The Return of the Genre

The Return of the Genre
Capes, Cops and Cowboys

John Evans | 3 Jun 2008 12:44
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TE: What, then, would you say is the reason for horror's longevity?

CG: If you want to look at it in these terms, and I like to look at it in these terms, horror films at a root level are called - and this is a term actually that Wes Craven used - "boot camp for the psyche." When you go to a horror film, one of the reasons you're going there is as part of a communal cathartic release. If you go see a horror film and you're in a room with a whole bunch of people and everyone screams at a spider or a snake, if you've got fears of spiders and snakes, hearing everyone else react to it makes you feel like you are not alone. So it's this kind of affirmation of, "You know, it's okay to be afraid of that." And then you'll have things like boogeyman monsters like Freddie or Jason or whatever, and the screams and scares that those excite are kind of indicative of bigger, wider issues. And the other thing is, as horrible as life is, you can go into a horror film and scream at stuff which is pretty farfetched. You're probably never going to have to worry about being chased by a whole bunch of CGI monsters like in Hellboy or something.

TE: What do you think is the next major type of movie we are going to see take hold?

CG: We're still going to see a lot more superhero films, I think, especially with the big numbers Iron Man did over its opening weekend, because Hollywood is always looking for new properties, and comics are kind of a new territory for them, filled with a lot of works. You've already got your story; you've already got your storyboards, which can be translated with a lot more ease than coming up with an original story. So I think we're going to be seeing a lot more superhero, and a lot more films derived from comic sources. As far as the next new thing, I'm not too sure I know what it would be. And that's the fun thing about it; I don't like trying to predict, I like trying to be surprised.

TE: A lot of videogames are being made into movies as well, but they've had a much lower success rate than comic book adaptations. Do you think that's due to the quality of the stories or just the amount of investment being made?

CG: I think it's just the quality of the videogames' stories. I've just read they're working on a movie adaptation of the videogame Joust.

TE: Which has no story at all.

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CG: No story, but you know what? It does have a neat concept, I think. Flying ostriches with sabers, jousting with javelins ... I don't know. No story. I'm not well versed enough in the original source material for some of these games, but I think when you're trying to translate a game into a film, there's really not a lot there in the first place to work into a full adaptation. So a lot of these adaptations, what we're doing is really just taking the name and making a film. They're more or less purchasing the name and a couple of small elements. I think that in probably 10 years, there's going to be this weird nostalgia for videogame film adaptations; films that were kind of considered crap when they came out, but there's going to be a whole generation that were kind of weaned, kind of grew up on those.

TE: So the two industries are playing off each other, but they're also in competition.

CG: Yes. They're pointing out some of the poor box office grosses for action films where in the past they'd be a sure thing for older teens, like 17 to 19, at the mall. In the past they'd do good; now they're not doing good. Why? Well, that's because they're spending their money on other stuff. They're not spending it on records, they're spending it on videogames.

John Evans will be studying journalism at Humber College next fall, and is looking forwards to having the professors tell him how he is doing it all wrong.

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