Hey look! It’s the first SUPER SPECIAL GUEST POST of this year’s 31 Days of Horror! Once again friend and magic man Adam P. Knave joins me to talk about the things that go bump in the night. Last year he wrote about why we all love horror so much.
This year we had a bit more of a challenge on our hands. I said, “Hey, wanna write about a scary ghost movie?” He said, “Sure! But wait, what movie?”
And then next thing you know, we somehow found ourselves here, wondering if it could be possible to compare The Sixth Sense to Evil Dead II. Ah, this just seem to happen when Adam and I talk about things? I have no idea.
But I do love it! And I think he succeeded admirably in this task. Plus now I don’t have to write about The Sixth Sense (seriously, I have nothing to say about that movie beyond “It’s Red?”). And Evil Dead II is covered! Bonus! I really wanted to include Evil Dead II this month but since I did Evil Dead last year, I wasn’t sure how to fit it in. Well, I sort of did Evil Dead last year. I was a little burned out so I didn’t write all that much. Anyway.
Now we all win!
In other worlds, Adam can be found at adampknave.com and on the twitter @adampknave. You should also totally check out the absolutely wonderful comic AMELIA COLE that he’s writing with D.J. Kirkbride for Monkeybrain Comics. It’s so good.
And here’s today’s Guest Post: Adam P. Knave and The Sixth Sense VS. Evil Dead 2.
Horror movies are amazing things and haunted house/ghost stories are some of the oldest humanity has. There’s a primal thrust to them. We will never get away from them or be free of the idea. The call, after all, is coming from inside the house.
But for all the wonderful haunted house and ghost movies they are no where near created equally. Some of them are, in fact, created pretty strangely opposite…
The Sixth Sense and Evil Dead 2 can both teach us so very much. In fact, let me go a step further and say they can be used together, in contrast.
You see for every yin there’s a yang – for every clichéd saying, there’s another clichéd saying waiting to further it – and for every viewing of the Sixth Sense there is Evil Dead 2.
The Sixth Sense is an ongoing lesson in how not to make a movie. I’m sorry but it is. It is all flash and no substance. It hinges on a reveal and has no rewatchability. The plot doesn’t matter, the performances don’t matter nothing about the story matters in the least except in service to a single reveal. Movies aren’t about reveals. They’re about the story. From the biggest silliest action film to the best horror movies ever it comes down to story. And Sixth Sense is a bit of fluff in search of a story while preoccupied with setting up a twist.
On the other hand, Evil Dead 2 is the exact reverse. It’s nothing but story. So much story they forget to hang onto the plot or the characters or anything else in service of telling moment after moment of sheer lunacy. And they thread together through the force of will that comes out of the filmatic Voltron that is Raimi and Campbell. Evil Dead 2 doesn’t want a twist. It wants to entertain. It’s only goal is to make you enjoy every single second of film.
The Sixth Sense wants you to feel like you’ve had a good time.
Evil Dead 2 wants you to actually have a good time.
It’s a subtle but important difference.
The Sixth Sense sees horror as a thing to be put in a corner and paid lip service to.
Evil Dead 2 sees horror as a fully functioning creature – one that lives in the woods and chases you around the park a few times while laughing.
The Sixth Sense doesn’t seem to respect anything but itself. It treats the viewer as if they are robots to be given pieces of a puzzle and then rewarded with the answer, instead of participants in a story.
Evil Dead 2 respects everything but Bruce Campbell, and even then it manages to worship him while disrespecting him. It shares a joke called life. “You know that feeling you get when the whole world’s against you and all you wanted was a weekend away?” it asks, “We know it, too. Except we’ll also swallow your soul.”
The Sixth Sense made a big deal about red.
Evil Dead 2 invested in Karo syrup.
The Sixth Sense hands you a twist and walks off into the night as if to say “See how proud we are – you know you’re impressed.”
Evil Dead 2 works and works to make you laugh and scream and cheer and then it laughs and screams right along with you every step of the way, enjoying itself while spreading that same enjoyment.
The Sixth Sense doesn’t respect you. It respects what it views as art.
Evil Dead 2 respects only you, at the expense of everything else, if need be.
So yeah – they’re pretty different, huh? Still, one thing is the same: They’re a reminder that horror movies, of all stripes, get to often play bigger and spread further, than almost any other genre.
Adam P. Knave is an Eisner and Harvey award winning editor and writer who has written fiction (CRAZY LITTLE THINGS, STRANGE ANGEL, and STAYS CRUNCHY IN MILK), comics (AMELIA COLE, THINGS WRONG WITH ME, stories in TITMOUSE MOOK vol 2, FIRESIDE MAGAZINE issue 1, and many more), and columns for sites such as thefoonote, TwoHeadedCat, Comics101, PopCultureShock, and MamaPop. He was also one of the editors of Image’s POPGUN anthology.