Sunday, December 23, 2012

Which Is More Gruesome? Plus: Commercial of the Year

Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan Winning in Scary MoVie
So, I found both of these trailers for upcoming movies on Towleroad, each accompanied by some brief copy/snark, but no real discussion. So I thought I'd discuss them.

First, Towleroad said "This is what Lindsay Lohan has been reduced to:" and linked to the trailer for the fourth sequel the increasingly awful Scary Movie franchise. Created in 2000 by the once-funny Wayans Brothers and since obtained by the once-funny Zucker Brothers, the first two Scary Movie movies parody the Scream  franchise. But as they made more films, they incorporated move Horror subgenres. By the time Sheen first appeared in the series, he was doing his pre-douche Mel Gibson in Signs. And Zucker perennial Leslie Nielsen was The President as if  played by Dubya, himself. Even into the last movie in the series (2006's Scary Movie 4), they all featured under-recognized comedic genius Ana Farris as Cindy Campbell and "Ally McBeal" alum Regina King as her best friend, Brenda Meeks (who dies in every one of the movies, much like Kenny on "South Park"). Six years later, David Zucker and Pat Proft are still trying to milk the property for all it's worth with Scary MoVie (i.e. Scary Movie 5):

At least Farris and King were smart enough  to stay away this time, while I imagine Lohan and Sheen are as desperate for attention as they always have been.

Horror parody isn't easy and can never be lazy. Comedic horror is even harder, though writer/directors Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson made rather lucrative careers for themselves by getting it so very right. As did hottie hyphenate Eli Roth (who's debut feature Cabin Fever was both hilarious and horrific), who recently produced; co-wrote and starred in the English language debut of Chilean director Nicolas Lopez, Aftershock. The story of an American tourist looking for a good time (Roth) who finds himself among the survivors of a massive earthquake Aftershock soon devolves into a kill-or-be-killed survival story. As with most projects in which Roth is involved, the loss of humanity and gory, violent mayhem ensues.

Yikes! While I find that first trailer scary because it's so sad, I find the second one scary because it probably isn't far from reality. And what a tag line! "The only thing scarier than Mother Nature is human nature." Roth was supposed to film Stephen King's non-zombie zombie novel "Cell" but the deal fell through. I'd love to see the "Bear Jew" take the zombie genre for a spin. 

And just to lighten the mood on Christmas Eve eve, though I'm embarrassed to admit that I cannot remember where I found it, here is something of an anomaly for me: a commercial I actually love. Most TV advertising is insipid at best and downright awful at worst (particularly on the local level). Occasionally, some ad agency will come up with a clever and memorable campaign. While rather  rare in the U.S., truly memorable and clever commercials seem the domain of Europe and South America. This one, from a Belgian newspaper group, is downright brilliant:

There is hope for the printed word, yet. 

More, anon. 

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