May 4, 2014

The Quiet Ones and a Bygone Era of Exploitation

So, the other day I was watching The Quiet Ones and was being quite underwhelmed that my mind began to wander a little bit, partially because of the movie and partially because of the trailer for Eli Roth's The Green Inferno that preceded the feature. Now, it was not a terrible film, but it is one that seemed a little confused about what it wanted to be. I will say that I liked the period setting and Jared Harris was excellent as the doctor conducting the experiment.

Where exactly did my mind wander to? Well, it took some cues from the intent of the movie. At one point Harris speaks of provoking a subject long enough to make the evil inside manifest itself, physically, thus revealing a physical presence that could be captured and harvested, thus curing perceived mental illness. It is an interesting cinematic idea, a different approach to dealing with mental illness and possession. It made me wonder what the movie could have been had they been ale to do whatever they wanted, with no constraints.

Essentially, I thought about this movie as an old school exploitation movie. The movie would then center on an unethical doctor essentially torturing a subject. It strikes me as perfect fodder for a movie like that, a no holds barred excursion into shock. Alternatively, I also envisioned it as a movie where an upstanding doctor is attempting to help a patient and the patient manifests the evil within with bizarre and unexplainable events, perhaps cracking a seal to Hell and unleashing some Fulci-style zombie events.

This in turn led to my wondering if a true twisted exploitation filmmaking is still possible in this day and age. I believe it is not. There may be filmmakers who can get close and replicate the feel and still make a fresh feeling movie, but there is a reason we keep going back to those. They were made in an era that allowed for it. It was a different industry. The changes in attitudes, regulations and all that goes with it conspires to keep these types of films from happening again.

Beyond that, when the classics were made, they did not have anything to go on. They were making the movies they wanted to make, working within only the constraints of their imagination and their budget. They made movies that made you wonder just what were they thinking on the set. They made movies that shocked, disturbed, and intrigued audiences. I just do not think that can happen again.

Besides the fact that you cannot get away with the same things these days, there is the fact that if you try to make a film like this, you will be saddled with comparisons to the past.

This leads into another thought. When the trailer for The Green Inferno played it had a quote stating "Nothing can prepare you." or something to that effect. I am eager to see the movie, but that quote just left me rolling my eyes. We know where the inspiration came from, we know what he is looking to emulate, therefore, we are prepared. It is just silly to think otherwise. It is much like seeing an ad claiming a movie to be the scariest or most stoking movie ever, and the movie is a wide release studio picture. Stop peddling that trash. The movie may be good, but that marketing hyperbole is just nuts.

I know I have a lot more movies to see and information to soak up, but it is vey clear that the golden age of twisted films is gone. That is not say you cannot make messed up films now, but it is different. The look, the feel, it cannot be replicated and this is why he fans who know will always look back on these films fondly, it is also why they will never die so long as the fans with the love share said love.

It is all right to be sad, just don't let the old shoot, the lassie, the underground fade away. If you look around, you will be amazed by what you find. While I enjoy the mainstream, cinema is so much more. There are movies for all tastes, audiences, and purposes, the mainstream is really just the tip of the iceberg. Time to do some exploring.

Thank you for wading through this excursion random thoughts.

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