Sunday, August 7, 2011

Horror in Hollywood, Joan of Arc in Oslo, Zombies in Canada

•Guillermo del Toro, who directed Pan’s Labyrinth, may have the impression we all like watching children in jeopardy because he has a remake coming out in a few weeks (as writer/producer, not director) of Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, about a little girl trapped in a house full of kidnapping goblins who do things like shred her teddy bear without anyone but her noticing at first.  That does not sound like a good time, though it may be well done – as was Pan’s Labyrinth.

Oddly enough, del Toro’s own story sounds a bit like horror: giant, nerdy man in a house filled with horror movie memorabilia keeps wanting to do countless half-begun, monster-filled projects that don’t always excite studio execs or the public as much as they excite him.  I want him to be happy, though. 

•I’ll bet he was pleased by the news that they found half of Alfred Hitchcock’s first film, 1923’s White Shadow, about twin sisters, one evil.  If some studio is now inspired to remake it, maybe they could use those sisters from Sweet Valley High.

•An even better story about finding a lost film involves 1928’s The Passion of Joan of Arc, told in extreme close-ups and featuring what is still regarded as one of film’s best performances.  In 1982, a janitor found the only print of it, in an Oslo insane asylum (I’m not sure the patients should have been watching such an intense film – check out this amazing clip of it, excerpted within a later Godard film). 

Oslo, as we have learned in recent days, has no shortage of insanity, yet America is sending people over there to make more craziness: The Westboro Baptist Church plans to disrupt the funerals of the recent mass-shooting victims.  They will discover that speech is not quite as free in Norway as it is here – though I can’t help thinking that if funerals and the paths leading to them were just better-delineated private property, these idiots wouldn’t be able to keep attracting so much attention.  (Them having a modicum of empathy would also help – but more about low-empathy cases tomorrow, when I look at Simon Baron-Cohen’s The Science of Evil.)

•The Westboro family isn’t our only horror export, though.  You know who became a Canadian citizen two years ago and lives in Toronto?  George Romero.  But the zombies won't stop at the border, if that’s what he’s thinking.

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