So here’s the thing. Long time readers of this blog, my old blog, my Facebook page, etc., will know that I have a love of movies. Scratch that, bad movies. Bad movies like early silent German surrealism, 1930’s social exploitation about syphilis and drugs and drink and all the other troubles kids can get themselves into, 1940’s film-not-so-noir with guys in cheap suits and fake guns, poorly made 1950’s sci-fi with monsters made of carpet scraps and pipe cleaners, 1960’s devil cult-biker-stripper-drug-psychedelica-hippie-grand dame guignol-madness, 1970’s Italian giallo dubbed with one D-list anglo actor, 1980’s post-apocalyptic and/or slasher celluoid bloodbaths …
But now, in the Twenty-Teens (or whatever the heck we’re calling this decade), I have found a new cinematic delight that I can’t seem to get enough of: Found Footage Films.
There are some who will argue that “found footage” movies have actually been around a lot longer than we think. There are the Mondo Cane series from the 1960’s, Cannibal Holocaust and Faces of Death from the 1980’s. I suppose a purist would say that Mondo Cane and Faces of Death don’t fit in because they are (supposedly) real films with real footage. And to some degree, that is true. Some of the footage is real, some was staged specifically for the movie. And it’s the mixture of the two that is the real genius: it fools the audience into wondering, “Is all this shit real?”
In general, I don’t think people like to be lied to. It’s easier on the brain to either take everything at face value as truth rather than pick out truth vs. lies. From a producer’s standpoint, it’s more profitable to fool some people all the time than all the people, right, PT Barnum?
Okay, I’ll admit that I was suckered into the whole Blair Witch Project thing. I went to see it early in the release before it was big fat knowledge that it was all fictional, and let’s face it, I’m as gullible as an Amish kid home-schooled by Quakers on the first day of school in an urban inner-city junior high. But even after I found I was sucked in to the whirpool of what the? I was still mystified by the whole thing, and actually, I really liked it. I liked just how ridiculous it was. I’d been played for a patsy and I didn’t care. (And actually, I have nothing but awe for the kids who made that movie with an inital investment of about $35K to have it earn about $250 million. That’s no small potatoes.)
So anyway, I’ve been filling my Netflix queue on both disc and instant viewing with all the found footage I can stomach. Recently I watched Grave Encounters:
The story is the same as most of the those “paranormal” shows: a group of “paranormalists” lock themselves into a supposedly haunted building for the night (in this case, the old Riverview Hospital in Vancouver, BC) and there is a lot of footage from night-vision cameras and things that go bang in the night and actually quite a few times that a “ghost” is actually seen on camera, albeit always with the pupiless eyes and the oversized anime time screaming mouth:
Yeah, seriously, what’s up with that? Such unhappy ghosts, just screaming and whinging about the afterlife. And no matter what, there’s always some crazy-Dr. Mengele-type who tortured all these poor souls but because he made a deal with devil or possibly Walter Freeman, the ghost doctor gets to continue to practice his evilness on the stupid kids who keep coming into his laboratory. Death ensues, usually just following the video “last will and tearful apology to Mommy” of the main characters.
Yes, found footage films are mostly the same. And I’m generally left with the same question … who collected all the cameras and all the footage? Why don’t we hear about that poor schmuck? Believe or not, that question was (sort of) answered by the actual sequel(!):
Yeah, I’m not going to talk about this movie. What I am going to mention is that I can’t stop looking at this ghost’s pants. Wow.
Okay, on that note, I think I’m going to read a book. Something to rebuild my brain cells that I continually melt by watching this stuff. By the way, if you’re wondering if the Hubster watches these movies with me, that answer is NO. But then, he’s usually off in the other room playing Diablo 3 for hours, so is that necessarily any better? Or just different?