FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

May 22, 2008

Listen to your mama

Yesterday I was talking on the phone with my mom, and because my mom is awesome we ended up talking about The Strangers. She'd seen the TV spots and asked if I thought it was some sort of remake- not of the French film Ils (Them), which has been the popular (if misinformed) opinion, but rather if it was some sort of remake of "that Naomi Watts movie". I knew the spot she was talking about, the one where Liv Tyler asks the masked intruders "Why are you doing this?" which, of course, is a question central to Michael Haneke's Funny Games. I picked up on that and immediately thought of Haneke's film, but I figured that it was maybe a coincidence- or at least, I was hoping it was.

I've been psyched about The Strangers since last year because, unlike at least 87% of the other horror previews I've seen, it looked like it would probably be scary. The original teaser poster, as we all know, has a kickass retro vibe that only added to my excitement.

It's almost impossible to tell what a movie will actually be like (or even about) based on trailers and posters, obviously, but now it seems that my mom wasn't so far off: the promotional machine behind The Strangers is undoubtedly trying to ride Michael Haneke's hump, as I discovered today over at Shock Till You Drop. Follow the yellow brick link and see what I mean.

I sure hope this is simply some kind of marketing ploy and The Strangers isn't mostly concerned with tying up Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman and poking them with pointy metal things and 'torturing' them. In my dreams, the film was...I don't know, I guess more subtle than that- more stalking than stabbing. I wasn't a huge fan of Ils, but what I did like was the cat and mouse aspect of it.

Again, who knows? I'm continuing to avoid clips and stills from The Strangers and hell, I only have to wait another week or so before I can finally see how it plays out on the big screen. It's just that this new ad campaign has me feeling like...well, you know when you have a crush on someone and you think that they're simply the coolest, most awesome best thing ever and you want to be around them every minute of the day and then something happens and you look at them and think "Aw man. You're just like everyone else, aren't you?" and you deflate a little bit? I kinda feel like that now.


Anonymous said...

wow, your crush analogy is spot on! from the get go I have almost refused to see anything redeeming in regards to this film. I think I am just over the top with my disdain for most of the "horror" films Hollywood sends my way. I mean, I hope it's good? I'm not a Scott Speedman fan :p

Jason Adams said...

Aww, why do you seem to be back-tracking on your Funny Games appreciation, Stacie? FG is more than just tying the characters up and poking them! :( It's tying them up and poking them and then making the audience feel responsible!

Seriously, I think it's just the marketing dept. at work here, ripping off the Haneke because apparently they've decided they need 1000 posters for the movie and have run clear out of ideas; I keep getting way more of an Ils vibe than a FG vibe from the footage I've seen.

Stacie Ponder said...

Believe me, I'm not backtracking on my opinion/appreciation of Funny Games whatsoever- I meant, chances are if The Strangers does go that route, it won't be to make a point- it would be about tying people up and poking them.

Eh, we'll see. I just hate that original films are so out of vogue- everything has to be "just like this or that" for people to be interested...or at least, that's what the stupid PR machine thinks.

Chadzilla said...

The only things that I have heard about this movie is that the early, much adored poster is extremely misleading about the film's actual content and that it is supposed to be very similar to films like Straw Dogs and The Hills Have Eyes in both concept and structure (i.e. when the tables are eventually turned and attackers become out!).

Arbogast said...

Most people disappoint you but (to quote a movie title) to find a friend is to find treasure.

Reel Whore said...

I've been excited about Strangers since last year. I've avoided as much of the buzz as possible so as not to spoil it.

I'm not a huge Speedman fan either but here's hoping they work around him as best they can.

Anonymous said...

Stacy, all I know is that the trailer I saw for The Strangers was one of the most disturbing things I've seen in a while (granted, I'm not the horror buff you are). The scene where the guy just stands there, in silence, and looks at Liv Tyler is so well done in my opinion. To me, that is a thousand times more scary than the typical jump-out-and-scare-you tactic.

For that reason alone, I'll check it out.

Keep up the great work! And if you ever need someone to write a comprehensive review of Santa's Slay, I'm your guy.

Restless Josephine said...

Just wanted to say, love your blog! Very entertaining

Anonymous said...

O.K I never comment on your forum because I love to read about horror flicks, but fo some reason I can't watch them. I get too freaked out. M suspension of disbelief just rocks too much. The last genre movie I watched was Nightmare on Elm Street in the theatres when it came out. I was 15. Your writing style kicks almighty booty, and your knowledge of all things horror is beyond words.I feel like thekid with no T.V. who hears about everything second hand, but loves T.V. anways. Does that make any sense?

Anonymous said...

You know how "Phantoms" poster and "Scream" poster looked similar but the movies weren't? It has more to do with the poster artist than the film; the artist's posters look similar. "The Strangers" has little to do with "Funny Games" and is more similar to the Manson murders (says the director) and the creepy unsolved murders of Cabin 28 (the Keddie murders from April 11, 1981).

Cheryl Tardif said...

Hi Stacie,

Like you, I'm a huge horror fan and I'll sit through almost anything. Of course, in the end, most movies don't really use scare tactics so much as gore, but if it can make me jump, then the watching was worth it.

I think that's how they should be rated. 'This is a 5-jump movie.'

Strangers sounds interesting, especially since it claims to be inspired by true events. Then again, that phrase can mean almost anything. Pick up a newspaper and there's probably lots of inspiration there.

Oh, and by the way, I'm a suspense author and I write novels that sometimes have elements of horror. I look forward to the day that one of my novels inspires you to blog about the movie version. :)

This is a great blog!

All the best in success,
Cheryl Kaye Tardif, author of Divine Intervention and Whale Song (2007, )

goatdog said...

I may go see this just because I love one of its taglines so much: "Because you were home." So horrifying I had to make sure my door was locked. It makes the film seem promising, even though I noticed Scott Speedman's name underneath.

Lacy said...

All very interesting.

Anonymous said...

You're exactly right. The Strangers does seem intriguing. Honestly I can't wait to see it. I know it's going to be killer (no pun intended)

Anonymous said...

isn`t that mask from "V for Vendetta"?

Anonymous said...

Wow, your mom is rad enough to reference one horror movie to another! I can't imagine my mom ever doing that.

The last time I thought my mom was cool was like 9 years ago I was watching this Terry Funk vs. Sabu barbed-wire match from ECW. My mom came in and got all offended & each time she went to leave, I'd say "oh wait, watch this part." And by the end, the two guys are getting so tangled in barbed-wire, they have to be cut out of it.
My mom got pissed that Terry Funk (who was 50-60) at the time lost. And I thought, "my mom's kinda cool."

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