Quick reminder before I get into today’s movie, this Sunday at 11 AM Matthew and I will be doing another Google+ hangout to recap our last week in scary movie watching. In theory we’ll cover lady directors, Australian horror movies, and possibly V/H/S. If you missed last week’s hangout, you can watch it here!
On to today.
Splatter Movie: The Director’s Cut, 2008. Dir. Amy Lynn Best, Written by Mike Watt. Starring Amy Lynn Best, Tom Sullivan.
I was on the fence about whether or not I was going to include this movie in my 31 Days writing but I’m really, really glad that I did. I met Amy Lynn Best back when I was still in college and she’s a really fabulous person. But honestly, I was a little worried about writing about a movie by someone I know, even if it was just on a passing level years ago. Cause you know, what if I hated it? Or what if you guys thought I was just saying nice things cause I knew someone? Could get weird, right?
But then I got the DVD from Netflix anyway and I watched it this afternoon and it’s so perfect for the discussion of women in the horror genre that I would be silly to not at least say a little about it.
We all know I love horror. Obviously. Most of you also probably know that I’m working on my own career as a filmmaker. Sometimes a filmmaker making horror films. AND we all know I’m a female filmmaker. Trying to work in horror. A genre typically dominated by men, created for a male audience. I think this goes for film as a whole, but even more so for this genre, that we need more diversity behind the camera. It’s a complicated world we live in and we need different points of view. The female point of view is just one of many that is under represented. But it’s also the one I happen to have so it’s the one I relate the most to.
So when a movie comes along that talks about these issues in a smart and fun way, it’s a good bet I’m going to like it.
The thing I think that’s important when coming into a movie like Splatter Movie, is having the right expectations. This is b-movie, low budget, Troma style stuff here. It’s maybe not for everyone and if your expectations are off, you might hate it. But if you have an idea what you’re getting into, I personally think this is a really fun movie that has a lot to appreciate.
I mean, it’s probably not surprising that I would enjoy a movie by a female director that’s super meta and all about making horror films.
The premise of Splatter Movie is… a little ridiculous. But awesome. It’s a movie about a movie about a movie. It actually fits right in with all my recent talk about Wes Craven and his meta storytelling. Best and Watt take that to umpteenth crazy level. As the movie goes on, it becomes harder and harder to tell where the murders are happening. Are they part of the movie within the movie? Are they people actually dying? Life is imitating art which is imitating life which is imitating… you get the point.
The whole thing is shot documentary style, with interviews and b-roll and all sorts of brilliant stuff. I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoyed all of the different characters talking about the genre, the actresses talking about the role of women and sex and exploitation and creating something that’s subversive. They also talk about why it’s okay for them to take their clothes off and do sex scenes for a woman directing, how it’s different than your run of mill male run shlock fest.
Whether or not you buy everything said in this film is up to you, but the point remains that it’s all smartly written and things that we do talk about when we’re talking about the genre. And the need for more lady filmmakers damn it!
There’s a fair amount of silliness to be had here, but Best handles it well and the balance between what’s the movie and what’s the movie within the movie is nicely held. As I mentioned, the line begins to blur as we approach the climax, but they’re clearly aware of what they’re doing and I thought it was really smartly done.
Amy is also awesome! She’s so great playing the director of the movie in the movie. I think she kind of steals the show but honestly I thought most of the cast was really solid. Better than the acting in a lot of the bigger budget, more mainstream flicks I’ve watched.
Troma is such a weird world and I don’t know exactly how to get into this if you’re not familiar with the Troma style. As I said above, I guess just know that it’s b-movie and low budget. For that, the acting is solid, the effects are pretty good bordering on really good, and the script is freakin smart. It’s a fun, weird movie to get into and possibly one of the better ones I could have picked for the discussion of women in horror films. Which of course I’m doing a horrible job of discussing at the moment but I’m still super tired…
If you guys watch on Sunday I’ll be sure to have more to say! Or just watch Splatter Movie, it’s probably smarter than I am at the moment.