Monthly Archives: July 2023

Scream VI

The Scream movies have always been extremely meta. So by the time you’ve gotten to the sequel of the reboot sequel (requel, apparently?), well, there’s no way to be surprised at just how far up its own ass the movie, nay, the franchise, has crawled. Which, I hasten to clarify, is not necessarily a bad thing. I, for example, am still not allergic to the tightening gyre of Gen-X self-reflection, nor will I judge harshly any movie that stabs quite so many people quite so many times.

There’s just one problem with Scream VI, which I must unfortunately put underneath the spoiler tag.

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That horror discussion podcast by the people who make Welcome to Night Vale watched Dead Alive, an early Peter Jackson film that I’d never seen, and so here we are.

Honestly, I have very little to say. Except for the fact that Army of Darkness came out a year later, I would say this movie was heavily influenced by that one. …but it is probably fair to say it was influenced by Evil Dead 2, so, kind of the same thing in some ways. I was also thinking that the precipitating scene on Skull Island was funny, in that they used the King Kong island name for their insufficiently spooky setting to catch a monkey with a zombie disease amidst cliched natives. But no, Jackson is on record for loving King Kong well enough to make its second remake, so, that actually tracks.

I could probably go on, but really what this reads as is a movie made by someone without a lot of budget[1] but with a lot of love for schlock cinema. It certainly doesn’t have the polish of The Frighteners, is nowhere near the seriousness of Heavenly Creatures, and doesn’t have the budget that the Tolkien-based movies spent on fireworks alone. But you can still see the talent underlying it all. And bravo on whoever saw that talent in prospect rather than retrospect and gave him more money for the next thing he made. It worked out pretty well.

Oh, um, other than forward and backward looking influences, I’ve said nothing. It’s basically a horror movie that aspires to be a romantic comedy, except the hero’s mother keeps getting in the way. …I had intended to say more, but, no, that really sums it up.

[1] And most of it spent on building WETA[2] so they could do a little stop motion animation, with all the funds left over going to several industrial barrels full of gore.
[2] I have no idea when WETA happened, so don’t quote me on this timeline in wikipedia or anything.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

My mother-in-law was in town for my son’s birthday, and due to a coincidence of chronology, my birthday is one day later, with the upshot being we had childcare available for my birthday! As a further result of which, we went to see the semi-recently released newest Marvel movie, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

If you’re worried about plot spoilers, do not be, because I legitimately could not remember who or why the bad guy was, until I spent several moments of concentration trying to. Which sounds like a strike against the movie? But no: I come not to bury Gunn, but to praise him. Because, plot or no plot, what the movie had was a ton of heart, and even more tons of concern for its characters. The only real problem I had with it, in an overarching sense, is that it made most of the recent previous movies[1] worse just by virtue of its existence. Because this is what has been missing since Endgame. Not a specific direction, or a replacement for Thanos. Just… heart.

Anyway, I do remember what happened, more or less. Like everything that has ever happened in any Guardians of the Galaxy movie, the past shows up to bite everyone in the ass. The only things I will say are that a) this is maybe the weirdest take I’ve ever seen or can imagine seeing on Adam Warlock, to the extent that I feel like maybe they shouldn’t have actually thanked Jim Starlin in the credits; and b) the take on the bad guy, whose presence I will not spoil, is so accurate it reminds me of Ultimate Reed Richards.

[1] Essentially all of them in the age of COVID except No Way Home.