players and that is by avoiding retail stores and shopping online. Cheap Blu ray players are plentiful and can really be a great alternative to spending too much at the stores. Some of the top brands of Blu Ray players can cost you as much $300, with brands like LG, Sony, Samsung and other industry leaders invemting bigger and better models regularly causing retail prices to skyrocket. Stop wasting your money and buy cheap Blu Ray players here, always bid and buy with confidence, with buyer feedback and ratings for sellers.

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