Musing on Mama

I really wanted to put an extra little sub-heading on that to say, ‘and other mainstream horror’ but that would have messed up my alliteration and also, this theme tends to do weird things to punctuation that alarms and confuses me, so yeah, I hope you like the title if nothing else….

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Apart from Abertoir Horror Festival, I very rarely see horror films in the cinema meaning that I kind of miss out on a lot of mainstream horror until I see it when it comes out for rental.  Of course, thanks to my local Blockbuster shutting down (much sadness for this) I will likely see even less.  To be honest, I’m not all that bothered by missing out on it.  While I like to see the sorts of films coming out and look at them in terms of trends, etc, the majority leave a lot to be desired.  The last mainstream horror I saw was Mama, which judging by its continued presence in the UK box office top ten (currently at number 7 as of the time of writing) is doing pretty well in terms of bums in seats.  I have to be honest and admit I haven’t read many reviews on it so I don’t know how much others have enjoyed it.  For me, it was almost everything I hated, despite having some great restrained scares and even some pretty good noisy ones.  I always jump at horrors, because I jump at loud noises.  Very few leave me actually frightened afterwards and Mama was no exception, owing largely to heavy CGI effects allowing the titular character to be seen up close too often and for far too long.  Don’t even get me started on the whole ‘a mother’s love’ text within it because one: it’ll head very swiftly into spoiler territory and two: I can’t roll my eyes that much this time of night.

Part of the allure of Mama is likely to be the banner of ‘Guillermo Del Toro Presents’.  While a good tool for the promotion of new writers and directors that perhaps otherwise wouldn’t get such a big opportunity to show their film in multiplexes and is certainly an easy way for such directors to be constantly relevant I’m not sure how much it actually detracts from the film by putting fans of that director into the mind set that they are about to see a film that is equal in quality.  I often wonder if the banner of first time director/writer would mean these films would be more appreciated than something essentially being compared to far more experienced and in many cases, beloved directors.

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To avoid this piece being completely anti-mainstream horror (because let’s face it, there’s plenty of nonsense on the independent scene too) I’d like to throw in my two pennies on the Evil Dead reboot.  Yes, I’m quite late in offering any opinion on it, but having seen the trailer before Mama and read a script (although pretty sure it isn’t a legitimate one) I’m actually far more interested in it.  It looks like I’ll have the same complaint of it being the same colour as every horror remake/reboot/regurgitation but that’s just a personal dislike I’m going to have to get over.  From what I’ve seen/read it is a very different film that gives the characters a valid reason to be in a cabin in the middle of nowhere beyond wanting to get high and fuck and that’s far more interesting than that bog standard tale.  It also looks pretty damn gory and has managed to achieve the elusive R rating for US audiences.  The constant rating of horrors as PG-13 has turned a lot of people off, so perhaps the ultra-gross-out nature of Evil Dead, if a success, may bring forward a new set of films following suit.  Even if it’s not so good…at least it’s a little different and sometimes, that’s all you can hope for.

If you’ve made it all the way through this ramble, I salute you and I’ll see you at the end of the next one.  As always, you can contact me on Twitter – @caitlynmdowns

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