Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Young Frankenstein

Young Frankenstein
seen online @ YouTube

Okay, so I know that this is Halloween week and that means horror movies, and I'm more than willing to play along. But in trying to decide what to watch this week, something occurred to me which I had forgotten. Normally, I'm not a big horror movie fan, although I can certainly watch them. In looking at other film blogs, however - and indeed, pop culture blogs in general - there seems to be a greater acceptance of mediocrity when it comes to horror movies.

It's common knowledge that there's a long and undistinguished history of bad horror movies (and sci-fi too) that a number of film bloggers and film fans love to celebrate. I would imagine a big part of it goes back to memories of those old late night creature features on local television from childhood, when B-movies didn't seem so terrible. I watched them too; I know all about it. As an adult, however - not to mention as a discerning film watcher - I personally find it a bit harder to appreciate them the same way.

Maybe I sound like a snob, but while it can be fun to laugh at an old B-movie with a group of friends at a midnight-movie screening, given a choice, I'd much sooner watch a quality movie instead. I can't help but marvel at those who revel in bad movies, who seek them out and write detailed analyses about them. Horror in particular; something about bad horror movies truly stimulates some people's imaginations.

I had picked out several old horror films on Hulu that I thought I would watch for WSW this week - all of them cheesy schlock that I figured I'd watch for the fun of it. When it came time to sit down and start with one, though, I stopped and found myself reconsidering. I knew the one I picked out was far from a classic, but did I really want to spend an hour and a half with it simply for the sake of my blog? I looked it up on IMDB and read the reviews. Many of them were of the "so bad it's good" variety, though some genuinely panned it.

Maybe bad movies need to be "enjoyed" with friends. I can understand that - but in the horror blogs I've seen, many of the bloggers don't need a group experience to watch them. Maybe bad movie fans - especially fans of old bad movies - see this as a reaction to the mountains of truly awful new movies these days. Maybe they see a sincerity that's absent in these days of market-tested, formulaic, inoffensive rom-coms and inspirational biopics and man-child special-effects actioners. I could definitely get behind that.

My experience, though, is different. My appreciation of movies originates with my father, whose tastes went towards Westerns and dramas. He definitely sought out quality whenever possible - and if I were to be honest, I'd say it's reasonable to assume that his sensibilities had an impact on me, to a degree. So while I can understand why a film fan might be heavily drawn to bad films in general and bad horror in particular, I can't say that's my bag because I'm not drawn to them as naturally as others.

So instead I put on a film I knew I would love and enjoy. While Young Frankenstein may not be scary, it sure as hell is funny. Even as the opening credits rolled I was grinning in anticipation of what was to come, and most of the funny lines I knew verbatim. I take more satisfaction in that than in a forgotten B-movie from fifty years ago. That's just me, though.

I will try to pick out an old B-horror movie for this week, though, because I believe one can learn from the bad stuff as much as from the good stuff.


Previously in Halloween Week 2010:

Bride of Frankenstein

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