Tuesday, May 03, 2005

How Do Good Horror Movies Ever Get Made?

Here is a fascinating article in the New York Times (I know, I know, but I can't criticize all of them), about the saga behind the making of the Exorcist prequel. The problems that the film company, Morgan Creek, had with the original director's version ended up in an entire second movie being filmed. Now, I haven't seen the version of the prequel that was released last year, and I don't know if the version that will be released this year will be any better, but I do know that when the chairman of the film company is upset because the movie is not "a hyperkinetic action picture filled with gore and special effects" and brings in the director of Cliffhanger to fix it, there are going to be problems. And whose big idea was it to turn Father Merrin into a "swashbuckling hero"? It really makes you wonder about the chairman of the company.

Actually, in a way it doesn't. I'm not one to complain about people trying to make money, but that's clearly what Morgan Creek had in mind here: to fill the movie with sex and violence, because everyone knows sex and violence sell. However, violence, in the same manner as with sex, verges on pornography when it, and not the story or the characters, is the point. And more importantly, people will not go to see a movie like that in the same numbers that they will a good movie that happens to have sex or violence in it. Clearly, in this case Morgan Creek did not have an interest in making a good horror movie or a movie that would add to the legend surrounding the original in a meaningful way. I find that really disheartening.


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