The Diabolic Discussion…in 3D!

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Rotten, Rob G ponder “in your face” horrors

Ryan Rotten: 3-D days are here again. In your face, literally, and splashing you in viscera. This year saw the releases of My Bloody Valentine 3D and The Final Destination, both of which had their high and low points, although I preferred the former over the latter. I think we’d be remiss to not cover the subject as it seems, now, week after week we’re announcing a new 3-D horror film. Looking ahead, 2010 is an aggressive year for 3-D in our genre, and I’m sold on it. I’ve heard a lot of speculation about whether it’s here to stay, if it’s the right format to play with and over-all gripes about how it is inundating the market. It’s just another storytelling tool to immerse the audience. And that’s the big word I’m hearing bandied about when it comes to these projects “immerse.” I never felt that during the glut of ’80s 3-D films we saw like Jaws 3-D, Friday the 13th: Part 3 or Amityville 3-D. Those films seemed out to poke you in the eye with crusty old hobo hands, floating specters and Louis Gossett Jr.’s immaculate bald head. Not only has the 3-D technology evolved, but so have the ways it’s being used. I think Bloody Valentine and Final Destination were good warm-up films and we’ve got some cool stuff coming in 2010.

Rob G.: I have very mixed feelings about this subject, Ryan. Here’s the thing. It’s getting harder and harder to get people out to the movies these days. With escalating costs on snacks, dealing with the parking situation, hiring babysitters, enduring a rowdy crowd, etc. Plus the fact that most people’s home set-up rivals what you’d get in a theater both in picture and sound, theaters have to come up with some kind of gimmick to make people want to see something theatrically. So I dig 3D as a tool to make the theater going experience more exciting and worthwhile. However, the problem I have with the current crop of 3D flicks we’ve seen is the quality. Look, I had a lot of fun with My Bloody Valentine 3D and The Final Destination, but both are far from being good movies. (No offense to the talent involved.) Within the first ten minutes of MBV, my entire audience was laughing aloud at the ridiculous dialogue that my beloved Tom Atkins was spouting and it became immediately clear that well…it’s going to be one of those types of movies. The type we can’t take seriously and that we have to defend by saying “well, it’s a cheesy horror movie? What’d ya expect?”

Honestly, I hate having to make that argument with non-genre fans because it only makes me feel stupider for loving these films as much as I do. At least the original Valentine never went into such campy territory. And the thing is this, 3D technology just does not translate well into the home theater environment. I took a peek at the MBV Blu-Ray and the red and blue glasses just don’t do it. They just give me a headache and make one color more dominant than the other. We give a lot of these 3D movies a pass in terms of quality of story because at least they’re giving us a gimmick and we’re being entertained. I mean, I’ve been petrified to re-watch MBV 3D at home in regular 2D because I’ll realize how much that movie doesn’t work if I do. How do you feel? Have you revisited it at home yet?

Ryan: Don’t feel stupid. Tip back a Moosehead beer and let your freak flag fly, brother. You should know that by now. The original My Bloody Valentine is an amazing slice of Canadian slasher cinema, don’t get me wrong, but there are moments that ring just as unintentionally funny as anything in that remake – which I’ll say I liked, too, regardless of the 3D. Besides, there are films out there right now without the 3D that we still feel the need to defend. But you’re right, the quality of the film needs to be just as strong as the 3D technology and that’s where Final Destination failed for me. The story didn’t hold up and I was left cold, no matter how many body parts the director flung in my direction. So no passes granted here because it was presented in 3D.

I don’t think the reason to put down the technology should be based on how well it’s executed at home. I agree, it doesn’t look that good at all. Lionsgate’s My Bloody Valentine 3D disc looks clunky on the screen if you try to watch it through those glasses. The colors are muted and the picture looks dim. That said, I don’t mind watching it without the 3D. Soon, 3D televisions – which I have seen and I’m sold on – will hit the market and the studios will simple re-package all of these DVD titles so we can watch them properly. I think the only qualm I have with the 3D – next to story quality – is the nature of the titles we’re going to see arrive in the format. Can I get behind Piranha in 3D? Hell yes. Resident Evil? Sure, I’ll take it. Halloween and Hellraiser? Eh, I’ll pass. If Platinum Dunes does go ahead with Friday the 13th: Part 2 in 3D, I honestly think they should wait for Part 3 to do it (for nostaligia’s-sake), but I’d be game.

Rob G.: I see what you’re saying. And for some reason, I was way more forgiving with The Final Destination than most of the friends I know who hated it. Perhaps because I just thought part three was such a low point in that series that I was glad it was just a little bit better, but… why can’t 3D movies be great movies to begin with? That’s my beef is that none of them are really ones that we as fans hold near and dear like the classics. Think about it, is there any genre-related film that was in 3D that fans unanimously cite among their all time favorites? Again, I’m talking in horror, because something like Coraline I absolutely loved, thought had some of the best 3D I’d ever seen and would most likely revisit at home in 2D and still enjoy just as much. Let’s look back at some of our genre titles. It’s been at least a decade since I took a look at Jaws 3D which as a kid I totally loved and would watch all the time. Then I looked up this clip. Um, yeah, not nearly as cool as I remember.

I love Friday the 13th: Part 3 but it’s not one of my favorite in the series. (And I’m kinda bummed that no 3D version of it at home works properly other then to give me a massive headache.) I’m with you, totally stoked about Piranha. I think even Hellraiser could be cool with hell chains flying straight at the audience. But I’m nervous that things like Halloween and Friday the 13th: Part 2 are going to be barely passable as good movies because they’ve got the 3D gimmick working in their favor. (And quite frankly, Platinum Dunes owes us a really kick-ass Friday after their first attempt. No excuses!) So, I ask you, are any 3D horror movies actually… great movies?

Ryan: Jaws 3D is campy as hell and I couldn’t connect with Coraline. But you’re right, it’s been a while since we’ve seen a sure-fire awesome 3D film. Sure, You’d have to reach back to look at some really great ones: Andre de Toth’s 1953 version of House of Wax, with Vincent Price, Creature from the Black Lagoon and Revenge of the Creature, both of which Universal filmed and released in 3-D. Wax is more gimmicky than the two Creature films, but De Toth still made a solid movie.

A fun fact: This 3D craze would have started sooner if Dark Castle had its way. They wanted to shoot the House of Wax remake in 3D, but that idea got scrapped because the technology wasn’t ready, nor were the theaters. And strangely enough, both Jaws 3D and Revenge of the Creature have similar plots: The monster is taken to an aquatic fun park and chaos ensues. Anyway, when you look back, no there are not too many 3D pictures that are entirely satisfying, but I think this knee-jerk response from the public to write it all off is a bit early. We should pick this conversation up at the end of 2010 after some other films are released, including Avatar, not horror, but I hear it’s a game changer in terms of the technology.

Rob G.: Hope so! And I totally forgot all about Creature from the Black Lagoon and the original House of Wax. Those are without doubt horror classics. We’ve got a slew of horror related 3D flicks coming in 2010, so let’s hope that they up the quality on them story-wise and give us something worth revisiting without the 3D gimmick. I personally loved Saw VI, and although I thought that particular sequel capped off the series perfectly, I am excited by writers Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton’s overall enthusiasm for using 3D as a story element for their next Saw entry. As far as 3D movies I’m most looking forward to, I’m optimistic for what Alex Aja does with Piranha. At the very least, all early indications point to one gory, fun movie. Let’s hope when we resume this conversation next year, we’ll all have 3D TV’s in our living rooms to better enjoy these movies.



Source: Ryan Rotten, Rob G.