Saturday, May 15, 2004

Monsters in movie court

The Washington Post has an odd little article called Monster Films: Bringing Out the Beast in Us. (Unfortunately, you'll probably have to register to see it.) It's set up as Movie Court, with the prosecution, Ann Hornaday, arguing that with all the horrible images of brutality and torture we see on the news every day, there's no need for monster movies to cater to our darker side.
For the defense, Stephen Hunter makes the argument that monster films appeal to the child in more imaginative people, like himself.
I still like it when things get blown up, squished, smashed, mashed, creamed, fragmentized, atomized, liquefied, pureed and mulched. For destruction I hold with those who favor the carnivore, but the alien is also nice and would suffice.
While I'm not sure his argument entirely answers Hornaday, I certainly agree with what he's saying.
When the screechy mandibular chompers of "Them," with their hunger for sugar and human flesh, come out to play, or when the Giant Squid the size of the USS Forrestal squashes the Golden Gate to a sodden swizzle stick, it's a hoot. See, that's one of the most profound joys of the movies -- the subversive pleasure of seeing what society tells us is bad and wondering: Gee, why does it make me feel so good?
I'm going to start looking at Hunter's reviews more often. (And I'm going to ignore Hornaday, who doesn't seem to get horror at all.)

No comments: